Let me take the opportunity of this first "ALICE Matters" of the year to wish to you all a fantastic 2011! The year which has just closed was a memorable one, with ALICE going through a series of successes which climaxed, at the very end of the year, with the heavy ion run and the magnificent burst of papers which followed. Yet it is already time to look at new challenges!
Most of the Physics results from last year's runs still have to come out, and there is no time to lose. In a matter of weeks the data taking will restart, with ALICE enriched by the completion of the EMCAL and the extension of the TRD. We will have to go into a new mode of operation, in which rare triggers, rather than Minimum Bias, will be the bulk of the data collected. The much awaited comparison run with proton-proton collisions at the same energy per nucleon as the heavy ion ones should come early; just in time to allow the data to be used for Quark Matter - and at the end of the year a heavy ion run, with about ten times the luminosity of last year, will again complete the feast.
So, we will have to work on many fronts at the same time: the analysis of both proton-proton and heavy ion data from last year and the prompt analysis of the comparison run, while at the same time running the experiment for a long run and working on the definition of the long-term program for our experiment and its upgrades.
I am confident that ALICE has the human potential to do it all and do it great, but we will need the enthusiasm and commitment of all! This is a year which promises to be tough but so rich... let's enjoy it!