Ford Distinguished Lecture


Dr. Nigel Lockyer
Director, U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

The Higgs is One Piece of the Mass Puzzle: Toward a New Understanding of the Quantum Universe

Wednesday, December 4, 2012 at 4:15 PM
1324 East Hall
University of Michigan Central Campus

Lecture Abstract:
The quest to understand mass has spurred more than 50 years of particle physics exploration. Three landmark discoveries over the past two decades have revolutionized our understanding of the universe’s fundamental particles, both validating and uncovering the limitations of the leading theory of particle masses.

The top quark was measured to be inexplicably heavy, with a mass 300,000 times greater than the electron. Neutrinos were found to be surprisingly light – 100 billion times lighter than the top quark – and to morph from one type to another. The long-sought Higgs boson was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012, validating the leading theory of mass that predicts a space-filling Higgs field. This theory, however, does not explain the non-zero masses of neutrinos.

Over the next decade, scientists will continue to study the properties of the Higgs boson and the top quark at the LHC. At Fermilab, near Chicago, neutrino properties will be studied by directing intense particle beams to enormous detectors located hundreds of miles away. This ambitious international program, involving many thousands of scientists, may finally solve the mystery of particle masses.

Speaker Biography:
Dr. Nigel Lockyer, who was recently named as the Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). Dr. Nigel is famous in the physics community for his work on the particle known as the bottom quark for which he was awarded the American Physical Society’s W.K.H. Panofsky Prize in 2006.

A full biography for Dr. Nigel Lockyer can be found here.

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