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



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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?”

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”

AMVA4NewPhysics: A Success Story

by Tommaso Dorigo

As I write this, I have on my desk a pile of brochures that INFN and the University of Padova Department of Physics and Astronomy have produced in the context of the program “Europe in my region”.

Thanks to the work, among others, of our press office coordinator Sabine Hemmer, these brochures are real nice booklets in the end. They will be distributed during the “Researchers’ Night” next Friday, September 29, in the context of the large number of initiatives that will take place in Padova – and to which will contribute the members of our network Martino dall’Osso and Pablo de Castro, who will man the INFN stand in the center of Padova.

What do these brochures contain? They describe the dozens of European Projects and Research in Physics and Astronomy that is partly funded by EU initiatives. Each main project takes one page – so AMVA4NewPhysics Continue reading “AMVA4NewPhysics: A Success Story”

A Narrow Escape

by Tommaso Dorigo

If I am alive, I probably owe it to my current very good physical shape.

That does not mean I narrowly escaped a certain death; rather, it means that if I had been slower there are good chances I would have got hit by lightning, under arduous conditions, at 4300 meters of altitude.

So, after this dramatic introduction, I hope I have hooked as many of you as possible, and I can start from the beginning the tale of what was meant to be a half-day excursion with no particular ambitions. I am spending a week in Quito, Ecuador, where I have been lecturing graduate students in astro-particle Continue reading “A Narrow Escape”

Physics Comes From Φύσις

by Tommaso Dorigo

This week I am in Pisa, where I have spent three days to discuss the status and the funding of accelerator-based experiments within the “first national scientific committee” of INFN. Yesterday all coordinators also met for dinner in a good fish restaurant. The discussion never departed much from physics, but it was certainly more relaxed and casual.

One thing that I heard reported by a colleague who has the pulse of public engagement in INFN was that the last “N” in my institute’s acronym causes sometimes a preconceived negative attitude in laypersons who hear Continue reading “Physics Comes From Φύσις”

Muon G-2: The Anomaly That Could Change Physics

by Tommaso Dorigo

Do you remember the infamous “g-2” measurement ? The anomalous magnetic moment of the muon has been for over a decade in the agenda of HEP physicists, both as a puzzle and as a hope for good things to come.

Ever since the Brookhaven laboratories estimated the quantity at a value over 3 standard deviations away from the equally precise theoretical predictions, the topic (could the discrepancy be due to new physics??) has been commonplace in dinner table conversations among HEP physicists.

Similarly, no self-respected “global fit” of standard model observable quantities or scan of allowed parameter space of supersymmetric theories Continue reading “Muon G-2: The Anomaly That Could Change Physics”

600 Attend to Outreach Event in Venice Lido

by the AMVA4NewPhysics press office

On Saturday, July 8th, the “Sala Perla” of the Palazzo del Casinò was crowded by 600 attendees, who filled all seats and then some. The event, titled “Universo: tempo zero – breve storia dell’inizio”, was organized in conjunction with the international EPS conference, which takes place until this Wednesday at Lido of Venice, and was sponsored by the AMVA4NewPhysics network. It featured a discussion between the anchor, Silvia Rosa Brusin, and a few guests: Fabiola Gianotti, general director of CERN; Antonio Masiero, vice-president of INFN; and Mirko Pojer, responsible of operations of the LHC collider. The program was enriched by a few videos, and by readings by Sonia Bergamasco and jazz music by Umberto Petrin.

At the start of the evening, the Venice high-school students who won the “Art&Science” contest were given prizes (consumer electronics and gadgetry) offered by AMVA4NewPhysics as well as plaques with certificates. The winners, Martina Ciampi and Elena Murer, received in addition to the gadgets and the Continue reading “600 Attend to Outreach Event in Venice Lido”

Art & Science 39: Light’s Perspectives

by the AMVA4NewPhysics press office

Unlike previously understood, the last artwork by Venice high-school students featured in this blog, of a total of 39, is titled “Le prospettive della luce” (light’s perspectives). It is a video produced by Alberto Bentsik, Tommaso Moretti, and Samuele Tonello , students of the Liceo “G.B. Benedetti”. The students filmed themselves as they worked on a wooden board, and produced a high-speed video that shows their actions like in a movie from the nineteen-twenties. This allowed them to “document” their creative process, which is a bit mysterious as we only get to see them planting nails on the board and doing other slightly obscure operations on it. The board is shown below.

prospettive della luce

In the final frames of the video is shown the real result of their work – streaks of colour produced by red led lights shining on the board: that is their Continue reading “Art & Science 39: Light’s Perspectives”

Art & Science 38: Boson Motion

by the AMVA4NewPhysics press office

Elisa Brocca and Emma Troni, two students from Liceo “G.B. Benedetti”, are the authors of the video titled “Boson Motion”. The students captured the video as a succession of frames that try to picture the collision of two LHC protons with coloured balls, and to explain the motion of massive and massless particles in the presence of the Higgs boson field. The result is a fun animation.

The Art & Science contest is coming to a close, as tomorrow evening Continue reading “Art & Science 38: Boson Motion”

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