by Panos Charitos. Published: 29 July 2015

The 2015 ALICE week outside CERN was hosted by the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany, from June 22 – 26.

Many of the 200 participants may remember the Darmstadtium convention centre, close by in Darmstadt city, where the Quark Matter 2014 conference was held last year. 

A new international accelerator facility, the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), one of the largest research projects in the world, is currently under construction at GSI.

GSI has made substantial contributions to the construction of ALICE and is part of the worldwide grid, which is essential for the physics analysis of the recorded data.

The ALICE week opened with an overview of the 40-year history of relativistic nuclear collisions, which began with scientists from GSI leading the very first experiment at the Bevalac accelerator of the Berkeley National Laboratory.

This meeting saw a first physics glimpse on the brand-new data from proton-proton collisions at a new record centre-of-mass energy of 13 TeV.

A major part of the meeting was dedicated to the planned upgrade of ALICE in the year 2019; this will allow the experiment to collect data with a factor of 100 increased statistics from the year following the upgrade (after LS2) through until the end of 2027. 

The approval process of the ALICE upgrade project is coming to a close, and reviews by the LHC Committee of all Technical Design Reports and costs are nearing their conclusion.

During the meeting, GSI's scientific director Karlheinz Langanke announced full support of the ALICE upgrade. This guarantees participation in the construction of the GEM-based readout chambers for the TPC upgrade, which will greatly profit from the resources available in the detector laboratory at GSI, and a substantial contribution to the upgrade of the online-offline computing system of ALICE.

The conference dinner was served in the beautiful 300-year-old Orangerie, giving another precious opportunity to stimulate the cohesion and team spirit of the Collaboration.

The traditional junior’s day on Thursday saw two lectures from leading experts in our field and eight presentations from young researchers in ALICE about their ongoing work. The day ended with a BBQ in the Weststadtcafé in Darmstadt.

Analysis tutorials for new and not-so-new young researchers were held on Friday. The meeting ended with an excursion to the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony, which is a centre of Jugendstil (Art Nouveau), a tour of the GSI accelerator facilities, or optionally a football tournament.

In total, 32 young researchers received financial support to attend the meeting. A generous contribution from EMMI is gratefully acknowledged.

To see pictures taken at the meeting please visit the following website: