Featured St. Norbert’s College Lecturer: Dr. Michael N. Olson
Date: Saturday, January 9, 2016
“Searching for New Physics at the High-Energy Frontier (Without Actually Going There)”
The Standard Model of Particle Physics has been extremely successful in describing the fundamental particles and their interactions. Yet there remain several unanswered questions:
- Why do we observe essentially no antimatter if we believe there is a fundamental symmetry between the two in the universe?
- What is “dark matter”, this “stuff” that we can’t see but has observable gravitational effects throughout the cosmos?
- Why can’t the Standard Model predict a particle’s mass?
- Are the current “fundamental particles” really fundamental, or are they too made up of even smaller “fundamental” particles?
Searches for new physics at the “High-Energy Frontier” utilize the world’s largest particle accelerators in an attempt to resolve these questions. Complementing these “direct” searches, high-precision measurements at lower energies can also be used to detect the subtle signatures of new physics beyond the Standard Model, but at energies that are a thousand times smaller. This presentation will seek to illuminate the fascinating world of high-energy physics, providing an insider’s look at the day-to-day technical and operational issues that come with doing physics “on the frontier”.