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True And False Discoveries: How To Tell Them Apart

Many new particles and other new physics signals claimed in the last twenty years were later proven...

The SUSY-Inspiring LHC WW Excess May Be Due To Theoretical Errors

A timely article discussing the hot topic of the production rate of pairs of vector bosons in proton...

The Spam Of Physicists' Mailboxes

I guess every profession has its own kind of personalized spam. Here is a couple of recent samples...

Self Quote Of The Week: Why You Can't Weigh Quarks Directly

In the process of revising a chapter of my book, I found a clip I would like to share here, as...

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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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On January 25th 1996 the CDF collaboration submitted for publication to Physical Review Letters  the result of their measurement of the rate of jet production as a function of jet transverse energy, performed on 20 inverse picobarns of data collected by the experiment in the 1992-93 run of the Tevatron collider. That measurement deviated at its high-energy tail from predictions of quantum chromodynamics, suggesting that the underlying model -and most likely, the parton distribution functions (PDF) which describe the probability of finding partons with given fractions of their parent momentum- was at fault.
Black holes are all the rage these days, with theorists arguing about firewalls and Hawking's paper being handled by the press in rather improper ways. Meanwhile at the Large Hadron Collider ATLAS and CMS are furthering their searches for microscopic versions of the same objects, which could exist if the energy scale at which quantum gravity effects make themselves felt is orders of magnitude smaller than the place where they ought to be -i.e., at the Planck energy.
I received yesterday a copy of the brand-new book by Ilya Narsky and Frank Porter, "Statistical Analysis Techniques in Particle Physics" (Wiley-vch 2014), and I would like to offer here my impressions and thoughts on the material.
Chapter 10 of the report on the 2013 community summer study held at Snowmass, titled "Communication, Education, and Outreach" is available since Jan 24th in the Cornell ArXiv. It is a 26-pages document describing the importance of outreach activities to foster the development of particle physics, and offering ideas and strategies to improve the communication between scientists and policy makers. This is none other than the problem I have often referred to as the one of "filling the gap" between science and the general media.
"The most important task at hand is experimental. Based on our considerations of dynamical symmetry breaking through preons and the assumption of universal size for all quarks and leptons, we are led to predict that quarks and leptons have an inverse size of the order of 2-3 TeV. This can be tested by high-luminosity 5-10 TeV machines in the near future by looking for form factors for quarks and leptons and for excess production of lepton pairs in pp or ppbar collisions."

Jogesh Pati, "Preons and their implications for the next-generation accelerators", Proceedings of  the third annual workshop of the ICTP Summer Workshop on Particle Physics, Trieste 1983, p. 399-459.
I must say I feel proud of myself tonight.

In Italy a unified procedure to rank candidates to the position of associate or full professor has been launched last year, and I of course participated to the qualification by sending a documentation of the work I performed and the articles I wrote in the course of my scientific career. With me, thousands of other candidates did the same.

Note that as a researcher for the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) I am presently following a career parallel to the one existing in the University. Despite that, in Italy everybody knows that titles such as the one granted by the selection mentioned above are important for one's career.