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Think as an experimental particle physicist: results! February 27, 2009

Posted by dorigo in games, humor, physics, science.
Tags: , ,

I know you are impatient, and the weekend is coming, so while I still hope more of you will leave their results in the comments thread, I give below the key to compute the score of the two-part test I offered in the two previous posts. Each answer has from zero to three of the following symbols: E,T,S,C,D. Just sum each category for now:

Part 1):

  • A:
  1. DDTSS
  2. TES
  3. TEE
  4. DCCC
  • B:
  1. SEE
  2. TTD
  3. TS
  4. CD
  5. CC
  6. SDE
  • C:
  1. EET
  2. TTSE
  3. DDC
  4. DCSS
  • D:
  1. S
  2. S
  3. SEE
  4. TTTE
  5. DDD
  6. CCC
  • E:
  1. CCTTT
  3. EEDS
  • F:
  1. CCTDD
  2. SE
  3. CSDEE
  4. TTS
  • G:
  2. SECC
  3. EEC
  • H:
  1. TSD
  2. TS
  4. ESCD
  • I:
  1. ED
  2. S
  3. CCS
  4. CEDD
  5. TTES
  • J:
  2. ESSD
  3. ECCD
  4. E
  • K:
  1. TSSC
  3. CCEE

And the following apply to part 2 (mind you, due to a mistake I cannot fix any more, the first question is still a K).

  • K:
  1. TTTSS
  2. ECCC
  3. EDD
  4. EDS
  • L:
  1. DSSE
  2. DD
  3. TCC
  4. TC
  5. ET
  6. SE
  • M:
  1. DDTS
  2. EDS
  3. CEE
  4. TCS
  5. TC
  • N:
  1. TSC
  2. EE
  3. TESSC
  4. TCDDD
  • O:
  2. CE
  3. CSEDD
  4. TE
  • P:
  1. EE
  2. TSSSC
  3. DDDCC
  4. TTE
  • Q:
  1. TESD
  2. ECCDD
  3. ESS
  4. TTC
  • R:
  1. DDDTS
  2. TCCS
  3. TSE
  4. CEE
  • S:
  1. DDE
  2. CSDEE
  3. TT
  4. S
  5. ST
  6. CC

That is all. Now, you should have collected five scores: the total number of E,T,S,C, and D in your answers. Here are the results:

  • Large majority of one symbol: You think like an Experimental particle physicist (E), more like a particle Theorist (T), more like a Scientist from another field (S), your mental processes are similar to those of a Computer scientist (C), you reason like a Dilettante (D).
  • Slight majority of one symbol (difference highest-second highest less than 9): add E and T and S, and subtract C and D from the sum. If the result is larger than 19 you think like a scientist, if it is smaller than 9 you definitely do not.
  • Less than 10 of a suit (say, T) means you really do not think like one (a Theorist).
  • The maximum number of E symbols you can get is 34. I got 27, how much did you do ?

And, I hope you enjoyed this test as much as I enjoyed putting it together!


1. Reperio - February 27, 2009

E: 11, T: 17, S: 20, C: 8, D: 11
This damn silicon button gave me 3 of D’s πŸ˜€
I guess I have, (E+T+S)-(C+D) = 29…
Interesting, looks like I am a scientist, who thinks like a particle theorist, but has equal amount of experimentlist and dilettante, and a little bit from computer scientist. Funny, but I am a computer scientist πŸ™‚

2. dorigo - February 27, 2009

Hi Reperio,

I guess that if you weren’t thinking like a scientist at least a little, you would not be here… However, I am more than willing to revise the scoring system if I collect enough data!


3. mandeep gill - February 27, 2009

T- cool idea, and i was wondering before why you were slowing down on posts — because you were incubating this! it would take some time to fill, that i should be spending reading lensing papers, so i may or may not try it this wknd — but i’d def. like to, and will try, i’ll tell you! :-> -M

4. Gina - February 27, 2009

well. it is obvious by the results i am some kind of scientist…i was tied neck in neck with E and T with only fewer more for C. I want to be like my heroes so bad that i’m disappointed it was not more like E. hehe.! THANK YOU T for putting this together it was ALOT of fun!

5. Gina - February 27, 2009

wait…there are 2 parts…i spoke to soon. i promise to be fair when answering so i do not tamper with the results. i will go complete part 2 and let you know how i score.

6. Ptrslv72 - February 27, 2009

Hi Tommaso,

I did not take the test but one question jumped to my eye:

* C) How does the Higgs boson decay to a pair of photons ?

1. by first splitting into a pair of top quarks
2. by first splitting into a fermion loop
3. by first splitting into a pair of W bosons
4. it cannot, the Higgs is not electrically charged

as some of your readers pointed out, the answers 1-3 are all correct. In the SM the Higgs couples to two photons through a loop of either charged fermions (among which the top, being the heaviest, gives by far the largest contribution) or W bosons. The balance between the top and W contributions depends on the Higgs mass, but the W contribution is in general dominant (especially at low Higgs mass). See e.g. fig.2.15 of hep-ph/0503172. Now, from your result sheet I read:

1. EET
3. DDC

If I understand correctly your scores, you seem to consider very dilletanteish the answer that the Higgs couples to two photons through a W-boson loop. May I ask you why? Perhaps it’s you who have some D’s in your understanding of the Higgs decay? πŸ˜‰

7. dorigo - February 27, 2009

Hi ptrslv,

it’s right, my understanding is rather limited, plus I sometimes type a W in place of a Z…


8. Kea - February 27, 2009

Heh, I’m a scientist! I got an E score of 13, a T of 15 and an S of 17. My final Scientist score was 24.

9. Andrea Giammanco - February 28, 2009

22 E
18 C
14 S
11 D
9 T

Ok, it’s nice to see that I’m more an Experimentalist than anything else (as I’m supposed to be), but it is quite freaky that I am almost as well a computer guy according to your test. And I’m not famous for my computing skills, just to use a euphemism.

10. Marco - February 28, 2009

Tommaso got 27E, I got 22: fair enough… (considering I actually *am* an experimental particle physicist). But also got 22D: gosh!. I got killed by the cosmic ray (pretty ignorant in the field, I admit it), and would question the W loop in H->gamma gamma decay as Carl did. But apart from those, I got the general feeling that Tommaso believes that a “Dilettante” is a sort of naive-too-honest-not-smart-enough-to-survive, while a real Experimentalist is one that learned his lessons the hard way, and is now a callous hard-bitten old pirate in the field. Mmm, I guess this could well be – ours is certainly a tough world – and maybe I’m really a Dilettante Experimentalist πŸ™‚ Let’s see if I survive…

11. dorigo - February 28, 2009

Hi Marco,

I admit that the score was not thought over too much – it is just a game rather than a serious thing. Also, I tried to do the test myself in the most unbiased way possible, but I was certainly influenced by the scores I had already decided fo the questions. The H->gamma gamma through W loop is a typo – I had intended to write H->ZZ->gamma gamma, which does not exist in the SM. I am sure you’ll survive, because your blogging shows you have what it takes – the stamina!


12. Pasquale - March 1, 2009

E 22
S 17
C 19
D 10
T 6

Something’s wrong in me 😦

13. Marco - March 1, 2009

Ehy, I was not complaining! Clearly that the test was a game, and honestly a very funny one to be played, whatever the results!

What I was trying to say is that the test seems to contain some interesting anthropological insights about the average Experimental Particle Physicist. For instance, it seems this average EPP is one that would do anything but reading a compiler output to solve his software issues; or that would never take the responsibility to stop a data acquisition alone, and would better risk to leave a piece of his precious detector burn πŸ™‚ And so on…

The funny thing is that you’re mostly right about everything :-), since those are common attitudes and idiosyncrasies of our community (e.g. mostly all of us do write very bad code, while believing we’re great programmers). But a (probably small) minority of us might not share them (and still not be computer scientists)! πŸ™‚

14. dorigo - March 1, 2009

I know you were not complaining, tranquillo πŸ˜‰

Yes, I tried to picture the idiosyncrasies of our colleagues (and our own).
I did not really know where the test was going while I was writing it down, it just came out this way…


15. Xisy - March 2, 2009

hmmm too many C’s on K2: my results have been affetcted by that damned pretty new librarian. but you should see her..

16. NIcola P - March 2, 2009

c 17, s 12, d 22, e 12, t 10

well, I should change job 😦 or maybe I should take this test again more seriously !!!!

17. dorigo - March 2, 2009

Ahi ahi ahi Nicola, your scores do sound a bit dilettantesque! However, since I know you, I should rather like to have a second critical look at the scoring system than at your curriculum!


18. Aeradan - March 10, 2009


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