During July 10-13 over one hundred theoretical particle physicists from around the globe gathered in Swansea to participate in the 10th International Conference on Strong and Electroweak Matter (SEWM 2012). At this biennial meeting, most recently held in Montreal, Amsterdam and Brookhaven, progress in the theoretical description of the fundamental forces under extreme conditions is reported. Here extreme conditions can refer to systems as diverse as the early Universe immediately after the Big Bang, compact stars in the sky, or the strongly interacting quark-gluon plasma created in heavy ion collisions at Brookhaven and at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.
One of the highlights of the meeting was the keynote lecture by Prof Peter Higgs. By serendipitous timing, this lecture took place exactly one week after the long-awaited announcement of the Higgs boson discovery at CERN.
For the participants, it felt a privilege to hear about the events of the preceding week directly from Prof Higgs himself. To make the lecture also available for a wider audience, it was streamed live on the web and the lecture as well as an interview conducted by Simon Hands are still available at: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/media-centre/livestreaming/higgs-boson/. The event was well covered in the media: the University website announcing the talk was the most visited website after the University home page. Similarly the youtube interview is the University's most viewed (and liked!) youtube video.
The meeting was attended by speakers from as far as Japan and India in the East and Canada, USA and Brazil in the West. The Conference was organised by Gert Aarts (chair), Chris Allton, Simon Hands, Biagio Lucini, Maurizio Piai, Graham Shore and Joerg Jaeckel (IPPP Durham) and received funding from STFC, IPPP, WIMCS, HIC for FAIR (Germany), and the CoS. Prof Higgs's lecture was sponsored by the European Physical Journal. The next meeting will take place in Lausanne in 2014.