Two years ago at Lindau they started a new type of session called Master Class, in analogy with those offered by great masters, invited by the best music schools in the world. In this case it is Nobel laureates that listen and give advice to the select group of students who have come to Lindau. I have enthusiastically attended the master class of David Gross on “Fundamental Physics in the LHC era”, which consisted of six 15 min talks from young researchers in experimental and theoretical particle physics, talking about their PhD work before an audience of about fifty people, mostly students.
It was quite impressive to see the quality of the presentations and the professional attitude of these young researchers. I know they are selected among the best of the best to come to Lindau, but I’m used to hearing good talks from young people at international conferences and had never seen anything like it. The six students, all working on their doctoral thesis, made a flawless presentation, focused, enjoyable and very comprehensive, absolutely timed – almost chronometrized – in many different subjects, from the recent conclusive results from Daya Bay on the mixing angle between the first and third generation of neutrinos, to the details of the detection of the Higgs at the LHC (ATLAS), through a new proposal to search for CP violation in the electric dipole moment of the deuteron, and the importance of asymmetries in some decay channels of colliders to study the Flavor Problem in the Standard Model and the search for New Physics. It was certainly a lesson in mastery.
After each talk we had a few minutes of questions. In a couple of occasions, David Gross made them a comment about the talks, but mostly it’s been a very pleasant discussion among the students who presented their work and the other members of the audience, many of them with complementary skills and knowledge. The questions have been properly asked and very nicely answered. It was clear that we were listening to experts in their subject. As Professor Gross said, they are the maestros, for they have shown that the next generation of experimental and theoretical physics projects are in good hands.