by Jan Rak. Published: 29 September 2011

The 5th ALICE Physics Week in Jyväskylä took place in the close vicinity of lake Päijänne, the second largest (1080 km2) out of 187 888 Finland’s lakes. The main goal, obviously, was to discuss analysis that will sort out theory calculations to be sunk to the deepest spot (95.3 m) of the Päijänne lake.

Boat trip on lake Päijänne during ALICE Physics week in Jyväskylä

The meeting was held in one of the lecture rooms of the mathematics department of the Jyväskylä University in the central part of Finland. Jyväskylä, located 270 km north from Helsinki with about 130 000 inhabitants is the seventh largest city in Finland. One of the surprising features of the city is that the majority of the people you meet on the street are not much older than the ALICE experiment. This is due to the fact that more than 10% of all inhabitants are students! The University alone, with seven faculties and 2600 employees, holds 15000 students. On top of the education and research, Jyväskylä city, founded on 22 March 1837 by Czar Nicholas I of Russia, is known from buildings by functional architect Alvar Aalto, cultural history and handicraft museums of Finland, world championship contest in rally and Jyväskylä Arts Festival in the nightless nights of the Finnish summer.

Three of the most important meeting facilities, the ALBA hotel, the lecture room and the cafeteria form an almost regular triangle with the largest side not longer than 200 m. This provided a nice and quiet environment on the lake shore without too many distractions. A new record of 83 talks gave a broad overview of the current analysis and triggered vivid discussions not only during the presentations but also at the City Reception sponsored by the city mayor as well as during the boat cruise and the conference dinner at Savutuvan Apaja.

Savutuvan Apaja is located 12 km from the centre of Jyväskylä, by car, on the shore of lake Päijänne. We took more time consuming a short cut by boat (4 km) in Finnish lake scenery in water route that could have continued over 200 km south from Jyväskylä. The first buildings of these historical surroundings were built already when Finland was still part of the Swedish kingdom (1249-1809). Interestingly, the oldest preserved building is "the Royal Toilet". Royal in the sense that only royals were allowed to use it. A traditional Finnish buffet dinner was served with the possibility to have a homemade "moonshine booze" for better digestion of the meal. The name "moonshine" comes from the fact that during the time of alcohol prohibition law in Finland (1919–1932), people made illegal booze deep in the forests during the nighttime.

It was also estimated that the 138 participants consumed approximately 67 kg of salmon alone providing the necessary fuel and omega-3’s for intensive brainstorming. Even though our happy hunters missed the record for the largest pike (18.8 kg) during the nighttime fishing trip, we certainly caught and enjoyed many physics analyses that will make a great impact on our field.