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My talk at PASCOS 2007 July 2, 2007

Posted by dorigo in language, news, personal, physics, science, travel.

This morning, while waiting for BA flight 2583, I am giving the finishing touches to the slides of the talk I will present tomorrow at the PASCOS 2007 conference (PArticles, Strings, and COSmology), at the Imperial College in London. My talk is titled “Precision Standard Model tests at the Tevatron“. The abstract I submitted can be found in an earlier post.

Yesterday I received some very good comments and a few useful corrections from the top group coordinators of the CDF experiment, and I am almost done inserting the changes. The most important correction involved a summary plot of the top cross sections which was new just a few months ago, but has now been revised by CDF to include newer results.

I also appreciated being found guilty of using a “false friend”: I had translated a slide originally written in Italian which mentioned a particle signature which is very easy to distinguish, and the word there was “caratteristica” (distinguishable, in some sense). But the English word “characteristic” has a very different meaning! Thanks to Robin for pointing that out.

Also, I was warned that accuracy and precision are different concepts in science, although in the common usage they may be considered synonims (Webster’s does give them as such). I think I agree, after having pondered on the matter for a while. Again, kudos to Robin.

Most of what remains to work on are some cosmetical changes – I tend to write a lot of text into my slides, which makes it hard to follow the presentation but makes it easy to read and understand the slides offline: finding the perfect balance is non trivial.

As a faithful reader of this blog, you get to see the slides with a day of advance. And you get to comment on them too! If you think something is misrepresented or if you have corrections to suggest, please do speak up. I am not sure I will be able to connect from London, but you should assume I will.



1. Guess Who - July 2, 2007

Just a silly linguistic comment: fourth slide, “It has been achieved a LOT more!” looks like a Babelfish translation from Italian. “A LOT more has been achieved!”, or maybe “This has been achieved – and a LOT more!”.

2. dorigo - July 2, 2007

Thanks! Corrected. It was indeed a late night translation 🙂


3. Jim Graber - July 2, 2007

I don’t know if it’s too late, but another suggestion:
Slide 9 “very performant” -> “well performing” or “very well performing” ?

4. Markk - July 2, 2007

Interesting comment about precision and accuracy – this distinction was very prominant in my introductory physical science classes in high school and college. Precision always related to instruments and accuracy related to results. You could have a very precise result that was totally non-accurate because of systematic or experiment design error, for example, or a one digit accurate result. Is there a similar linguistic distinction in Italian?

5. DB - July 2, 2007

Ditto, Markk. Remember: statistical errors limit precision, while systematic errors limit accuracy. Collecting more data only helps with the former!

Funny how the top Yukawa is so close to 1, may even be exactly so.

6. dorigo - July 2, 2007

Jim, thanks – it will go in the version I submit.

Markk, yes. I think the same goes with “precisione” e “accuratezza”, although I still think it is a convention – the etymologies do not show any sign of allowing the interpretation of one and the other the way it seems customary to do nowadays.


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