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College of Arts and Sciences

Physics & Astronomy Public Lecture

Monday, August 21, 2017 -
5:30pm to 7:30pm

Location: Darla Moore School of Business, W.W. Hootie Johnson Performance Hall, Room 101

Speaker: Craig Roberts, Distinguished Professor and Senior Physicist, Argonne National Laboratory, Physics Division

Topic: Laying the God Particle to Rest

Abstract: The power of the sun is generated by nuclear fusion reactions; and the energy released by these reactions is simply related to the mass differences between light nuclei.  Why are they so large?  Indeed, more fundamentally, what is mass?  Where does it come from?  It is popularly thought that the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Englert and Higgs for answering these questions, following the discovery of the Higgs Boson in experiments using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the most powerful particle accelerator on earth.  However, the Higgs Boson is almost irrelevant when it comes to identifying the source of more than 98% of the visible mass in the Universe.  The vast bulk of all the mass we can see and measure is found within a theory which, on the surface, appears far simpler than that associated with the Higgs Boson. Yet, that theory, called Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), has resisted solution for more than four decades. QCD is that part of the contemporary paradigm for unifying all the forces of Nature, which is thought to explain the structure of nuclei; namely, it is the fundamental theory of nuclear physics. This presentation will provide a simple perspective on QCD and some of those remarkable emergent phenomena within it, without which we would not exist to ask and attempt to answer those opening questions relating to the nature of mass.

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, The Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the NSTAR 2017 Conference