Hey, Lufthansa has wireless in the sky â€” how cool is that! So here I am at roughly 38,000 ft, somewhere over Canada, 6.5 hours into the flight with 4.5 hours left to go…. I’m on my way home from the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy, where one of the last summer schools of the season just finished. The topic was Expecting LHC, which was the hot topic for summer schools this year. In fact, everybody who is anybody had one. The LHC is turning on next year and everyone wants the new crop of graduate students to be prepared!
The school was great and I enjoyed the whole experience. (But, then again, I adore Italy!) My lectures were on Non-Supersymmetric Physics Beyond the Standard Model and Extra Dimensions. That’s both a fairly broad and specific topic! I first reviewed the symmetries of the Standard Model, which any model of new physics must clearly satisfy, and briefly covered something called Little Higgs models as they contain new quarks, new gauge bosons, and new Higgs bosons, all at once! However, I spent most of my lectures on Extra Dimensions, covering the motivation, basic theory, and collider signatures for the main models. Other lecturers covered the Standard Model (QCD and Electroweak and Heavy Flavors), Higgs, Supersymmetry, and the LHC accelerator and detectors.
The students were great! It is always a joy to lecture to a room full of enthusiastic students. They were chock full of good questions and were not shy about asking them, so the lectures (and the coffee breaks, and the meals) were very interactive. There were about 100 students registered from various places ranging from Pakistan to Palestine. This set of kids shows that the world is full of eager, bright and budding physicists!
The main program of the ICTP is to foster the development of theoretical physicists from developing countries. The Center was founded in 1964 by Abdus Salam, a theorist from Pakistan who was a co-creator of the Standard Model, and it serves its purpose very well. There are many shining examples of successful theorists who have worked there, including Gia Dvali who co-invented the model of Large Extra Dimensions (a main feature of my lectures) while he was there.
Us lecturers were very well looked after, pretty much as described by Sean when he lectured at their Cosmology school earlier this year. Since he already posted a picture of the guesthouse, I will share a picture of the jellyfish with you instead. (Be thankful you are spared my numerous sunset shots.) The small bay of the Adriatic Sea where the ICTP and its Guesthouse sits was filled with the things, about 1-2 ft long. Superb!