Welcome back after winter holidays! In the meantime the year 2009 has gone to past along with the whole damn decade. Nobody here is going to shed a tear for the noughties - definitely the most depressing decade in the history of particle physics. It closes the balance with *zero* major experimental discoveries, while particle theory has also produce little to write down in history books. The optimistic conclusion is that from this point things can only get better :-)
So what good do I expect in 2010? This year is going to be very special, in that we have two particle accelerators at the high energy frontier. Such a situation occurs for the first time in my life, I mean life as a physicist. Hopefully not for the last time...
All eyes are of course are turned toward the LHC. After the Baby Hadron Collider (BHC) phase last year, following the Aborted Hadron Collider (AHC) in 2008, this year the machine enters the difficult Coming-of-age Hadron Collider (CHC) phase. Even though discoveries are highly unlikely at this stage, we will be following with mouths wide open each step toward becoming the full-fledged LHC: first 7 TeV collisions, first inverse picobarns acquired, first W and Z bosons, and finally first top quarks on the European soil. Meanwhile, the Tevatron does not rust yet. The most fascinating is of course its quest for the Higgs: what mass range will they exclude, will they see a bump somewhere. And, one never knows, one of its many new physics searches may finally bring exciting results.
However, as we already got used to in this century, discoveries are much more likely to literally fall from the sky. End of last of year, the CDMS collaboration decided to go down in flames and announced a detection of statistically insignificant but thought-provoking two scattering events that could be triggered by dark matter particles. This year a much more sensitive dark matter detector called Xenon100 begins taking data. If any of the two CDMS events was really due to dark matter, Xenon100 should grab a discovery by this summer. That is definitely the most awaited result of the year.
Up in the sky, the Fermi gamma-ray telescope is still alive and taking data. This year should bring an answer if the haze - a population of energetic electrons and positrons in the center of the galaxy that is difficult to account for by astrophysical sources - really exists. Moreover, Fermi is continuing its search for subhalos - small satellite galaxies made entirely of dark matter that may glow in gamma rays due to dark matter annihilation. Deeper in space, the Planck satellite is sitting at the Lagrange point L2 and making precise measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background since September last year. If all goes well we should have the first results this year, and we eagerly expect Planck's measurement of the CMB polarization that should greatly surpass in precision the polarization data of its predecessor WMAP. As usual, astrophysics will probably not bring a clear cut fundamental discovery, but may give us something to think about.
So, lots of things to get excited about, lots of rumors to spread. Even if the year 2010 will not turn very fruitful, at least it should not be boring.