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


October 2017

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?”

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Higgs

by Seng-Pei Liew

Recently we have witnessed the birth of gravitational-wave astronomy, as gravitational waves were directly observed for the first time. Subsequently, gravitational waves due to binary neutron star merger were detected along with associated electromagnetic events, opening a new era of multi-messenger astronomy. Continue reading “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Higgs”

Classification with autoencoders: idle thought to working prototype in 2 hours

by Giles Strong

Continuing the series of 101 things to do in the cramped confines of a budget airliner:

Last Saturday evening I flew back from the mid-term meeting of my research network. The trip from Brussels to Lisbon takes about three hours, and since my current work requires an internet connection, I’d planned to relax (as best I could). Idle thoughts, however, during a pre-flight Duvel had got me thinking about autoencoders. Continue reading “Classification with autoencoders: idle thought to working prototype in 2 hours”

The Night of European Researchers

by Pablo de Castro

This post is a summary of my experience last Friday at the European Researchers’ Night event in Padova. It was an interesting experience and gave me some insights regarding public outreach in these type of events which might be worth sharing and discussing here.

Continue reading “The Night of European Researchers”

Summer activities at LIP-Lisbon

by Giles Strong

So, it’s been a while since my last post, apologies for that, but the summer has been both busy and eventful, so let me summarise what’s been happening. Continue reading “Summer activities at LIP-Lisbon”

The Physics of Vector Boson Pairs

by Tommaso Dorigo

At 10:00 AM this morning, my smartphone alerted me that in two months I will have to deliver a thorough review on the physics of boson pairs – a 50 page thing which does not yet even exist in the world of ideas. So I have better start planning carefully my time in the next 60 days, to find at least two clean weeks where I may cram in the required concentration. That will be the hard part!

Because of that, rather than an article about things that I know about boson pairs, this is a post about things I do not know well enough now, but on which my knowledge will see a rapid expansion in the near future. Don’t get me wrong: I know the matter, from the history of research in this interesting sub-field Continue reading “The Physics of Vector Boson Pairs”

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