No, this is not a story about being stuck at an airport during the flight chaos last week. I was always expecting that one of the quantum diarists would report on this, but so far nobody reported. I hope that everybody is where he/she wants to be and not stuck at some far away airport.
But the topic is of course the volcano in Iceland and its consequences:
We organized the ATLAS Upgrade Week 2010 at DESY for last week. More than 170 people registered and were supposed to arrive last Monday. In the week before the meeting I was rather busy with the preparation but also other work. When they close the Hamburg airport on Thursday evening I did not even think that this could affect our meeting.
But the longer the airports were closed, the more I started to doubt that people come to Hamburg. During last weekend it was decided that the meeting will start anyway and that people should join via EVO (meetings where people can dial in via computer or a phone bridge). Originally we had planned only very few EVO meetings but now we had to adjust. Luckily DESY is a large national lab and we have the facilities for this kind of meeting. On Monday morning I contacted our IT group and told them, that we have to rearrange due to the changed situation. And within no time, we had arranged the meeting rooms and the colleague at IT booked EVO meetings for the whole week. I implemented the links in the agenda and we were ready to start.
Almost 100 people had to cancel as they could not reach Hamburg. Others arrived one or two days later. So we thought that we should reward some people for the most strenuous journeys with a little award. One person needed 18 hours per train from Udine. Another person flew in from Israel and had long delays during the trip. But the first place was won by a group from Liverpool. They actually took the train through London, Paris, Strasbourg, Karlsruhe to Hamburg. 20 hours with 5 changes is not really the best connection between Liverpool and Hamburg. I hope they enjoy the German wine and remember Hamburg as a sunny nice place.
In the end all participants were happy that we still could discuss important issues and I think the “DESY volcano meeting” will be remembered for a long time.