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This week I was traveling in Belgium so my blogging activities have been scarce. Back home, I will...

New CP-Odd Higgs Boson Results By ATLAS

The paper to read today is one from the ATLAS collaboration at the CERN Large Hadron Collider ...

The Quote Of The Week: Resolving The Mass Hierarchy With A Little Help From A Supernova

"1. Interaction with matter changes the neutrino mixing and effective mass splitting in a way that...

Neutrinos From An Atomic Bomb

Less than three weeks separate us from the XVI Neutrino Telescopes, a very interesting conference...

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Tommaso DorigoRSS Feed of this column.

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 telescope at faint galaxies.... Read More »

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It is Sunday morning, and I am about to leave for a day on the beach, the first of this busy 2010; so this post will be shorter than I would like it to be... There would be lots to say about exclusive physics at colliders. But I still want to share with you a figure extracted from a recent 4-page preprint article by James Pinfold, who nicely summarizes the signals and searches for exclusive processes at the Tevatron proton-antiproton collider.
After two years spent saying that Italy has a strong economy and is doing better than the rest of Europe, and strongly criticizing whomever tried to warn that the economical crisis was not over yet, the Italian government led by Silvio Berlusconi has made a sharp turn. The buzzword is now "avert the Greek risk", and while painting dreadful scenarios Berlusconi and his ministers have crafted a finance law that drags over 30 billion euros mostly from salaries. The anti-Robin-Hood strikes again.
I just received by Matin Durrani, editor of Physics World, a link to a fun game, and thought I'd give it a try. The game consists in guessing which among two titles of physics papers is right, and which one is instead artificially generated by the snarxiv, a witty endeavour which aims at showing just how arcane and odd-looking may physics abstracts be.

Try it for yourself here, it is not as easy as it sounds, but at least it is fast and immediate to play. I cannot avoid bragging about my own result here, which is more or less in line with my actual qualification as a professional physicist:
Not even a week has passed since the announcement by Carlo Rubbia that the ICARUS experiment is collecting its first neutrino interactions, that another experiment at the Gran Sasso Laboratory claims the international scene of neutrino physics. And this time with a real reason. Not the observation of the first events - the experiment in question, OPERA, has been active for more than three years now- but for the observation of a fundamental process that had never been seen before!


In a mail message sent to the INFN president Roberto Petronzio and a few other distinguished particle physicists (not me, I got it third-hand), Carlo Rubbia announced today at 3.53 PM that the ICARUS experiment has begun operations. Below is the unamended text, which I excuse myself if I distribute freely, given the scientific value of the information and my conviction that I am not harming in any way the experiment nor the people involved (leave alone my own employer, INFN):

"We have the pleasure to announce that today at 12:14. immediately after turn on of the detector, tracks have been observed by one of the cryostats of T600 triggered by the internal phototube counters.
And after all, it is just a matter of language.

I am convinced that 99% of the reason why a person with no scientific background cannot follow the developments of a particular research topic, despite a strong will, is language. Not the lack of ten years of specialization, nor the dearth of basic knowledge. Anything that can be explained in plain English -anything- can be understood by an English speaker willing to listen.

So why is it so hard then? Cannot we, the scientists, just make that little extra effort and step down a bit from our self-erected podium? Or is it not really needed, given the number of science reporters out there, who actually do a pretty good job in most cases?