Community Profile: Raffaele Tito D'Agnolo


Name: Raffaele Tito D'Agnolo


Current position: Faculty


Affiliation: Paris-Saclay University and CEA IPhT Saclay


Field of research: Theoretical Particle Physics




 

What is your career trajectory to date?

- PhD Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (2013)

- 2013-2016 Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA

- 2017 Post-doc, EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland

- 2018-2019 Research Associate, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, USA

- 2019-present, Tenured Staff Scientist, CEA IPhT Saclay, France

- 2020-present, Adjunct Professor, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.


What are the most exciting open questions in your research area?

The Higgs boson mass and the cosmological constant are many orders of magnitude (17 and 120 respectively) smaller than we expect them to be theoretically. This has a tremendous impact on reality. It allows the universe to be macroscopic and non-empty. It also allows complex nuclei to exist and as a consequence complex chemistry and life to be possible.


What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

I like the freedom, the opportunity to measure ourselves against questions that are more absolute and fundamental than human experience, the privilege of never being bored and the many occasions that we have to travel. There is not much that I dislike, at the moment mostly having to apply for grants :).


In your career so far, at what point were you the most excited, and what were you excited about?


Probably when the Higgs boson was discovered in 2012, with a close second being the first detection of gravitational waves.


What advances or new results are you excited about or looking forward to?

Probing primordial gravitational wave spectra.


What is the biggest obstacle that is slowing down your research field right now?

Uncertainty. We have no idea where the next big discovery in particle physics will be coming from and we are fragmented in a multitude of factions supporting different experiments and visions of physics.


What role do you think a community network like EuCAPT can play in developing theoretical astroparticle physics and cosmology in Europe?

Bringing the particle physics and cosmology communities closer together. There is already a good amount of cross-contamination, but we can always do better.


What’s your favorite food?

Too many to list. My favorite dessert is Mont Blanc.