The Geant4 workshop that was held at Jefferson Lab in May was well attended by professionals and students from nuclear and high-energy physics, as well as from industry and healthcare.

Jefferson Lab attracts record numbers to Geant4 workshop

A five-day hands-on workshop that was based on the simulation toolkit Geant4 attracted an unexpectedly high number of participants when it took place at Jefferson Lab on 22–26 May. To the organizers' amazement, within hours of sending the first Geant4 tutorial e-mail announcement, all of the planned 65 slots were filled. "I have never seen such overwhelming interest in a physics conference before," said the organizing-committee chair, Paul Gueye, of Hampton University.

Geant4 is a toolkit for the simulation of the passage of particles through matter, and has applications in research that extends beyond particle and accelerator physics to space and medical science (see CERN Courier January/February 2005 p27). Participants travelled from around the world to attend the workshop, coming from a wide range of fields, such as healthcare and industry, as well as nuclear and high-energy physics. As the requests for spots continued to pour in, the local organizers scrambled to find capacity for more participants, including electrical power for the laptops required for the hands-on sections of the tutorial. Ultimately, the organizers accepted more than 140 participants by using Jefferson Lab's auditorium with temporarily installed electrical power.

The tutorial workshop began with talks from Jefferson Lab scientists presenting physics experiments conducted at the Lab, along with examples of how Geant4 is employed. The remainder of the day was devoted to introductory talks on Geant4, while the organizers ensured that the conference participants successfully installed Geant4 on their laptops. Those with Linux, MacOS or Windows were all running Geant4 by the end of day.

An additional electricity supply was needed to power the laptops that were required for the Geant4 workshop's hands-on tutorials.

For the next three days, participants were treated to an interesting mixture of lectures and hands-on tutorials that were led by Geant developers from SLAC: Joseph Perl, Makoto Asai, Bennis Wright and Jane Tinslay. The topics ranged from particle physics to medical applications and covered all aspects of the Geant4 toolkit from basic installation through to advanced topics. This co-operative learning experience was a success, as the participants could ask the experts or their neighbours if they became stuck on a problem.

The final day of the workshop was spent reviewing Geant4 documentation and encouraging workshop participants to ask specific questions about any problems that they had encountered with Geant4. The Jefferson Lab conference organizers and the SLAC team held meetings to discuss how to incorporate the medium-energy cross-section values that Jefferson Lab has measured into the Geant4 physics model. In particular, these data could serve as a validation benchmark for the electromagnetic and hadronic pieces of the toolkit in the giga-electron-volt energy range. The conference ended with tours of Jefferson Lab's electron accelerator and the three experimental halls.