by Tapan Nayak, Raghava Varma & Premomoy Ghosh. Published: 21 December 2010

The 6th International Conference on Physics and Astrophysics of Quark Gluon Plasma (ICPAQGP-2010), held at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Goa, India, during 6-10 December 2010 has concluded successfully with the active participation of a large number of physicists.

Premomoy Ghosh

Attendees at the ICPAQGP-2010 conference

The timing of the conference was ideal, as it was at the end of the three-week spell of heavy-ion collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The three major experiments (ALICE, ATLAS and CMS) presented their first results from the just completed heavy-ion run.

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, a dedicated facility for the search for, and study of, Quark Gluon Plasma, completed the first stage of running for the search of QCD Critical Point. The initial results from this run were presented, a first for any conference.

The warm Goan weather provided excellent ambience for the researchers to discuss the new results and their implications. The conference attracted more than 250 participants, including about 70 from outside of India. The most notable feature of the conference was the participation of a large number of energetic and vibrant Ph.D. students, who made the discussions lively. Thanks to the generous funding by several agencies, we could support most of the young researchers.

One of the major events this time was the inclusion of a Student Day on 5 December, prior to the start of the main conference. The Student Day was attended by more than 100 scholars and young researchers from various institutions and universities. The speakers of the student day discussed the physics of quark gluon plasma, the standard model, and beyond, and experimental techniques.

The four and half day conference started with an overview talk by Joe Kapusta, and included experimental highlights from SPS, GSI, RHIC and LHC; lattice calculations; the search for QCD critical point; electromagnetic probes; quarkonia; heavy flavours; energy loss; jets; AdS/CFT correspondence; hydrodynamic and viscous-hydro calculations; diffractive physics; reports from upcoming facilities, such as FAIR, eRHIC, J-PARC and NICA; as well as talks on quantum gravity and neutron stars. In addition, the program included a large number of theoretical presentations on various QCD models, equation of state and connection to astrophysics.

The ALICE experiment was represented in a major way; with three talks in the plenary sessions, 11 talks in the parallel sessions and several poster presentations. Jurgen Schukraft’s presentation on the first day was the major highlight, where the first results from the LHC heavy-ion runs were presented, along with results from proton-proton collisions.

Andreas Morsch concentrated on the photon production and jet physics, whereas Debasish Das discussed the first results from the muon arm spectrometer. The parallel session talks from ALICE included event shape analysis of proton-proton data by Guy Paic, strangeness and resonance production by Helmut Oeschler and Christina Markert, anti-nuclei production by Natasha Sharma, photon production at forward rapidities by Sidharth Prasad, inclusive neutral pion production by Yuri Kharlov, photon and neutral pion correlations by Yaxian Mao, online tracker for muon HLT by Indranil Das, quarkonia measurements by Sanjay Pal, open charm analysis by Renu Bala and heavy flavour measurements by Chiara Zampolli.

The talks by Debasish and Sidharth included the efforts of the Indian groups in ALICE. The parallel session talks were at quite a high level, and were well attended. A special poster session was organized where about 75 posters were displayed. It included presentations from ALICE on the reconstruction of Ds mesons by Sadhana Dash, multi-particle production in proton-proton collisions by Mohammed Mohisin Khan, performance of EMCAL by Deepa Thomas, neutral meson measurements with EMCAL by Olga Driga and physics with the proposed forward electromagnetic calorimeter by Sanjib Muhuri.

Jean-Pierre Revol made a comprehensive presentation on diffractive physics, combining results from all the LHC experiments. Peter Braun-Munzinger discussed charmonium production at the QCD phase boundary. The presence of ALICE dignitaries - such as Paolo Giubellino, Lodovico Riccati and Yves Schutz - made the scientific atmosphere quite lively.

Rakesh Bhandari, Director of VECC, Kolkata talked about the status of nuclear and high energy physics research in India in his inaugural address. The conference included an evening lecture by Satish Shetye, Director of NIO, on the Indian monsoon. Nu Xu and Larry McLerran made the experimental and theoretical summary presentations with an outlook to the future.

Concluding remarks by Bikash Sinha, Homi Bhabha Professor, Department of Atomic Energy, took the participants back to the first conference of the series, held in 1988 at Mumbai, and outlined the important role that the ICPAQGP series has played in building a vibrant community of scientists engaged in this frontline area of physics. The other conferences in this series took place in Kolkata (1993), Jaipur (1997), Jaipur(2001) and Kolkata (2005). We look forward to the next one, which will be held in 2013, as the silver jubilee anniversary of the ICPAQGP series.

The proceedings of the ICPAQGP-2010 will be published by Nuclear Physics A.