Amir Aczel: Present at the Creation

WED, OCT 27, 2010 (1:24:46)

International bestselling author Amir Aczel and physicist Stephen Reucroft discuss the deep significance of the complex experiments at CERN and the implications for our key theories in physics and cosmology.

How can the world’s biggest atom smasher unlock the secrets of the universe? In March 2010, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research broke all records by bashing protons at nearly the speed of light using a particle accelerator called the Large Hadron Collider. Dubbed “the world’s largest scientific experiment,” scientists at CERN hope the collider can approach on a small scale what happened in the first split seconds after the Big Bang and thereby unlock the secrets of the universe.

+ BIO: Amir Aczel

Amir D. Aczel is the author of numerous nonfiction books, including the international bestseller Fermat's Last Theorem, which was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Award and has been translated into 22 languages.

Aczel has appeared on more than 30 television programs, including nationwide appearances on the CBS Evening News, CNN, CNBC, and Nightline, and on more than a hundred and fifty radio programs, including NPR's Weekend Edition and Morning Edition. Aczel is a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

+ BIO: Stephen Reucroft

Stephen Reucroft is Emeritus Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Physics at Northeastern University. He received his PhD in particle physics from Liverpool University. The first 20 years of Reucroft's career were devoted to precision determinations of challenging quantities using specially designed, high-resolution bubble chambers. These include resonance properties, hyperon magnetic moments, and charm particle production and decay characteristics. The latter is particularly noteworthy since the CERN bubble chamber LEBC was specially designed to investigate charm particle properties, and Reucroft was one of the inventors and prime motivators of the LEBC technique. He was leader of both CERN and Fermilab experiments.

Since leaving CERN and joining Northeastern University, he has devoted his efforts to experiments at the highest energy colliders. He spent significant time developing the scintillating fiber technique and successfully tested it with the tracking system in L3. He is also part of research teams that have studied QCD (quantum chromodynamics) and QED (Quantum electrodynamics), discovered and studied the t-quark, and confirmed that there are three and only three generations of light neutrinos. Reucroft is presently an active participant in the CMS experiment at CERN. He has a wide range of experience in international collaboration and has been a spokesman for major international experiments.

He is coauthor (with John Swain) of the syndicated column "Science Briefs," published in The Boston Globe.

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