Last week I attended the 2009 meeting of American Physical Society’s Division of Particles and Fields (APS DPF) at Wayne State University in Detroit. Most of the conference is devoted to recent experimental and theoretical high-energy physics developments with a smattering of related topics here and there. I was a co-convener for the Accelerator Physics parallel sessions and I also gave a talk on the recent performance and prospects for the Tevatron. There were over 300 people registered with lots of topics to cover – almost too many, really, since there were many parallel sessions in the afternoons and not enough time to circulate and explore them. I was disappointed that only a few experimental HEP folks attended any of the accelerator sessions. My co-convener (Pavel Snopok) and I invited speakers to give more general talks than they might give at an accelerator physics conference in hopes of attracting some HEP physicists. Too bad – too many sessions, not enough time.
One session that I did attend (in part) was for Education and Outreach in HEP. Physicists are becoming better at communicating with the public, and there are some very good educational programs that involve high school students and teachers. Fermilab’s own Kathryn Grim gave an overview of the web-based opportunities that are available, like Facebook, Twitter, and blog sites such as Quantum Diaries, and how people are using it. I find it truly amazing how fast Facebook and Twitter usage is growing.
The conference dinner was held at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. What a cool place! Although I lived in Ann Arbor for nearly 8 years, I had never gone to that museum before. It had much more than old cars – planes, trains, farm equipment, industrial machines. I should take my family to visit there sometime soon. I’m sure the girls would love the old camping vehicles and enjoy lunch at the Wienermobile Cafe!
Hey, Nicole! Too bad we never crossed paths! How’d that happen?