Alessandro Strumia

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Alessandro Strumia
Born (1969-12-26) 26 December 1969 (age 48)
Alma mater University of Pisa
Awards 1996 "Giorgio Gamberini" prize for the PhD thesis "Supersymmetric unification"
Scientific career
Fields NeutrinosLeptogenesisFlavour physics – Electroweak precision physics – Vacuum DecayCosmologyDark matter
Thesis Supersymmetric unification (1995)
Doctoral advisor Riccardo Barbieri

Alessandro Strumia (born 26 December 1969)[1] is a physicist of the University of Pisa.


Strumia obtained his PhD in 1995 at the University of Pisa, where his doctoral advisor was Riccardo Barbieri. His thesis was titled "Supersymmetric unification".[1]


Strumia's research specialization is in physics beyond the Standard Model.[1] He joined the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)'s theory division as a fellow in 2000,[1] and as a member of the CMS Collaboration, he was a credited coauthor on the paper which announced the Higgs boson discovery; his primary affiliation was Estonia's National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics.[2] Along with Joseph Lykken and other collaborators, he later proposed the "modified naturalness" hypothesis for the Higgs boson's mass.[3]

After the OPERA experiment reported an observation of neutrinos apparently traveling faster than light, Strumia in collaboration with Gian Giudice and Sergey Sibiryakov showed that superluminal neutrinos would imply some anomalies in the velocities of electrons and muons as a result of quantum-mechanical effects. Such anomalies could be already ruled out from existing data on cosmic rays, thus contradicting the OPERA results.[4][5]

While at CERN in June 2018, Strumia and Riccardo Torre worked on a new set of algorithms with which to evaluate the impact of published scientific research. Basing their investigation on the PageRank used by Google, they proposed a similar system of ranking scientific papers and authors. Researchers had "mixed reaction", suggesting that it would be useful for "lifetime achievement" but possibly subject to "transparency issues".[6] The "simplicity" of current methods of evaluation allows for gaming the system. The difference in Strumia and Torres' approach is that they include what they describe as "second-generation" and later-generation citations in their algorithms. Therefore, not only the original citations of the work are taken into account, but subsequent citations to derivative material also. They named their systems PaperRank and AuthorRank. They also proposed a system called CitationCoin to reduce the effect of groups who "inflate" each other citation count.[6]


Using pictures of conference slides[edit]

Marco Cirelli and Alessandro Strumia used digital photos from a conference presentation in 2008 in Stockholm for a subsequent publication. The slide showed a highly anticipated but yet unpublished measurement of the positron fraction in cosmic rays by the PAMELA collaboration.[7][8][9][10]

Talk on gender discrimination[edit]

On 28 September 2018, Strumia gave a presentation at CERN's first Workshop on High Energy Theory and Gender[11] that provoked considerable controversy.[12] Citing an analysis he had performed on data from the InSpire database,[13] he rejected the idea that physics suffers from gender bias against women and claimed that male scientists were victims of discrimination.[14][15][16] Strumia cited previous research which points to results commonly referred to as the "Gender Equality Paradox"—the observations that countries that score higher on measures of gender equality have a lower proportion of women in STEM fields.[17]

CERN published a short statement, removed the slides of Strumia's presentation from its conference website and suspended him from his "invited scientist" position.[12][18][19][20] A longer statement commenting on Strumia's talk, published on 2 October, received nearly 4000 signatures as of 13 October, including those of John Ellis, Howard Georgi and David Gross.[21][22][23] One supporter of Strumia was inactive scientist and former string theorist Luboš Motl, who himself had to leave Harvard in 2007 because of a conflict about sexism.[24] Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder cited papers addressing some of Strumia's conclusions and provided an alternative analysis, claiming that after accounting for disproportionately higher rates of women leaving the field the sex differences became negligible.[25][26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "CV: Alessandro Strumia". Estonian Research Information System. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Observation of a new boson at a mass of 125 GeV with the CMS experiment at the LHC". Physics Letters B. 716 (1): 30–61. 17 September 2012. arXiv:1207.7235. Bibcode:2012PhLB..716...30C. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2012.08.021.
  3. ^ Wolchover, Natalie (1 June 2013). "New Physics Complications Lend Support to Multiverse Hypothesis". Scientific American.
  4. ^ Giudice, G. F.; Sibiryakov, S.; Strumia, A. (26 September 2011). "Interpreting OPERA Results on Superluminal Neutrino". Nuclear Physics B. 861 (1): 1–16. arXiv:1109.5682. Bibcode:2012NuPhB.861....1G. doi:10.1016/j.nuclphysb.2012.03.008.
  5. ^ Overbye, Dennis (24 October 2011). "Particles Faster Than the Speed of Light? Not So Fast, Some Say". The New York Times.
  6. ^ a b "New metrics rank physicists and their work". Physics Today. 2018. doi:10.1063/pt.6.1.20180607a.
  7. ^ Cirelli, Marco; Franceschini, Roberto; Strumia, Alessandro (2008-03-29). "Minimal Dark Matter predictions for galactic positrons, anti-protons, photons". Nuclear Physics B. 800: 204–220. arXiv:0802.3378. doi:10.1016/j.nuclphysb.2008.03.013.
  8. ^ Jaffe, Andrew (2008-09-02). "Stealing Data?". Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  9. ^ Brumfiel, Geoff (2008-09-02). "Physicists aflutter about data photographed at conference". Nature. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  10. ^ Stemwedel, Janet (2008-09-05). "Data paparazzi". Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  11. ^ "1st Workshop on High Energy Theory and Gender". CERN. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  12. ^ a b Castelvecchi, Davide (1 October 2018). "CERN suspends physicist over remarks on gender bias". Nature.
  13. ^ Strumia, Alessandro; Torre, Riccardo (2018). "Biblioranking fundamental physics". arXiv:1803.10713 [cs.DL].
  14. ^ Jackson, Marie; Scott, Jennifer (3 October 2018). "Women in science: 'We want to be accepted into the club'". BBC News. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  15. ^ Ghosh, Pallab (1 October 2018). "Cern scientist: 'Physics built by men – not by invitation'". BBC News. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  16. ^ Oberhaus, Daniel (1 October 2018). "Top CERN Scientist Suspended for Presentation That Argued There Is No Sexism in Physics". Vice. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  17. ^ Stoet, Gijsbert; Geary, David C. (1 April 2018). "The Gender-Equality Paradox in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education". Psychological Science. 29 (4): 581–593. doi:10.1177/0956797617741719. PMID 29442575.
  18. ^ "CERN scientist Alessandro Strumia suspended after comments". BBC News. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  19. ^ Giuffrida, Angela; Busby, Mattha (1 October 2018). "'Physics was built by men': Cern suspends scientist over remarks". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  20. ^ McKenna, Josephine (1 October 2018). "Italian lecturer suspended by CERN for 'physics invented by men' speech". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  21. ^ Ghosh, Pallab (2018-10-05). "Scientists condemn professor's 'morally reprehensible' talk". BBC. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  22. ^ "Statement on a Recent Talk at CERN". Particles for Justice. 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  23. ^ Mandelbaum, Ryan F. (2018-10-05). "More Than 200 Physicists Denounce Sexist Lecture at CERN". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  24. ^ Sahadat, Ianthe (2018-10-05). "Theoretisch natuurkundigen schrijven antiseksismebrief" (in Dutch). de Volkskrant. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  25. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine (2018-10-05). "Gender bias in academia: The case Strumia". Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  26. ^ The Leaky Pipeline for Postdocs: A study of the time between receiving a PhD and securing a faculty job for male and female astronomers,, Kevin Flaherty, 2018-10-02.

External links[edit]