by Larissa Bravina, Panagiotis Charitos, Yiota Foka & Sonia Kabana‎. Published: 16 September 2013

The Second International Conference on New Frontiers in Physics, ICNFP 2013 was held in Kolymbari, Crete from 28th August to 5th September. The conference aims to foster interdisciplinary cross-fertilization of ideas  by bringing together scientists from different fields and promote scientific exchange and the development of novel ideas.

The conference brought together worldwide experts and young researchers working both on experimental and theoretical aspects of modern physics. About 200 scientists from different disciplines met and discussed new approaches in tackling the most puzzling problems in their fields.

Participants of the ICNFP2013.

The formal conference was preceded by a well-attended series of nine lectures on the basic principles of the physics topics covering recent developments in quantum optics and quantum entanglement, modern understanding of quark confinement and strong interactions as well as aspects of quantum gravity and astroparticle physics and cosmology. The plenary sessions covered mostly overviews of different fields with about 80 lectures delivered over the seven days of the conference. In addition, five parallel sessions focused on specific topics with almost 120 lectures given by leading scientists.

A substantial part of the programme was dedicated to heavy-ion physics with contributions from LHC experiments as well as RHIC and SPS experiments. The conference opened with a talk by Peter Braun Munzinger giving an overview of the heavy ion physics followed by Urs Wiedemann with a theoretical overview. In particular, ALICE was very well represented, with a total of 14 presentations covering a wealth of experimental results. ALICE members also gave several overview talks on heavy ion physics related topics. In addition, several theoretical talks presented recent advances in the field.

Peter Braun-Munzinger opened the ICNFP 2013 with an overview of the field of heavy ion physics followed by Urs Wiedemann's talk who gave a theoretical overview. From left to right: Sonia Kabana, Urs Wiedemann, Yiota Foka and Peter Braun-Munzinger.

Several plenary sessions addressed the future FAIR and NICA facilities. A plenary session was dedicated to the memory of Mikhail Polikarpov; his activity was overviewed by Valentin I. Zakharov.

A number of public talks were included in this year’s programme. Daniel Denegri discussed about the “LHC@CERN: from concept to spectacular discoveries in science” while Emmanuel Tsesmelis gave a public talk in Greek in Chania about “CERN, particle physics and the discovery of the Higgs boson” followed by the opening of a photographic exhibition “LHC@CERN: 27 km in 27 images” organized by Panagiotis Charitos. Both talks were well attended by a large public and triggered a lot of questions with the discussion lasting until late at night. In addition, George Zweig gave an after-dinner talk on “Concrete Quarks: The beginning of the End”. In his talk he reviewed the early ideas about the existence of the most fundamental constituents of matter and the birth of the quark/aces model, and found himself at the end confronted with an enthusiastic audience.

From left to right: Sonia Kabana (Nantes Univ), Yiota Foka (GSI), Larissa Bravina (Oslo Univ), chairs of ICNFP 2013 and Emmanuela Larentzaki, director of the Orthodox Academy of Crete.

Outreach was also included in the programme aiming to familiarize the participants with the educational project "International Masterclasses" (IMC) that brings particle physics to the classroom. A dedicated plenary session started with a physics talk on the LHC highlights, followed by a presentation of the IMC project. The LHC Masterclass packages were detailed following presentations of the physics results on the same topic. During a hands-on session the participants had the chance to clarify questions and use CDs given as conference material with all the packages.

Cultural activities included among other things a concert in an open air theatre, copy of ancient greek theatre, by the seaside, with ethnic music by Ross Daily and his orchestra, a lecture on the History of Crete by Emmanuela Larentzakis, an Opera Gala event featuring the soprano Kalliopi Petrou and the pianist Yannis Aeriniotis, visit to the Synagogue of Chania and excursions to archaeological sites and monasteries.

The conference was hosted in the Conference Centre of the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC), an exceptionally beautiful location only a few meters from the Mediterranean sea. OAC continues a rich tradition of hosting conferences, highlighting the original role of the Academy as an open space for dialogue and interaction among scholars representing a broad range of disciplines.

The conference was supported by CERN, the University of Oslo, the Research Council of Norway, GSI, the European Physical Society and OAC. For a second year, the staff of the Academy provided excellent administrative services as well as traditional Greek hospitality.

The 3nd edition of ICNFP will be organized in summer 2014 and will take place again in the Orthodox Academy of Crete, Greece.

To find more information on ICNFP2013 please visit the conference website: http://indico.cern.ch/event/icnfp2013