Published: 19 November 2018

Heavy-ion physicists met at Aix-les-Bains, in France, from 1 to 5 October to present recent experimental and theoretical results in the field and discuss the future of collider heavy-ion physics.

The "Hard Probes 2018: International Conference on Hard and Electromagnetic Probes of High-Energy Nuclear Collisions" was held in the congress centre of Aix-les-Bains (Savoy, France) on October 1-5, 2018. The conference attracted 260 participants from 27 countries, including a record number of students and young scientists.

The main conference programme was preceded by a lecture-day at CERN aimed at students of all ages, which was attended by 90 people. The conference opened up with a day of plenary talks, followed by two days and a half dedicated to selected parallel talks, and concluded with more plenary presentations. Parallel sessions focused on specific topics: Initial state, jets and high-pT hadrons, electroweak probes, quarkonia and open heavy flavours, as well as new theoretical and experimental developments in the hard-probes sector.

In total, there were 39 invited plenary talks, 152 parallel presentations, and 40 posters. Five posters were selected by the conference committees for flash-talk presentations in the final day plenary session.

The conference highlighted many new experimental and theoretical results related to perturbative probes of quark-gluon matter. Representatives from six large and small collaborations (ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, LHCb, PHENIX, and STAR) presented new experimental data from the leading heavy-ion colliders in the world.

On Thursday afternoon, a round-table dedicated to discuss the future of collider heavy-ion physics was held, after a few presentations from different projects (sPHENIX, EIC, AFTER@LHC, LHeC/FCC-eh, and FCC-AA).

The Hard Probes 2018 Conference would not have been possible without generous financial support from multiple national and international organizations. In particular, these contributions provided conference fee waiving and lodging support for about 90 participants, including students, young postdocs, and researchers from countries with limited financial funds. We express our deep appreciation for the support received from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN, Switzerland), the Institut National de Physique Nucleaire et de Physique des Particules (IN2P3/CNRS, France), and the Commissariat a l'Energie atomique et aux Energies alternatives (CEA, France), the laboratories of LPC (Clermont-Ferrand), LAPTh (Annecy), IPN (Orsay), Subatech (Nantes), LPSC (Grenoble); Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL, New York), Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL, California), Berkeley Lab (LBNL, California), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Tennessee, USA), Central China Normal University (China), and the ExtreMe Matter Institute (EMMI, GSI, Germany).

Last but not least, the success of Hard Probes 2018 was the result of the hard work and dedication of many people. 

We thank the members of the Local Organizing Committee for multiple logistic and organizational matters, and the International Advisory Committee for providing sound advice and valuable input for the meeting structure and scientific programme. Special thanks go to the conference secretariat team, composed of Nathalie Gouriou, Peggy Pithioud, and Guylaine Pachoud (CERN), for their crucial administrative and financial-matters support before, during, and after the conference.