Nobel Laureate Abel Laureate Advisory Board Member USERN President USERN Policy Making Council USERN Manager USERN Deputy Junior Ambassador

Major: Physics

Field: Particle and nuclear physics

I am an experimental particle physicist working as a First Researcher for the Italian institute for nuclear physics (INFN), and a member of the CMS experiment at CERN since 2001 and the SWGO experiment since 2022; previously (1995-2012) I have been a member of the CDF experiment at Fermilab.
I am married since 2017 with Kalliopi Petrou, a lyrical soprano singer, and have a son (Filippo, 22) and a daughter (Ilaria, 18) from a previous marriage. I live in Padova, where I work for the INFN as well as for the University of Padova (as a hired professor).

My research interests are extended in three partly synergic directions:
- in Particle Physics, where they span from Higgs boson physics to top quark physics, to searches for new phenomena extending our current knowledge of subnuclear world;
- in Statistics, focusing on parameter estimation, frequentist methods, handling nuisance parameters in statistical inference, and multivariate analysis;
- in Computer Science, targeting machine end-to-end optimization of physics measurements with machine learning, on differentiable programming, and on anomaly detection and unsupervised techniques.

A list of over 1600 scientific publications I authored can be found here .

  • Coordinator of the MODE Collaboration, a group with a cutting-edge research program at the crossroads of particle physics and artificial intelligence, 2020-present
  • Co-chair of the CMS Thesis Award Committee, 2020-present
  • Outreach coordinator and PI of INFN-Padova node of INSIGHTS ETN, 2017-present
  • Scientific coordinator of AMVA4NewPhysics ETN, funded by Horizon2020, 2014-2019
  • Scientific coordinator of accelerator-based research at INFN-Padova and board member of CSN1 at INFN, 2016-2020
  • Chair of CMS Statistics committee, 2012-2015
  • Chair of over 20 review committees in CDF and CMS, 2002-present
  • Convener of several research and analysis groups in CDF and CMS, 2000-present

  • Author of over 1600 scientific publications (216k citations, Hirsch index 223 - Google scholar, or 189k citations, H-index191, InspireHEP)
  • Invited lecturer at 14 post-graduate schools in Physics, Statistics, and Machine Learning
  • Gave over 30 talks at international conferences, and over 30 seminars and colloquia at universities and research institutes
  • Editor of journal Reviews in Physics of Elsevier Pub. co., 2015-present
  • Editor of journal Physics Open of Elsevier Pub. co., 2019-present
  • Author of over 1400 science popularization online articles in personal blog (over 15M visits)
  • Author of book Anomaly! Collider Physics and the Quest for New Phenomena at Fermilab (World Scientific 2016)

For the CMS experiment (2001-present) I have focused my research activities on Higgs physics and on searches for new phenomena, as well as on the development of advanced analysis tools for the calibration of the muon momentum scale (MuScleFit), used in Higgs discovery analyses, the modeling of QCD backgrounds in multi-jet final states (Hemisphere mixing), the investigation of multi-dimensional parameter space of new physics theories with unsupervised tools, and the anomaly detection approach to searches of new phenomena (Inverse BaggingRanBox).
Selected publications:

Previously, for the CDF experiment (1995-2012) I have contributed to the top quark search and discovery and to the construction of the muon system upgrade of the CDF-II detector. I have produced the first observation of Z->bb decays in hadron collisions, and developed a trigger for the calibration of b-quark jets using Z->bb decays.
Selected publications:

As a member (Sep 2009-present) and chair (Jan 2012-Jul 2015) of the CMS Statistics Committee I have been ensuring the highest standards of statistical inference in data analysis for the publications of my experiment, advising the collaboration on best practice and performing the screening of ALL journal publications from the point of view of statistics technique and description.
Through the design and implementation of the AMVA4NewPhysics ITN project (see below) I have brought Statisticians and Physicists together with the purpose of enabling a common language and addressing specific problems of HEP data analysis. I am fostering the interest of Statistics students in Padova toward HEP applications and studies, by offering theses and teaching particle physics at the Masters in Statistical Sciences.
Recent publications of relevance:
Machine Learning
I am involved in a number of studies of applications of machine learning techniques to particle physics applications, as well as in the design of new techniques customized to the very special use cases provided by HEP and related research. These activities are in part the result of collaboration with the darkmachines and the GradHep collaborations, to which I belong, as well as the ETN networks AMVA4NewPhysics and INSIGHTS (see below).
Recent publications of relevance:
Current teaching activities
  • Course on "Particle Physics: Foundations, Tools, Methods" at the Masters in Statistical Sciences, as a hired professor at the University of Padova (2018-present)
  • Course on "Statistics for data analysis" at the Ph.D. in Physics, University of Padova (2014-present)
Previous teaching activities at undergraduate level
  • Course on "Subnuclear Gauge Physics" at the Masters in Physics, Univ. Padova 2009-2012
  • Course on "Physics" for the Laurea in Chemistry, Univ. Padova 2002-2004
  • Course on "Physics Experimentation 2" for the Laurea in Physics, Univ. Padova 2006-2008
Invited cycles of lectures at advanced graduate schools
  • "Physics at hadron colliders" at: Univ. Catania 2004, Univ. Padova 2004, "Corfu Summer Institute", Corfu, Greece 2005.
  • "Physics with CMS" at "VIICRA school", Quito 2017.
  • "The discovery of the Higgs boson" at: "Shanghai Tech Summer School", Asiago 2018, Asiago 2019.
  • "Statistics for data analysis" at: "QGMM School" (COST action 18108, Corfu, Greece 2021), "Niccolo' Cabeo school" (Ferrara 2014), "Open Science Data Cloud school" (Perugia 2017), "CHIPP School" (Engelberg, 2012), "HEP Summer School" (Weihai, China 2016), "DKPI Indian Summer School" (Traunkirken, Austria 2015), "SOS School of Statistics" (Autrans 2016, La Londe 2018, France), "IDPASC School" (Asiago 2017).
  • "Machine learning for HEP" at: "Data Science School", Braga, Portugal 2019, "YANDEX Machine Learning for HEP School", EPFL, Switzerland 2020.
Selected conference talks
  • "Artificial Intelligence for Physics Research", Vth USERN Congress, Tehran 2020.
  • "From SU(3) to Three Quark Families", 8th ICNFP, Kolimpari 2019 (invited lecture at M. Gell-Mann memorial session).
  • "Hadron Collider Searches for Diboson Resonances", 7th ICNFP, Kolimpari 2018 (invited plenary talk).
  • "Hemisphere Mixing", EPS 2017, Venezia lido.
  • "Recent Results of the CMS Experiment", 6th int. conference on HEP in the LHC era, Valparaiso 2016 (invited talk).
  • "Standard Model Tests at the Tevatron", PASCOS, Imperial College, London 2007.
  • "Searches for the Standard Model Higgs Boson at the Tevatron", Moriond QCD, La Thuile 2005.
  • "Top Studies", Frontier Science 2002, Frascati 2002 (invited summary talk).
Selected colloquia and seminars at Universities and Research institutes
  • "Sticking to the roots of machine learning", PhyStat Seminar, CERN 15 June 2022.
  • "Fundamental Statistics for Discovery in Fundamental Physics", Physics Colloquium, Universite' Catholique de Louvain, 14 June 2018.
  • "Fundamental Statistics for Discovery in Fundamental Physics", Oxford University, 24 April 2018.
  • "Extraordinary Claims: The 0.000029% Solution", Physics Colloquium, Tel Aviv University, 1 January 2017.
  • "Anomalies in Collider Data", Physics Colloquium, Northwestern University, 11 November 2016.
  • "Status and Prospects of Higgs Searches at the Tevatron", Universidad de Valencia, 8 April 2010.
  • "Anomalous multi-muon events in CDF", Universite' de Geneve, 20 March 2009.
  • "Observation of Z Decays to b-Quark Pairs at the Tevatron Collider", Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 24 September 1998.

As an editor for two high-level peer-reviewed journals (Reviews in Phyics and Physics Open) for Elsevier Publishing co., I actively search for interesting review articles as well as innovative research papers - please contact me if you are interested in publishing with us.

Conference organization
I have contributed as a member of local organizing committees, as session chair, or session convener to the organization of several conferences, workshops, and dissemination events in particle physics and related topics:
  • European Physical Society Conference on HEP (Venezia Lido, Italy 2017), member of local organizing committee
  • Quark Confinement and the Hadron Spectrum: ideator and chair of session on "Statistical Methods for Physics Analysis in the XXI Century" (2016-present); member of local organizing committee, 2016.
  • International conference on New Frontiers in Physics (2014-present), organizer of parallel sessions, organizer of social events, chair of plenary sessions
  • INFN School of Statistics (2013-present), member of scientific organizing committee
  • Darkmachines collaboration workshops (2018-present), member of organizing committee, chair of sessions
  • International Workshop on Advanced Computing and Analysis Techniques in Physics Research (Saas-Fee, 2019), chair of parallel session
  • MODE Workshop on differentiable programming for fundamental physics: member of organizing committee (2021-).

I have peer-reviewed scientific publications for the following journals and publishers: Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A, Computer Physics Communications, Journal of Instrumentation, Physics Math Central A, The Review of Particle Properties, Il Nuovo Cimento, International Journal of Modern Physics A, Computing and Software for Big Science, Progress of Particle and Nuclear Physics, MDPI Instruments, MDPI Symmetry, SciPost, Physica Scripta, NeurIPS, Nature Communications, Springer Nature, Physics Review D, JHEP, Reviews in Modern Physics, Princeton Press, Physical Review Letters, LHEP, Machine Learning in Science and Technology.

I have reviewed grant proposals for INFN (Italy), the NWO and the FOM (the Netherlands), the STFC and the Royal Society (Great Britain), the QNRF (Qatar), the HSE (Russia), the European Community Horizon 2020 program (ITN and ERC), and the ANR and CNRS (France). In addition, I am currently a referee of the BES III and MUonE experiments for INFN.

I am a member of the Advisory Board of the EC-funded SilentBorder project, and of the advisory board of the USERN organization. I am also a member of the Editorial Board of "MDPI Particles" journal.

I have selected researchers for prizes awarded by INFN, the USERN organization, the International Data Analysis Olympiad, and the CMS experiment

My outreach activity is intense and multi-pronged:

I have also organized and/or given presentations at over 30 public conferences, high-school lectures, and outreach events. Below I list a short selection of such events.
  • Invited talk ("Communicating discoveries in the blog era") and panel discussion on "Blogs, Big Physics and Breaking News" at the World Conference of Science Journalists, London 2009 (with Matthew Chalmers and James Gillies, see a summary by M. Durrani on Physics World here )
  • Invited talk "Universe Dissectors" at TED-X Flanders, Antwerp 2011 (with Peter Woit, see video on YouTube).
  • Invited guest to the talk show "Il vaso di Pandora" ("Istruzione tradizionale o valorizzazione dei talenti?" - see YouTube video) for the TeleChiara network, 2016 (with Paola Zocca).
  • Public lecture at Festivaletteratura 2018 Mantova on "Scienza e societa'" (with Massimiano Bucchi).
  • Panel discussion on "Artificial Intelligence: past, present and future" at DESY, Hamburg (7 July 2019, with Pierre Baldi, Andrey Ustyuzhanin, Glen Cowan).

Besides participating in the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC (and previously in the CDF experiment at the Fermilab Tevatron collider), I am involved in the following collaborative endeavours:
  • MODE, an international collaboration of physicists and computer scientists developing differentiable programming tools for the end-to-end optimization of the design of particle physics detectors
  • DarkMachines, an international collaboration of over 100 astronomers, physicists, astrophysicists and computer scientists developing machine learning tools for dark matter searches
  • GradHep, a small group of physicists and computer scientists developing differentiable programming tools for the optimization of physics measurement
  • ML-INFN, a project for an end-to-end use of machine learning for INFN research
  • SWGO, an ultra-high-energy Gamma Ray ground-based detector

In addition, I am or have been involved in the following EC-funded projects:
  • as Scientific Coordinator and PI of the INFN node for the AMVA4NewPhysics network, an ETN focusing on machine learning developments for HEP research (2014-2019)
  • as PI of the INFN-Padova node and Outreach Coordinator for the INSIGHTS network, an ETN focusing on statistics and machine learning advancements for scientific research (2017-present)
  • as a member of iMPACT, an ERC-Consolidator granted project on a fast device for proton therapy led by Prof. P. Giubilato (Univ. Padova)

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