This year's International Symposium on Multiparticle Dynamics (ISMD), which took place in the Crimean town of Alushta, Ukraine, was the first to be held in the Commonwealth of Independent States. It was organized by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia, and the Bogoliubov Institute of Theoretical Physics (BITP) of the National Academy of Sciences of the Ukraine. JINR's vice-director, Alexei Sissakian, and László Jenkovszky of BITP co-chaired the organizing committee.

More than 100 scientists from 20 countries, as well as CERN and JINR, took part in the symposium. Topics covered a wide range of problems in elementary particle-production physics: particle fluctuations and correlations; diffraction processes; soft and hard processes in quantum chromodynamics; heavy-ion physics, production of particles with large multiplicity; and cosmology problems of elementary particle dispersion.

The symposium opened with a special session dedicated to the memory of Bo Andersson (CERN Courier May), an outstanding scientist as well as an active organizer and a participant in a number of ISMD meetings, who died in March. Gösta Gustafson, now a professor at Andersson's home university of Lund, Sweden, spoke first about his former supervisor's works and latest papers. He was followed by Fredrik Soderberg of Lund, Mike Seymour of the University of Manchester, UK, and Alessandro de Angelis of Udine University, Italy, who all paid tribute to Andersson.

The success of research in heavy-ion physics at CERN's SPS, and more recently at the Brookhaven Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in the US, was thoroughly discussed at the meeting, with sessions being devoted to experimental and theoretical aspects of the field. In the area of electron-positron physics, the penetrating analysis of the data obtained in the experiments at CERN's Large Electron Positron collider, which closed down in 2000, were still at the fore. Several speakers, including Sissakian, Jenkovszky, and Joseph Manjavidze of JINR, stressed that it is most important in modern physics to consider theoretically those problems that are associated with high-multiplicity particle production. Many speakers talked about the kind of experiments that might build on such theoretical work, making proposals for experiments at existing and future accelerators. JINR's Vladimir Nikitin proposed studies of low-energy direct photons in multiparticle hadronic interactions at the U-70 proton synchrotron in Protvino, Russia. Yuri Kulchitsky, also of JINR, proposed a study of energy correlations in very high multiplicity at CERN's Large Hadron Collider, while Andrey Korytov of the University of Florida discussed similar possibilities for Fermilab's Tevatron.

Much interest was aroused by reports on the problems of strong interactions and diffraction in modern elementary particle physics presented by Dmitrij Shirkov of JINR, Nikolai Nikolaev of Julich, Lev Lipatov of St Petersburg, Alexei Kaidalov of Moscow's Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Victor Fadin of Novosibirsk, and Paul Laycock of Liverpool University, UK. Sissakian presented a new vision of the process of thermalization processes in hadron interactions at high energies. Closing talks were given by Viatcheslav Kuvshinov of the Institute of Physics at the National Academy of Sciences, Belarus (for theory) and by Korytov (for experiment).

Following tradition, the conclusions of the symposium were brought in by the committee of elders, which consists of an international group of scientists involved with initiating the research that ISMD meetings cover, and who continue to actively influence these meetings. The committee, chaired by Norbert Schmitz of Munich, remarked upon the high scientific quality of the presentations and professional organization of the symposium. To bring the meeting to a close, the committee of elders endorsed the continuing relevance of the ISMD meetings, and set the venue for the 33rd symposium, which will be held in September 2003 in Kraków, Poland.

Further reading

All presentations are available at http://thsun1.jinr.ru/ISMD2002/.
Proceedings to be published by World Scientific in 2003.