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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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In a few days italian post-docs working in high-energy physics will be asked to gather for a nasty exam, held by the INFN -the italian institute for nuclear physics- to qualify valiant researchers for future hiring in the institute.

The exam generated a wave of outrage among the very pool of people at which it is aimed: the scores of "precari" (temporary workers) who are spending the best years of their life to try and make a career in particle physics.  Let me explain why that is so.
After weeks of painful struggling against all evidence, I think I will finally have to accept the fact that Italians actually approve their Prime Minister's behavior and libertine sex habits: the final proof be that they still voted for his lackeys at the last round of administrative elections. However, being a male in a male chauvinist country, I feel I am not very well represented by Berlusconi in this regard. Please consider:





  • he is almost 73 years old;




  • he is constantly afflicted by neck pain, which for sure must prevent him from anything but the most basic reproductory capabilities;




  • he fought a prostate cancer, which certainly took a hit in his sexual performances;
Augusto Minzolini (right), director of the TG1 news program of Rai 1, the most followed public italian TV channel, is under siege in Italy, accused of hiding the news of the embarassing story of Berlusconi and the call girl Patrizia D'Addario and the surrounding affair, which continued to make headlines on World press, but was utterly absent from Rai 1 TV news for over a week.
If you live outside Italy, you read newspapers more often than Italians do. Thus, you probably are more informed about the recent scandal emerging on the private life of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's Prime Minister, than Italians. That is because the news of Berlusconi's private parties with scores of young women, paid or otherwise compensated to cheer up the leader, have never made it to italian television!
Prologue
Stimulated by Michael White  (who just posted his Morning Science Quote,  "Light is the principal means by which we are able to transmit and receive information from objects around us and throughout the universe"), here is my answer, this week's Say of the Week :
"The reason why some people appear bright until you hear them speak is that light travels faster than sound".