05 August 2010

ICHEP 2010 Summary

Given the size of ICHEP, my experience is only a small sample.

Overall, I got the impression that neutrino physics is an extremely active field with a large number of experiments either collecting data or being constructed. The only real disappointment at the conference with neutrinos was that NOvA did not get a talk and that not many abstracts from MINOS were accepted.

I also was personally glad to see that my thesis work on B→ τ ν was mentioned several times and is a source of tension with the Standard Model. See slides 21-23 of the plenary Rare B Decay talk and slide 31 of the plenary CKM review talk.

As expected, the LHC experiments showed their first results. They are rediscovering the SM quite quickly. I was surprised at how many analyses had results ready for the conference.

The only other disappointment came in the form of the Conference “Dinner.” The quotation marks are very deliberate. The reality is described in part on an ICHEP 2010 blog entry. It was not a dinner; it was a cocktails and appetizers with too many people, too little food, and too little space. It was, in the words of one of our colleagues, an “unmitigated disaster.” To the organizers’ credit, they did give 50% refunds of the accompanying person fee.

The coffee break food and beverages were quite good with large fruit baskets being part of most of the coffee breaks.

The conference had two big surprises. The biggest surprise for most people was that “opening” talk given on Monday by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France! I thought his speech was very good, even though he made one historical error (Galileo did not go to prison). He talked much about the need to defend and promote science to the general public. He also announced a large proposed funding project for Saclay. The speech was interpreted into English in real time via headsets; that led to some interesting artifacts like people laughing at two different times to the same joke and the English interpreter consistently referring to members of our field as “physicians” rather than physicists.

The biggest surprise for me was winning the First Prize Poster award. Thank you for your help, and I thank God for giving me the opportunity and ability to do so. My poster is available online as a PDF.

This entry is intended a summary of the conference in Paris. Details about the rest of our trip will come when we have finished sorting through the hundreds of pictures we took!

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