Eyes turn from CERN to Fermilab at ICHEP

Today saw the launch of the ICHEP parallel sessions and for those of us not able to attend it meant following the conference webcast. With about seven sessions running at once and only one video stream it is not possible to cover all the talks by webcast. The organisers appear to have anticipated that the reports from the Large Hadron Collider would draw most attention, so the LHC talks have been scheduled in the largest conference room and that is where the webcast came from too. 

In the event, the LHC talks have been mostly about the technical performance of the collider and its detectors rather than real physics results. This was to be expected given that the number of collisions recorded so far is too small for any new physics to be observed. Meanwhile the teams from Fermilab have been talking about the latest results of their Higgs Boson searches. These have been keenly anticipated, so while the room hosting the LHC talk had many empty seats the Tevatron talks had standing room only. 

Although the webcasts only covered the LHC talks, the slides for others are all available on the conference website, so we can get some idea of what we are missing. I won’t try to summarise the talks from these slides because someone who actually saw the talks may do it better.  There will be more Tevatron talks tomorrow combining high and low mass searches for each experiment CDF and DZero. On Monday there will be a plenary talk on the overall combined results of CDF and DZero together. That one will be webcast and should be the highlight of the conference. 

Of the LHC talks I did watch the first one on “Optimisation of LHC beam conditions” by Helmut Burkhardt. This was a nice summary of how the beams work. My only disappointment was that it covered only all the good stuff that has been working well and said nothing of stability problems that still have to be overcome. I think it failed to give a sense of the challenges that have been overcome and those that still lie ahead. In his defense, time was very limited.

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