Soccer game during ATLAS week at Bern, July 2008. (Image: Claudia Marcelloni/ATLAS Experiment)

This time the outside ATLAS overview week was held in a somewhat unusual venue for a physics meeting. All the plenary sessions were organized inside the VIP area of the famous soccer stadium "Stade de Suisse" just outside the city center of Bern. I was one of the few participants of the meetings that had previously been in this stadium and moreover I was honored to be the coach of one of the two ATLAS soccer teams composed specially for the meeting. Thus when I was asked to give my impressions from the meeting, I thought I should mostly share my analysis and personal view of the first ATLAS soccer game and I happily accepted.

Coach Antonio lifted by his victorious Lions. (Image: Claudia Marcelloni/ATLAS Experiment)
Kickoff at the ATLAS Lions v. ATLAS Warriors match. (Image: Claudia Marcelloni/ATLAS Experiment)

Wednesday evening, we had a memorable visit to the Paul Klee Centre. Some of us had seen many of his paintings before and for others it was a new experience. It was in the physics session that we learnt that in the late Klee paintings, one could find clear signs of early top quark signatures that we evidently hope to see soon after start up.

May be this is not so strange as it sounds taking into account the famous statement of Klee "a line is nothing but a dot going for a walk". Of course, a physicist often sees what he or she wants. Anyway let us hope that with the first data we will not only see what we want to see but also discover the new thing that nature will offer us. The visit to the Paul Klee Centre was one of the many pleasurable events reserved for us during this meeting, like the welcome reception at the beautiful city hall in the old Town and the visit to the Einstein exhibition.

Coming back to the soccer game on Thursday evening. I think it was the first ATLAS sport team event during an overview week. I know that the organizers had some hesitation and worries about the modalities before deciding to organize this match. However it turned out to be a superb success. Kick off in splendid sunshine on the well trimmed lawn of the famous Stade de Suisse and with Hans Peter Beck, one of the two main organizers of the Overview week in Bern, as a very professional speaker. The same turf had just a couple of weeks earlier hosted the European Championship and was thus in perfect condition. The two teams presented in front of the numerous public an amazingly thrilling match.

What was surprising, I think, was how the teams found a way to work together in spite of the differences. Both teams were a combination of sexes and ages ranging from young to not so young, and skills from first timers to half professional players but still entertaining soccer was produced and the public really got into the match.

There were many players in both teams that would be worth mentioning for different reasons but that would be too long. Still I can not avoid mentioning our technical coordinator. I think he took many of us by surprise both with his rapidity and his ball treatment. Clearly he had been on a soccer field before. As it should be, it was the "home" team, coached by Antonio Ereditato, the head of the Bern group and the other main organizer of the meeting, that finally won the match with a score 5-3, after a draw of 3-3 in the pause.

I think it is fitting to end my impressions from the Bern meeting with a mention of Einstein. As you all know, Einstein spent some early years in Bern. On Tuesday evening, we visited the Einstein exhibition in the Historical Museum where Klaus Pretzl, the very first ATLAS collaboration chair and now Professor Emeritus in Bern welcomed us with a very personal and captivating introduction to Einstein's years in Bern. These were happy and productive years for the young Einstein. I think we also had a happy week in Bern. Of course we were not as productive as Einstein in 1905 but we had a good meeting to review the status of our experiment just before the start-up and also identify the urgent actions still remaining. Big thanks to everyone in the organizing committee for an excellent meeting and a pleasant and enjoyable week in Bern.