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



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On the Qualification of Reviewers for Scientific Articles

by Tommaso Dorigo

Peer review is the backbone of high quality scientific publications. Although the idea that only articles that are approved by a set of anonymous nitpickers can ever see the light of publication on “serious” journals is old and perfectible, there is currently no valid alternative to identify verified, rigorous scientific work, and to filter out unsubstantiated claims, and methodologically unsound results – the scientific analogue of “fake news”.
In practice, the method works as follows. A scientific journal receives an offer to publish an article by a scientist or team of scientists, or identifies a suitable author(s) for a review paper. A preliminary version of the article is then produced, at which point the editors of the journal then look for Continue reading “On the Qualification of Reviewers for Scientific Articles”

Deliverable 4.2 Is Out

by Tommaso Dorigo

I am happy to report that an important new product of the AMVA4NewPhysics ITN is now public. This is generically titled “Report on a Statistical Learning Method for Model-Independent Searches for New Physics“, and labeled D4.2 as per the grant agreement we signed with the European Union. The document is available at the following link:

What is this document about ? It is a description of the studies for the development of a software package aiming at automating the searches for new physics in LHC data, by evidencing anomalous clusterings of events that are hard to explain with known physics processes. I am sure that Fabricio and Grzegorz, the two main developers of the software (Deliverable 4.3, available on github at and its documentation (D4.2) will be happy to post in this blog a more complete description of the new package and its possible uses in particle physics research.

IASA – Accelerating science in Athens

by Kostas Vellidis

IASA stands for Institute of Accelerating Systems and Applications – a mouthful indeed. IASA is a relative rarity in Greece: it is a private non-profit research institute. A number of those University Research Institutes (URI), or, in the original (to help you refresh your math characters) Ερευνητικά Πανεπιστημιακά Ινστιτούτα (ΕΠΙ), were established in the 90s, in an effort to promote research and postgraduate studies in the Greek University system by providing specialized infrastructure and/or expertise. Continue reading “IASA – Accelerating science in Athens”

UCL – where tradition meets the future

by Christophe Delaere

Aiming at the broadening and transmission of human knowledge, university is one of the best inventions of the Middle Ages. The Université catholique de Louvain has played a part in this process with pride since 1425. Just to cite a few: Erasmus, Vésale, Mercator and many others came to Louvain to profit from its location at the heart of Europe. Continue reading “UCL – where tradition meets the future”

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”

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”

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