Happy Birthday Higgs boson! The discovery of the last fundamental particle of the Standard Model was announced exactly 6 years ago at CERN (well, plus one day, since I decided to postpone to July 5 the publication of this post...).
In the Standard Model, the theory of fundamental interactions among elementary particles which enshrines our current understanding of the subnuclear world, particles that constitute matter are fermionic: they have a haif-integer value of a quantity we call spin; and particles that mediate interactions between those fermions, keeping them together and governing their behaviour, are bosonic: they have an integer value of spin.
While preparing for another evening of observation of Jupiter's atmosphere with my faithful 16" dobsonian scope, I found out that the satellite Io will disappear behind the Jovian shadow tonight. This is a quite common phenomenon and not a very spectacular one, but still quite interesting to look forward to during a visual observation - the moon takes some time to fully disappear, so it is fun to follow the event.
This however got me thinking. A fully eclipsed jovian moon should still be able to reflect back some light picked up from the still lit other satellites - so it should not, after all, appear completely dark. Can a calculation be made of the effect ? Of course - and it's not that difficult.
Summer is coming, and with it some more intense than usual travel for me. I actually started last month, when my path touched Rome, Athens, La Londe Les Maures (a small town on the south French riviera), and Athens again. Since being away from home means also having a chance to meet people you would otherwise not get in touch with, I have decided to make public my travel plan this year, in the hope of crossing the path of friends or acquaintances.
1. Imitation or enactment
2. The act or process of pretending; feigning.
3. An assumption or imitation of a particular appearance or form; counterfeit; sham.
Well, high-energy physics is all about simulations.
We have a theoretical model that predicts the outcome of the very energetic particle collisions we create in the core of our giant detectors, but we only have approximate descriptions of the inputs to the theoretical model, so we need simulations.
Neutrinos, the most mysterious and fascinating of all elementary particles, continue to puzzle physicists. 20 years after the experimental verification of a long-debated effect whereby the three neutrino species can "oscillate", changing their nature by turning one into the other as they propagate in vacuum and in matter, the jury is still out to decide what really is the matter with them. And a new result
by the MiniBoone collaboration is stirring waters once more.
Living in Padova has its merits. I moved here since January 1st and am enjoying every bit of it. I used to live in Venice, my home town, and commute with Padova during weekdays, but a number of factors led me to decide on this move (not last the fact that I could afford to buy a spacious place close to my office in Padova, while in Venice I was confined to a rented apartment).