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The joy of summer conferences


Joachim Mnich is the Director for Research and Computing

After the online conferences of the past years, there is something all the more special about coming together face-to-face, to share and discuss a wealth of results this summer

It goes without saying that all eyes were on the Muon g-2 experiment this summer, as Fermilab announced the latest results on 10 August. I warmly congratulate Fermilab and the experiments on this impressive result with such breathtaking precision.

Muon g-2 had been a hot topic at summer conferences even before the Fermilab announcement. I was fortunate to join physicists, primarily from Asia and Australasia, at the 31st International Symposium on Lepton Photon Interactions at High Energies from 17 to 21 July in Melbourne, Australia. Here, we discussed how interpretation of this experimental result would need a coordinated effort from theorists to achieve the most precise theoretical prediction possible, in order to interpret a possible discrepancy with the Standard Model. The experimental results themselves are a marvellous achievement, and their interpretation will require a common international effort.     

Returning to Europe, the experiments at CERN set their sights on the EPS-HEP 2023 conference for their latest findings. The conference has just taken place, from 21 to 25 August, in Hamburg, Germany and showcased another bumper year of results, as the LHC experiments probe the Standard Model at the highest energies ever created.

The plethora of presentations covered topics ranging from precision measurements at different centre-of-mass energies to searches for new phenomena. FASER, as well as the North Area experiment NA62 both presented their latest results on dark matter seraches. Notable highlights from ATLAS included analyses of their complete Run 2 data set to present their latest limits on supersymmetric dark matter and on magnetic monopoles. CMS highlights included how machine-learning techniques are improving both muon and jet flavour studies. LHCb results featured the observation of hypertriton in proton–proton collisions, building on the 2022 results from ALICE and providing important input for astrophysics and the study of neutron stars. The ALICE collaboration is now looking ahead to the Quark Matter conference in Texas, USA from 3 to 9 September.

These summer conferences are not only a chance to find out the latest news in particle physics in the talks themselves, but also allow for more spontaneous discussions, where a chance meeting over coffee can lead to new collaborations and new research directions.

We return refreshed and inspired, looking ahead to the planned LHC heavy-ion run, the first since 2018, five years ago. This run will be important not only for ALICE, but also for the heavy-ion communities of the other LHC experiments, providing fresh data and more new and exciting results.