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Anomaly Detection: When Old Statistics School May Still Beat Super-Duper Machine Learning

One of the most suprising results of the "Machine Learning for Jets" (but really, for particle...

Machine Learning For Jets: A Workshop In New York

The third "Machine Learning for Jets" workshop is ongoing these days at the Kimmel centre of New...

Guest Post: Andre Kovacs, Mistaken Assumptions In Physics - What Hurts You Is What Everyone Knows To Be True

What hurts you is not what you don't know, but those mistaken assumptions which "everyone knows...

I've Been Away

Although you probably did not notice, this blog has been inactive during the past three weeks....

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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 »

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I am currently in Bangkok, where the final 2019 meeting of the CMS collaboration started today. The meeting was inaugurated this morning with an official visit of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, giving me the rare opportunity to miss an appointment with a princess, something that was still missing from my repertoire. Checked now. 
Last month the Museum of Natural History of Venice hosted, in the last room of the exhibit called "room of the cetaceans" (where a large skeleton of a whale hangs from the ceiling), an exhibit of artwork produced by high-school students from the Venice area. The event, which belongs to the "Art and Science across Italy" project, was the culminating point of a series of lectures on particle physics, on science in art, and related topics which involved the students and INFN personnel from the Padova section.
Is there a fifth force of Nature, beyond the four we know about ? This question has been around ever since it was understood that 
1 - electric charges attract and repel, and influence one another, due to the action of the electromagnetic force;


2 - hadronic matter is held together by the strong force;


3 - quarks transmute into other quarks due to the action of the weak force (and leptons do that too);


4 - bodies carrying mass feel attracted to one another, although very weakly, by the gravitational force.
Last November 12 the city of Venice was flooded by the second-highest tide in recorded history. The sea level, pushed by 60 mph SE winds and intense rainfalls, surged to +187 cm above average, a mere 7cm less than the disastrous event of November 4 1966, which put the city and its surroundings to their knees.


This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table of Elements, whose inventor is Dmitrii Mendeleev, a Russian physicist who is famous for that achievement but who actually gave enormous contributions to Physics in a number of different areas of experimental research. It is also well known, but actually a misconception, that Mendeleev "invented" the correct recipe for the Russian national drink, vodka. In fact, he studied the mixture of water and alcohol in detail, discovering several of its interesting properties, but vodka was appreciated before him, as it did after.
Living in an organized society means we usually abide by unwritten rules of conduct, in addition to avoiding breaking state laws. We can then rely on order to prevail over chaos, kindness to overpower selfishness, and the common good to be an achievable goal. But the way each of us interprets their own script in this comedy we call life shows a significantly wide range of behaviours. The extrema of the spectrum are populated at one end by individuals who always try to game the system for their own benefit, without any consideration for the damage they cause to others; and at the other end by kind souls who enjoy giving rather than taking, and to raise a smile rather than gaining a dime.