Welcome to Lepton Photon 2009, the premier high-energy physics conference of the summer, this year taking place in Hamburg: Germany’s second largest city and, with its system of rivers, dammed lakes and canals, the country’s biggest port. It’s also the place where the Beatles, back in the early 60s, cut their teeth, playing night after night in the city’s famous red-light district.
Not sure where the title of the conference comes from, though I think it’s pretty sweet. As one of my colleagues said, it could be a good name for a rock band. But at least here at the beginning of the conference, we’re not going to be hearing about leptons or photons, but, rather, protons: updates on the status of the proton-smashing LHC, and its two main detector experiments, Atlas and CMS. As most know, the LHC fizzled out last year after a bad weld vaporized — and so most of the people in the room have been closely following every detail of the machine’s rehabilitation. Most of the plan is settled after a new energy schedule was set by LHC management on 6 August, so we’re not expecting any new revelations, but let’s wait and see.