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That’s my plot, damnit! April 24, 2007

Posted by dorigo in Art, personal, physics.

This isn’t about intellectual property… It is about bragging about my outstanding graphical skills.

In 1999 I gave a talk at the Moriond QCD conference, on “W mass measurements at the Tevatron”. In the process of putting together the slides, I found out I needed a cartoon of how we detect W and Z bosons in their leptonic decays to electrons, muons, and neutrinos. And I could not find anything nearly as good as I wanted it, up for grabs in other people’s past talks on the matter.

So I set out to draw something of my liking. For the W decay to an electron-neutrino pair I came up with the following graph:

So you see, I got what I wanted. Immediateness, simplicity, and cool colors, while maintaining physical accuracy. It took me an afternoon of fiddling with the xfig program. I am really proud of the result.

What you see is a cut-away view of the detector, schematized as a black circle, orthogonally to the beam line. The electron produced by a W decay, in red, produces a track pointing at a shower-like energy deposit in the electromagnetic calorimeter. The neutrino, on the other side, is depicted as a dashed blue line: not seen in the tracking volume (inside the black circle) nor outside. The label next to it, the slashed Et sign, indicates that the neutrino did produce a measurable effect – an imbalance in the transverse energy flow. In green, I showed the soft QCD radiation off the initial state of W production, which manifests itself as a broad, low energy deposit in the calorimeter. Also shown are other low-energy tracks produced by the collision (black lines radiating from the center), and I indicated with another arrow the original transverse momentum of the W boson.

Now, things like this usually get “borrowed” by other talks. Quite normal, nothing to complain about. But if they become so standardized that you see them in more than a third of all public talks on W boson physics at the Tevatron, as is the case with the cartoon above, then you start to itch… Today I saw it used in a Wine-and-cheese talk on W width by Dave Waters, at Fermilab. I am glad he used it but…

Darn, I should have put my name in the lower left of the picture! After all, it is an artistic work…


1. island - April 24, 2007

Too late… It’s MINE now!… 😉

2. dorigo - April 24, 2007

Island, my lawyers (note the plural) are working at it as we speak.


3. island - April 24, 2007

Hey, I’m easy and you’re rich, so just tell them that I’m willing to sell it back to you for a very unreasonable price, and then we’ll negotiate from there.

4. dorigo - April 24, 2007

Lol… I spent the morning today discussing a contract a newspaper is offering me for blogging for them, and got the worst of it. So I am not in the mood of negotiating more…

5. Bee - April 25, 2007

Ah, this is really annoying! I shared the office with the guy who made this pic

you might have seen it? I can’t recall in how many talks it was shown to depict the hadronization process, always without reference. In one circumstance the speaker was even asked where the picture came from but didn’t know.

(just in case, there are movies to the pic, see Henning Weber’s homepage

http://th.physik.uni-frankfurt.de/~weber/CERNmovies/index.html )

I wish people wouldn’t do that. It’s so annoying if you spend time and effort coming up with an intuitive visualisation, and then somebody else gets credits for using it.

6. Bee - April 25, 2007

hmm. the link doesn’t work, funny. You have to replace the times x with an usual ‘x’. Or try this

7. dorigo - April 26, 2007

Hey Bee, cool plot. Yes, I think I have seen it somewhere in the past.

As for the reason why people do it, I think most of the times it is just innocent rush. One needs a plot, searches around, finds a plot, cuts it and pastes it, then forgets to note the author, and the damage is done. It usually is not people trying to get merit for others’ work (but you are right, there are instances of that happening, too).

Maybe the right thing to do would be to add your name to whatever you find useful to claim ownership of… Part of the problem is that people are not accustomed to do it.


8. Bee - April 26, 2007

Hi Tom,

sure. I didn’t mean to say they do it on purpose, and I can relate to the shit-tomorrow-is-my-seminar-pressure. I try not to put powerpoint files on the web, it makes it too easy to grab out the pictures. Best,


9. island - April 26, 2007

Don’t worry, T, I have access to Bee’s hard-drive and we can get anything that you need there, “cheap”.

Some of it is absolutely shocking!… 😉

10. Andrea Giammanco - December 10, 2007

Just for you to know, I stole exactly this plot for a lesson, this morning, about the W and Z discovery…

11. dorigo - December 10, 2007

Hi Andrea,

be sure to get the Z->mm one from my slides of lectures 3/4 too.


12. carlbrannen - August 31, 2009

The problem is that you don’t know in advance which of your efforts will be the one that is copied over and over. And what would it look like if all your stuff had your name copied all over it?

Better. Just put your initials subtly in a corner.

dorigo - September 1, 2009

Too easy to take that off with a white box, Carl. Better to simply let things go.


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