Thursday, November 5, 2015

TAUP 2015 or On my first international conference

Mr. What and Mr. Why
Topics in Astroparticle and Underground Physics (TAUP), is an international biennal conference arrived at its XIV edition. It covers topics from cosmology and particle physics, to trans dark matter and neutrino physics and to continue with high energy astrophysics, cosmic rays and gravitational waves. Theoretical perspectives as well as experimental strategies and developments are included.
TAUP is born at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS) of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) and we are equal in
age, besides that, because of the biennal frequency, it is a sparkling teenager. About me, well...  I am already a PhD student and I have attended the conference with a nice group of colleagues.

Mr. Where and Mr. When
This edition was hosted by an end-of-summer Turin and by the local Turin astroparticle group. The venue was located in the Unione Industriale Convenction Center, in the sweeping background of the nice garden and fine historical rooms of Palazzina Marrone Cinzano built in 1876. 
Past editions have wandered around astroparticle physicist from Europe (Italy, France, Spain, Germany) to USA (California, Whashington) and Japan.
The next edition (2017) will fly until Canada. 

The nice garden invasion during the Poster Session.

Coffe breaks

How many people and - Mr. Who
This edition has been the most participated one, with almost five hundred people from literally all the world. And, mixed up with all the others, we have the pride to host the last Nobel prize in Physics winners, Prof. Takaaki Kajita and Prof. Art Mc Donald. But, wait...Are they in the group picture with you? Let's find out!
"La carica dei 500 fisici", as stated by an italian newspaper. 
Find the Nobel easy mode

The program of the conference was very dense, with morning invited plenary speakersand six parallel sessions
I personally attended almost all the plenary lessons and various parallel sessions about dark matter theory, phenomenology, and indirect searches, where interesting discussions about recent development in the multiwawelength searches for non gravitational evidence of dark matter have taken place. In particular, hot topics have been the interpretation of the gamma ray galactic center excess and the high-energy neutrinos recently detected by IceCube.

This structure underlines a duality of this multidisciplinary research field.
From one side, the degree of  specialization of each particular topic is quite high, so you need to work simultaneously to permit to present a reasonable amount of contributions and allow to resulting discussions.
Furthermore, - and this is what makes this field so exiting for me in this moment - you need to follow the development of so many research fields at the same time to get the complete picture. We are talking about complete different fields, and not just of different topics of the same research area. Even historically, they have not been in touch and, sometimes, they are grown up in parallel and not under a common purpose. They are the most fascinating fields in this moment - mostly because we are entering an era in which experimental countepart of so many stockpiled theories are finally at the corner. Collider particle physics and theoretical cosmology. Gamma-ray physics and gravitational waves physics. Theoretical and experimental tools to inspect the most spatially big signals in the known Universe - e.g. the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation - have the possibility to be compared with those used to study the nature of the littlest known matter components.
During all the conference I heard so many times expressions like "we learn from particle physics that" or "our experimental colleagues tell that..": this is what, from my point of view, defines a Community. Despite the competitiveness, the rivalry, that are in some sense physiological in the progression of science, the knowledge-sharing, the debate that an international conference of this level makes possible are at the core of the progress of our knowledge of Nature. 

And (last but not least) finally colleagues, collaborators that used to meet each other in the Skype blue plaza, have the possibility to chat by real, in front of a coffee (this time in front of an authentic ristretto, under the blue turin sky that has been clement with our guests ) or a tasty glass of wine

So, let me commend my first international conference, before entering the diffuse feeling of an integrated researcher, that sometimes start to hate the conference immediate counterpart, the making-of-slides  and the consecutive making-of-proceedings moment, as demonstrated by this cute graffito near a Turin University Campus:

To comfort the incorrigible aesthetes let me state that, from a student point of view, sometimes slides and conference proceedings are what makes possible to get a concept without effort the complete comprehension of a scientific paper.
So I thank again all the speakers that I have had the privilege of hearing, and who I have not, because I could in every moment take a look at their work and see you (probably) next time! 

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