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Adam Yurkewicz | USLHC | USA

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Not all meetings are created equal

It’s a week full of ATLAS meetings here at CERN. This time it’s the “Performance and Physics Workshop”. The topics of the presentations are a mixture of some about the status of the detector/software, plans for what to do when we (very soon!) get first data, and studies of data analysis techniques or future improvements based on studies of simulated data.

The focus of these meetings, and really all ATLAS meetings, is shifting towards the data we will soon be recording. With more successful tests of beam in the LHC, the reality of collisions in the LHC is finally close. That makes the meetings these days a lot more interesting and urgent than a few years ago.
Thinking about meetings, I think there are mainly 2 times when meetings become interesting rather than just another place to bring your laptop to work:

  1. When deadlines are approaching, like the accelerator turning on, or when a big conference is coming up and work needs to be completed in time. The few weeks before big conferences are always full of meetings to approve results. Sometimes there are even arguments, which makes them really interesting. People are very passionate when it comes time to put something out there in an official way.
  2. When it is time to publish results. I have seen several arguments about how to interpret results, or whether something should be published at all, and even some shouting matches. This could happen if for example, there is a hint of a Higgs boson in the data, but not clear evidence. Should we put it out there, and risk it turning out to be a statistical fluctuation and not the real thing?

Well right now we have the first kind of interesting meetings, and hopefully soon after we will have the second kind, with lots of results to argue about.

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