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News from ICTP 85 - Features - HG Casini



First Young Student


Horacio German Casini, a theoretical physicist from Argentina, is the first Young Student to visit the ICTP under the Centre's new Associateship Scheme. Nominated by ICTP Regular Associate Cesar Fosco, Casini arrived the second week of June. He remained in Trieste until 20 July to attend the Introductory School on String Theory and the Summer School in High Energy Physics and Cosmology.

Several days before his arrival, a team of Japanese/American experimental physicists, working in Takayama, Japan, announced tests at their facility showed that neutrinos oscillate--and therefore have a mass. The finding, which carries wide-ranging implications for physics, thrilled Casini because neutrinos are his major field of research.

"The finding may lay to rest one of the most perplexing questions facing physics today, but that's not the end of the story," Casini says. "Experimental physicists may now have shown that neutrinos oscillate, but theorists are still trying to figure why they oscillate. The latter is a fundamental question requiring both an intense examination of basic principles and the use of computer models."

Casini, who was born in San Nicolas, near Buenos Aires, presently works at the Institute Balseiro, part of the Atomic Centre of Bariloche in Northern Patagonia, in southern Argentina. Besides his interests in neutrinos, he has published several research papers on astrophysics addressing such topics as the Big Bang and the neutron stars.

What's the situation for young physicists in Argentina today? "Money is always an issue," says Casini. "But the most serious problem is that the average age of our researchers is increasing. For example, at Argentina's National Commission for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), it's more than 45. As a result, young people have great difficulty securing permanent employment."

"Coming to Trieste has been a wonderful opportunity," Casini says. "I 've been able to learn more about my field from accomplished teachers and to meet people from many different cultures. It was great fun to have a beer in the evening with my colleagues while watching the World Cup. The memories will last a lifetime­and I hope the friendships will too."


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