Thursday, 7 May 2015

Phenomenology 2015 Overview

So ends my sixth Pheno conference.  It was fun, on the whole.  I didn't learn anything too groundbreaking, but to be fair I didn't expect to.  There were some good talks, some bad talks, and friends old and new.  One thing that did hit me was how old it all made me feel.  Pheno is a great conference for grad students and young postdocs, but that descriptor hardly applies to me any more.  So I might very well not return next year, and go to other conferences instead.
The plenary talks covered the usual fare.  Ian Hinchcliffe opened the conference with one of the better experimental talks I've seen, covering the results without rushing or running too long.  He also made SM results more interesting than they usually are.  On the theoretical side, my favourite talk was probably Jesse Thaler's discussion of "unsafe" QCD and the relation to new jet observables.  It's something I'd like to work on, though I'm probably not in the right place to shift in that direction at the moment.

There was a general theme of precision measurements.  We had a discussion of the ILC and its role in the Higgs, of the need for understanding low energy results in Higgs, and precision cosmology on recent and early Universe scales.  And we also had plenty of discussion of flavour physics, the old standby for precision.  This might point to the feeling that the LHC has found all it will, so let's do the precision indirect route to new physics.  Or I might reading too much into that.

Among the various parallel talks I attended, there were a couple of good reviews from Ian Lewis and Konstantin Matchev; Konstantin in particular has never been afraid to unleash his sense of humour.  The most interesting ideas to me where probably the various things done with lepton-flavoured dark matter, by Can Kilic and Jennifer Kile.  However, this is something I was aware of before the conference and have some ideas for a project of my own.  The most interesting new thing to me was the attempt to relate neutrino masses to the PeV scale by Samuel Roland, even if he did insiste on working in SUSY :)

Actually, now that I think about it, a lot of people had talks that in some way related leptons to dark matter.  Though this seems to come from two distinct motivations; either addressing neutrino masses, or trying to avoid direct detection constraints.

Finally, perhaps the most immediately useful talk was by Tom Rizzo, on the question of how much luminosity we will need at a 100 TeV collider.  Naively, one might expect luminosity would need to scale with the square of energy (since cross sections typically decrease as energy squared).  This would suggest a fiftyfold increase in luminosity relative to the LHC, or around 15 inverse attobarns.  However, Tom's talk showed that you generally don't need so much; generally, if you only have a few ab-1, the cost in reach is only of the order of tens of percent.  I'm working on a 100 TeV paper right now, and that reassures me on an issue I had been worrying about.

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