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August 19 – Not the God Particle: The Higgs Boson

Science at Cal Lecture Series

with Heather Gray 

Saturday August 19, 2017 at 11:00 AM
159 Mulford Hall, UC Berkeley
In 2012, the Higgs boson was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Heather Gray will explain what this Higgs boson is and why it is so important that we had to spend 10 billion dollars to build an enormous collider (and detectors) to find it.  She will introduce the complex experiments that we use to study this particle and explain how we actually go about measuring its properties. She will also review what we currently know and don’t know about this particle, while focussing on some of its weird features. We’ll conclude with a short discussion about what the Higgs boson might tell us about the future of the universe.
Some questions to be answered:
  • How do we do experiments to study such a tiny particle with such a fleeting existence?
  • Why is the Higgs boson such an important particle ?
  • What do we know about the Higgs boson so far?
  • What does the Higgs boson tell us about the future of the Universe?

ATLAS experiment at CERN

image: CERN

 

Dr. Heather Gray

Heather Gray is a Divisional Fellow working in the physics department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She splits her time between Berkeley and Geneva while working on the ATLAS experiment. She specializes in the Higgs boson and also works on silicon pixel detectors and algorithms to reconstruct the trajectories of particles passing through silicon detectors. Heather is originally from Cape Town, South Africa, where she did her undergraduate degree and spent 7 years working for CERN in Switzerland. When not at work, she can usually be found in the mountains or the ocean.

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