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    Four LHC Experiments, Three Italian Spokespersons
    By Tommaso Dorigo | September 27th 2010 03:05 PM | 25 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Tommaso

    I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson...

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    With the fresh news of the election of Pierluigi Campana as spokesperson of the LHCb experiment, the Italian participation to the LHC experiments at the CERN laboratories is close to a grand slam: three of the four experiments along the ring are led by Italian physicists. Campana joins Guido Tonelli (CMS), Fabiola Gianotti (ATLAS), and Jurgen Schukraft (ALICE).

    Italians have consistently led CERN experiments, so the election of Campana is no surprise to most of us: still, it speaks volumes about the professionality of Italians in high-energy physics and the recognition that they are given by their colleagues abroad.

    One cannot help adding a sad note to this merry piece of news: the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), which funds the Italian participation to the CERN experiments, continues to withstand increasing budget cuts by the government. Even more dramatic is the manouver undertaken this year by Berlusconi's finance minister Giulio Tremonti, who drove the hardest blow to the functioning of the INFN administration through a senseless reduction of allowances for missions abroad.

    Italian researchers who wish to continue working for the CERN experiments, maintaining and operating the hardware they have built, leading analysis groups and performing other critical management activities, or simply participating in the analysis activities of the experiments, must now do so basically using money coming out of their pockets.

    In any case, congratulations to Pierluigi Campana and my best wishes for a success of the LHCb physics program!

    Comments

    Ciao Tommaso,

    we *will* have the grand slam: AFAIK Paolo Giubellino is spokesman designated of ALICE, and will step up in january.

    S.

    Go LHCb !! Ah, I have fond memories of my few short trips to Italy ... the Enrico Fermi school in Varenna, a wedding in Positano, and sight seeing in Rome, Florence and Venice. And fond memories of fine Italian food in Sydney, where I grew up. Keep up the great work!

    You know, the Italians control the speaking of three of four experiments that they largely didn't build.

    But the Italian American organization, Unico National, has claimed that the concept of Mafia has nothing to do with Italy or the Italian nation!

    http://www.ripten.com/2010/08/19/unico-calls-mafia-ii-racist-nonsense-ta...
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/103293-Mafia-II-Protestors-Onl...
    http://www.google.cz/search?q=%22mafia-ii%22+unico+stereotypes

    Look, this is just a stereotype that has to be denied. There was never any special Mafia coming from Italy. The idea of an Italian Mafia is a racist nonsense. ;-) Mafia II, the Czech game, has to be stopped. ;-)

    dorigo
    You are extremely poorly informed Lubos, and you really do embarass yourself with such remarks. The Italian contribution to the building of ATLAS, CMS, and LHCb (but also of ALICE, which will also be led by an Italian starting next year) is visible to all, as is your ignorance.

    I will take the opportunity to say that the muon drift chambers of CMS (the ones that justify the letter "M" in the acronym, "compact Muon solenoid") are a design of Padova researchers, and a large number of them have indeed built in Padova. But that is just an example among dozens.

    Best,
    T.
    Don't be silly, Tommaso - and don't be a small Mussolini. I just wrote that they largely didn't build it. Muon drift chambers are surely a small example among others, indeed. Or do you claim that the muon drift chambers are 3/4 of the LHC? Count according to the price, relevance for measurements, or anything else.

    I am just saying that right now, the Italians are overrepresented among the spokespeople of the LHC (a group of political jobs that get some credit for the work done by others) - probably by one or several orders of magnitude - relatively to their contributions. Your article suggested essentially the same thing - that's why you celebrated it, isn't it? You just don't like if I phrase the same information in a more comprehensible way, do you?

    This discrepancy makes some Italians more powerful but it's no reason for them to be praised.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Lubos and Tommaso can you please stop having a go at eachother. You used to get on quite nicely with a bit of antagonistic banter that kept us all amused, please stop being so angry with eachother. We all know that in reality you both have a lot of respect for eachother. Apologies have been made in the past, let's move on.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Hi Helen, I will probably have to drink much more beer than I normally do to remind myself about the memories and deep respect you have so nicely and somewhat fantastically recalled. ;-)

    You know, this whole post is about a childish nationalist boasting about some Italians getting some political jobs in science. It is fun - I would surely be also amused if there were 3 Czechs which would be about (1/6)^3 times less likely - and the gap is probably much larger than that.

    But is that a real reason to praise the nation? I don't think so and I wrote a similar story in which the Italians wanted to have special rights - when they happened to manage to attack a major release of the Czech video games industry. This *is* pretty funny and amusing because those Italians are nuts - and of course, their protests were just an inconsequential tirade.

    My first comment didn't contain anything about Tommaso - and in fact, almost anything about the spokespersons - whatsoever. It was about a Czech shooting game and the insane reaction of some Italians who apparently think that Mafia has no special links to Italy. ;-) They're a part of the broader movement that pretends that all nations have had the very same history and have the same characteristics, too. It's a movement whose goal is to euthanize all operational brains in the world and to burn all history books and sources of other data, also known as the political correctness.

    But Tommaso took this completely neutral and amusing comment about PC as a personal attack against himself, or his colleagues who build some detectors, and suddenly started to argue that the Italian contribution is huge. Well, it's not huge. It may be "significant" and "significantly higher than the Czech one haha" but it's nowhere near 3/4 of the LHC. Because the spokespeople are likely to get credit and awards, this just puts the Italian nation in an undeserved advantage.

    Tommaso may fail to be able to see this point because he may be blinded by nationalism, but I actually find it relevant and I believe that especially non-Italian readers are able to see why it's relevant. It's a straight on-topic comment in this discussion. The 3 Italian speakers could be just a "fun coincidence" but you may also see that it's something pretty serious - and probably not quite right when you imagine how the LHC credit is going to be distributed.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Well yes Lubos, you present a very good case. I wonder what Tommaso has to say in response?
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    dorigo
    Well Helen, you may keep wondering. I am not answering Lubos when he misbehaves. He knows he does not know the first thing about who built what in the LHC experiments, he knows he could document himself, and instead he prefers to not do it, mixing in arguments that I have no interest discussing (shooting games).
    Ah, he also well knows I am anything but patriotic, and that I was also mentioning the three Italian spokespersons as a "fun fact" and not a proof of whatsoever.

    Cheers,
    T.

     
    Aitch
    Luboš
    You seem to be suggesting that there is Italian Science and Czech Science, and that they are somehow, when looked at in set theory, in different sets, but both of you seem to be failing to account for the one science set to which you both belong
    Surely the philosophy you both ascribe to, is to REMOVE bias from the results....not claim kudos for having achieved it?!
    I concur with Helen, you BOTH make yourselves appear more immature than your obvious expertise should expect
    Aitch
    dorigo
    Hi Henry, see my answer above.
    Cheers,
    T.
    Aitch
    Tommaso,
    I don't have a problem with you being Italian, in fact I think it adds a certain flavour to your posts, which makes it even more interesting, even if it has no effect on either the Experiments, the Results, or the Czechs.....apart from the obvious exception
    Aitch
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I agree with Henry, except that I think that you are both wonderfully clever experts who both probably realise that nationalistic fervor is a waste of time when so much is at stake. We need you both to resume normal relations and discuss the intricacies of modern day quantum events so that I at least have a hope in hell of understanding what is taking place at such a momentous time.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Henry, I don't belong to any Czech Science in any sense, and I don't even claim that there exists a Czech Science. ;-) The latter statement is meant to be understood both in the weak way (universality - science is universal) and the strong way (if you miss what the Czech Republic contributes here, you won't miss too much).

    Still, I don't belong to an Italian Science, either. And there is a flag next to the recipients of Nobel prizes, and so on. So I just speculate that the LHC may discover something, believe me or not, and that someone may get a Nobel prize for it. And believe me or not, the spokespeople are among the first candidates, it wouldn't be the first time, and the Italian flag would appear even though science is not universal.

    The only detail in this universal story I am annoyed by will be the Italian flags next to "Discovery of SUSY" on the nobelprize.org website, is that clear now? ;-) You know, science is universal but the credit that is distributed for scientific contributions isn't universal and cannot be universal because they're localized. Unfortunately, they're often localized elsewhere than the spokespeople of the experiments. You may call this insight immature, but that's the only thing you can do about it.

    dorigo
    Oh Lubos, if really THAT is what worries you, let me give you two reasons why you shouldn't.
    First, SUSY won't be discovered. There is not such a thing in the real world ;-)
    Second, the Nobel prize will not go to the spokespersons, who are parachuted there for two years by a collaboration board and duly exchanged with that frequency, to avoid anybody from thinking that an identification exists between the experiment and its spokesperson. These experiments are too big to single out anybody, and we are not any longer in the times of the Rubbias, Ledermans, Ricthers and Tings. Nobody owns a big share of the stocks anymore.

    Of course, I could be wrong, but if I were there would be more to bitch about than a flag next to a plaque.

    Cheers,
    T.
    First, SUSY won't be discovered. There is not such a thing in the real world.

    Gee, shouldn't you be keeping that secret for now?

    Aitch
    Luboš
    So perhaps your enragement should be addressed to the Nobel Prizegivers, not the [mere] recipient, who cannot help the co-relationship between their place of birth and their results
    Perhaps you should also be enraged at your mother for having given birth to you 'in the place that gets overlooked by the Nobel Prizewinners'......
    Perhaps you should just be happy to be alive, and try not to be so picky?....there are many less fortunate than yourself who DO have reason to be enraged....but don't have the platform you have.....please don't waste talent....the world needs all it can get at the moment
    Aitch
    You say it's no surprise, but that isn't how it is seen in LHCb- it was a very close call between Pierluigi and Andreas. As I'm not part of the CB I can only speculate as to why Pierluigi was chosen which is something I'm not willing to do on a public blog. Either make an excellent choice, and I wish Pierluigi the very best in his new role.

    dorigo
    Dear Anon, I did not say that the election of Campana instead of somebody else was no surprise. I said it is no surprise that italians are elected to lead experiments, which is a totally different thing.

    Best,
    T.
    ... if it was't for their terrible accent ;-)

    Hank
    Really?  Odd, I never have an issue with Monica Bellucci's accent.
    dorigo
    Ah - on that, dear Anon, I have no problem whatsoever to concur fully! When I hear some of my colleagues speak English I do not exactly feel represented as an Italian ;-)

    Cheers,
    T.
    ... reminds me of that one:

    What is heaven?
    - Cooks are French
    - Mechanics are German
    - Cops are British
    - Bosses are Swiss
    - Lovers are Italian

    What is hell?
    - Cooks are British
    - Mechanics are French
    - Cops are German
    - Lovers are Swiss
    - Bosses are Italians

    scnr ;-)

    Results will be announced on blogs. Maybe here.

    dorigo
    Hm, not here - I get too much heat already for behaving according to the rules, and have lots of guns already aimed at me. You will be more likely to get important news in anonymous comments around the web. That at least is how things have leaked in the recent past.

    Cheers,
    T.