Blogging ICHEP 2010

A collective forum about the 35th edition of
the International Conference on High Energy Physics (Paris, July 2010)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Very Last Summary

This is my last entry on this forum: my summary of the conference...better late than sorry :-)
  • Most Important Result: The Higgs exclusion limits from the Tevatron, of course. Anytime now we may get the answer to one of the most important question in particles physics. Not this time yet, but the thrill is on.
  • Most Intriguing Result: the forward-backward asymmetry of top decays at CDF has been updated to $15 \pm 5$ percent and lingers 2 sigma away from the SM prediction of approximately 5 percent.
  • Most Relieving Result: the poster from the HARP collaboration saying that the LSND anomaly was due to underestimated contamination of the beam with anti-electron neutrinos. If confirmed, that would solve the 10-years-long puzzle what went wrong in LSND.
  • Best Presentation: Nicolas Sarkozy. Gee, this guy knows how to talk, especially when contrasted with mumblings physicists. What fervor, what mimics, what gestures (ok, forget the jokes).
  • Best Presentation, seriously: Ben Kilminster, Higgs limits from the Tevatron. Maybe it's because when holding the remote he looks just like Colin Farrel in Bruges, or maybe because the presentation was clear, concise, and illuminating.
  • Worst Presentation: summary of BSM searches. Unfortunately, good experimental talks are rare. The cardinal sins are too much material, overcrowded slides, superficialness, no attempt at explaining presented results or methodology, and misleading theoretical interpretation.
  • Best Animation: the Planck satellite sweeping the sky while uncovering the temperature map. That was just lovely.
  • Best Music: given the number of cell phones in the audience, the competition is always fierce in this category. But if what I heard on the first day was really Genesis' Firth of Fifth, that obviously trumps anything.
  • Overall Impression: Even though and Paris is always worth a mass, the conference was pretty well organized, and I had fun at times, my opinion about the ICHEP series has not changed. Conferences with 1000+ participants are dinosaurs; more a brontosaurus rather than a T.Rex. Parallel sessions contain some interesting material, but the shortness of the talks and no time for discussions preclude any deeper insight. Plenary sessions on the other hand are typically hasty and overloaded summaries of what we already heard in the parallels. Alas, one needs an astereoid strike for dinosaurs to be replaced by more flexible maybe see you again in 2 years, upside down ;-)

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