Yesterday I chaired the selection committee to choose the student who will be hired in the AMVA4NewPhysics network by the Padova section of INFN, and during the interviews I asked all candidates a couple of "easy" physics questions, meant to test the students' reasoning process rather than their prior knowledge.

The first question was only apparently easy - even too much, from the outset. The fact is, the devil is always hiding in the details, as I immediately realized as I tested it by asking an experienced colleague to answer it. He got part of the question wrong, but in doing so he clarified to me that there was a non trivial aspect below the surface.

How does knowing that neutrinos have mass, and change from one kind of particle to the other kind benefit all mankind?  Why should Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald get a Nobel Prize for finding this?  What the heck is a neutrino anyway?  How does the impact of science like basic Physics or Astronomy compare to say… lung cancer research in terms of the immediacy of the impact?  In short why should the normal average person care about Neutrinos?  In a tweet, a better understanding of the basic forces particles and fields that comprise the material world will inevitably lead to numerous direct applications that will effect the daily lives of our descendants.   

The winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics are:

  • Takaaki Kajita Kajita (Super Kamiokande)
  • Arthur McDonald (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory - SNO)
“for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass"
It is with great sadness that I heard (reading it here first) about the passing away of Guido Altarelli, a very distinguished Italian theoretical physicist. Altarelli is best known for the formulas that bear his name, the Altarelli-Parisi equations (also known as DGLAP since it was realized that due recognition for the equations had to be given also to Dokshitzer, Gribov, and Lipatov). But Altarelli was a star physicist who gave important contributions to Standard Model physics in a number of ways.
Last Friday I was invited by the University of Padova to talk about particle physics to the general public, in occasion of the "Researchers Night", a yearly event organized by the European Commission which takes place throughout Europe - in 280 cities this year. Of course I gladly accepted the invitation, although it caused some trouble to my travel schedule (I was in Austria for lectures until Friday morning, and you don't want to see me driving when I am in a hurry, especially on a 500km route).
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    The remarkable coincidence of the empirical Pythagorean equation for SM flavor hierarchy angles with the outer euclidean symmetry 3-space metric equation for constant vector direction angles is the data evidence of basic connection between flavor phenomena and

This is just a short post to mention one thing I recently learned from a colleague - the ATLAS experiment also seems to have collected a 5.3 TeV dijet event, as CMS recently did (the way the communication took place indicates that this is a public information; if it is not, might you ATLAS folks let me know, so that I'll remove this short posting?). If any reader here from ATLAS can point me to the event display I would be grateful. These events are spectacular to look at: the CMS 5 TeV dijet event display was posted here a month ago if you like to have a look.
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       Motivation for Majorana Neutrinos from Special Empirical Hierarchies

The challenge of providing Ph.D. students in Physics with an overview of statistical methods and concepts useful for data analysis in just three hours of lectures is definitely a serious one, so I decided to take it as I got invited to the "Indian Summer School" in the pleasant lakeside town of Traunkirchen, Austria. 
Category theory is a branch of mathematics which attempts a formalization in terms of simple elements and associations between them. A rather abstract construction, indeed, and certainly one above my head (I am an experimentalist, for god's sake!).