A Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN funded by the Horizon2020 program of the European Commission

Marie Skłodowska-Curie: The scientist, the legacy, the grants

by Anna Stakia

Maria Skłodowska was born on November 7th, 1867 in Warsaw, Poland (in the part then dominated by the Russian Empire). Being brought up in a family of teachers, Maria quickly grew interest in acquiring higher education; this was initially and partly achieved through attending Warsaw’s local schools, but also within her own family environment, receiving some scientific training from her father. Continue reading “Marie Skłodowska-Curie: The scientist, the legacy, the grants”

On acquiring skills – shu, ha, ri

by Giles Strong

For the past six or so years, I’ve practised a martial art called Shorinji Kempo. Like many other arts, it incorporates several philosophies and concepts. One of these, The Three Teachings of Ken, concerns one’s progression in learning the various techniques. Simply put, it describes three stages of mastery: shu – learn & copy, ha – adjust & adapt, ri – master & break free. Continue reading “On acquiring skills – shu, ha, ri”

Plans for next Summer? Start a career in particle physics!

by Fabricio Jiménez

This is the time of the year when I start to reach out to as many undergraduates in physics (and similar subjects) as possible. My yearly mantra for them: “Apply to summer internships!” I cannot emphasize how much my two internships shaped my life and career, from fortuitously having breakfast with a Nobel laureate, the living legend Jack Steinberger (and maybe a story to tell in another post) to hands-on work in physics analyses for the LHC and making friends from all across the globe. Continue reading “Plans for next Summer? Start a career in particle physics!”

Summarising blog content

by Greg Kotkowski

A year ago I posted an article that visualised with word clouds subjects touched by the authors of this blog. The clouds contained stemmed and filtered nouns and verbs used in posts for each author that had produced at least 3 articles. Giles had suggested to take up the argument again the following year for a comparison, so here it is. Continue reading “Summarising blog content”

Things that Decay into Boson Pairs

by Tommaso Dorigo

Writing a serious review of research in particle physics is a refreshing job – all the things that you already knew on that specific topic once sat on a fuzzy cloud somewhere in your brain, and now find their place in a tidily organized space, with clear interdependence among them. That’s what I am experiencing as I progress with a 60-pageish thing on hadron collider searches for diboson resonances, which will appear sometime next year in a very high impact factor journal.

One of the things that the review must cover is a theoretical overview of the models that the searches for these physics processes address. So I thought I would say a few words on this topic here – but bear in Continue reading “Things that Decay into Boson Pairs”

UCL – where tradition meets the future

by Christophe Delaere

Aiming at the broadening and transmission of human knowledge, university is one of the best inventions of the Middle Ages. The Université catholique de Louvain has played a part in this process with pride since 1425. Just to cite a few: Erasmus, Vésale, Mercator and many others came to Louvain to profit from its location at the heart of Europe. Continue reading “UCL – where tradition meets the future”

A Trivial Two-Mover

by Tommaso Dorigo

My activity as a chessplayer has seen a steady decline in the past three years, due to overwhelming work obligations. To play in chess tournaments at a decent level, you not only need to be physically fit and well trained for the occasion, but also have your mind free from other thoughts. Alas, I have been failing miserably in the second and third of the above requirements. So I have essentially retired from competitive chess, and my only connection to the chess world is through the occasional 5-minute blitz game over the internet.

Recently a friend pointed me to a site,, which has a rather nice interface. I soon started to play a few games per week there, realizing that my strength in quick games has not decreased that much. So I occasionally Continue reading “A Trivial Two-Mover”

Grandma’s Higgs bosons

by Alexander Held

Last month, I had the pleasure to attend the 2017 edition of the European School of High-Energy Physics in Évora, Portugal. We were about 100 students, including my fellow ESR Pablo. The two week program included lectures on many high-energy physics-related topics, such as the Standard Model, cosmology, statistics, Higgs physics, and phenomena beyond the Standard Model. Continue reading “Grandma’s Higgs bosons”

What is Statistical Significance?

by Tommaso Dorigo

Yesterday, October 20, was the international day of Statistics. I took inspiration from it to select a clip from chapter 7 of my book Anomaly! Collider physics and the quest for new phenomena at Fermilab which attempts to explain how physicists use the concept of statistical significance to give a quantitative meaning to their measurements of new effects. I hope you will enjoy it….


As we near the discussion of the discovery of the top quark, we need to make a digression to explain an important concept used by particle physicists to measure the level of surprise of an observation, i.e., how much are data at odds with a hypothesis. In a nutshell, the statistical significance of an observed Continue reading “What is Statistical Significance?”

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