Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Report from Manchester

It's part-way through day 2 of the Manchester IoP joint conference between the Nuclear, Particle and Astroparticle Groups of the Institute of Physics. 

The days have started with plenary sessions across all the groups' interests, followed by group-wide plenary sessions, then parallel sessions within the groups.  I've been to talks on the status of the Higgs experiments at the LHC,  studies of double beta decay and the search for neutrinos double beta decay, studies of the isospin nature of the nuclear interaction, reactions for nuclear astrophysics that you can recreate in the lab, gravitational wave searches, laser spectroscopy for measuring the radii of nuclei via hyperfine atomic transitions, shapes of various isotopes of interest (octupole states, oblate N=Z nuclei), proton-rich nuclei, neutrino-nucleus interactions, electric dipole moments, beyond standard model searches, and neutron-rich nuclear studies at the RIBF facility in Japan.  It's been an interesting mixture of things that are familiar, and some thing that are less so.  

In combining the nuclear and particle groups, there have been a few examples of places where the interplay between them are vital in providing a complete understanding;  for example Sean Freeman's talk on double beta decay is concerned with deducing Standard Model quantities, but involves having to understand the nuclear properties very well.  Teppei Katori's talk on neutrino-nucleus interactions this morning is another case.  He pointed out the obvious reason why people study Standard Model physics, rather than nuclear physics - on the slide, pictured, in somewhat poor quality.  The slide says "The Standard Model (easy).  Nuclear Physics (hard)"

The first picture shows a scene typical for Manchester, with light being reflected from the layer of water on the ground.