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Ken Bloom | USLHC | USA

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Your summer travel options

Now that summer is fully here, are you feeling that old wanderlust, the desire to hit the open road? Well then, there are a lot of interesting places to go on the physics conference circuit between now and Labor Day. There are many fabulous locations on the menu, and who knows, you might get to hear the first public presentation of an exciting new physics result. While it’s true that what many would consider the most glamorous stuff from the LHC has already been pushed out (at the highest priority), you can be assured that scientists are hard at work on new results, and of course there are many other particle-physics experiments that are doing important work. So, find your frequent-flyer card and make sure you’ve changed the oil, and let’s see where you might be headed this summer:

  • 2013 Lepton Photon Conference, San Francisco, CA, June 24-29, hosted by SLAC. This is definitely the most prestigious conference this year; it is the international conference that is the odd-numbered year complement to the ICHEP meetings that are held in even-numbered years. Last year’s ICHEP saw the announcement of the observation of the Higgs boson, and if someone wants to make a big splash this year, they will do it at Lepton Photon. I have previously discussed how ICHEP works; the Lepton Photon series has a similarly storied history, but is slightly different in format, in that there are only plenary overview talks rather than a series of shorter, more focused presentations. San Francisco is always a great destination, and a fine place to consider the physics of the cable car and plate tectonics.
  • 2013 European Physical Society Conference on High Energy Physics, Stockholm, Sweden, July 18-24. If results aren’t ready in time for Lepton Photon, they could be ready in time for EPS. This conference also appears in odd-numbered years, and with a format that has both parallel and plenary sessions, there are many opportunities for younger people to present their work. It is probably the premier particle-physics conference in Europe this year. Thanks to the tilted axis of the earth, and the position of Stockholm at 59 degrees north of the equator, you’ll be able to enjoy 17 hours and 40 minutes of daylight each day at this conference…starting at 4 AM each morning.
  • Community Summer Study 2013, aka Snowmass on the Mississippi, Minneapolis, MN, July 29-August 6. This isn’t really a conference, but it is the culmination of the year-long effort of the US particle-physics community to define its long-range plan. With the discovery of the Higgs boson and important developments neutrino physics, we have better clues on what we should be trying to study in the future. Now we have to understand what facilities are best for this science, and what the technical barriers are to building and exploiting them. But we have to realize that we’re working with a finite budget, and we’ll have to do some hard thinking to understand how to set priorities. You might think that Minneapolis doesn’t have much on San Francisco or Stockholm, but my wife is from there, so I have traveled there many times and I think it’s a great place to visit. You can contemplate the balancing forces and torques on the “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture at the Walker Art Center, or the aerodynamics of Mary Tyler Moore’s hat on the Nicollet Mall.
  • 2013 Meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Particles and Fields, Santa Cruz, CA, August 13-17. Like the EPS conference, DPF also meets in odd-numbered years and is a chance for the US particle physics community to gather. It’s one of my favorite conferences, with a broad program of particle physics and neither too big or too small. It is especially friendly to younger people presenting their own work. Measurements that weren’t ready for the earlier conferences could still get a good audience here. Yes, you might have gone to nearby San Francisco in June, but Santa Cruz has a totally different feel, and you can study the hydrodynamics that power the redwood trees that are all over the campus.

    And you might ask, where am I going this summer? I’d love to get to all of these, but I have another destination this summer — I will be moving my family to Geneva for a sabbatical year at CERN in July. It’s a little disappointing to be missing some of the action in the US, but I’m looking forward to an exciting year. I will be returning to the US for the Snowmass workshop, where I’m co-leading a working group, but that’s about it for conferences for me this summer. That will still be plenty exciting, and I’ll do my best to report all the news about it here.

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