by Alessandra Fantoni. Published: 27 April 2012

The 6th ALICE Physics Week (APW) took place last week (from April 16th to 20th) in Frascati, a town located on the Alban hills, near the ancient city of Tusculum and in the close vicinity - only 20 km - of the beautiful city of Rome. Frascati is closely associated with science, being the location of several scientific laboratories.

C. Federici (SIDS – LNF)

The participants of the 6th ALICE Physics Week, Frascati, Italy

The meeting was held in the Frascati Laboratories (Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati – LNF), the largest and oldest laboratory belonging to the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics (Istituto Nazionale Fisica Nucleare – INFN). The choice of LNF was an auspicious location, because it is also the place where the first Italian particle accelerator and the first-ever electron-positron particle collider Ada (Anello di Accumulazione) was born at the end of the 1950s, opening the door to the future colliders and accelerators in the world, and then to LHC.

The main facility was obviously the Touschek Auditorium, but discussions also continued during coffee breaks and lunches, the last of which was served at the Villa Mercede’s restaurant, with an enviable panoramic position overlooking the roman countryside.

The perfect location, the good weather, the nice environment, the beautiful view of magnificent Rome and the atmosphere rich in history and science was perfect for discussing the latest ALICE results. A special talk on the LHC history, from its first design to its current success, and the peculiarities and perspectives of the ALICE experiment was given by Professor Luciano Maiani, INFN president from 1993 - 1998 and CERN General Director from 1999 - 2003.

The week was particularly intense; every day was full of talks and discussions of all 8 Physics Working Groups. Not happy with having every day fully booked, for the first time an evening session was necessary; covering future detector upgrades to be investigated and developed during the next decade. The occasion was perfect for enjoying a wonderful sunset from the hills to Rome, during the quick dinner before the meeting.

Last, but not least, for the first time there was also a dedicated brainstorming on ALICE Ideas in Motion (AIM), with the aim to present and discuss new and/or unexplored (for any reason) measurement and analyses possible with the ALICE data. Special prizes were given to various speakers, and were based, of course, on local traditions: bottles of wine and grappa, and sweets.

In fact, Frascati is renowned for its white wine, based on Malvasia, Greco and Trebbiano, and has Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC – the quality assurance label). Frascati is known also as a “wine city” and a special puppet, named “pupazza frascatana”, is a particular symbol of this characteristic. This “pupazza frascatana” represents a nurse taking care of the small children of busy women during the vintage. Her features include 3 breasts, 2 for milk and 1 for wine to calm down all the kids!

G. Feofilov

Alessandra Fantoni (centre) presenting a ‘pupazza frascatana’ prize with Federico Antinori (left) and Karel Safarik (right)

We must remember also that Frascati is famous for its notable villas, which were built from the 16th century onwards by Popes, cardinals and Roman nobles as a “status symbol” of Roman aristocracy. Just for touching with our hands the reality of this aspect, the social dinner was at Villa Grazioli, a masterpiece of 16th century art, history and culture. It is filled with magnificent works of art painted by Italian masters like Ciampelli, Carracci and Pannini; in 1700 this villa was already defined the most elegant of the Tusculan Villas from the marquis De Sade.

C. Federici (SIDS – LNF)

Villa Grazioli, the setting for the week’s social dinner

All these “features” made the meeting very successful, with 185 participants and 108 talks; a real record for a meeting outside CERN, reaching almost 200 persons. It was also a new record in number of talks presented! Finally, it was estimated that 332 litres of “Castelli Romani” wine was consumed, which helped to discover the “veritas” in our analyses.