Thursday, March 12, 2015

QNP 2015, Day Five

Apologies for the delay in posting this. Travel and jetlag kept me from attending to it earlier.

The first talk today was by Guy de Teramond, who described applications of light-front superconformal quantum mechanics to hadronic physics. I have to admit that I couldn't fully take in all the details, but as far as I understood an isomorphy between AdS2 and the conformal group in one dimension can be used to derive a form of the light-front Hamiltonian for mesons from an AdS/QCD correspondence, in which the dilaton field is fixed to be φ(z)=1/2 z2 by the requirement of conformal invariance, and a similar construction in the superconformal case leads to a light-front Hamiltonian for baryons. A relationship between the Regge trajectories for mesons and baryons can then be interpreted as a form of supersymmetry in this framework.

Next was Beatriz Gay Ducati with a review of the pheonomenology of heavy quarks in nuclear matter, a topic where there are still many open issues. The photoproduction of quarkonia on nucleons and nuclei allows to probe the gluon distribution, since the dominant production process is photon-gluon fusion, but to be able to interpret the data, many nuclear matter effects need to be understood.

After the coffee break, this was followed by a talk by Hrayr Matevosyan on transverse momentum distributions (TMDs), which are complementary to GPDs in the sense of being obtained by integrating out other variables starting from the full Wigner distributions. Here, again, there are many open issues, such as the Sivers, Collins or Boer-Mulders effects.

The next speaker was Raju Venugopalan, who spoke about two outstanding problems in QCD at high parton densities, namely the question of how the systems created in heavy-ion collisions thermalise, and the phenomenon of "the ridge" in proton-nucleus collisions, which would seem to suggest hydrodynamic behaviour in a system that is too small to be understood as a liquid. Both problems may have to do with the structure of the dense initial state, which is theorised to be a colour-glass condensate or "glasma", and the way in which it evolves into a more dilute system.

After the lunch break, Sonny Mantry reviewed some recent advances made in applying Soft-Collinear Effective Theory (SCET) to a range of questions in strong-interaction physics. SCET is the effective field theory obtained when QCD fluctuations around a hard particle momentum are considered to be small and a corresponding expansion (analogous to the 1/m expansion in HQET) is made. SCET has been successfully applied to many different problems; an interesting and important one is the problem of relating the "Monte Carlo mass" usually quoted for the top quark to the top quark mass in a more well-defined scheme such as MSbar.

The last talk in the plenary programme was a review of the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) project by Zein-Eddine Meziani. By combining the precision obtainable using an electron beam with the access to the gluon-dominated regime provided by a havy ion beam, as well as the ability to study the nucleon spin using a polarised nucleon beam, the EIC will enable a much more in-depth study of many of the still unresolved questions in QCD, such as the nucleon spin structure and colour distributions. There are currently two competing designs, the eRHIC at Brookhaven, and the MEIC at Jefferson Lab.

Before the conference closed, Michel Garçon announced that the next conference of the series (QNP 2018) will be held in Japan (either in Tsukuba or in Mito, Ibaraki prefecture). The local organising committee and conference office staff received some well-deserved applause for a very smoothly-run conference, and the scientific part of the conference programme was adjourned.

As it was still in the afternoon, I went with some colleagues to visit La Sebastiana, the house of Pablo Neruda in Valparaíso, taking one of the city's famous ascensores down (although up might have been more convenient, as the streets get very steep) before walking back to Viña del Mar along the sea coast.

The next day, there was an organised excursion to a vineyard in the Casablanca valley, where we got to taste some very good Chilean wines (some of the them matured in traditional clay vats) and liqueurs with a very pleasant lunch.

I got to spend another day in Valparaíso before travelling back (a happily uneventful, if again rather long trip).