So, this is it. In a few hours, 2010 will be history (in quite a part of the world, about 1/3, to be precise, it already is). After a very long silence, high time for a few thoughts… I think it has been a very good year, and a fantastic one for particle physics.
First and foremost, there was the LHC, with fantastic performance. But not only that, the future is also looking good. Jonathan posted this a few days ago, and I guess many of you have heard about it, via CERN mailings or the Interactions.org news: Italy is putting substantial funding up for the development of SuperB, a super flavor factory to be based in Italy. And for SuperKEKB, the Japanese super flavor factory , already well on track, excellent news concerning the funding by the Japanese government has been circulating these past days on the mailing lists. So, everything is pointing towards a start of SuperKEKB physics in 2014, less than four years down the road: Busy times ahead for us to get ready in time!
Of course flavor factories alone are not enough to keep particle physics vital in the long run, we thrive on international experiments at energy frontier, at the very edge of technology. Also in that respect, 2010 has been a good year: A very successful workshop in Geneva in October united the two communities working on this next big project: A linear electron-positron collider. Both for the ILC and for CLIC, an active research and development phase is currently ongoing (and has seen big steps forward in 2010), with the goal to work out proposals in time for first discoveries at the LHC.
So, what remains? In terms of New Physics, we have entered a dark room that might hold many surprises, but we are still in the process of getting the flashlight going. The fact that we have not hit our toes on something big in the dark already tells us something, though… Two examples: There are no striking resonances (such as excited quarks) at masses below about 1.2 TeV (ATLAS, http://arxiv.org/abs/1008.2461). There are no simple microscopic black holes (probably an unlikely, but too me at least one of the most exciting possibilities: Adding gravity to the particle physics menu, hard to beat that!) below about 4 TeV (CMS, http://arxiv.org/abs/arXiv:1012.3375).
For 2011 I have high hopes – the best that could happen, also for future projects and in view of funding cuts threatening the fields, is to move from limits and exclusions to evidences and discoveries. Who knows, fantastic surprises might be just around the corner!
With that, time to celebrate 2010 and to welcome 2011, a happy and successful New Year to all of you!