by Giles Strong

Bonjour! So, as you may have seen in Tommaso’s post, I’m currently attending the IN2P3 School of Statistics being held in Autrans; a lovely mountain village a short bus-journey from Grenoble.

This is my first physics school, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect; but as I sit here after an excellent day of lectures and a filling meal, Green Chartreuse in hand, and listening to Tommaso’s fantastic piano-playing, I think the answer is: most civilised. Nestled in the French Alps, Autrans provides a centre for skiing during the winter but now, in the off-season, a remote and relaxing venue for our statistics school, and for me a welcome break from the increasingly oppressive temperature of Lisbon.


So far, the lecture series has consisted of an overview of some of the basic concepts of statistics, with a focus on particle-physics, an introduction to multivariate-analysis techniques, and a dedicated lecture on boosted decision-trees. The coming few days promise seminars on topics ranging from neural networks and Bayesian analysis, to Monte Carlo generation and RooFit; subjects which underpin the work we do in high-energy physics.

The school comes at a good time for me, having only recently started on my PhD research, since the seminars serve to introduce me to new concepts, and refresh and expand my knowledge of old ones. Particularly, I am finding the lectures on the basic concepts of statistics and discovery limits to be useful. However, given the rate of topics that are covered, it may only be once I go through the lectures slides at my own pace and try-out some of the examples, that I will be able to fully benefit from them.

I am also enjoying having some formal introduction to MVAs, rather than the internet tutorials on which I have previously relied. The opportunity to interact informally with the lecturers and my fellow researchers also allows for some really interesting discussions.

Well, just a short post from me this time, but hopefully the next few days will provide me with some interesting topics to share with you.

P.S. For those wondering about the distinctly, un-alpine cover photo; it’s the rather striking train station at Lyon airport, where my flight arrived.