…and MENU takes eastern flavour for 10th anniversary

3 October 2004

Beijing was also the meeting place later in August for the Tenth International Symposium on Meson-Nucleon Physics and the Structure of the Nucleon (MENU2004), which was held at IHEP on 30 August to 4 September. This series of meetings covers a wide range of experimental and theoretical developments in meson-nucleon physics, baryon spectroscopy, photo/electro-production of mesons, dibaryons, structure of the nucleon, chiral symmetry-based effective field theories, quantum chromodynamics-inspired quark models of hadrons, and so on. Previous symposia have oscillated between Europe and North America, but now the BES collaboration at BEPC has become a new member of the “MENU club” through its studies of N* production from J/Ψ decays over the past few years, and for the first time MENU went east.

MENU2004 attracted about 150 participants from 23 countries around the world, and there were around 100 talks. The scope of the conference provided ample evidence that the meson-nucleon problem is still as interesting and viable as it was 21 years ago at the first MENU in Karlsruhe in 1983. This time the search for missing baryon resonances and pentaquark states, and the properties of the baryon resonances were the main issues. While the LEPS collaboration at the Spring-8 synchrotron radiation facility in Japan reported some new evidence of the θ pentaquark in their γd experiment, decisive results from high-statistics data at Jefferson Lab (Jlab) in the US are still awaited. Experiments at BEPC, Jlab, the Electron Stretcher Accelerator in Bonn and elsewhere, have reported some new evidence for missing N* resonances.

The next few years will see many important developments in this field, with new facilities at JPARC in Japan and GSI in Germany, major upgrades at BEPC and Jlab, and the transfer of the WASA detector from Uppsala to the cooler synchrotron, COSY, at Jülich. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of MENU, the meeting included an impressive concert of Chinese ethnic folk music, and the delighted participants are now looking forward to a bright future and the next MENU at Jülich in 2007.

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