MEMORIES from the

3rd Latin American School of High Energy Physics

Malague, Argentina, 27 February - 12 March, 2005

Sunset over the Andes

The third in the new series of Latin American Schools of High-Energy Physics took place in Malargüe, located southeast in the Province of Mendoza in Argentina, from 27 February to 12 March 2005. It was organized jointly by CERN and CLAF (Centro Latino Americano de Fisica) and with the strong support of CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas).  

 Fifty-four students coming from eleven different countries attended the School. While most of the students stayed in Hotel Rio Grande, a few students and the Staff stayed at Microtel situated close by. However, all the participants were having their meals together at Hotel Rio Grande in a very nice dining room equipped with a large barbecue.
According to the tradition of the School the students were sharing twin rooms mixing nationalities and in particular Europeans together with Latin Americans.
The two hotels are situated at the entrance of the town of Malargüe on the National Route 40, that goes through Argentina from north to south, and becomes the street, Avda. San Martín, when traversing Malargüe city. The word Malargüe is derived from the mapuche words “Malal” (small hill) and “Hue” (place), which put together can be interpreted as a natural pen allowing the native people to keep their animals. 

Thanks to the efforts of the Hotel staff the participants were very well treated.  The food was excellent with different dishes prepared for every meal. A great variety of salads were available together with a tremendous amount of the famous Argentinean meat prepared according to the special wishes of the participants. Also the students with special diet requirements were well looked after.
TThe breakfast was an impressive buffet with plenty of different fruits and cakes.

The Rio Grande dining room

 All the lectures were given at the Convention Center, some 300 meters far from the two hotels located in a park at the back of the nice building of the Tourism Office
The Expositions & Convention Center “Thesaurus" is an ultra modern building specially designed to provide the Province and inland regions with modern facilities allowing the development of tourism as well as the organization of Conventions and Lectures, and which meets the requirements of different activities: work, art, science and culture. It was built underground so that it does not interfere with the natural landscape of the surrounding park.
There is an entrance gallery with room for the display of handicrafts, paintings and other pieces of art, followed by three large rooms: Mitten, a Cinema with 160 seats, Cane lo, an Auditorium with 368 seats and Claudine, a multiple function room for up to 250 people. Claudine was in fact used for the display of the posters representing the student's scientific activities.
One of the main design features of the center is the use of mobile sound deflectors and special ceiling acoustic. Also the carpeted walls contribute to the excellent acoustic.

Danielle studying the evolution of the Universe in the park of the Convention Center

The Auger Project

Across the road, opposite the Expo & Convention Center is the Pierre Auger Observatory.
The concept of the Auger Project was first proposed in 1992 by Jim Cronin and Alan Watson.
More than 200 physicists from 55 institutions now collaborate in building the southern site.

The Auger Detector tanks are placed over a large area on the pampas, and here is Julia in front of one of them.

The construction budget of approximately 50 million dollars is shared by the 15 participating countries, each providing a part of the total cost. Alan Watson, who is the present project spokesman, (with Jim Cronin as spokesman emeritus), gave a nice talk about the Project before the students were taken to Los Leones where the Auger Detectors are installed.

John in control of the Auger control room

Poster Session

The students displayed an impressive amount of high quality posters describing their experiments and work in the Caldén room. A special poster session was devoted to the inauguration of the poster display, but the posters, which were frequently visited and discussed, were pinned up for the duration of the school.

Students discussing the NA48/2 experiment

During the poster session the participants were offered free drinks by a local foundation specializing in a variety of sweet alcohol with taste of local herbs and spices.

Tere and John study the posters
Nick at the poster session

Social life

In addition to a visit to the Auger site, two other excursions were offered, one to Castillos de Pincheira, a natural and impressive geologic structure about 30 km from the city of Malargüe. The structure, built by the wearing action of the river and winds, looks like a huge castle, and its name is from the well known leader and bandit, José Antonio Pincheira, as it was a refuge for his people. The participants were offered a delicious barbecue prepared with the famous Malargüe goat, chivita. After the meal the participants could climb the surrounding mountains, play soccer, go horse riding, or just relax.
Another excursion was to Las Leñas, Argentina's largest ski resort. On the way stops were made at the Well of the Souls ("Pozo de las Animas"), and the lagoon of the Enchanted Girl ("La Niña Encantada").
At night the participants were happily gathering in their favorite bar downtown animated discussions, exotic drinks, music, singing and dancing.

Castillos de Pincheira

Pozo de las Animas
chivito preparation

The lecturers are knowledgeable in more than physics

Luis discussing with students at the bbq
Cesar in good company in front of the tourist office



On the last evening the traditional Farewell Banquet was celebrated at Rio Grande. Various delicious dishes, amongst which the "truite en colere", were served accompanied by abundant quantities of delicious Argentinean wine.
Maria Teresa Dova, local director for the School, and Egil Lillestol, Director of the CERN Schools, gave pleasant farewell talks. Anecdotes collected during the two weeks of the School were turned into reasons to congratulate some "deserving" students, and small presents were offered by CERN.
Some of the students had prepared sketches, and Clementina showed a ppt presentation she had prepared together with Hernán and Llinersy, and which can be downloaded from Clementina
(1.2 Mb, ppt)

Link to the official school photo with names of the participants here

(Some information links :, and )

Tribute from the Students:

Malargüe is a small town located at southwestern Argentina. By February 2005, 50 physics students and 15 professors coming from Latin America, USA and Europe arrived at this small town almost in the end of the world with a lot of different expectations but with one common purpose: assisting to the 3rd Latin-American School of High Energy Physics organized by CERN and CLAF.

Up to now, Malargüe was an usual word only for a certain group of physicists, all dedicated to the Auger Project. This name is now also a part of other people's memories, but we may say that it has a different meaning.

Two weeks of lectures and discussions about high energy physics, sharing rooms, meals, games, and some drinks (wine, beer and TEQUILA) were an unique experience. The feeling is that we won more than knowledge with all that. We’ve learned about other people's work and experiences. We have also realized that we all share almost the same problems, doubts and wishes as other physics students all over the world. Some of us also won very good friends. Nowadays, people separated by thousands of kilometers are still connected by such bounds. Helping each other to understand different topics, talking about SUSY at two o’clock in the morning, organizing soccer matches, learning tango and salsa in the breaks, going out every night, sharing the mate in the mornings for keeping us awake, are the kind of things that transform this academic experience into something to remember with a smile.

For that we’d like to thank all the people who made this possible: Danielle, Egil, Teresa, Nick, John, Luis and all the lecturers and discussions leaders. We want to keep this spirit alive and for that we make a toast for all of us, for all the good memories from Don Gauderio and for keeping the hope of meet each other again soon.


Clementina, Hernán, Santiago, Juan, Nicolás, Charly, Juan Cruz, Alejandro y Claudio.

And then it only remains to say a great thanks to everybody from Tere, Danielle and Egil