Wahay! I finally posted the proceedings of the Les Houches Workshop on Physics at TeV colliders and they appeared on the arXiv today. ArXiv (pronounced archive) is the standard repository for particle physics papers and lots of of other science.
There are a lot of meetings called “Workshops”. None of them as far as I know contain lathes and CNC milling machines like a proper workshop should, but most of them don’t even qualify as somewhere where you do work (see this nice post for what conferences are often like). Les Houches is an honourable exception on the latter point.
It lasts for three weeks, split into two sessions. It is in a fantastic setting:
The schedule of discussions and presentations is not arranged in advance, and is heavy on discussion and very light on presentations. Some discussions I had with Gavin Salam in the 2007 workshop (my first) led to this paper, and so when I was asked to be a group convener for June 2009 I didn’t feel I could say no (and I didn’t want to run the risk of not getting invited to the workshop). The last week or two I’ve paid the price in terms of collating the proceedings for our bit, but to be honest it’s as much of a pleasure as a burden.
This year the memory is overshadowed by a tragic avalanche (in different mountains, in the winter) which overtook two of the leading participants, and killed Thomas Binoth, whose good-natured brilliance was very influential in setting the relaxed-yet-productive atmosphere. He is sorely missed.
The proceedings contain lots of work-in-progress, seed-corn ideas, status reports and mini-reviews, and noticeably a lot of technical work on standards, often to do with physics software. Les Houches attracts such a range of world experts that it is pretty much the place to agree standards in our sub-field. It is famous in particle physics for its “accords” on conventions, methods, file formats, software interfaces and so on. While too dry for seminars and too technical for journals, these accords have vastly increased the efficiency of data exchange and the reproducibility of results in our field. As I said in my previous post, I think this is a growing trend in many areas of science which needs to be encouraged.
Anyway. Done and dusted. Hope there’s another in 2011, and this time with lots of LHC data.