Friday, July 18, 2008

Lattice 2008, Day four

Today was the customary short day. There were no plenaries, only parallel sessions. I went to the sessions on Standard Model parameters and renormalisation, where Peter Lepage presented the HPQCD collaboration's new method and results for the heavy quark masses from moments of current-current correlators, and after the cofee break the session on weak decays and matrix elements where Paul Mackenzie presented the Fermilab group's new result for fDs, which is larger than, but in agreement with, the HPQCD result, but at the moment has larger error bars than the latter. Notable talks in these sessions were also given by Ian Allison on results from high-β simulations and by Ruth van de Water on extracting an accurate number for |Vub| from QCD simulations by making use of variable transformations and complex fitting procedures.

After the end of the last session, we picked up our boxed lunches at the reception desk and climbed into the busses that took us to Jamestown settlement, where we got a tour of the museum, where the most remarkable exhibit were watercolours by John White, an artist who accompanied an early expedition to Virginia and depicted the flora, fauna and native population as they appeared to an English artist encountering the New World for the first time, while everything else was certainly informational and presented very nicely, but nothing unusual compared to the other historical museums. The reconstructed settlement was a bit too Disneylandish for my taste -- while the ships and buildings certainly gave a good idea of life in an early English colony in North America, the costumed show was more funny than informational, although I am sure the kids who were there were having a lot of fun, which is probably the main purpose of these kinds of reenactments. After that, the busses took us to the historical site of Jamestown, where we could see the ruins of the buildings and the rebuilt church and walk around in the heat until the busses took us back.

The banquet was a buffet dinner in one of the big rooms that can be divided to serve as three meeting rooms each. The menu is likely of no interest to readers, so I'll end here for today.