1. 2012

    Results from HPT 2012

    One unexpected perk of being in China: I woke up before 7:30 this morning. That would never happen without jet lag.

    Unfortunately, even waking up at 7:30 every day hasn’t given me any time to write up a mid-conference blog post. Talks have been running from 8:30-6:30, with the rest of the time mostly taken up by meals and discussions. So I’ll just post this “teaser” of some of the more interesting results that were presented.

    Of the presentations that gave new results, most of them are based the September proton-lead run at the LHC. This was just a pilot run, meant to ensure that there wouldn’t be any unexpected problems with colliding two different types of particles, so there wasn’t a lot of data collected — only 2 million collisions — but it was already enough to start shedding some light on the underlying physics.

    No initial state effects

    Ion-ion collisions have already been extensively studied at both RHIC and the LHC, and as you might imagine, when you smash a blob of a hundred blobs of particles into another blob of a hundred blobs of particles, what you get is a mess …

  2. 2012

    Check-in from China

    WELCOME READERS OF THE FUTURE!! (with ominous echo) In all seriousness, I wrote most of this from the Beijing airport yesterday, but without internet access I couldn’t post it until I got to the conference.

    First impression of China: it doesn’t seem that different from the US. Classical music plays over the speakers in the airport. Signs are pretty much bilingual everywhere, or even English-only (although to be fair, a lot of those are actually made-up Western name brands that don’t mean anything anyway). And seeing a bunch of Chinese people walking around speaking Chinese doesn’t feel even a little bit strange. This is a testament to just how many Chinese students have swarmed into American higher education. It’s only when I look around for the corresponding groups of white people and Indians — and don’t find them — that it really starts to become evident that I’m in a foreign country.

    Oh, and another thing: unlike what you might hear (in the US) about China being a “police state,” the police and security officers in the airport really don’t seem to be taking their jobs more seriously than they have to. It’s …