Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics at TU München
Munich, Germany
Advisor: Dr. Danny van Dyk
Title: "Applications of Light-Cone Sum Rules in Flavour Physics"
2017 - 2020

Master's Degree in Physics at Università "La Sapienza"
Rome, Italy
Grade: 110/110 with honours
2014 - 2016

Bachelor's Degree in Physics at Università degli Studi di Perugia
Perugia, Italy
Grade: 110/110 with honours
2011 - 2014

Academic Positions

Research Associate at University of Cambridge
Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, United Kingdom
2023 - Present

Postdoctoral Researcher at Siegen University
Department of Physics, Germany,as part of the DFG Collaborative Research Centre TRR 257 "Particle Physics Phenomenology after the Higgs Discovery"
2020 - 2023

Extended Research Stays

University of California San Diego (UCSD)
San Diego, United States
Visiting scholar
Nov - Dec 2022

Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN)
Geneva, Switzerland
Short-term visitor
Oct 2022

Kyoto University
Kyoto, Japan
Visiting scholar
Sep - Oct 2019

Teaching and Supervision

I have taught nine courses for undergraduate, masters and/or doctoral students (e.g. Electrodynamics, QCD and Hadrons, and Introduction to Flavour Physics).

I have (co-)supervised four students from bachelor to doctoral level.

A detailed list of these activities is available on request.

Invited Talks at International Conferences

I have given more than thirty invited talks at international conferences, workshops, and seminars. I have also organized several scientific events, such as CHARM 2023, the Young Scientists Meeting of the CRC TRR 257, and the HEP seminars in Munich, Siegen, and Cambridge. A detailed list of these activities is available on request.


Computing Skills
Programming languages: Python, C++, Mathematica (Wolfram Language)
Markup languages: LaTeX, HTML

Advanced Mathematical Skills
Applied mathematics, complex analysis, non-euclidean geometry, Bayesian statistics, data analysis

Italian (native language), English (fluent), Spanish (fluent), German (conversant), French (basic)

Further Information

More details about my work and publications can be found in the Research section.
You can also get in touch with me using the email and social media links in the Contact section.


This section is still under construction. In the meantime, you can check out my list of publications on my INSPIRE-HEP profile.


This section is intended for the general public and especially for people who do not know much about quantum and particle physics but would like to know more. In the next few paragraphs I will briefly review the history of particle physics and summarise its current status. I will conclude with an accessible presentations of my research.


    Physics: The study of Nature

    Curiosity is one of the defining characteristics of human beings. Curiosity drives us to ask questions, seek answers, and unravel the mysteries of the universe. It is this insatiable curiosity that drives our thirst for knowledge, fuels our scientific discoveries, and shapes the course of our history. In this relentless quest, curiosity has led us to ponder fundamental matters such as: What are we made of? How did our universe originate? What is space and time? Physics endeavours to answer these questions through the systematic study of Nature. Among the different branches of physics, I am principally interested in particle physics. The aim of this field of research is to understand the fundamental constituents of matter and the forces that govern their behaviour.

    What are we made of?

    We see and touch hundreds of objects every day. The variety of shapes, colours and sizes we observe is stunning. Even more surprising is the fact that everything is made up of 17 different types of particles. But let us take things one step at a time, introducing first the concept of atoms.

    The idea that matter is made up by basic building blocks goes back a long way. It was first proposed by the ancient Greek philosophers Leucippus of Miletus and Democritus in the fifth century BC. That is why the word atom comes from the ancient Greek word atomos, meaning indivisible. However, these were mere speculations and the modern (scientific) understanding of the atom began to emerge in the 19th century. In 1803, John Dalton proposed his atomic theory, supported by strong experimental evidence. According to this theory, matter is made up of tiny, indivisible particles (the atoms). He also suggested that not all atoms are the same, but that there are different types with different properties.

    To date, 118 different types of atoms (or elements) have been identified. This is more or less the final number of existing elements, due to the problem of nuclear stability. The most common elements on Earth include oxygen, aluminium and iron. Atoms are extremely small compared to the objects we usually deal with in our everyday lives. In fact, the typical diameter of an atom is less than a billionth of a millimetre. To give you an idea of how small atoms are, a grain of salt contains about a quintillion atoms, or if you prefer, a million million million (=1,000,000,000,000,000,000) atoms. Please take this information with a grain of salt.

    Atoms can combine to form molecules through chemical bonds. Molecules in turn assemble into complex structures like cells, which are the basic units of life. Within cells, intricate processes take place to carry out the functions necessary for living beings. In the case of humans, billions of cells, each with specific roles and functions, come together to form tissues, organs and ultimately an entire organism.

    The discovery of the atom was undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind. Thanks to this discovery, we are nowadays able to diagnose diseases, generate energy and develop new materials for various applications. However, we now know that atoms are not the fundamental building blocks of matter. In other words, they are made up of other particles which, according to our current knowledge, are fundamental. Hence, to get the ultimate answer to the question "what are we made of", we have to answer the question "what are atoms made of". But how to find out what is inside something so small?

    The dawn of particle physics

    Were it not so long, I would have titled this paragraph "The story of physicists and their insatiable passion for particle collisions". The story begins at the end of the 19th century, when Thomson discovered the electron at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University in 1897. A few years later, Geiger and Marsden, under the supervision of Rutherford, carried out a series of experiments to clarify the structure of the atom. The experiment that went down in history consisted of firing positively charged particles — called \(\alpha\) particles, which we now know to be helium nuclei — at a gold foil. Geiger and Marsden observed to their amazement that about one out of every ten thousand \(\alpha\) particles was reflected, i.e. were deflected at an angle greater than 90°, while the others passed through the foil or were slightly deflected. The astonishment arose from the fact that the atomic model of the time proposed by Thomson himself did not predict such an outcome of the experiment. Indeed, in Thomson's model, atoms resembled a "plum pudding", with the positive charge evenly distributed throughout the atom and the negatively charged electrons embedded in it. According to this model, most of the \(\alpha\) particles should have passed straight through the foil with little to no deflection, as they encountered very few obstacles. Rutherford himself famously explained this result by saying, "It was as if you had fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it had come back and hit you". To explain the experimental results, Rutherford proposed a new atomic model. In this new model the positive charge is concentrated in a compact nucleus at the centre of the atom, while the electrons revolve around the nucleus itself. For this reason, the Rutherford model is also called the planetary model. This model laid the foundation for the later quantum model of the atom proposed by Bohr, which is still valid today.

    Geiger and Marsden's experiment explains one of the reasons why colliding particles can be useful. By shooting particles at a fixed target or making them collide, we can understand both their "shape" and whether they are themselves made up of even smaller particles. (Shape refers to the geometry of the potentials through which the particles interact. In the experiment considered, the shape in question is that of the electromagnetic potential of the nucleus of a gold atom.) There is no other way to understand what is inside an atom, or even worse what happens inside the nucleus of an atom, as it is impossible to observe such phenomena with any optical microscope. In fact, an atom is hundreds of times smaller than the wavelength of light visible to the human eye. Such experiments can therefore be seen as a natural evolution of the optical microscope concept.

    The concept of understanding the shape of particles and their internal structure through collisions is the basis of particle physics. Hence, I will try to further clarify it using a simple example. Imagine to open a garage door. You are outside the garage and you want to know what is inside. However, the garage is dark and you cannot see anything. You can also smell gas, so you don't want to enter the garage for fear of being poisoned. Fortunately, you have just come from a fantastic tennis match (you won 6-2 6-1) and you have some tennis balls with you. You have an idea. You throw the tennis balls inside the garage and observe how they bounce back. From the way the tennis balls bounce back and the time they take to do so, you can immediately understand how full the garage is. By analysing further the way the tennis balls bounce back, you can also understand the shape of the objects inside the garage. Did I manage to convince you that colliding particles is a good idea to understand their properties?

    Aside: The structure of the atom and the antimatter

    Before continuing, let me clarify some concepts that are fundamental to understanding the next section. As I explained above, the atom is made up of a nucleus and electrons orbiting around it. (This is a simplification, but it is sufficient for our purposes.) The nucleus contains almost all the mass of the atom, about 99.9%, while the electrons, being much lighter, contribute negligibly to the total mass, i.e. less than 0.01%. However, it is much smaller than the atom itself, about 10,000 times smaller. To put this in perspective, if the nucleus were the size of a football, the atom would be the size of a football stadium. The nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons. Protons have a positive charge, while neutrons have no charge. Since the atom is electrically neutral, the number of protons is equal to the number of electrons. What distinguishes one element from another is only the number of protons in the nucleus. For example, hydrogen has one proton, helium two, and so on. The number of elements is however finite, as I mentioned earlier. This is due to the fact that nuclei with a large number of protons and neutrons are unstable and decay into lighter nuclei. It is important to stress that, according to our current knowledge, protons and neutrons are not fundamental particles, but are made up of even smaller particles called quarks. On the other hand, electrons are considered fundamental particles.

    Let me mention something that a physicist might consider trivial, but not everyone is familiar with. Whenever we touch an object, like a table, what happens at the microscopic level is that the electrons in the atoms of our fingertips repel the electrons in the atoms of the table. This is due to the electromagnetic force, which states that two negative particles (like electrons) repel each other. As a result, we never actually "touch" anything in the sense of direct contact at the atomic level. Instead, it's the electromagnetic force between the electrons that we perceive as the sensation of touch. Furthermore, all fundamental particles are considered to be point-like, i.e. they have no size. Therefore, there is never any direct contact between particles, but only interactions through the fundamental forces (electromagnetic, weak, strong and gravitational).

    Another important concept to clarify is that of antimatter. Antimatter is like a mirror image of matter. For every type of particle in matter, there's a corresponding antiparticle in antimatter. For example, the antiparticle of an electron (a tiny negatively charged particle) is called a positron (which has a positive charge). When matter and antimatter come together, they annihilate each other, that is, they disappear in a burst of energy. This energy release is extremely powerful. According to Einstein's famous formula \(E=mc^2\), the energy released is equal to the mass of the particles multiplied by the speed of light squared. For instance, if a few grains of matter salt and antimatter salt were to annihilate, they would release an amount of energy equivalent to that released by the Little Boy bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Please take this information with a grain of salt. Luckily, our universe is essentially made up of matter, while the production of (very little) antimatter occurs in very energetic processes. So don't worry, the next time you put salt on your pasta, you won't be risking a nuclear explosion. One might naively expect antimatter and matter to be equally abundant in the Universe, and our current theories support this expectation. But what we observe is different, and so the fact that the universe is mostly matter is one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in contemporary physics.

    The advent of particle accelerators

    Syncroton Image

    Schematic diagram of a synchrotron in which electrons and positrons collide.
    The first particle accelerators were built in the late 1920s, although particle physics mostly developed after the Second World War. The purpose of these machines is to create beams of particles, accelerate them to speeds close to the speed of light, and make them collide with each other. (The speed of light is about 3·108 m/s, or more than a billion kilometres per hour.) The particles most commonly used are protons, electrons, anti-protons and positrons, although heavy metal nuclei are also sometimes used. Some accelerators collide beams of the same particles, e.g. electron-electron, while others collide two beams of different particles: electron-positron, electron-proton, etc. Modern accelerators are almost all synchrotrons. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland, better known as the LHC, is the world's largest and most powerful accelerator, a proton-proton synchrotron. The LHC is one of the most impressive feats ever achieved by mankind. It cost around €4.75 billion to build (not including the cost of digging the 27-kilometre tunnel that houses the accelerator and the four caverns that house the various experiments) and requires an additional €5.5 billion a year to operate.

    Synchrotrons have a circular (or rather polygonal) shape and consist of two pipes with a diameter of several tens of centimetres, through each of which particle beams are passed. The particle beams in the two different pipes travel in opposite directions (see figure). Clearly, air is removed from these pipes, i.e. a vacuum is created so that the beams can travel unimpeded. In a synchrotron, beams of particles are accelerated along the two pipes by alternating electric fields, while magnetic fields guide and concentrate the beams, ensuring they maintain a circular trajectory and avoid dispersion.

    The maximum (kinetic) energy that a synchrotron can reach is determined by mainly two factors. The first is the type of particle being accelerated. The heavier the particle, the greater its energy. The second is the circumference of the synchrotron. With each revolution, a particle gradually sheds energy due to synchrotron radiation. Put plainly, when a charged particle is bent, it emits radiation, causing energy loss. This radiation is called synchrotron radiation. For this reason, it is not possible to accelerate particles indefinitely, because at a certain point the energy provided by the electric fields at each revolution is equal to the energy lost to the synchrotron radiation. Since the synchrotron radiation is inversely proportional to the radius of the synchrotron itself, synchrotrons with larger radii will be able to reach higher speeds. This explains why we need an accelerator 27 kilometres long like the LHC, and why we will need an even larger one if we want to reach higher energies.

    Quantum collisions

    Particle accelerators are not simply sophisticated microscopes for studying the shapes of potentials and the possible substructure of particles in beams, but are much more. To understand this, you first need to know the difference between classical and quantum collisions.

    Let us consider, for example, a billiard table. Classical mechanics tells us that by making different billiard balls collide with each other, the balls will take different directions after the collision. It is possible to calculate the direction and speed of the balls after the collision if the direction and speed of the balls before the collision are known. Imagine increasing the speed of the balls disproportionately, causing them to jump off the table or even break on impact, but nothing more can happen.

    That is pretty intuitive to understand, right? Now forget it, because collisions in quantum (relativistic) mechanics can have very different outcomes from those in classical mechanics. I already have Einstein's famous formula above: \(E=mc^2\). This formula implies that mass and energy are equivalent, i.e. they are two sides of the same coin. Hence, mass can be converted into energy and vice versa. The case of matter antimatter annihilation is an example of the conversion of mass into energy. A high-energy particle collision is an example of the conversion of energy into mass. The mass-energy equivalence, which may seem strange at first, has surprising consequences. The energy released in a collision generates new particles, which can be completely different from the particles that collided. For instance, by colliding two electrons, it is possible to create every particle in the universe whose mass is less than or equal to the energy of the collision. So, in the quantum world, the collision of two billiard balls at sufficient speed could create a rugby ball, a cake, or even a house. Strange right? Let me point out something about this example. While it's true that in theory, particles and billiard balls at sufficient energy levels could potentially form macroscopic objects through various interactions and combinations, in practice, this doesn't occur for mainly reasons. First, it is not possible in practice to achieve the extremely high energies required to trigger such phenomena. Second, the likelihood of the products of a collision arranging into recognizable macroscopic objects like rugby balls, bedside tables, or houses is incredibly low due to the complexity of such arrangements and the dominance of statistical processes at the quantum level. Nevertheless, quantum effects are observable in collisions between subatomic particles.

    Therefore, by using particle accelerators and colliding electrons and/or protons with each other it was possible to create the fundamental particles (or what we believe to be such) that constitute the entire visible universe. To date, 17 (types of) fundamental particles have been identified: the electron and two of its heavier brothers (muons and tauons), three neutrinos, six quarks, the photon, the W and Z bosons , the gluon, and the Higgs boson. These particles combine, interact with each other, and interact to form the objects we see and use in everyday life.

    I hope that I have convinced you that colliding subatomic particles is much more fun and interesting than it might seem. For instance, every collision at the LHC between two protons creates thousands of particles. This can give an idea of how complicated both the work of experimental physicists is, given that around 600 million collisions per second occur at the LHC, and that of theorists like me, who have to calculate the outcome of these collisions.

    The ultimate goal of particle physics is to understand what the primary constituents of matter are and the forces that regulate the entire universe. This is done precisely by comparing the experimental measurements with the theoretical calculations. If there is agreement between the two, it means that our theory of fundamental interactions (excluding the gravitational one) is correct, otherwise the theory is incomplete and requires some modifications. The current theory of fundamental interactions is called the Standard Model, which was formulated in the late 1960s and still works successfully today. The Standard Model describes the interactions and motion of the 17 particles listed above. Trying to test the Standard Model also explains the need for more powerful particle accelerators, i.e. larger synchrotrons. In fact, by reaching higher energies it is possible to create new fundamental particles not yet discovered and therefore not included in the Standard Model. The discovery of new particles is absolutely not an end in itself, but a fundamental step forward towards the complete understanding of the universe and the formulation of the "theory of everything".

    Flavourful particles

    What I am specifically concerned with is called flavour physics. The name comes from the fact that the six different types of quarks are called flavours. Flavour physics studies the interactions and decays of quarks in detail. The aim is once again to test the Standard Model, but instead of trying to find particles at higher and higher energies, flavour physics tries to carry out precision tests. In other words, by comparing experimental measurements of the decays of quarks of different flavours with precise theoretical predictions, it is possible to discover new particles in an indirect way. In fact, if the measurements find something different from our calculations, it means that there are new forces never considered before and therefore new particles. I am mainly concerned with the study of the beauty quark, because it is one of the heaviest and therefore most interesting flavours of quark to study.


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