AIM - a new platform for physics ideas

Polly Bennett

In the upcoming ALICE Physics Week, one afternoon session will be dedicated to a trial brainstorm of unexplored physics ideas: ALICE Ideas in Motion (AIM). The aim is to discuss new ideas regarding measurements and analyses of the previous two years ALICE data. AIM is the concept of Karel Safarik and Guy Paic and was designed to stimulate ideas for a qualitative change in analysis, in addition to strengthening the precision of current analyses to better prove or disprove the current theoretical models.

The session will forgo the traditional ‘conference style' presentation of new ideas, focusing instead on friendly discussion. All ALICE Collaboration members have been invited to submit proposals to Karel and Guy. Each proposal should include a short presentation of around 5 minutes explaining the details of what, why and how to measure the proposed topic, which will be followed by discussion and critique.

Karel Safarik says, “This is a trial. We've never had such a type of meeting before.” Usually ideas are presented to colleagues in a more informal scenario. “Often people are shy and AIM is an attempt to break this. However,” he adds, “it will be forbidden to apriori dismiss any idea. Any doubts have to be expressed in a positive way and criticism is allowed by suggesting a better way to explore the given idea.” In addition Guy Paic says, “It is especially difficult to stimulate young people. They need a break and sometimes it's difficult to get up in public and say ‘No I don't believe' or ‘Yes I believe'.”

In explaining why new ideas are crucial at this time, Guy explains, “We are now two years into analysing heavy ion data and it is a very difficult task, with lots of technical and complicated details to extract. But we have observed quantitative differences with the data that have been earlier measured at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York.” This quantitative improvement comes from the fact that ALICE operates at much higher energies, by a factor of about 14, than RHIC. He continues, “Some things are straightforward, for example, we can do more event analysis. But of course the higher energies at the LHC also allow us, hopefully, to make studies that were not done in the same way before. Experimentalists need to find inventive ways to present their results, like new parameters, so this is the idea behind AIM. ”

Karel explains further, “There are a larger number of particles from the collisions at ALICE. This increase in particle density gives us higher statistics. This is one of the reasons why we can do many other things. But there may also be other thoughts or ideas from ALICE members, things which have been tried but were inconclusive, published but unexplored ideas, and so on, which we would now like to collect. Otherwise the analysis will just follow the recipes used in the past. One has to do this for better precision and understanding, but we still think there has to be a qualitative change.”

The deadline for proposals is April 9th.

The AIM session will take place at ALICE Physics Week in Frascati, Italy, week commencing April 16th. Karel and Guy will give prizes for: ‘Best Proposal' and ‘Youngest Proponent' at the session.

Alice Matters