• John
  • Felde
  • University of Maryland
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • USLHC
  • USLHC
  • USA

  • James
  • Doherty
  • Open University
  • United Kingdom

Latest Posts

  • Andrea
  • Signori
  • Nikhef
  • Netherlands

Latest Posts

  • CERN
  • Geneva
  • Switzerland

Latest Posts

  • Aidan
  • Randle-Conde
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Belgium

Latest Posts

  • TRIUMF
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Canada

Latest Posts

  • Laura
  • Gladstone
  • MIT
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Steven
  • Goldfarb
  • University of Michigan

Latest Posts

  • Fermilab
  • Batavia, IL
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Seth
  • Zenz
  • Imperial College London
  • UK

Latest Posts

  • Nhan
  • Tran
  • Fermilab
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Alex
  • Millar
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australia

Latest Posts

  • Ken
  • Bloom
  • USLHC
  • USA

Latest Posts

David Schmitz | Fermilab | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

WIN ’09 in Perugia, Italy

One of the true joys of working in an internationally collaborative field like particle physics is the opportunity (necessity even) of getting together with colleagues from all over the world. For me, these meetings are an opportunity to look past my own day-to-day work and think about the exciting advances being made throughout the field.  And it is great to be reminded how my own work fits into a much much bigger picture. For most of us I think, even though we eventually become involved at a micro-level, it is exactly this big picture that drives us, that enticed us into fundamental science in the first place.

Courtyard of the Relais San Clemente hotel where the WIN 2009 workshop was hosted.

Courtyard of the Relais San Clemente hotel where the WIN 2009 workshop was hosted.

Last week I had the privilege of attending the 22nd hosting of the International Workshop on Weak Interactions and Neutrinos, known as WIN. The workshop was held at a beautiful hotel, the Relais San Clemente, outside of Perugia, Italy.

We were told during an opening session that a long-standing theme of the WIN conference series has been “maximum relaxation with minimum distraction” in order to harbor the free and easy exchange of scientific ideas between participants. This means that discussion is encouraged not just during formal presentations but over coffee breaks or at dinner. I, for one, ran into colleagues from past experiments and we discussed plans for further analysis of old data. I also met theoretical colleagues who are very interested in exactly the kinds of effects that the experiments I am currently working on will be studying. A continued relationship with such people should be invaluable to both groups. This, to me, is a great benefit of workshops like this where we all come together to discuss these issues in an environment absent of major distractions.

A discussion group session on neutrinos at WIN.

A discussion group session on neutrinos at WIN.

It was a great privilege for me as well that among participants this year were both the Director and Deputy Director of Fermilab, Pier Oddone and Young-Kee Kim. Pier wrote a column for Fermilab Today on Tuesday describing the conference and his plenary talk about a possible future facility here at Fermilab, the muon collider. My talk, on Current and Future Neutrino Cross-Section Experiments, immediately followed his on the second morning of the workshop, which was a great thrill for me (Although I was reminded the hard way that the second morning on an international trip is the peak of jet lag – whew, it was tough to get up and give my talk that morning!)

A coffee break during the workshop for people to mingle and discuss freely.

A coffee break where all could mingle and discuss freely.

A group at dinner in the city center of Perugia.

A group at dinner in the city center of Perugia.

Typically, multi-day physics conferences (WIN lasted 6 days) include a half day without scheduled sessions. Often, an excursion is arranged for the participants to visit a nearby place of interest. For WIN ’09 that was the beautiful city of Assisi, Italy less than a one hour drive from Perugia. The conference organizers arranged for a bus to take anyone who wished to visit for a few hours in the afternoon. Assisi is famous for being the home of two people declared saints by the Catholic church, so there are two large cathedrals in the city to commemorate them. The Basilica of San Francesco (1181-1286 AD) is a particularly amazing site.

The Cathedral of San Francescso of Assisi.

The Cathedral of San Francescso of Assisi.

A shot from the back of the bus as we drove away from Assisi.

A shot from the back of the bus as we drove away from Assisi.

As an important side note, WIN ’09 was originally to be held a few hundred kilometers to the south in L’Aquila, Italy near the National Scientific Laboratory at Gran Sasso. Tragically, the city was struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in April of this year and is still recovering from the horrible destruction it suffered as a consequence. Planning these meetings is always a ton of work for the local committee of organizers, but it must be said that the organizers of this particular workshop have done a tremendous job at putting on a truly world-class and wonderful meeting under such difficult circumstances. Not only did they have to change the venue at the last minute, but most of the active organizers live in L’Aquila.  I believe all attendees (this one at least) were extremely grateful for the wonderful job they did with WIN 2009!

Share