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Post summary – April 2009 May 1, 2009

Posted by dorigo in astronomy, Blogroll, cosmology, internet, news, personal, physics, science, social life.
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As the less distracted among you have already figured out, I have permanently moved my blogging activities to www.scientificblogging.com. The reasons for the move are explained here.

Since I know that this site continues to be visited -because the 1450 posts it contains draw traffic regardless of the inactivity- I am providing here monthly updates of the pieces I write in my new blog here. Below is a list of posts published last month at the new site.

The Large Hadron Collider is Back Together – announcing the replacement of the last LHC magnets

Hera’s Intriguing Top Candidates – a discussion of a recent search for FCNC single top production in ep collisions

Source Code for the Greedy Bump Bias – a do-it-yourself guide to study the bias of bump fitting

Bump Hunting II: the Greedy Bump Bias – the second part of the post about bump hunting, and a discussion of a nagging bias in bump fitting

Rita Levi Montalcini: 100 Years and Still Going Strong – a tribute to Rita Levi Montalcini, Nobel prize for medicine

The Subtle Art of Bump Hunting – Part I – a discussion of some subtleties in the search for new particle signals

Save Children Burnt by Caustic Soda! – an invitation to donate to Emergency!

Gates Foundation to Chat with Bloggers About World Malaria Day – announcing a teleconference with bloggers

Dark Matter: a Critical Assessment of Recent Cosmic Ray Signals – a summary of Marco Cirelli’s illuminating talk at NeuTel 2009

A Fascinating New Higgs Boson Search by the DZERO Experiment – a discussion on a search for tth events recently published by the Tevatron experiment

A Banner Worth a Thousand Words - a comment on my new banner

Confirmed for WCSJ 2009 – my first post on the new site

25 years after May 10, 2008

Posted by dorigo in personal, social life.
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Yesterday I had a dinner I would not have missed for anything in the world. After a lot of work with internet searches and email exchanges, we were able to organize a rendez-vous with my colleagues of high school, some of which I had never ever seen again after the day of the last written test for the final exam, which in Italy is called “Maturità”, maturity exam.

We were able to get together only two-thirds of the class. 13 people willing to meet after so long time was already a result to be proud of and to look forward to. Italy is not a place where people tend to move away for travel: we tend to remain anchored to the places where we have our parents, and where we lived our childhood. Indeed, of the 13 people who met, only two were coming from outside the area (Antonino, from Mantova, and Gianluca, from Milano).

It was an immense pleasure to see some of them after 25 full years, and being able to take on the puns and the jokes where we had left them, as if time had not passed. Funnily, a bunch of 42- and 43-year-old men and women looked to me like a bunch of teenagers. It is still difficult for me to shake that impression, as I look at the pictures of the evening.

Here is my class 25 years ago, in front of our school:

Can you locate me ? Not too easy, but you should manage.

And here is the bunch who met yesterday, in Piazza Ferretto (Mestre):

Time passes for everybody, but we had a great time. We already agreed we will meet again in September, on a hopefully sunny Sunday on the beach of Lido di Venezia, for a lunch and a game of soccer, hoping that a few of the nine who missed the dinner yesterday will show up…

Lonely in Perugia January 30, 2008

Posted by dorigo in personal, physics, social life, travel.
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Tonight and tomorrow I am in Perugia, where I am following a workshop on LHC physics for italians participating in the CMS and ATLAS experiments: about 220 physicists have crowded the venue, Hotel Gio’, where they will spend three days discussing their plans for physics measurements and searches with the data that we are all waiting LHC to deliver.

The real workshop starts tomorrow, but I spent today’s afternoon at a preliminary CMS meeting, where the analysis efforts and plans of each of the italian institutions collaborating with CMS were discussed. I thus learned that the italian community in CMS has a rather strong involvement in electroweak physics analyses, a reasonable commitment with Higgs physics, and a smaller-than-expected interest in SUSY and other exotics searches. That was not a real surprise (I sort of knew that already), but it got me thinking that I might not be alone in believing that the LHC will not discover new physics beyond the standard model.

After the meeting was over I had a chance to play a little on a wonderful baby grand Steinway & Sons piano. The dinner was in form of a buffet, and despite the awkward manner of eating while standing up, a glass in one hand and a dinner plate in the other, it was a nice occasion to chat with several colleagues with which I usually have little chance to interact. Nando, Didar, Michelangelo, Simone, Vitaliano…. However, after the food ran out, and people were still lingering around discussing in small groups, I felt the need to take a couple of steps back, to observe the merry crowd with some detachment.

I am usually a sociable person and -especially after a couple of glasses of wine (I had three tonight)- I am “quick with a joke” and a fairly good converser. Nevertheless, there are times when I feel tired, and need some times for myself, to “recharge”, so to speak. Social occasions drain me quickly.

So I watched as the after-dinner activities were being organized by the younger colleagues, who planned to walk up to the center of the town. Perugia has quite a few nice places where to spend the evening in good company, but it sits on top of a hill, and our Hotel is at its feet. I drove here with my car, but the option to pick up the car and fight my way to an improbable parking in the narrow streets of the medioeval town center did not appeal to me much. I also did not fancy much the long walk… It was 8.30 in the evening, and I called it off, repairing in my room. Maybe I am really growing old!

… Or maybe, just maybe, the last month after Christmas vacations, which saw me working 110% of my time on the analysis of Higgs production with top quark pairs which constitutes the cornerstone of Marco’s PhD thesis, is calling for some rest. Marco will deliver his thesis tomorrow morning! It was indeed a hectic month, and I am happy and relieved to be looking forward to five days of vacation in Lisbon with my family, starting this coming Saturday!

CMS Party at P5 December 13, 2007

Posted by dorigo in food, news, personal, physics, science, social life, travel.
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The CMS collaboration is having its last “CMS week” of the year this week. This evening at 6PM many of the attendees gathered in the big industrial building where the detector components have been assembled and lowered bit by bit in the pit, down into the cavern where the whole thing is being put together. Below you can see one of the few pieces still waiting to join the rest: a wheel of muon chambers, designed to detect forward-aiming charged particles penetrating enough to punch the whole central structure of the CMS detector – muons, that is. One cannot avoid feeling awed while walking under these giant structures.

There was good food and drinks available to the participants. Too good food – it speaks of an army not aggressive enough. But anyway, things unrolled easily and as I left to go back to work everybody seemed to be having a good time.

 

Yes, I said I am back to work… I have been fighting with some analysis code this afternoon, and I promised it I would come back in the evening to finish it off. Tomorrow I will be flying back to Venice, so I have to see the results of the code tonight or wait next Monday for them.

Make love, fight AIDS December 1, 2007

Posted by dorigo in news, politics, social life.
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Today is the world day of AIDS. One date a year to remind ourselves of a horrendous virus which has killed about 25 million people since its inception in the early eigthies. A frightening figure, which dwarfs G.W. Bush’s bid with his “war of on terror” -he has probably totaled not more than a mere million deaths (and some studies even say just 600,000) directly connected to his actions in Iraq, although admittedly in only four years.

AIDS is not defeated yet (nor is Dubbya, but I am more optimistic in the latter case). It kills much less than it used to since anti-retroviral drugs have been created, but still, it is growing. We too have grown used to it, we have learned to live with it, we seem to have forgotten it. That is wrong. We should continue to fight it. This year alone, AIDS will total 2.1 million deaths. This is a shame. Sure, famine and other plagues are even more a concern, but AIDS could be fought very effectively with little effort if there were no opposing hands.

Instead, where are the leaflets I used to see distributed to high school students, informing them of the danger, and explaining how to use a condom? Where are the ads paid with government money ? Sure, there are a few, but they are run late in the evening, as if the target were men and women in their sixties. Too little is done. The Vatican’s influence in secular activities in Italy is nasty.

Being a juvenile forty-years-old man, I still talk to youngsters. And I do not like what I hear. Condoms are used much less than I would think, even by twenty-something people which one would trust to be mature enough to avoid putting their life at stake for some extra contact. Even those who use them tend to do so only towards the end of intercourse, as if this was safe enough for them! And an increased objectification of women has boosted the practice of swallowing sperm during fellatios. A lot is still to be done, quite frankly.

Making love is good. If we did it twice as much, we would spend less time watching television, we would all be a bit happier, more relaxed, less cranky. Our hearts would be healthier. It needs not kill us with a stupid virus. Just use the f***ing condom, damn it!

To do my little bit, today I am posting the picture on the right, which I doubt will do much good to the average reader of this blog, but is anyway a better picture to post around today than that of a child dying of AIDS, which was my second-best choice.

One, unfold the condom. Be careful, they come out of the box with the tip protruding the way it should: just position it on top of the gland with the tip upwards, and start unrolling -if you chose the wrong side you’ll be unable to unroll it all the way. Two, press the tip to squeeze the air out – not a crucial point, but it will work better for you. Three, have fun. Four, keep the edge tied to the base of the penis when you extract it. Five and six, dispose of it – and do not forget to wash yourself. You are not allowed to fool around with messy hands!

An eventful week November 20, 2007

Posted by dorigo in Art, internet, music, news, personal, physics, science, social life, travel.
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For a change (or is it) let me write about personal issues, i.e., about what I have been doing this week. I have been in the US for four days only, but it looks like a long time already… And I need a post of the kind “dear diary” to sort things out.

I arrived to O’Hare last Thursday at noon after a uneventful flight – the same route through Munich I’ve flown three dozen times in the last few years. This time I found some company in a colleague who was going to attend the workshop Peter mentioned the other day – we met on the lounge in Venice and traveled together.

Thursday was spent cursing myself for missing a toll on I-88 while driving out of the airport towards Fermilab. It so upsets me to have to lose time for silly things! I soon learned I could pay over the internet the .80$ toll charge, but once I went through the instructions I realized the procedure only works for US residents. I then proceeded to pretend I lived here, but got stuck at the last page of the web interface because my credit cards have an italian billing address and got refused. I then tried my american VISA debit card, and that one got refused too. At that point, after almost 40 minutes wrestling with the site and at the peak of frustration, I found out that my US account was blocked for inactivity – and 6 dollars a month had been charged by the kind people at CHASE because of that. I then proceeded to call the tollway office, but they told me I could not pay with a card, and I would have to send in the credit card information. However, sending a simple letter may become a difficult task if you have no stamps and you work day shifts from 8AM to 4PM every day.

On Friday I took service as a Scientific Coordinator in the CDF control room. The accelerator works 24/7 and each experiment has to provide three shift crews a day to attend data taking and care for our detector. I arrived impeccably on time, at 7.55, only to find frowned people staring at me, and I soon realized that on the first day of shift the incoming SciCo has to be there one hour earlier, to overlap with the one that did the owl shift and refresh his or her training.

Disappointing people is not an activity I particularly enjoy, but I soon forgot the incident as I started to sort out what I did not remember about the procedures I had to refresh. However, my attention was distracted by repeated attempts at finding out whether Mia, who had taken the written test for admission to PhD courses in Padova that same day, had done a good exam or not. I would only hear from her on Monday (! students have lost all their respect to their mentors, apparently), and fortunately she did pass the exam! So if all goes well at the oral test, I will enjoy her company doing research together in CMS for the next three years!

Friday evening was spent in a very uncommon way. I visited a person I had never met before, and with whom I had only played a game or two in an internet Bridge site. This lady was the late Riqie Arneberg‘s best friend, and I intended to meet her to hear Riqie’s story from her. We spent a lovely evening together, and we remembered Riqie. I think Riqie would be jealous if she knew - I know our mail and blog comment exchanges and our bridge games made her very happy, and I had promised her I would visit her next time I’d come to the US. Sadly, I could only fulfil virtually that promise, by spending the evening with the last person who saw her alive.

Oh, and I finally saw a few pictures of Riqie. What an interesting person she must have been. She had a tragic life, and she died quite young, but you could see the wit in her eyes from afar. I will collect in another post a few things she wrote in my blog, and if I find it in the wayback machine I will dig out her own blog, which she discontinued about a year ago due to a hacker attack.

Saturday was uneventful, but yesterday I had another very nice evening. I drove to north Chicago, picked up Vincent and Jadwiga – two dear friends of mine, an elderly couple who lives in a very nice apartment overlooking the lake on the north lakefront. I’ve talked about them elsewhere. We had a dinner in Evanston and then attended a chamber music concert by the Chicago Chamber Musicians. Here is the program:

  • Richard Strauss, Till Eulenspiegel, Op. 28 (arr. Hasenohrl):
    • Larry Combs, clarinet
    • Gail Williams, horn
    • Jasmine Lin, violin
    • Peter Lloyd, double bass
  • Franz Schubert, Fantasy for Violin and Piano in C major, Op. 159 (D.934):
    • Joseph Genualdi, violin
    • Alan Chow, piano
  • Dana Wilson, Shallow Streams, Deep Rivers – world premiere
    • Gail Williams, horn
    • Joseph Genualdi, violin
    • Alan Chow, piano
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, n.1 (Razumovsky):
    • Jasmine Lin, violin
    • Joseph Genualdi, violin
    • Rami Solomonow, viola
    • Katinka Kleijn, cello

I especially enjoyed the new piece by Dana Wilson (who presented the piece himself). What a great composition! The three instruments fought at the beginning, retaining their own personality, to later merge perfectly into a single deeper stream of music. A very melodic piece, surprisingly balanced despite the presence of the horn.

And today was a really positive day for me. Because of the news about Mia which I already mentioned, and because I got good news about a friend of mine who is being treated with liver cancer and who feared his liver was not going to allow more radiation therapy. Instead, his doctor confirmed his bilirubin is within limits, which allows him to be treated with a third injection of radioactive microspheres in the liver artery, and there are good chances that the tumor will recede.

Life goes on. When one touches with one’s hand the fragility of human life, things get back in their place and the view is restored to a more meaningful perspective – we do not care too much any longer about the insolence of office or other silly incidents. I myself have recently been diagnosed with a relapsing carcinoma, but it does not seem a life-threatening condition – I hope. As soon as I get back to Italy I will be summoned to remove it surgically. After which, I will shrug my shoulders again and pretend to forget about my own vulnerability - something human beings have learned to do a bit too well. 

Just lost a friend November 12, 2007

Posted by dorigo in internet, news, personal, social life, travel.
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I guess reading on a blog comment that a friend has passed away is an appropriate if a bit crude way to get informed, given that the friend was one I met on the web – and only there, unfortunately. Nonetheless, I felt really saddened this morning, upon reading this comment by her best friend, which informed me of her death. Riqie Arneberg, as some of the most faithful readers here know, often visited this site – I had met her on my Quantum Diaries blog a couple of years ago, and we had made friends. We played bridge online together, and she was able to teach me quite a few things there.

I will have a commemorative post on Riqie out later this week. I am traveling to the US on Thursday, and I hope to meet her friend.

Am I a sexist ? August 30, 2007

Posted by dorigo in Blogroll, humor, language, personal, physics, politics, science, social life.
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It seems that my description of the speaker and the audience  in a CERN seminar yesterday raised some eyebrows, and the comments column of that post got filled with a discussion that has little to do with the physics. I prefer to answer some of the comments in an independent post, i.e. here. For other columns discussing the issue, see what Kea (an often discriminated woman physicist) or  Clifford (if you are sexophobic) have to say.

I am not an extraterrestrial, and no human being is happy to be criticized, nor is any blogger happy to hear from a reader “I won’t be reading much of this blog in the future, I don’t think“. I will not try to feign unconcern. But by far the strongest feeling today, as I checked my blog comments  - mostly concentrated in the column under yesterday’s post on Lisa Randall‘s seminar , and the incoming links, was amusement.

And as usual when I find myself amused by the criticism I receive, my first reaction is to beg for more. Hannibal Lektar, interviewed in his cell in “Silence of the Lambs“,  replies to the shock of the investigator at the display of the monster’s personality by mentioning how he once ate a man’s liver with a bottle of Chianti, and showing how the thought of it makes him drool. Likewise, my impulse would be to drop a casual, really sexist remark which would only drive a larger wedge between me and my detractors, like “My next grad student in CMS is quite skilled, and she is also quite sexy – I’m working to exploit the latter feature”. (She will laugh at you all when I show this to her).

Instead, let me disciplined here. I will try to answer to the criticism by taking it seriously, but bear with me: this will not be totally devoid of the occasional sarcasm which is part of my writing style. You had a taste of it just above…

1) First of all, a call to keep a perspective. Maybe you never cared to read the fine print, but the subtitle of this blog is “private thoughts of a physicist and chessplayer“. That is right, private. And indeed, in my blog you will be just as likely to find a discussion of physics issues as a chess game or a report of an observing session under the stars, or a picture of my kids. Did you get the message ? If I venture in a description of a person I meet – be it a woman, a man, whatever – it is because this is my diary, and I want to keep a record of my ideas, my feelings, my thoughts.

Moreover, I write posts here as I would write a book, or a novel, and not an essay on particle physics: I like to describe the characters, and I am better at describing women than men. You, dear reader, are the ultimate judge of the quality of the output, and you are perfectly entitled to decide it is not of your liking. What you cannot do, I think, is criticize the contents because they are at odds with the way you would have written things, or because they do not fit with your personal idea of what is kosher content in the internet. I of course love to be read, but maybe this blog is just not for you. And that stil does not entitle you to criticize it as sexist: these are personal thoughts.

Maybe you can criticize me as a sex maniac, but that would be a little bit over the edge for having written “left the arms exposed“, don’t you think ? 

2) Related to the above, is a general lack of perspective in some of the comments I got to read today. The internet is full of child porn, home-made bomb manuals, neonazist sites, climate change skeptics. And the world, too, is full of maniacs who bomb countries for their personal gain, serial rapists, killers, readers of New Scientist.

You feel I have not done a good service to the cause of reducing sexism in academia with my post of yesterday ? Maybe you have a point, but is it such a big deal ? Did it really require your royal, thought over intervention ? This blog is visited less than a thousand times a day (maybe by the same people over and over). By attacking a paragraph which even carried a initial disclaimer (“if I am allowed a slip…“), and which was clearly only meant at giving the atmosphere of the seminar (as a few readers of both sexes seem to have understood without guidance), you show concern for this blog content and that is fine, but you also show the kind of random, compulsive 360-degree action that is typical of fundamentalists. One cannot argue with fundamentalists, so what am I doing here ?

3) Perhaps what I am doing here is trying to explain that I, too, hate the situation a pretty girl faces when she starts an academic career. But the whole world works the same way. By applying restraint, censorship, and dogged control inside your institution, in the behavior of your colleagues, in what you read in blogs, you may be successful in creating an apparently sexism-free environment. But the people the girl will meet in his academic life are human beings, with their own pulsions, their fallacies, their sexism – even if covert. You may walk in your neat corridor devoid of pics of busty girls, but you will not have purged the mind of Dr. Brown three doors down – he has those pics hung on his garage walls.

I guess the point I am making is: bombing Iraq is not the way to eradicate fundamentalism and arab terrorism. Quite the opposite.

4) Finally, I deeply regret the level of paranoia we have reached with the whole issue in academia. The world is changing, thank god. In some ways it is even getting better. 

Let’s take JoAnne Hewett‘s comment as an example. She starts off by writing “You started off on a sexual tone“. Excuse me, what is a sexual tone, describing a dress ? Describing jewelry ? Saying somebody looks nice and fit ? I have to exercise restraint to avoid saying what I think here. I know a sex maniac could smell sex in that sentence, and in a way, that is exactly what annoys me in the criticism: the people who criticize are those most obsessed with sex, not the other way round! Get a life, folks! 

But then things get worse: “And then brought in a Southpark reference to penises ? Got sex on your mind while writing this post, do you ?“… What can I say ? She really does not understand, but she is excused because she probably does not usually read this blog, which is full of the same stuff. One example (the first that springs to my mind because of the similarity of the topic, but there are dozens) is from a post of mid-May this year, when I talk about back-of-the envelope calculations as opposed to theoretical calculations with too many digits of accuracy: “we need it about as much as a man needs a two-feet-long penis – great for bragging, but ineffective and redundant“. 

JoAnne concludes “why make the point that she was not intimidated by the questions…? Think the girl can’t take tough questions, do you ?“. Good lord. Is that sexist ? JoAnne, that is insulting, and I think you meant to insult me. You managed to do it. I might excuse you if you wrote the comment out of an impulse, but that requires your apologies. Otherwise, please walk away, you have crossed the line.

Hadron decay 01 May 25, 2007

Posted by dorigo in Art, personal, physics, social life.
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Yesterday I visited Vincent and Jadwiga, two old friends of mine who live in a very nice flat on top of a tall building facing the shore of north Chicago.  Vincent is a retired physician and he has a wonderful collection of ancient central-american sculptures , dating a thousand to two thousand years ago. But he also likes to sculpt himself, and I really like what he does.

During my visit, he gave me the opportunity to experiment with clay. He had asked me to come prepared, to draw some sketches beforehand. I had something in a piece of paper and he liked my idea, so he gave me his tools and watched me while I molded the clay, giving me only sparse important advices on techincal issues.

Below you can see my first creation, which I called “Hadron Decay 01″. I must say I loved to play with that wonderful material, and I look forward to doing more of it with my children in the future…

  

Below is another view of the same piece:

The pains of representing a collaboration May 16, 2007

Posted by dorigo in personal, physics, politics, science, social life.
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Yesterday I was in Rome, at a meeting of the National Scientific Commission I of the INFN - the funding agency of particle physics experiments in Italy. I had been charged by the coordinator of the italian members of the CDF experiment, Luciano Ristori, to give a seminar on the status of our experiment and its prospects for the next few years. I had felt honored by his request, and had accepted with enthusiasm.

The task of my talk was twofold: to show our funding agents that CDF has produced excellent output so far, and to demonstrate that it has a real chance of achieving the coveted goal of finding the Higgs boson -or, at least, to gain more information about it- given a chance to run until at least the end of year 2009.

Giving the talk was a big responsibility, since the Commission decides on the funding of the italian institutions, and in these years of painful shortage of money for research every bit counts. So I wanted to do the best job I could.

I worked at the talk for over two weeks, by collecting information about the charges of italian members of the collaboration, the students recently graduated and those presently working at their theses, and the recent contributions of each of the participating italian institutions (Pisa/Siena, Rome, Udine, Trieste, Trento, Padova, Pavia, Bologna, Frascati) to the hottest physics analyses being produced. And I had to study quite a few physics papers I had not had a chance to read in the past, about many of the measurements that CDF has so far produced.

The resulting picture of an experiment in great health, producing exquisite physics in a ample spectrum, was easy to draw. CDF has world-best results in so many measurements, it is embarassing to list them: best measurements of the top quark mass in the dilepton, single lepton, and all-hadronic final state, and best combined top mass measurement; best W mass; best W width; first observation of WZ production; first observation of Bs oscillations; first observation of Sigma_b baryons; first observation of exclusive diphoton production; first observation of several charmless B decays; and so on, and on, and on.

Less easy was to explain why, despite the fact that our searches for the Higgs boson are still far from the sensitivity needed to find hints of Higgs production, we are confident that we will reach that goal by 2009. I had to explain the details of all the ingredients that enter the complicated searches at low and high mass, and compare our present status to 2003 projections, to clarify -or so I hoped- that the discovery reach was still the one we had foreseen back then.

But much harder than the two tasks described above was to converge on slides that could satisfy all my 85 italian colleagues. Of course, given the importance of the talk, I had circulated an early version of the presentation among them last week. With few exceptions, my collaborators were very useful in providing feedback, corrections, suggesting different phrasing, addition of material and reorganization of slides. With few exceptions, that’s the point.

CDF-Italy is a collaboration within a collaboration (CDF). And it is made of nine groups. Each group has its own specific interests, performs different physics analyses, and gives different weight to the diverse physics that we produce as a collaboration. Each group wanted their own piece of physics well visible and represented in my talk. But that was simply not possible, given that I had a huge amount of material to discuss, in 40 minutes of seminar. So, many had accepted that their favorite physics result were relegated to a back-up slide -one which could get shown only in case of a question from the audience. A few of my collaborators gave strong feedback about the need of including this or that result, but in the end they accepted my choices.

One group, however, disagreed. Their claimed that their analysis had to be given emphasis, and I was not willing to grant it, because it did not fit in the picture I wanted to give of the experiment. The slide they had provided was left in back-up.

And then, yesterday, I finally gave my presentation, in a large room with frescoes on the ceiling in palazzo Landi, a beautiful venue and the headquarters of INFN – a hundred meters away from the Pantheon, in the center of Rome. I think I delivered the message. I stayed within the allotted time, gave emphasis to the Higgs searches and to the wealth of physics CDF has produced, and received congratulations from the colleagues present at the meeting.

Today, though, I got bad feedback from the head of the group who had most been most stubborn in insisting for their analysis to be shown. The guy is a friend of mine, and I even fought battles with him in the past, but he is objectively a person that will give you a hard time if you disagree with his views. Here is a translated and amended version of the e-mail I got from him, actually a carbon-copy of a message he sent to a collaborator about my talk:

Dear x,

I had realized myself that Tommaso had dropped the slide you sent him. Then I looked at his talk. Since it is ugly – in the sense that there is a lot of smoke, little meat, and wholesale ignorance – I thought it was better that way. Moreover, he had received compliments from Y [a colleague who is notoriously not highly esteemed by him - TD].

I excuse Tommaso since it is plain to see that he is working in another experiment. I excuse him less to have accepted to give the talk while being out of touch. It is obvious that he did not understand why we are re-measuring [...].

As for the strong and important message that “CDF believes in the Higgs boson”:

1) I think it is b******t

2) the talk suggests the opposite – maybe it believes it but it is not capable, and for sure one does not understand where italians are contributing critically (besides on hardware).

The only thing that appears to backfire  is to be represented by a space cadet. But I think it does not matter given the niveau (low) of the commission.

X.

Post-scriptum: Tommaso, sorry, but a “f*** **f” at the right moment cannot but do you good.

Alas, the guy has a huge ego and has never been able to give credit to his colleagues. To him, everybody is an idiot. He may be right sometimes, and he is an outstanding physicist – but unfortunately, his skills are wasted in the desert he creates around himself with his bad mood… But he is still a friend.

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