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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 »

GSI, the Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, is a laboratory located near the town of Darmstadt, in central Germany, just a few miles away from the Frankfurt airport. The centre was founded in 1969, and has since then been a very active facility where heavy elements are studied (six rare heavy ones were in fact discovered there, including the one they named Darmstadtium!), and where a wide research plan of nuclear physics is carried out.

With a slightly anti-climatic timing if we consider the just ended orgy of new results presented at winter conferences in particle physics (which I touched on here), the LHCb collaboration outed today the results of a measurement of unity, drawing attention on the fact that unity was found to be not equal to 1.0.
This evening I am blogging from a residence in Sesto val Pusteria, a beautiful mountain village in the Italian Alps. I came here for a few days of rest after a crazy work schedule in the past few days -the reason why my blogging has been intermittent. Sesto is surrounded by glorious mountains, and hiking around here is marvelous. But right now, as I sip a non-alcoholic beer (pretty good), chilling off after a day out, my thoughts are focused 500,000,000 kilometers away.
Snow is melting in the Alps, and particle physicists, who have flocked to La Thuile for exciting ski conferences in the past weeks, are now back to their usual occupations. The pressure of the deadline is over: results have been finalized and approved, preliminary conference notes have been submitted, talks have been given. The period starting now, the one immediately following presentation of new results, when the next deadline (summer conferences!) is still far away, is more productive in terms of real thought and new ideas. Hopefully we'll come up with some new way to probe the standard model or to squeeze more information from those proton-proton collisions, lest we start to look like accountants!
Where by "It" I really mean the Future of mankind. The human race is facing huge new challenges in the XXI century, and we are only starting to get equipped to face them. 

The biggest drama of the past century was arguably caused by the two world conflicts and the subsequent transition to nuclear warfare: humanity had to learn to coexist with the impending threat of global annihilation by thermonuclear war. But today, in addition to that dreadful scenario there are now others we have to cope with.