As previously mentioned, I am here in Boston at the SUSY 2009, the 17th International Conference on Supersymmetry and the Unification of Fundamental Interactions. Since its inception 1993, the SUSY has become the meeting for everything around and everybody involved in physics beyond the Standard Model, from Supersymmetry and its breaking, via extra dimensions of any sort (large, universal, warped), String model building in general to Grand Unification and the phenomenology of Quantum Gravity (though mostly focussed on graviton and black hole production at the LHC). What was previously called the session on "alternatives" is now called "unconventional approaches." The word "alternative," it seems, is a bit worn out. The SUSY is a lively mix of experiment with theory, which is one of the reasons why I like it.
The meeting this year takes place at Northeastern University, where I had not been before. It is a nice place, very conveniently located, with a small but well maintained campus. (I took some photos, but unfortunately forgot the cable I need to upload them, so they will follow later). I had not known that Northeastern University was also where the first SUSY conference in 1993 was held.
On Friday we had the first session of plenary talks with updates from the LHC and TeVatron, and a reception in the evening to get to say hello to familiar and unfamiliar faces. Every time I'm at the SUSY there seem to be more people. Maybe it's me getting old, but there are really a lot of young postdocs around this year many of whom are enthusiastic about their research and I'm sure they will make interesting contributions during their career. Most of them were crammed in the parallel sessions during the weekend. I too delivered my talk this afternoon (slides here), squeezed between SUSY breaking and degenerate vacua. I think it went reasonably well.
This evening, we also had a public lecture by Frank Wilczek from MIT (Nobel Prize 2004 together with David Gross and David Politzer). Titled "Anticipating a New Golden Age," Wilczek explained what the LHC (The World's Largest Microscope) is and what it does, including the LHC Rap. He then went on to explain what Supersymmetry is and how it helps with the unification of the gauge couplings, expressing his conviction that Nature is giving us a clear sign that Supersymmetry is part of her workings (that part of the talk being identical to what he told at SciFoo last summer). He finished with the inspirational note that it's not only an exciting time to be a physicist, but an exiting time to be a thinking being - even if you are not actively working on these theories, we might be very close to unraveling some fundamental truth about reality. It was a very nice talk and I think the audience enjoyed it.