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Frank Simon | MPI for Physics | Germany

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The Open Day

Last Saturday was the Open Day of our Institute, which takes place every two years. That is an excellent opportunity to show what we are doing to the public. This year was particularly successful, with a record attendance. Part of that might have been due to a clever idea from our PR manager, who worked together with an ad agency that prints cards that are distributed in bars around town. In addition, the excitement about the LHC startup might also be a factor, although the media coverage at the moment is not very active… I guess that might change once things really get going in a few weeks.

My group was also very active during the open day, with a few exhibits from our ILC calorimeter R&D, and explanations about CP violation studied at Belle. Certainly one of the highlights was the event display, originally programmed by one of my students to be able to look at simulations of B physics in great detail. Combined with a special color scheme to work with 3D goggles, a large plasma TV and a game controller it was a real highlight. Not surprisingly, especially the kids mastered flying through a simulated B-Anti-B event within minutes.

Members of my group at the open day in the morning, with the 3D event display getting ready for action.

Members of my group at the open day in the morning, with the 3D event display getting ready for action.

I myself was not idle, either. I gave a talk about Antimatter: Fact and Fiction… Showing what is behind Angels & Demons. The talk was inspired by the lecture nights given in the US when the movie came out, shortened a bit to fit it within 30 minutes. I also had a poster on Mini-Black Holes at the LHC, one of the topics I’m regularly talking about, ever since I gave a good lecture on this topic at the university more than a year ago. As expected, this drew quite some attention, which is of course the reason why I made the poster in the first place, since we were expecting questions on that topic. Even after we had already closed our doors, I was still discussing this with visitors… However, none of them seemed to really think that particle physicists were about to cause the end of the world. After all, LHC energies are nothing spectacular, when you look at what is happening constantly in the atmosphere from cosmic rays… Something that guys writing a paper about giving the universe a chance to tell us not to start LHC by drawing cards because creating a Higgs could destroy time and space do not seem to get…

Me, talking about Antimatter and Angels&Demons.

Me, talking about Antimatter and Angels&Demons.

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