In the beautiful hideout of Falassarna, Crete (see below), I am blogging today from the terrace of my hotel room, overlooking a wonderful beach. Although still "connected" and in touch with the happenings at CERN and Fermilab, I am for once in a detached, pensive mood, as I ponder over the status of HEP in this hot summer of 2011. So let me just assemble some thoughts below. Summer conferences are at our doors, but I will miss them.... I prefer to think at what we'll see at the next winter conferences!

The LHC is running at full steam and it is bound to exceed in an embarassing way the "goals" for 2011 running. This should let us ponder on just how much psychological damage on the CERN management did the delays and incidents that this wonderful machine suffered before starting to deliver impressively: after years of failed promises on the date of starting physics, they are now erring on the conservative side. Besides this comment, what do the 5 inverse femtobarns that the ATLAS and CMS experiments will have available in a few months tell us ?

A connected question is the one concerning CDF and DZERO, the two Tevatron competitors of the CERN experiments. The Tevatron will end its glorious march on September 1st, by which time the two experiments will obtain a full 10 inverse femtobarns of data. Twice the CERN bounty, but unfortunately collected at 3.5 times less energy. And yet, CDF and DZERO are two experiments which have run for a long, long time, and the understanding of the details of their detector elements is more advanced. The very important "Jet Energy Scale", a number which tells us how different are data and simulation in the ratio between measured and real energy of hadronic jets, is just an example of things that the Tevatron experiments do still better than their CERN colleagues. Not for long more, but still so.

I expect that in searches, the 5/fb of the CERN experiments will totally dispose of the Tevatron results. But we know that new particle searches will not turn out any real discovery, except maybe the Higgs boson. I expect no SUSY particles, no dijet resonances, no extra dimensions, no neutralinos. I expect that only limits will be produced, and here the LHC will totally out-do its american competitor.

So the battlefield is really measurements. Ah, yes, measurements! What a physicist really tries to do is to measure, not to place upper limits! There, things are still on a uneven, dynamical balance. The top quark mass will be known better by the Tevatron experiments; the physics of B hadrons will be a disputable matter. The W boson mass will still be in the Americans' court; but many measurements with W and Z bosons will by this winter be better made by CMS and ATLAS. So when we talk about measurements, the baricenter of high-energy physics at the end of 2011 will probably be in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Which brings me back to this blue sea I see in front of me. And, since I have a romantic mind and a classical education, I cannot fail to recall Percy Bysshe's verses: "If summer conferences come, can winter conferences be far behind ?"