Friday, May 20, 2005

Conference thoughts 2 and 3

I initially thought that having a conference at Tennessee would be a bad move regarding the location. In fact, having conferences at not-so-famous places I thought it was bad. But now I realize that's not the case. Would it be better if I had my conferences at New York or Florida or San Francisco or Chicago? No! The reason is this: all this "famous" places I will visit them anyways, I don't need a conference to do so. For example, I've been to New York, I've been to SF and I almost certainly go to Miami on my own at some point. But having a conference at a "remote" location is great since I am visiting places that I would never visit otherwise... Tennessee? I would have never visited Tennessee on my own and yet here I am, enjoying a culture that I may have never got in touch with otherwise. The next conference is in Wisconsin. Sucks, you say? I think not...

The birth of ILC. The International Linear Collider will be the greatest machine ever built. It will be the most complicated and sophisticated structure on the planet when it's done in about 10 years. 3 groups, one from the US, one from Europe, one from Japan, they will form to discuss the building of the accelerator. The great thing was that the guy who is responsible for coordinating the process gave a talk - and I got a glimpse on how these multi-national multi-billion dollar projects come into being. Right now they are at a point where they have pinpointed the major decisions but not the details (like location, design details, funding etc). So how do you coordinate something like that? Who's the boss? Who is paying? Who designs and who decides? Everything that has to do from abstract ideas up until the blueprints. I see all the other accelerator projects (CERN, SLAC, KEK etc) and I take them for granted as if they existed forever. Now I had a chance to witness the birth of such a project - both for me and for the people that are involved in ILC, the experience from on who to decide all the pre-build procedures may be more important than the project itself.