by Giles Strong

Just in time for our 4th all-network workshop, the AMVA4NewPhysics ITN reached full capacity with the addition of the two final ESRs, Seng (Munich) and Ioanna (Athens). The aforementioned workshop was hosted by the University of Oviedo, itself a recent addition to network, and organised by our outreach officer, Pietro, who did a splendid job of ensuring we were without hunger and thirst for the two days (and in my case (at least) the following few).

The first day consisted of a packed schedule of updates and introductions from us ESRs, and a bit of admin and outlook in the afternoon. The following day was dedicated to a tutorial by Mario Pelliccioni on applied statistics using the RooStats package.

For me, this tutorial came at a good time; my work so far has been on developing ways of optimising my data and then classifying it. The next step being to finalise the preliminary study by predicting the strength of the statistical tests I would be able to perform, and how they would compare to existing studies. After some rough comparisons, the results are promising…

As an additional comment, I found the city to be most enjoyable; on arrival the wide streets, ornate façades, and characterful bars suddenly reminded of dear Glasgow. Later, the live music in the Celtic pub made brought back memories of the pub-touring band in Durham; most homely. Not to say that the city merely reflected other cultures; the region of Asturias is famous for its cider, which must be poured must be poured from a great height in order to ensure optimal taste. The range of flavourful Spanish cheeses on offer was also most appreciated by this Englishman who misses his strong cheddar.

One of the things I particularly enjoy about pursuing my PhD as part of a network, as opposed to working away on my lonesome, is the overlaps in research with my fellow students. From the specification in the original funding proposal we can see that it was designed to encourage cooperation amongst the institutes and ESRs, with each being able to offer some expertise in unique areas. An example might be a meeting I had last Friday with Seng and Pablo. Pablo and I both work on developing experimental machine-learning techniques for detecting a rare physics process, approaching it from two different paths. Seng, a theorist, on the other hand is more interested in investigating the wider implications our specific searches might have for new weird and wonderful physics theories.

Beyond intra-network collaboration, it seems we’ll soon have a new sibling, INSIGHTS, to play with. Looking ahead, I think the prospects are good: Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational ITN!


Image credit: Lucasfilm