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Accelerating Dark Matter Searches With Machine Learning

I am currently spending the week in Leiden (Netherlands), attending to a very interesting workshop...

On The Qualifications Of Peer Reviewers For Scientific Papers

Peer review is the backbone of high quality scientific publications. Although the idea that only...

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The title of this post is the password code required to connect to my wireless network at home...

Venice --> Padova

I was born and have lived in Venice for over 51 years now (omitting to mention some 2 years of...

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Tommaso DorigoRSS Feed of this column.

Tommaso Dorigo is an experimental particle physicist, who works for the INFN at the University of Padova, and collaborates with the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC. He coordinates the European network... Read More »

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Scared by the void of Christmas vacations? Unable to put just a few more feet between your mouth and the candy tray? Suffocating in the trivialities of the chit-chat with relatives? I have a solution for you. How about trying to solve a few simple high-energy physics quizzes? 

I offer three questions below, and you are welcome to think any or all of them over today and tomorrow. In two days I will give my answer, explain the underlying physics a bit, and comment your own answers, if you have been capable of typing them despite your skyrocketing glycemic index.
In the previous post I discussed the generalities of "diboson production" at the LHC. Dibosons are pairs of elementary bosons - the photon (carrier of electromagnetic interactions), the W and Z bosons (carriers of the weak interaction, respectively charged and neutral), the gluon (carrier of the strong interaction, and coming in 8 undistinguishable varieties), and the Higgs particle. 
After one quite frantic November, I emerged victorious two weeks ago from the delivery of a 78-pages, 49-thousand-word review titled "Hadron Collider Searches for Diboson Resonances". The article, which will be published in the prestigious "Progress in Particle and Nuclear Physics", an Elsevier journal with an impact factor above 11 (compare with Physics Letters B, IF=4.8, or Physical Review Letters, IF=8.5, to see why it's relevant), is currently in peer review, but that does not mean that I cannot make a short summary of its contents here.
Peter Heine Nielsen, a Danish chess Grandmaster, summarized it quite well. "I always wondered, if some superior alien race came to Earth, how they would play chess. Now I know". The architecture that beat humans at the notoriously CPU-impervious game Go, AlphaGo by Google Deep Mind, was converted to allow the machine to tackle other "closed-rules" games. Successively, the program was given the rules of chess, and a huge battery of Google's GPUs to train itself on the game. Within four hours, the alien emerged. And it is indeed a new class of player.
It was nice to find John Duffield's review of my book "Anomaly! Collider Physics and the Quest for New Phenomena at Fermilab" in the Amazon site today.
An experiment designed to study neutrinos at the Gran Sasso Laboratories in Italy is under attack by populistic media. Why should you care? Because it's a glaring example of the challenges we face in the XXI century in our attempt to foster the progress of the human race.
What is a neutrino? Nothing - it's a particle as close to nothing as you can imagine. Almost massless, almost perfectly non-interacting, and yet incredibly mysterious and the key to the solution of many riddles in fundamental physics and cosmology. But it's really nothing you should worry about, or care about, if you want to lead your life oblivious of the intricacies of subnuclear physics. Which is fine of course - unless you try to use your ignorance to stop progress.