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AMVA4NewPhysics

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

In a random maze

by Greg Kotkowski

One of the best things about being a parent is that as an adult you can play with kids’ toys and nobody judges it as strange (men never grow up). As my kids are still very young, so far I’ve had possibilities to play with dolls (not my favourite), car toys (great memories come back), soap bubbles and other simple toys. Continue reading “In a random maze”

Is Dark Matter Lurking in Neutron Decays?

by Tommaso Dorigo

paper by B. Fornal and B. Grinstein published last week in Physical Review Letters is drawing a lot of interest to one of the most well-known pieces of subnuclear physics since the days of Enrico Fermi: beta decay.

The mechanism by means of which a neutron transmutes into a proton has been studied for decades before the neutron was officially discovered (by Chadwick, in 1932). That is because beta decay is at the heart of radioactive processes: nuclei of elements rich with neutrons can turn into others by turning one of their neutrons into a proton, with the emission of an electron and an antineutrino. The details of that reaction were understood thanks to Fermi and a handful of other Continue reading “Is Dark Matter Lurking in Neutron Decays?”

Train-time/test-time data augmentation

by Giles Strong

The week before last I was presenting an update of some of my analysis work to the rest of my group. The work involved developing a neural-network to classify particle-collisions at the LHC. Continue reading “Train-time/test-time data augmentation”

Fashionable researcher

by Greg Kotkowski

Usually, fashion and science are like the opposite sides of a magnet – if one is important then the other is left behind. Let us add up the odds and take some thoughts about the aspects of a PhD student’s physical appearance. It is quite peculiar that I mention this subject, because I don’t care much about my look. Specifically, let me mention hairdressing. Not the last trends, as I know absolutely nothing about the subject, but rather the problem of getting a haircut abroad. Continue reading “Fashionable researcher”

The Caves of Frasassi

by Tommaso Dorigo

While spending a few vacation days on a trip around central Italy, I made a stop in a place in the Appennini mountains, to visit some incredible caves. The caves of Frasassi were discovered in September 1971 by a few young speleologists, who had been tipped off by locals about the existence, atop a mountain near their village, of a hole in the ground, which emitted a strong draft.

The hole was barely wide enough for a person to squeeze in, and it led down vertically into the mountain. The group descended it with difficulty for Continue reading “The Caves of Frasassi”

Higgs Hacking

by Giles Strong

A few days before I returned from CERN at the beginning of the month, I attended a talk on the upcoming TrackML challenge. This is a competition beginning this month in which members of the public will be invited to try and find a solution to the quite tricky problem of accurate reconstruction of particle trajectories in the collisions at the LHC. The various detectors simply record the hits where particles pass by, however to make use of this data, the hits in surrounding detector layers must be combined into a single flight path, called a track. Continue reading “Higgs Hacking”

Staying at CERN

by Giles Strong

Bonjour! As I write, I’m three weeks into my month long secondment at CERN, near Geneva. CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, is the world’s largest particle-physics research centre. It is also the location of the CMS experiment, which I work on. Continue reading “Staying at CERN”

Having a taste of business

by Greg Kotkowski

I have spent the last three months in the SDG company in Milan for my private sector secondment, which is a part of my contract. During this time I was able to have a closer look at how it is to work in a consulting company and to put my hands on real business problems. Herein, I want to summarise some of my experiences and deliberate on the R language – an inseparable friend of statisticians. Continue reading “Having a taste of business”

Efficiency revisited

by Giles Strong

Cover photo unrelated – it’s just some rad fractal broccoli.

Just over one and a half years ago I wrote a post on some of the tips and tricks I’d found useful in trying to organise myself and improve my efficiency. Searching for a post topic, it was suggested that I revisit this to compare how my workload and approaches have changed, so here goes! Continue reading “Efficiency revisited”

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