Banner
Physics-Inspired Artwork In Venice 2: Symmetries

As I explained in the previous post of this series, students in high schools of the Venice area...

Physics-Inspired Artwork In Venice 1: Sub-Lime

This is the first of a series of posts that will publish the results of artistic work by high-school...

Europe In My Region 2017

The European Commission has launched a couple of weeks ago the campaign "Europe in my region 2017"...

Guest Post: Dorigo’s Anomaly! And The Social Psychology Of Professional Discourse In Physics, By Alex Durig

Dr. Alex Durig (see picture) is a professional freelance writer, with a PhD in social psychology...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Sascha Vongehrpicture for Patrick Lockerbypicture for Johannes Koelmanpicture for Bente Lilja Byepicture for Heidi Henderson
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 »

Blogroll
The job of experimental particle physicist is strongly correlated with worldwide travel. Paid for and self-inflicted, sure. But not exactly always pleasant, nor to exotic destinations. In fact, experimental facilities are usually located in notably un-fancy places. The Chicago suburbs, country at the border of Switzerland and France, a mine underground in a God-forgotten place, not to mention the South Pole. One learns to take it as part of the package.
The Fermi collaboration released yesterday a paper describing their measurement of the electron and positron flux of cosmic rays. Simultaneously, a second paper was published by the HESS collaboration on the very same topic. Together, these two important new articles provide the means for a significant advancement in our understanding of the spectrum of electrons and positrons from nearby sources.

It is especially meaningful to consider the two results together because the two instruments are as different as salt grains and tequila. Let me see where to start:


This morning I signed a contract with INFN, the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics, which grants me tenure in the role of research scientist. Start date: 05/04/2009. End of penalty: never.

Am I happy about it ? Maybe I should, but I have to confess I feel absolutely nothing - a void. Signing the contract felt like signing the receipt of a mediocre meal. Lest I get flamed, let me explain why I am not rejoicing, nor  am ordering a box of Dom Perignon.
Triggered by a preprint appeared three days ago on the ArXiV -a fundamental resource for particle physicists willing to stay in touch with the latest developments of the theory and new experimental results-  this morning I was gearing up to write a post with a careful, didactical discussion of why we believe that the subnuclear world includes three generations of quarks and three generations of leptons, what is the evidence for this peculiar fact, and what would a fourth generation of matter imply for e.g. searches of the Higgs boson. Unfortunately, my memory is still good enough to let me remember that I did write about those things in my old blog, about one year ago.
A new report on the freedom of press has been released today by freedomhouse.org. Freedom House is an independent, non-profit organization created in 1941 to monitor and defend the freedom of press in the World. The study is being presented today at the Washington News Museum, and the event can be followed via a live webcast through the organization's web site.

According to the report, freedom of press is declining everywhere, and it has been doing so for seven years in a row. The phenomenon is not just due to a few non-liberal countries:
The rollback was not confined to traditionally authoritarian states; with Israel, Italy and Hong Kong slipping from the study's Free
2008 was a horrible year for the Large Hadron Collider. Just nine days after an extremely successful, highly publicized start-up on September 10th, when hundreds of reporters gathered at CERN to follow the protons as they ventured sector by sector to manage a full turn of the 27 km ring, a stupidly crafted electrical connection failed in sector 3-4 of the machine. This brought above criticality a superconducting solenoid, vaporized six tons of liquid helium, and damaged 53 expensive magnets in the sector with a powerful blast.