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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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My attendance to the JENAS symposium in Madrid this week provided me with the opportunity to meet some of the senior colleagues who will influence the future development of technologies for fundamental research in the coming decade and more. Over coffee-break discussions, poster sessions, and social dinner I exploited the situation by stressing a few points which I have come to consider absolutely crucial for our field. 

Of course I am moved not only by caring for the progress of humanity but also by the fact that I would like the research plan I have put together in collaboration with a few colleagues to succeed... Ultimately, the two things are very well aligned though!

As I write these few lines, I am sitting in the nice auditorium at CSIC in Madrid, where I came for a congress that is a bit different to many others that take place around the world at all times. Truth be told, covid-19 took a big hit on the organization of these events, but slowly things are getting back to normality - the only visible sign of something different from 2019 in the auditorium is the fact that about 80 percent of the 180 scientists sitting around me wear a mask.
The "Learning to Discover" workshops and "AI and Physics" conference are taking place at Institut Pascal, a centre set on the top of a hill surrounded by woods near Orsay, France. The event focuses on new artificial intelligence techniques to improve the discovery potential of fundamental science experiments.
Below you can see a summary of the event agenda

- Apr 19-20 Representation learning workshop
- Apr 21-22 Dealing with uncertainties workshop
- Apr 25-26 Generative models workshop

- Apr 27-29 AI and Physics Conference
No.
... Ok, ok, I will elaborate. But first I feel the need to explain what we are talking about here, to anybody who does not have a Ph.D. in particle physics and is still reading this column.

Background: The Tevatron, CDF, and the W boson
Ever since experimental physics was a thing, the worth of scientists could be appraised by how carefully they designed their experiments, making sure that their devices could answer as precisely as possible the questions that crowded their mind. Indeed, the success of their research depended on making the right choices on what apparatus to build, with what materials, what precise geometry, and how to operate it for best results.


(Above: Ramsay and Pierre Curie in their lab)
The late Martin Gardner held for many years a fantastic feature in the popular Scientific American magazine. It was called "Mathematical Games", and it was worth the whole magazine by itself, although SciAm always featured many interesting articles about scientific advancements. Upon picking the magazine up at a newsstand, "Mathematical Games" was the first article I would read as a teenager eager to learn about the endless tricks Gardner taught there, in his wonderful tale-telling style.