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Ken Bloom | USLHC | USA

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APS, Day 4

It’s sort of sad to see last day of the conference — all the exhibits were broken down by this morning, and while we sat through the first session of the morning all of the registration booths disappeared. (A number of friends disappeared, too, before I had a chance to say goodbye. But this is particle physics; I’ll see them again somewhere else.)

However, there were still some talks not to be missed. The morning started off with a plenary talk by my CMS colleague Paris Sphicas, who talked about the physics of the LHC and the plans for early data-taking and physics analysis. I thought it was a good compact presentation of what we’re doing. And, in classic Paris style, he manged to flip through more than 60 PowerPoint slides in 30 minutes! I also enjoyed hearing from Jim Cronin, who won a Nobel for his co-discovery of CP violation in the kaon system in 1964, and then became one of the founders of the Auger cosmic-ray experiment in Argentina. I first met Jim when I was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, and it’s always a pleasure to see him. He reviewed our current understanding of the highest-energy cosmic rays, whose points of origin appear to be correlated with the location of active galactic nuclei. He also showed us some Auger data which he pretty much admitted — proudly — hadn’t been fully vetted by the collaboration. I couldn’t get away with that myself.

The APS meeting is also an opportunity to honor some of our high-achieving colleagues. Gaston Gutierrez won the Bouchet Award and Aldo Menzione and Luciano Ristori won the Panofsky Prize for Experimental Physics. Gaston and Luciano gave presentations on their work on deploying matrix-element techniques for studying the top quark and the development of silicon-based trackers and triggers (respectively), both of which were really excellent achievements.

And after that there was just enough time for a pleasant lunch with Paris (where we tried to figure out what we should be worried about in CMS computing) before I had to catch the shuttle to the Denver airport. (Free WiFi here, by the way!) I’ll be back in Lincoln shortly…for about a day and a half!

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