Greetings from Athens where I have been for the Neutrino 2010 Conference! As this is my first post, let me just briefly introduce myself. I am a particle theorist working on beyond the standard model physics. Particularly I have been interested in the origin of fermion masses and mixing (including the neutrinos, of course!) and have been trying to gain some insights into this problem by constructing models utilizing a variety kinds of new physics (grand unification, extra dimensions, Z'...).
Getting back to the Neutrino 2010 Conference. Some of the highlights of the conference were the new results from MINOS and MiniBoone. The MINOS Collaboration updated their results on the neutrino mode with more than double the data from their previous update in 2008. Updated results on the antineutrino mode were also presented. What is puzzling is the fact that the best fit value for the mass square difference extracted from the antineutrino mode is 3.36 x 10(-3) eV^2, which is far higher than the value determined using the neutrino mode data, 2.35 x 10^(-3) eV^2. One should note that the result for the neutrino mode was based on 7 x 10^(20) POT while the antineutrino mode result was based on significantly low statistics of 1.71 x 10^(20) POT. If the results turn out to be correct, it could mean CPT violation or the existence of new neutrino interaction. Clearly these data are still very preliminary and we should wait and see how this discrepancy disolve when more data becomes available.
MiniBoone also presented the results for both the neutrino and antineutrino modes. For both modes, an excess in the electron-like events was found in the low energy region. For the neutrino mode, there is an unexplained 3 sigma electron-like excess in the region of energy > 475 MeV, while in the region below 475 MeV the fit does not agree with LSND. For the anti-neutrino mode, there is a small excess above 475 MeV and the fit below 475 MeV agree with LSND result. It would be interesting to see if the low energy excess is still present when more statistics have been accumulated and when we have a better understanding of the background in the low energy region.
For the Neutrino Conference series, it has been the case that there are plenary sessions only. One thing that has been started since Neutrino 2008 in Christ Church, New Zealand, is the poster session. This is not uncommon in physics conferences, but what is special is the 3 min talks that enable the poster presenters to advertise their posters. Given that there are more than one hundred of them, the execution of the "3 min talk sessions" was quite an operation! Fortunately, the sessions went very smoothly, and since the talks were only for 3 min duration each, the speakers really had to get to the point right away making it an efficient way to learn numerous new results.
In addition to the exciting physics, life in Athens has been quite an experience. As you all know, there have been several protests and riots in Athens due to the economic crisis. Today is the third day since the Metro has gone on strike. This has posted a big problem for conference participants as most of us are staying quite far from the Megaron conference center and the Metro is the best way to get there from the hotels especially given that it is extrememly hard to get a taxis in central Athens. Hopefully the strike will end soon, or at the very least that it will not be extended to the airport in the next few days when everyone will be flying out of Athens.
This is it for this post. In the next one, I will report on the theoretical developments and additional experimental updates that I have learned at the conference as well as my overall impressions. So stay tuned.