Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rita Levi Montalcini passed away

Aged 103, Nobel Laureate in 1986, Prof. Montalcini had a very special place within Italian society, not only for her brilliant scientific career.

"Il corpo faccia quello che vuole. Io non sono il corpo: io sono la mente"
Rita Levi Montalcini (1909-2012)
Related to the latest post, be Moltalcini's incredible life a model for all women doing science.

Why don't more girls study physics? by The Guardian

Portrait of Marie Curie (1867-1934)
Read the full article on The Guardian

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Well done: Matteo on the Sardinia Post!

+Matteo Bachetti, one of the contributors to this blog, just gave an interview to the Sardinia Post. Read it here!

Physicists on the spot

Story of a moka pot

Sometimes i develop a kind of fetishistic attraction for apparently modest objects.
The one in the picture is my moka pot and it (she?) is leaving Lisbon together with me today.

It's just occurred to me that the moka and I are tightly connected since the dawn of my adventure in physics. It was 2007 when I bought it in a small mall close to Oxford, MS. At that time, I was there as a visiting student during the master thesis and spent the first weeks in the deep South of the U.S. trying to drink that horrible soluble coffee. The fact is, it was nearly impossible to buy a proper coffee machine in Oxford, specially for a poor student as I was, who didn't want to spend >50 bucks for a fancy machine.

The moka pot in Rua Ferreira Lapa, Lisbon. The kitchen might appear dirty, but i guarantee that it is even worst.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

V Black Holes Workshop in Lisbon

Five years ago, Portuguese scientists working in black hole physics started gathering right before Xmas time in a short and informal workshop. The first edition of the Black Hole Workshop was held in Porto and was a sort of reunion of people working worldwide and coming back home for holidays.

Visit the webpage of the V Black Holes Workshop
Over the years, the workshop extended to nonPortuguese people (I started attending it since the second edition) and it developed to what is now a regular international workshop. This year, we in CENTRA have the pleasure to host the fifth edition, which will be held in Lisbon next Monday and Tuesday. We'll have over 60 participants, about 30 talks and a social dinner at the delicious Restaurante dos Passarinhos!

If you are wondering what the workshop logo is, it's an artistic view (courtesy of Ana Sousa) based on a very typical decoration in Rossio's square, downtown Lisbon.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Quote of the day: A lost Generation?

" It is easy to estimate the total number of active high-energy theorists. Every day hep-th and hep-ph bring us about thirty new papers. Assuming that on average an active theorist publishes 3-4 papers per year, we get 2500 to 3000 theorists. The majority of them are young theorists in their thirties or early forties. During their careers many of them never worked on any issues beyond supersymmetry-based phenomenology or string theory. Given the crises (or, at least, huge question marks) in these two areas we currently face, there seems to be a serious problem in the community. Usually such times of uncertainty as to the direction of future research offer wide opportunities to young people, in the prime of their careers. To grab these opportunities a certain reorientation and reeducation are apparently needed. Will this happen?" (M. Shifman).
From the paper arXiv:1211.0004v3:
"Reflections and Impressionistic Portrait at the Conference Frontiers Beyond the Standard Model", FTPI, Oct. 2012
M. ShifmanWilliam I. Fine Theoretical Physics Institute, University of Minnesota.

Monday, December 3, 2012

“Person of the Year” Nomination for Higgs Boson Riddled with Errors

Time magazine recently posted 30 nominations for its ever-popular “Person of the Year” award. Tucked in between President Barack Obama and the Korean rapper Psy is an unlikely candidate for the “Person of the Year”—a subatomic particle. As Scientific American readers are well aware, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider announced this summer that they had found something that looks much like long-elusive Higgs boson, causing a brief but wondrous worldwide bout of Higgsteria. 

(continue reading Michael Moyer on scientificamerican)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Naufraga il progetto "superB" dell'INFN


INFN: L'Istituto nazionale di fisica nucleare rivede il suo progetto bandiera

Comunicato stampa - Le condizioni economiche del paese e i limiti previsti dal Piano Nazionale per la ricerca sono incompatibili con i costi del progetto SuperB dell'INFN valutati da una commissione internazionale nominata dal MIUR 

Roma, 28 novembre - I risultati della commissione internazionale nominata dal MIUR  per il costing review  del progetto bandiera SuperB sono stati esaminati ieri dal Ministro della Ricerca che ha voluto discuterne con i vertici dell'INFN e successivamente con quelli del Cabibbolab. Il Ministro ha fatto presente che non erano in discussione l'importanza e la qualità del programma, ma che le condizioni economiche del paese e i limiti previsti dal Piano Nazionale per la Ricerca, erano incompatibili con i costi del progetto valutati.

Il Ministro, mostrando grande disponibilità, ha dato la possibilità all'INFN di proporre progetti, sempre nella tipologia dei "progetti bandiera", compatibili con lo stanziamento previsto inizialmente.  Le proposte dovranno essere valutate entro pochi mesi.

L'INFN sta quindi vagliando le idee in merito. Tra le possibilità, comunque, verrà esplorata con convinzione l'ipotesi di presentare il progetto per la realizzazione di un laboratorio internazionale finalizzato alla costruzione di una macchina acceleratrice nell'area di Frascati. Fonte: LeScienze