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



I am the scientific coordinator of the AMVA4NewPhysics network. As a member of the CMS experiment at CERN I do research in fundamental physics. I am also an editor of the scientific journal "Reviews in Physics" by Elsevier.

Can Neural Networks Design The Detector Of A Future Particle Collider?

by Tommaso Dorigo

Casual reader, be warned – the contents of this article, specifically the second part of it, are highly volatile, speculative stuff. But hey, that is the stuff that dreams are made of. And I have one or two good reasons to dream on.

The environment

Machine Learning is ubiquitous today. Self-driving cars; self-shaving robots (just kidding, but I’m sure they can be constructed if the need arises); programs that teach themselves chess and become world-champion-class players overnight; Siri; google search engines; google translate – okay, I am going too far. But you know it: machine learning has become a player in almost Continue reading “Can Neural Networks Design The Detector Of A Future Particle Collider?”

A Capella Science at CERN

by Tommaso Dorigo

Do you know the works of Tim Blais, the guy behind “A Capella Science”? I sincerely hope you do, but otherwise this post is for you. Tim has a youtube page where he publishes his amazing works.

Tim sings modified lyrics of famous songs, and mixes them with multiple tracks of his own voice imitating each of the instruments of the underlying orchestra, or other choral voices. Until here you could well say there’s nothing new under Continue reading “A Capella Science at CERN”

A Beautiful New Spectroscopy Measurement

by Tommaso Dorigo

What is spectroscopy ?

(A) the observation of ghosts by infrared visors or other optical devices
(B) the study of excited states of matter through observation of energy emissions
If you answered (A), you are probably using a lousy internet search engine; and btw, you are rather dumb. Ghosts do not exist.
Otherwise you are welcome to read on. We are, in fact, about to discuss a cutting-edge spectroscopy measurement, performed by the CMS experiment using lots of proton-proton collisions by the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Continue reading “A Beautiful New Spectroscopy Measurement”

Is Dark Matter Lurking in Neutron Decays?

by Tommaso Dorigo

paper by B. Fornal and B. Grinstein published last week in Physical Review Letters is drawing a lot of interest to one of the most well-known pieces of subnuclear physics since the days of Enrico Fermi: beta decay.

The mechanism by means of which a neutron transmutes into a proton has been studied for decades before the neutron was officially discovered (by Chadwick, in 1932). That is because beta decay is at the heart of radioactive processes: nuclei of elements rich with neutrons can turn into others by turning one of their neutrons into a proton, with the emission of an electron and an antineutrino. The details of that reaction were understood thanks to Fermi and a handful of other Continue reading “Is Dark Matter Lurking in Neutron Decays?”

The Caves of Frasassi

by Tommaso Dorigo

While spending a few vacation days on a trip around central Italy, I made a stop in a place in the Appennini mountains, to visit some incredible caves. The caves of Frasassi were discovered in September 1971 by a few young speleologists, who had been tipped off by locals about the existence, atop a mountain near their village, of a hole in the ground, which emitted a strong draft.

The hole was barely wide enough for a person to squeeze in, and it led down vertically into the mountain. The group descended it with difficulty for Continue reading “The Caves of Frasassi”

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.

One Year in Review

by Tommaso Dorigo

Christmas is coming, and with it a temporary stop of working activities for most of us- but not all, as the world does not stop spinning, nor do electrons in the computers that crunch LHC datasets in search for new physics. As for academics, they leave their offices with piles of articles to review and grant proposals to write, knowing that their mailboxes will not stop filling up during the winter break. But it’s a jolly time nonetheless 😉 Continue reading “One Year in Review”

Things that Decay into Boson Pairs

by Tommaso Dorigo

Writing a serious review of research in particle physics is a refreshing job – all the things that you already knew on that specific topic once sat on a fuzzy cloud somewhere in your brain, and now find their place in a tidily organized space, with clear interdependence among them. That’s what I am experiencing as I progress with a 60-pageish thing on hadron collider searches for diboson resonances, which will appear sometime next year in a very high impact factor journal.

One of the things that the review must cover is a theoretical overview of the models that the searches for these physics processes address. So I thought I would say a few words on this topic here – but bear in Continue reading “Things that Decay into Boson Pairs”

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