The SUSY conference is always my favourite conference of the year. Despite the title indicating a closeness to sypersymmetry, the topics cover a very broad range - which means it is impossible to find a day completely covered with uninteresting talks and to go to the beach.
Besides sometimes technical supersymmetry and string-session, there are the phenomenological talks about Cosmology and collider physics. I myself favour the parallel sessions about models and alternatives, which are usually quite mixed up. My talk usually ends up being an alternative.
On Wednesday we had an evening plenary session about Naturalness. Naturally, this year the collider signatures are a hot topic, which was also addressed in an evening discussion yesterday. I can not avoid noticing that the closeness of the LHC start-up in 2007 seems to have triggered an increased output of predictions and simulations based on more and more models, which might or might not have something to do with susy, or string-theory. It's like the concern is either now or never, so lets publish some predictions as long as we are are not outruled. The recurring question is of course whether available data would actually allow to distinguish between various scenarios. The amount of work that goes into details of simulations of completely unconfirmed (and sometimes even unmotivated) models, is frightening.
The atmosphere this year is full of good vibes (definitly not those of the wireless which is rather mediocre), though the word 'landscape' is used very carefully, and most often in a defensive tone. I was not even able to depress people with my worst case scenario that they find nothing at the LHC, not even the Higgs. Instead, this morning we had a very good talk by James Rosenzweig (UCLA), about future prospects for the next generation accelerators. Among other things, he talked about the creation of high quality beams through plasma wave excitations with a laser. As he said: "Lasers cost only a few Million $, you can do this essentially at home."
This year, the conference is accompanied by a constant series of flashlights. It is impossible not to notice byen00 with the heavy equipment and the video camera, who seems to be present everywhere at anytime, a living proof for the existence of parallel universes. He has probably been to more talks than many of the participants, certainly to more than I. As I learned from the recent post on Cosmic Variance
he calls himself 'chimpanzee'. He told me he wouldn't do the reporting on scientific events for money, coz then it would stop being fun. You find the pictures
It's rather disturbing to be hit by a flashlight in the middle of a sentence! During my talk yesterday, I lost at least two sentences with every photo, and forgot about half of what I wanted to say. At least I finished in time, which I otherwise hardly ever manage.
Here is a photo taken at the reception on Tuesday evening. I can't quite remember what I said to have everyone look at me as if I am nuts. It might have been that I find it possible that gravity maybe just does not have to be quantized.
Note added: I just remembered that the discussion on the above photo turned towards blogging when byen joined us, and then inevitably spiraled towards Lubos. I caused the plain disbelieve you see on the other's faces by saying that I don't think Lubos is totally crazy.