Seminars at the Accelerator - Everything you never wanted to know about "How to simulate a spectrum"
13.11.2014 - 13.11.2014
CMAM - Madrid
Informal seminars at the Accelerator


Speaker:  Nuno Pessoa Barradas, Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares, Universidade de Lisboa

Title: Everything you never wanted to know about "How to simulate a spectrum"

Abstract: Analytical simulation of IBA techniques started officially with Jim Ziegler's program "IBA", presented in the proceedings of the 2nd IBA conference. Since then, first with RUMP, then with NDF and SIMNRA, we have come a long way, and in the last decade or two several of the hardest problems were solved, or at least addressed well enough for most cases. Codes can now do many things, sometimes very complex. Simple cases can be handled by novices, but more knowledge is required to use the codes well. The users need to know which features are needed in which cases, and what are the limits of the codes'
capabilities. Automated fitting means pretty fits can almost always be obtained, but a beautiful fit can, and sometimes does, correspond to a severely wrong result. What is worse, a user that does not fully understand the fundamentals and the details of the techniques, may rely on the results provided by a computer code to such an extent that they will not realize that the results are wrong.

This talk tries to convey some of the knowledge of an expert on the field - i.e. someone who has made very many mistakes, and hopes others can also learn from them. Starting with a review of some of the fine details in IBA simulation, then showing some of my own mistakes, the conclusion becomes clear: Never trust a computer code, particularly if it is very sophisticated; codes are just a (wonderful) tool, and knowledge and critical thinking are essential to use them.



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The seminar takes place at the meeting room of the CMAM