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Peter Steinberg | USLHC | USA

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Ends of the Earth

Whew, it’s been a busy couple of weeks moving between what feel like two ends of the Earth: a week in Jaipur, India attending Quark Matter 2008, the “big” conference in Heavy Ion Physics (where I’m coming from), and a week at CERN (from where I write) at ATLAS week. Not that I didn’t consider blogging during these hectic days, but as I’ve mentioned before: Life + Blogging = const, and although it looks like we’re doing nothing but sitting around in meetings, talks, etc. all the day long, we’re also doing lots of important things in the quiet, like reading the Times and writing emails. OK, we’re also learning, plotting, strategizing, thinking — and listening. It’s really that pesky listening thing that gets in the way of constant, or even occasional, blogging.

Anyway so here we are, wrapping up two intense meetings (and getting ready for a couple of well-earned days in the Swiss Alps). Quark Matter was a nice time, even if I showed up 3 days late (only 2 of them by design, the third due to a fog bank in Delhi on Wednesday morning, and a little “mix-up” about my hotel reservation in Jaipur). Lots of interesting, if disparate, results and some excellent wandering around Jaipur and environs, and a fantastic banquet. For some record of this, have a look at my Flickr set. There are conference shots, Jaipur shots, and a lot of stuff taken by me hanging out the bus window.

ATLAS week was hectic as usual, with the usual 9-6 meeting schedule (plenaries, parallels, and impromptu). Things are really heating up here, something which I probably perceive more dramatically than my other colleagues on this blog since I have been at CERN so infrequently recently (something which should be changing, I hope!) The CERN cafeteria is simply buzzing these days, at all hours, with orders of magnitude more young physicsts than I ever saw in my old days here as a student. And it really seems like TV crews are crawling the place, although I only see them following people around as they eat lunch, which I hope isn’t the bulk of the footage. Anticipations — and tensions — are running high, mainly for the p+p program (the heart of the matter) and also for the heavy ion program, which is progressing more and more rapidly by the week.

Anyway, back to the listening thing. I should get to my Quark Matter rundown (especially the various LHC showdowns) soon.

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