Just returning from the last of the EPAC08 series (European particle accelerator conference) in Genova, Italy. Never traveled with 70 colleagues on a bus to a conference, but not having to deal air travel and lost baggages was somewhat pleasing. The 7 hour ride was a bit long, by about a couple of hours. Perhaps the DG warned the driver of the precious cargo onboard, imagine the delay of the LHC startup without them!
Many interesting talks and posters and many more familiar faces. Talking about LHC status, the cryogenic folk expect to cool all the 8 sectors down to 1.9 K and try to finish the hardware commissioning and powering tests sometime before mid-august. The optimistic feel that the beam will make into the LHC by the end of August and have collisions in Sep-Oct. Naturally there will be delays, but will the pressure of the deadlines help speed up the commissioning and hopefully not result in some hasty decisions. It feels a bit like the pressure just before the conference submission deadlines, I mean for “last minuters” like me. It was announced that the 1400 papers submitted to EPAC08 are almost processed and available online even before the end of the conference, lets hope the LHC commissioning will beat all expectations. I leave you with one of the conclusions from the ending plenaries at EPAC where Hitoshi Murayama hopes a New York Times headline, “The other half of the world discovered”!