MEMORIES from the

2004 European School of High Energy Physics

Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain 30 May -12 June, 2004

Poster Session
Special Event
Links to students' photos

Ninety-five students coming from twenty-four different countries attended the twelfth in the new series of the European School of High-Energy Physics, which took place in Sant Feliu, Spain, from 30 May to 12 June. The School was hosted in Hotel S’Agaro Mar, an establishment facing right over Sant Pol bay, surrounded by pine trees and with magnificent sea views. The School occupied the entire Hotel, with its nice rooms, spacious garden and terrace with a large swimming pool.
According to the tradition of the School, the students were sharing twin rooms, mixing nationalities and in particular Eastern participants with Western ones. Doctor Matteo Cavalli-Sforza from IFAE, Barcelona, was acting as local director of the School

The Monastery

Short History.
Sant Feliu de Guixols is a small port about 95 km south of the French Border and some 120 km from Barcelona. The original inhabitants of the town lived on the little mountain of Guixols where during the IVth century b.c. an Iberian village developed. In the first half of the Xth century the Benedictine religious order established a monastery dedicated to the martyr Saint Feliu the African. The Monastery is the most important architectural collection and therefore also a landmark of the town.
The baroque building of the Monastery dates from the XVII Century and is only a part of the millennial fortified ensemble, where different architectural styles are mixed, from the pre-romanesque to the baroque. The function of each one of its elements is now difficult to figure out. At present, the Town’s History Museum, the Municipal Archives and the Catalonian Official Tourism School are based at the Monastery.
During the XVIth and XVIIth centuries, the town reached an important social and economical level due to fishing, salted fish, the exportation of fishing nets and the construction of boats. In the second half of the XVIIIth century cork handicraft work started and with that exportation of bottle corks. From the XXth century on the town has been evolving and changing its way of life due to an increasing influence of tourism.

The Monastery Portal

The School

The large conference room of the Monastery was used as lectures hall for the School, and each morning, right after the breakfast, the little tourist train of Sant Feliu transported the participants the 2 kilometers from the Hotel downtown to the Monastery, where the lectures started at 9:00 a.m. and lasted till around 2:00 p.m.
Lunch was served in town, in five different restaurants: the City Dragon, a Chinese restaurant facing the Market Square, the traditional Spanish restaurants “Can Salvi”, “Llevanti” and the “Marabu” all located on the Maritime Promenade, facing the sea and finally “Cibu”, a pizzeria situated on a back street not far from the Maritime Promenade.

School transport

No way to escape a walk back to the hotel after lunch since no transport was offered. However, with a little courage it was possible to walk along a beautiful path following the coast and offering scenic sea views.

The free time hours were spent strolling or running along beautiful tracks along the sea, swimming in the swimming pool or in the sea, practicing “farniente” or playing volleyball on the beach. Led by Mikko Voutilainen the most courageous of the students even tempted the “Via Ferrata” climbing the cliffs close to the hotel. “Via Ferrata” is an Italian expression which translates into “iron way” and stands for climbing routes with fixed climbing aids like wire ropes, rungs, pegs, ladders, and bridges. The origin of Via Ferrata is the Italian Dolomites, but this time the concept had been taken to the Spanish cliffs.

Via Ferrata in Sant Feliu

Jeff Hartnell has a nice collection of photos from the Via Ferrata excursion on his site.

After the free-time at about 6:30 p.m. we all reconvened on the terrace around the swimming pool for a coffee break before going to the Discussion Sessions which were held in different rooms at the Hotel, starting at 7:00 p.m. and lasting until about 8:15 - 8.30
This was immediately followed by delicious buffet style dinners with a great variety of courses and served in the large dining room offering a nice sea view.
During the “after dinner sessions” the participants were happily gathering on the terrace having a lot of fun, music, songs, and big loud laughs which sometimes could be a little disturbing for the rare “early sleepers”

A very special event.
Not only was the school special, but it also took place during a very rare astronomic event, namely the passage of Venus in front of the Sun. Juan had organized a telescope, and with the image projected onto a screen Venus could easily be seen.

The Venus passage

Poster Session

The students displayed their work in the form of posters on a special evening session the first week. The posters, of very high quality both technically and in content, were put up on display boards, and every day, the hotel staff was setting up the boards as a labyrinth on the terrace by the swimming pool. Due to the quality of the posters and the nice and persistent work of the staff, the posters were kept displayed for the remaining part of the school.

Poster Labyrinth

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Three excursions were organized during the school. The first Wednesday afternoon was a visit to Gerona, a walled city of Roman origin, located at a strategic point on the route between the Pyrenees and Barcelona. It boasts a medieval ensemble of great importance and interest, where narrow streets and spectacular monuments harmoniously combine.
The centre of the city is determined by the layout of the old quarter, which followed the borders of the ancient Roman city. In this area we find the old Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants, the wall-top promenade, opened in 1985, the Sant Feliu church and the Arab Baths, which date from the 12th century. On both sides of La Força street lays the Jewry, one of Girona's most important tourist attractions.
The cathedral of Girona is the province's most important Gothic monument. The cathedral and its treasures symbolize the dominant role of the Church in the Middle Ages. The shrine was built between the 14th and 17th centuries on various successive religious buildings. Its most salient feature is the immensity of its single Gothic nave, the construction of which was an almost unimaginable challenge for the period's master builders. Indeed, although originalIy three naves were planned, it was finally decided to build a single one nearly 23 metres wide - perhaps the broadest Gothic nave ever built.

On Sunday 6 June a whole day excursion was organized to Barcelona.
Barcelona, Capital of Catalonia is the most cosmopolitan and economically most active city in the country. It has always proved its will to be modern, to follow the latest international tendencies or even be ahead of them. To the tourist this is evident especially in its architecture, which so well reflects the general approach to life in this always pulsating city. For general info see
Barcelona has been a center of Modernist architecture and is distinguished especially by the works of the genial Antoni Plàcid Gaudí i Cornet (1852 - 1926), one of Spain's most prolific and arguably greatest architect. See
The excursion started in Parc Güell, a fascinating scenario of gardens and over-dimensional architectonic forms which seem to be born by the ground. Gaudí created an equilibrium that usually exists only in nature, but never in architecture.

From Parc Güell

Some of the students profited from the beautiful architecture and quiet atmosphere of the park to recover a little from the night before.

A multi use Gaudi monument

The next stop was the "Sagrada Familia"
This great cathedral, inspired by gothic style and yet a landmark of modern architecture, is in reality not much more than a facade. Gaudí died before he could finish his biggest and most beloved project, with galleries that should have room for 1500 singers, 700 children and 5 organs.
The construction work is now back on its tracks, but in view of the enormity of the work the question remains if the city of Barcelona will ever complete this monumental work

The visit continued to Casa Batllo, another futurist Gaudi work, with no single straight line at its front. Even the walls are curved and seem to be covered by leather.

See also

At the end of the day the participants met for dinner at Pueblo Español, built for the World Exposition of 1929, and with buildings representing all the architectonic styles typical for Spain. In 1992 the Olympic Games took place here.
During Dinner we enjoyed an evening lecture on the Spanish project for a Synchrotron light source. The talk, which was given by Joan Bordas, Director of the CEELLS
Consortium. (Construccion, Equipamiento y Explotacion del Laboratorio de Luz de Sincrotron), was very interesting even though the conditions for such a talk in the restaurant were not ideal.

On the last Wednesday afternoon a boat excursion was organized. The bus ride from the hotel to L’Escala was not without problems for a few of the students. However, only one student was left behind when the large and very fast catamaran took off into the “Golf de Roses”.
From the boat we enjoyed the view of Rose, the famous "Cap de Creus", "Badia de Culpi" and Cadaqués, where Salvador Dali had his home in Portlligat.
The boat sometimes went very close to the shore so that we could enjoy the sight of hidden coves and nice rock formations. The turning point of the trip was the French border at “Cap de Cervera”, and some of the students with only one entry visa into Spain were happy that the border was not crossed.

From the boat excursion

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Special Event
One night was a large and delicious barbecue set up by the swimming pool. After the dinner we enjoyed a very nice flamenco show. Flamenco is a genuine Southern Spanish art. It exists in three forms: Cante, the song, Baile, the dance, and Guitarra, guitar playing. Not only the female spectators were looking at the typical dark Spanish guitar player but also George who was taking note of the music chords. Very nicely dressed - with several changeovers - the three female dancers featuring the show were demonstrating their temperament by rhythmical clapping of hands. The material used in traditional flamenco is composed not only of the wellknown dress and shoes but of a lot of adornments and complements: lacing, embroidered ribbons, flowers, costume jewelry, Manila silk shawls, ladies' fans etc.

The students, who had come together very quickly, created a very good atmosphere at the School. One has to admit that the special atmosphere inspired to somewhat late evenings, and even the promise of a nice ride on the tourist train was not always enough to inspire for an early breakfast.
On the last evening the traditional Farewell Banquet was celebrated in the dining room especially prepared for the event.  Various delicious dishes were served at the tables accompanied by large quantities of good, red wine.
After dinner Egil gave a short farewell talk. Anecdotes collected during the two weeks of the School were turned into reasons to congratulate some "deserving" students, and small prizes were offered by JINR and CERN.
After this "official" part it was time for the great master of ceremony, Steven Lowette, democratically elected by the students, to present an elegant summary of the school. His presentation can be found at
(and go to "presentation")
Students continued their performance with songs accompanied by good wine and bier. The performance culminated by a special song composed for the occasion by the team Thorsten/Bilge and reproduced below:

What shall we do with the Standard Model?
What shall we do with the Standard Model?
What shall we do with the Standard Model?
(too) early in the morning
Hoo-ray, and the energy rises,
Hoo-ray, and the energy rises,
Hoo-ray, and the energy rises,
QCD is complicated (x3)

All those quarks and gluons!

Percolation – Phase-transition (3x)
Asymptotic freedom.
Let’s ask the discussion leaders (3x)
Later in the ev’ning
5. Let’s gauge all the interactions (3x)
Too early in the morning!
6. Where are all the fermion masses (3x)
Everything’s fordibbent!
7. Let’s assume a Higgs potential (3x) ..
Funny hills and valleys
8. Nicholas has to choose a carrot (3x) …
And symmetry is broken!
9. How to solve the flavour problem? (3x)
Too early in the morning
10. What about CP violation? (3x)
Triangles are confusing.
11. Neutrino masses are a challenge (3x)
Concha says, it’s see-saw.
12. What’s beyond the Standard Model ? (3x)
Too early in the morning!
13. SUSY solves the hierarchy problem (3x)
Many new param’ters
14. Where are all the extra dimensions? (3x)
Newton’s law is changing!
15. Dark matter needs an explanation (3x)
And Einstein likes no constants!
What shall we do with the Standard model?
What shall we do with the Standard model?
What shall we do with the Standard model?
Too early in the morning!
LHC should find the answers (3x)
Too early for predictions!
Final Chorus

Our special thanks go to the local staff in the hotel. The participants will not easily forget Alberto, the hotel director, Robert, head of the Reception, David, the "Maitre d'hotel", Francisco, the kitchen chef, and all the others like Q.K. Concha, Esther, Ivanka, Rachid and all the other staff who helped making the two weeks so pleasant. We are also sure we have the students on our side when we thank the lecturers and discussion leaders for their inspiring lectures and discussions. The organizers also want to thank the students for their eager and positive partcipation in all the school activities.


The great Master of Ceremony has also collected an enormous amount of photos from the students willing to share their photographic collections. These can be seen at

Also Thorsten has given us a link to his photos at  Thanks to all of you who sent their photos

This was a great school

Danielle and Egil