Genoa and Atomlandia

I’m on the way back to London from Genoa now, after an enjoyable visit to the Festival della Scienza. I was giving a talk to help launch the Italian edition of Atom Land/A Map of the Invisible, (Atomlandia, published by Hoepli, who organised the trip).

The talk was in the Doge’s Palace, definitely one of the grandest venues in which I have banged on about particle physics (I am more used to pubs, to be honest). It was also my first time being simultaneously translated. It was a challenge for me to speak slowly and clearly, and even more of a challenge for the translators when I failed. As you can see towards the bottom of this cartoon, they just about managed to keep up, to applause from the audience:

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Summer Highlights

One of the highlights of my summer was giving the “Highlights” talk at the end of the European Physical Society’s High Energy Physics meeting in Ghent. I wrote something about it here and here already, but today my write up of the talk is available on the arXiv. It is aimed at fellow physicists, but as the abstract says, is “opinionated and informal” so might be of slightly wider interest, hence posting it here.

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A Meta-Analysis Of LHC Results

This article on the arXiv today seems interesting. I like this kind of meta-analysis. But two thing leap out at me.

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Consider Feynman in all his manifestations

If you click on the “Richard Feynman” tag of this blog you will find he features quite often. He was a great physicist who had an enormous impact on the field in general and on particle physics in particular (no pun intended but it was hard to avoid). His lectures both inspired and helped me through my degree and I still recommend them to students.

I also, in my late teens, enjoyed reading his collection of anecdotes, “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman”. I probably took from it “proof that nerdy men can be funny, popular, and (reputedly) successful with women”, a reassurance I reckon I needed at the time. I think, though memory can be treacherous, that I was taken aback by the now quite notoriously misogynistic chapter on his interactions with bar girls, but assimilated this as him simply playing a role at a particular time in his life.

The reason for this post is this article by Aida Behmard, published yesterday in CalTech Letters.

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