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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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This past Thursday I held a public lecture, together with my long-time friend Ivan Bianchi, on the topic of Art and Artificial Intelligence. The event was organized by the "Galileo Festival" in Padova, for the Week of Innovation.
Ivan is a professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Padova. We have known each other since we were two year olds, as our mothers were friends. We took very different career paths but we both ended up in academic and research jobs in Padova, and we have been able to take part together in several events where art and science are at the focus. Giving a lecture together is twice as fun!


I believe oceans of ink were spent, ever since pens were a thing, writing on the mentor-student relationship, its do's and don'ts, and the consequences of deviations from proper practice. And rightly so, as the balancing act required for a proper, effective teaching action is entirely non trivial. The fact that our didactical systems and academia are in constant evolution, that rules and courses formats change over time, and that as humans we tend to forget what has been learnt in the past (on good practice, I mean), require us to keep thinking about the topic, and continue to keep the discussion alive. 
I very much would like to write about the Nobel prize in physics here today, but I realize I cannot really pay a good service to the three winners, nor to my readers, on that topic. The reason is, quite bluntly, that I am not qualified to do that without harming my self-respect. Also, I never knew about the research of two of the winners. 

As for the third, I do know Giorgio Parisi's research in qualitative terms, and I happen to know him personally; well, at least we are Facebook friends, as maybe 500 of his contacts can also claim - plus, he once invited me to a symposium at the Accademia dei Lincei, of which he his vice-president. And I did write about his scientific accomplishments in the past here, on two occasions.
The Corfu Summer Institute is a well-established institution for higher education, run since the paleolithic by the inexhaustible George Zoupanos, the soul of the whole thing. Generations of physicists have been trained in doctoral schools and conferences there over the past few decades. Of course the beauty of the island, set in the Ionian sea and green from the top of its mountains to the blue sea below, has helped to keep the events there well-attended, and even during the pandemic the events have been run in person.
I used some spare research funds to open a six-months internship to help my research group in Padova, and the call is open for applications at this site (the second in the list right now, the number is #23584). So here I wish to answer a few questions from potential applicants, namely:
1) Can I apply? 
2) When is the call deadline?
3) What is the salary?
4) What is the purpose of the position? What can I expect to gain from it?

5) What will I be doing if I get selected? 


Answers:
When you collide particles made up of quarks and gluons, such as the protons accelerated by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, you mostly expect particles made of quarks and gluons to emerge. That is because quarks and gluons most of the times interact by the strong interaction, which is itself mediated by the exchange of gluons; and the strong interaction knows nothing about all the other matter and interaction fields.
So how do you get energetic electrons, muons, photons, and weak bosons from a LHC collision? Well, the electroweak interaction which may produce these particles does play in, but its contribution is, er, weaker, by definition. 

Gimme all 'em leptons!