New school series in Asia-Pacific region

The first Asia-Europe-Pacific School of High-Energy Physics (AEPSHEP) will take place in Fukuoka, Japan, on 14–27 October 2012. This new series of schools is to be held in the Asia-Pacific region every two years, in even-numbered years. It will cater for students at a similar level to the annual CERN-JINR European School of High-Energy physics, and the CERN Latin-American School of High-Energy Physics (also held every two years, in odd-numbered years). AEPSHEP will build on the experience from these schools and also from the successful France-Asia Particle-Physics School.

The purpose of the school is to provide young physicists with an opportunity to learn about recent advances in elementary-particle physics from world-leading researchers. It also aims to encourage communication between young researchers in Europe, Asia and the Pacific region. It will teach high-energy physics from an experimental and phenomenological perspective, with a focus on accelerator-based programmes in Europe and Asia, and will include related fields such as astroparticle physics and cosmological aspects of particle physics.

The programme will be at a level appropriate for PhD students in experimental particle physics but students working on particle-physics phenomenology (if not too far from experiment) may also be accepted. It will also be open to junior post-docs (typically less than two years after completing their PhD) and advanced MSc students provided that their prior knowledge is comparable to that of the principal target audience. It is expected that up to 100 students will attend the School.

The new school’s international organizers include representatives from Australia, China, France, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, Taiwan and CERN. The local organization of the 2012 school is being supported strongly by KEK and Kyushu University, with involvement of some other universities in Japan. Students from countries in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe are particularly invited to apply to the school, but applications from other regions will also be considered.

More information and the application form are available on the AEPSHEP website,

School-time in Heidelberg

The Wilhelm and Else Heraeus School on "Diffractive and Electromagnetic Processes at High Energies" took place in Heidelberg on 5–9 September. Sixteen invited lecturers reviewed the lessons learnt at the HERA and the Tevatron colliders, and presented the first results from the LHC experiments: ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, LHCb and TOTEM. Participating students had the opportunity to present the results of their research in seminars or by poster.

Alan Martin of the Institute of Particle Physics Phenomenology at Durham University gave the introductory lecture on diffraction and Krzysztof Piotrzkowski of the Université Catholique de Louvain in turn introduced photon–photon physics at high energies. Parton saturation and diffractive processes were presented by Krzysztof Golec-Biernat of the Institute of Nuclear Physics, Cracow.

Review talks on diffraction at HERA and the Tevatron were given by DESY’s Henry Kowalski and Christina Mesropian of Rockefeller University, respectively. The prospects of the diffractive-physics programme at the LHC were addressed by many lecturers. Wolfgang Ochs of the Max-Planck Institute discussed current understanding of the production and decay of glueballs from the theoretical side, summarized the results from CERN’s Large Electron–Positron collider on leading systems in gluon jets and proposed strategies for similar searches at the LHC. Suh-Urk Chung of the Brookhaven National Laboratory reviewed the evidence for exotic mesons from the E852 experiment at Brookhaven and COMPASS at CERN. This stimulated a discussion on the analysis of exotic mesons in central diffractive production at LHC energies. Exclusive Higgs and dijet production formed the topic for the lecture by Antoni Szczurek of the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Cracow.

First results on sensitivities to diffractive channels and on rapidity-gap studies by the ATLAS collaboration were presented by Per Grafström of CERN. Igor Katkov of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology summarized the status of studies by CMS of diffractive and electromagnetic physics channels. The ongoing activities of LHCb were presented by Ronan McNulty of University College, Dublin, and Frigyes Nemes of the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, described TOTEM’s first results on proton–proton elastic scattering. Results from ALICE on central meson-production and on cosmic-ray physics were summarized by Rainer Schicker of the University of Heidelberg and by Arturo Fernando Tellez of Puebla University, respectively. The prospects for measurements with tagged protons at the LHC were outlined by Marek Taševský of the Physics Institute, Prague.

Prizes for the best posters were awarded to Erik Brucken of the Helsinki Institute of Physics and Wenbo Li of Peking University. The 38 participants from 18 countries had the opportunity to socialize during dinners, as well as during a boat trip on the Neckar.

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The building blocks of physics at CERN

Denmark is the birthplace of Lego, so it is appropriate that as part of an outreach project, Sascha Mehlhase, a post-doc at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, should decide to design a model of the ATLAS experiment built from the famous building bricks. Using software available from Lego, it took Mehlhase some 48 hours to create the 3D design based on 9500 pieces.

The next step was to order the bricks. And once delivered in 17 boxes it took Mehlhase and his colleagues several hours just to sort them out. Then it was time for the construction phase, which took approximately 33 hours spread over several weekends and evenings. It was not plain sailing because the effects of gravity, for example, meant that building with real bricks was not quite the same as designing in 3D.

Built to a scale of approximately 1:50, the final model measures 1 m × 0.5 m × 0.5 m, which is about the same scale as the Lego people. It illustrates all of the important details, from the muon and magnet system to the silicon tracker at the heart of the detector. The total cost – about €2000 – was paid by the high-energy physics group at the Niels Bohr Institute as part of their outreach effort.

For enthusiasts who have neither the time nor the money to build a similar large model, Mehlhase has also designed a smaller version with just 493 pieces, which might soon be available as an ATLAS souvenir.

To find out more, see


Alejandro Cruz, Costa Rican minister of science and technology, right, visited CERN on 27 October. He was welcomed by Sergio Bertolucci, CERN’s director for research and scientific computing, and presented with a gift of a temperature-sensitive mug that depicts the history of the universe. During his visit the minister also saw the ATLAS visitor centre and UNITAR’s operational satellite applications programme, UNOSAT.

Israeli deputy minister of foreign affairs, Daniel Ayalon, centre, was welcomed to CERN on 6 December by George Mikenberg, member of the ATLAS collaboration, and Felicitas Pauss, CERN’s head of international relations, where they toured the LHC superconducting magnet test hall. The deputy minister also took the opportunity to see the ATLAS visitor centre and the CERN Control Centre.

On 8 December Archibald Lesao Lehohla, deputy prime minister and minister of home affairs and public safety, and of parliamentary affairs for the Kingdom of Lesotho, right, visited CERN, where he was welcomed by Rüdiger Voss, CERN’s adviser for the Kingdom of Lesotho in the international relations office.