1. 2014

    Kicking Off Quark Matter 2014

    Just a quick update from Darmstadt (Germany), where I’m spending the week at the 24th Quark Matter conference. Quark Matter is the largest conference series in nuclear physics (but not that nuclear physics or that other nuclear physics), and has been held about every year and a half since 1980, also in Darmstadt. You may remember my coverage of the last Quark Matter here on the blog; I won’t be posting quite so much this time because I’ve got a lot going on, but you may see a couple updates from me this week.

    By the way, the decision of the Quark Matter 2012 organizers to give out (nice) backpacks as swag was, in my professional opinion as a physicist, the best thing in the history of the universe. Probably half of the people attending this conference came with their distinctive QM12 backpacks. The satchels they’re giving out this year aren’t bad, but they don’t quite measure up.

    Today was Student Day, the day before the official start of the conference when everyone receiving student support (a waiver of the 500 Euro registration fee) comes to attend a set of lectures summarizing the various …

  2. 2012

    Quark Matter 2012 begins

    I’m all settled in at the Omni Shoreham for Quark Matter 2012. First impression: this is by far the fanciest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. At least from the front, it’s basically everything you’d expect from a hotel that hosts presidential inauguration balls on a regular basis. The place looks like a giant medieval palace from the outside, but the front lobby is clearly designed to sell the image of luxury. I’m sure there are a number of extravagant suites somewhere in this place, but my guest room is pretty ordinary; still, tucked away in the back wing of the hotel, it runs $500 a night. It’s a pretty drastic (and, I’d say, welcome) change from the restricted budgeting we usually have to deal with in science.

    As if that weren’t enough, they’re also giving us some cool swag. Everybody gets a themed backpack with a dedicated laptop pocket and cushioned case, a multipocketed ID holder on a lanyard, and a pen.

    Anyway, the conference is kicking off with Student Day, which I expect to like because it’s probably going to be more comprehensible than most of the other stuff …