Salvatore COSTA

Professor of Experimental physics [FIS/01]
Office: DFA 322
Phone: 5329
Mobile: +39 347 3675196
Web Site:
Office Hours: Tuesday from 10:00 to 10:10 (Students must join the teacher in his office during these 10 minutes, but then they will be devoted all the time needed) | Thursday from 17:00 to 17:10 (Students must join the teacher in his office during these 10 minutes, but then they will be devoted all the time needed)

Research activities:

  1. Physics of fundamental interactions: CMS experiment at the CERN LHC.
  2. Cosmic-Ray physics: Auger experiment at the Pierre Auger Observatory.
  3. Neutrino physics: JUNO experiment in China.

ORCID: 0000-0001-9919-0569.

(Last update: 18 July 2019)

  • Professor of Experimental Physics at University of Catania – Department of Physics and Astronomy.



  • Graduated in Physics with full marks and laude on 13 December 1977, defending a thesis on “Below-threshold photo-fission of 238U”.



  • UniCT: Full Professor (as of 2 March 2018)
  • UniCT: Associate Professor (1 November 2011 – 1 March 2018)
  • LBNL: Visiting Researcher (1989-1993)
  • UniCT: Researcher (17 April 1984 – 31 October 2001)
  • CSFNSM: Fellow (1979-1983)


Managerial Roles

  • President of the Quality Assurance Panel of the Physics and Astronomy Department of University of Catania (since March 2018).
  • Former Deputy Director of the Physics and Astronomy Department of University of Catania (November 2016-October 2018).
  • Former member of the Physics and Astronomy Department of University of Catania's Directorate Board (2007-2016).
  • Former member of the Research Committee for Physical Sciences ("02") of UniCT (2004-2009).
  • Former member (representing the Catania INFN Section) of the Commissione Scientifica Nazionale 1 of INFN (July 2015-June 2019).
  • Former member of the INFN National Researcher's Council as Representative of the INFN-Catania researchers (2009-2010).
  • Organization of scientific events such as International Conferences (CRIS1996, CRIS1998, CRIS2000, CRIS2002, CRIS2018), Collaboration meetings (e.g. EOS collaboration in 1996, CMS Pixel Workshop in 2013), official committee’s meetings (INFN CSN1 multiple times).


Teaching experience

  • 2009-present:  Laboratorio di Fisica II (A-L)  for the bachelor degree in Physics.
  • 2003-2010: Fisica I and/or Fisica II for the bachelor degree in Mathematics.
  • 2002-2003: Fisica Generale II for the bachelor degree in Information Technology.
  • 2001-2002: Laboratorio di Fisica Generale for the bachelor degrees in Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry.
  • 1999-2004: Esperienze Didattiche di Fisica for SISSIS.
  • 1993-2001: Lab assistance in Esperimentazioni di Fisica II (A-L) for the bachelor degree in Physics.
  • 1990-1991: Esercitazioni di Fisica Generale I for the bachelor degree in Physics.
  • 1983-1988: Esercitazioni di Fisica Generale II for the bachelor degree in Physics.


Research activity, current and past

  • Member of the JUNO collaboration (study of neutrino oscillations and neutrino mass hierarchy) at the Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory (since 2018).
  • Member of the Auger collaboration (study of cosmic ray spectrum, origin, nature) at the Pierre Auger Observatory (since 2017).
  • Member of the CMS collaboration (search for the Higgs boson, supersymmetry, dark matter etc.) at the CERN LHC (since 2001).
  • As member of the CMS experiment is one of the discoverers of the Higgs boson (July 2012).
  • Has developed high managerial skills, by covering a relevant managerial position in the CMS experiment as Resources Manager of the Tracker project for 9 years (2009-2017). In this position has managed yearly budgets of about 1-2 M€ for the maintenance and operation of the detector as well as two upgrade detector construction projects worth 15 M€ and 100 M€, respectively.
  • Is presently member of the Upgrade Office of the Italian component of the CMS Collaboration (since February 2019).
  • Expert of detector design, construction, and test, has played key roles in the construction of the original CMS and of the so-called phase-1 upgraded Pixel detector, and is now involved with the design and prototyping of the so-called phase-2 upgraded Tracker detector.
  • Expert of detector operation, has been responsible for control, safety and operation of the CMS Tracker detector (2008-2011), and then of the entire CMS experiment (2011 onwards).
  • Before joining CMS was the key person of a long-lasting collaboration between INFN-Catania and several American groups in three collaborations:
  1. TRANSPORT (Measurements of as many cross sections as possible of heavy ions on hydrogen and helium targets to contribute to the construction of a database for the models of cosmic-ray transport through the interstellar medium, 1988-1991) at LBNL;
  2. EOS (study of nuclear matter under high density and temperature conditions and equation of state, 1991-1995) at LBNL;
  3. E896 (search for the elusive 6-quark particle H0, 1993-2000) at BNL.
  • For these three experiments was the sole responsible for the control, operation (hardware- and software-wise), maintenance, calibration, data reduction and data analysis of a scintillator detector and was strongly involved also in more general tasks of the experiments.
  • Earlier on, just after graduation (1977), had been involved in multiple applications of statistical thermodynamics to phenomenological studies in the fields of:
  1. solid state physics and biophysics (1978-1982);
  2. nuclear multi-fragmentation (1982-1986) - this work led to the publication of a famous paper [Il Nuovo Cimento A, 89 (1985) 1] where a procedure to determine the temperature of the multi-fragmenting source was proposed, which was then adopted by all groups working in the field worldwide.
  • For several years (1981-1987) had also conducted standard nuclear physics measurements in two INFN laboratories: LNL and LNS.


Scientific Publications

Prof. Salvatore Costa is author of about 1000 scientific publications. The full list is maintained in the UniCT IRIS product catalogue: "UniCT IRIS catalogue: Salvatore Costa".

Prof. Salvatore Costa is author of about 1000 scientific papers.
A complete list can be found in the official IRIS catalogue of University of Catania: "UniCT IRIS catalogue: Salvatore Costa".
A selection of 20 papers representative of the whole research career of Prof. Costa is listed below:

  1. S.Albergo, S.Costa, E.Costanzo and A.Rubbino
    Temperature and Free-Nucleon Densities of Nuclear Matter Exploding into Light Clusters in Heavy-Ion Collisions
    Il Nuovo Cimento A, 89 (1985) 1
  2. S.Albergo, S.Costa, M.Mazzeo, D.Nicotra, G.Poli, R.Potenza, C.Tuvè, H.J.Crawford and I.Flores
    Position Sensitive Scintillator Discs for Intermediate and High Energy Neutron Spectroscopy
    Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A, 311 (1992) 280
  3. C.Tuvè, S.Albergo, D.Boemi, Z.Caccia, C.X.Chen, S.Costa, H.J.Crawford, M.Cronqvist, J.Engelage, L.Greiner, T.G.Guzik, A.Insolia, C.N.Knott, P.J.Lindstrom, J.W.Mitchell, R.Potenza, S.Reito, J.Romanski, G.V.Russo, A.Soutoul, O.Testard, C.E.Tull, C.J.Waddington, W.R.Webber, and J.P.Wefel (The Transport Collaboration)
    Neutron Production at 0o from the 40Ca + H Reaction at Elab = 357 and 565 MeV/amu
    Physical Review C, 56 (1997) 1057-1063
  4. J.B.Elliott, L.G.Moretto, L.Phair, G.J.Wozniak, S.Albergo, F.Bieser, F.P.Brady, Z.Caccia, D.A.Cebra, A.D.Chacon, J.L.Chance, Y.Choi, S.Costa, M.L.Gilkes, J.A.Hauger, A.S.Hirsch, E.L.Hjort, A.Insolia, M.Justice, D.Keane, J.C.Kintner, V.Lindenstruth, M.A.Lisa, H.S.Matis, M.McMahan, C.McParland, W.F.J.Müller, D.L.Olson, M.D.Partlan, N.T.Porile, R.Potenza, G.Rai, J.Rasmussen, H.G.Ritter, J.Romanski, J.L.Romero, G.V.Russo, H.Sann, R.P.Scharenberg, A.Scott, Y.Shao, B.K.Srivastava, T.J.M.Symons, M.Tincknell, C.Tuvè, S.Wang, P.Warren, H.H.Wieman, T.Wienold, and K.Wolf (EOS Collaboration)
    Constructing the Phase Diagram of Finite Neutral Nuclear Matter
    Physical Review C, 67 (2003) 024609
  5. The CMS Collaboration (including S.Costa)
    The CMS high level trigger
    European Physical Journal C, 46 (2006) 605-667
  6. W.Adam, …, S.Costa,…, et al.
    The CMS Tracker operation and performance at the Magnet Test and Cosmic Challenge
    Journal of Instrumentation, 3 (2008) P07006
  7. S.Almaviva, V.Bellini, F.Caridi,S. Costa, F.Mammoliti, D.Margarone, M.Marinelli, E.Milani, R.Potenza, G.Prestopino, C.Sutera, L.Torrisi, A.Tucciarone, C.Tuvè, C.Verona, G.Verona-Rinati
    Thin-film CVD single-crystal diamonds for high-energy ion beam detection
    Radiation Effects and Defects in Solids, 164 (2009) 363-368
  8. V. Khachatryan et al. (CMS Collaboration) (including S.Costa)
    Transverse-Momentum and Pseudorapidity Distributions of Charged Hadrons in pp Collisions at 7 TeV
    Physical Review Letters, 105 (2010) 022002
  9. CMS Collaboration (including S.Costa)
    Observation of Long-Range, Near-Side Angular Correlations in Proton-Proton Collisions at the LHC
    Journal of High Energy Physics, 09 (2010) 091
  10. S.Chatrchyan et al. (CMS Collaboration) (including S.Costa)
    Search for Supersymmetry at the LHC in Events with Jets and Missing Transverse Energy
    Physical Review Letters, 107 (2011) 221804
  11. CMS Collaboration (including S.Costa)
    Combined results of searches for the standard model Higgs boson in pp collisions at 7 TeV
    Physics Letters B, 710 (2012) 26-48
  12. CMS Collaboration (including S.Costa)
    Observation of a new boson at a mass of 125 GeV with the CMS experiment at the LHC
    Physics Letters B, 716 (2012) 30-61
  13. S.Chatrchyan et al. (CMS Collaboration) (including S.Costa)
    Observation of a New Ξb baryon
    Physical Review Letters, 108 (2012) 252002
  14. S.Chatrchyan et al. (CMS Collaboration) (including S.Costa)
    Study of the Mass and Spin-Parity of the Higgs Boson Candidate via Its Decays to Z Boson Pairs
    Physical Review Letters, 110 (2013) 081803
  15. S.Chatrchyan et al. (CMS Collaboration) (including S.Costa)
    Measurement of the properties of a Higgs boson in the four-lepton final state
    Physical Review D, 89 (2014) 092007
  16. CMS Collaboration (including S.Costa)
    Evidence for the direct decay of the 125 GeV Higgs boson to fermions
    Nature Physics, 10 (2014) 557-560
  17. CMS Collaboration (including S.Costa)
    Precise determination of the mass of the Higgs boson and tests of compatibility of its couplings with the standard model predictions using proton collisions at 7 and 8 TeV
    European Physical Journal C, 75 (2015) 212
  18. CMS Collaboration (including S.Costa) and LHCb Collaboration
    Observation of the rare Bs0 →µ+µ decay from the combined analysis of CMS and LHCb data
    Nature, 522 (2015) 68-72
  19. CMS Collaboration (including S. Costa)
    Observation of top quark pairs produced in association with a vector boson in pp collisions at 8 TeV
    Journal of High Energy Physics, 01 (2016) 096
  20. CMS Collaboration (including S. Costa)
    Search for dark matter and unparticles in events with a Z boson and missing transverse momentum in proton-proton collisions at 13 TeV
    Journal of High Energy Physics, 03 (2017) 061


The research activities of Prof. Salvatore Costa concern the elementary composition of matter, the fundamental interactions among particles composing matter at the elementary level, history and evolution of the Universe. Such a broad scientific interest for understanding matter and the Universy at a fundamental level is embodied in the current participation of Prof. Costa into three important experiments, all carried out by large international collaborations:

  1. Physics of fundamental interactions: CMS experiment at the CERN LHC accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland
  2. Cosmic-Ray physics: Auger experiment at the Pierre Auger Observatory in Malargüe, province of Mendoza, Argentina
  3. Neutrino physics: JUNO experiment in Jiangmen, province of Guangdong, China