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Chapter 232: Bad News
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
The shorter the sentence, the most meaningful it was.
After the International Theoretical Physics Conference at Brussel, Lu Zhou had predicted that Professor Frank might have something to say.
He quickly replied.
[I’m available any time. When are you free?]
He waited for a while but Professor Frank did not reply.
Lu Zhou looked at the time and guessed that Frank was probably asleep. Lu Zhou got up and took a shower before calling it a night.
They did not speak again that night.
The next morning, Lu Zhou got out of bed and turned off his alarm. He then checked his inbox and saw a reply.
[I’m going to Stony Brook University the day after tomorrow, and I’ll stay there for around three days. If you are available, we can meet there.]
Lu Zhou looked at the calendar.
He had to do a lecture in two days, but he had already asked Professor Deligne for a vacation.
He then replied.
[Okay, let’s meet the day after tomorrow. I’ll contact you then.]
Frank’s reply was short.
New York was located on the east coast. It was the economic and cultural hub of the world, and one of America’s major technology centers.
Many people know about Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty. However, few people know about one of the world’s most advanced scientific research laboratory in Long Island: Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Many n.o.bel Prizes including Yang Zhenduo and Li Zhengdao’s J particle discovery was born here. There were around 3,000 researchers and engineers here, and an average of more than 4,000 visiting scholars who worked here each year.
Although it was not as advanced as CERN, it was still impressive.
To a large extent, the meaning of the Hadron Collider lied here. On the surface, discovering a new particle did not seem like a big deal as it would not change people’s lives in any way. However, the experiment attracted a large number of scholars and created cutting-edge equipment while forming a “scientific research ecosystem”.
For example, the Hadron Collider’s storage ring required harsh vacuumed conditions. This had led to the development of ultra-high-vacuum technology which had many industrial and medical uses.
A lot of civilian technologies were developed this way.
This laboratory was part of the Department of Energy but is managed by the Brookhaven Science Society, a company founded by Stony Brook University.
It was a Monday when Lu Zhou drove his new car to New York.
He had arranged to meet Professor Frank at a cafe near Stony Brook University. Lu Zhou did not know why, but all of the professors he had met liked coffee.
At around 12 o’clock in the coffee shop, Professor Frank arrived with a laptop in his hand.
“Sorry, I’m late. I had a meeting.”
Lu Zhou smiled and said, “No, it’s fine. I only just got here.”
Professor Frank sat across from Lu Zhou and said to the waiter, “I’ll have an Americano and a tuna sandwich.”
Waiter, “With sugar?”
Professor Frank placed his laptop on the table and opened a doc.u.ment as he said to Lu Zhou, “You brought your USB, right?”
Lu Zhou nodded. He then took out a USB from his pocket and placed it on the table before he asked, “I did… Can you tell me what is it? Although I don’t mind drinking coffee with you, if we are just talking about experiment data, why can’t we do it over email?”
Professor Frank did not answer his question as he was busy playing with his laptop. He opened a graph and turned the computer around.
As Lu Zhou looked at the graph, he asked, “What is this?”
Professor Frank moved his chair closer to Lu Zhou and pointed at the graph.
“This is CERN’s latest experimental data. The two charts above are the distribution curves and statistical charts of the energy region as collected by ATLAS and CMS. You should be able to see why this graph is meaningful.”
Lu Zhou stared at the graph for a while before he said, “The confidence level has fallen?”
Professor Frank sighed and said, “Yes, no matter how many times we do the experiment, we can’t reach a confident level of 3-sigma. And the 750 GeV characteristic peak we saw last year has shrunk… That is why the confidence level decreased.”
Lu Zhou stared at the graph for a long time and did not speak.
He could guess why Professor Frank wanted to talk to him in person.
Professor Frank saw that Lu Zhou did not speak, so he continued.
“The Theoretical Physics Conference in Brussels was big. It’s a pity that you missed it…”
“… The latest discovery report on the accelerator was done by the newly elected 16th President of the CERN Council, Ms. Fabiola Gianano. The presentation was packed with people. Some even sat on the floor… ”
“… The report contained a lot of things and a whole 20 minutes was spent on the 750 GeV CERN discovery… ”
“… You should be able to understand this graph, or you can bring them back and study them,” said Professor Frank. He sighed and said, “Although it’s not that meaningful anymore.”
Lu Zhou did not look at the computer. Instead, he continued to look at Professor Frank and waited for him to speak.
Professor Frank shrugged and did not want to sound so depressed as he said, “But in any case, you’ve been a great help. From last year May till two months ago, a large influx of thesis was seen on arXiv. Many of them on physics models. Although they may not be correct, they are still useful. Also, the two theses that we co-wrote, has been referenced many times.”
Although Frank tried to comfort Lu Zhou, Lu Zhou was not comforted at all.
Lu Zhou had spent more than half a year on this project. For a theoretical physicist, half a year was nothing, but for Lu Zhou, it was different.
Not only because his precious time spent building the models were wasted, but also because his hopes of the 750 GeV had been crushed…
Lu Zhou took a deep breath and looked at Professor Frank before he said, “So, you’re saying?”
Professor Frank did not respond, which confirmed his hypothesis.
The old man stood up, took off his hat, and nodded as a show of thanks.
“It’s clear that from CERN’s experimental plan, that after January 1st, there will be no more experiments to retrieve the 750GeV characteristic peak anomaly. This is because every collision of the particle is money burnt. It has been a pleasure working with you. I sincerely thank you for your work, but…”
Professor Frank coughed and looked regretful as he said, “Logic tells us that it’s much easier to build a model that doesn’t contain 750 GeV particles, than looking for the particle.”
It was clear that this project was no longer meaningful.
Explaining the non-existence of a particle that could not be proven was not an experiment worth researching. Perhaps the experiment could help a few particle physicists published a few theses, but it was nothing “new”.
Lu Zhou was silent for a long time.
He made up his mind and said, “But I haven’t given up.”
Professor Frank did not say anything. Instead, he put on his hat and sighed, “Then I wish you good luck.”