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Fermilab Lecture Series presents:
The Coming Revolutions in Particle Physics
Dr. Chris Quigg, Fermilab
January 18, 2008

Next summer, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN will advance the experimental frontier of particle physics to the heart of the Fermi scale, reaching energies around one trillion electron volts for collisions among the basic constituents of matter. We do not know what the new wave of exploration will find, but the discoveries we make and the new puzzles we encounter are certain to change the face of particle physics and echo through neighboring sciences.

In this new world, we confidently expect to learn what distinguishes electromagnetism from the weak interactions, with profound implications for our conception of the everyday world. We will gain a new understanding of simple and profound questions: Why are there atoms? Why chemistry? What makes stable structures possible? A pivotal step will be the search for the Higgs boson and the elaboration of its properties. But there may be much more: we have hints of other new phenomena, including some that may clarify why gravity is so much weaker than the other fundamental forces. We also have reason to believe that candidates for the dark matter of the Universe could be lurking on the Fermi scale.

Beyond the Fermi scale lies the prospect of other new insights: into the different forms of matter, the unity of quarks and leptons, and the nature of spacetime. The questions in play all seem linked to one another—and to the relationship of the weak and electromagnetic interactions. Exploring the Fermi scale will help us to define the questions more acutely, and may set us on the road to answering them.

Fermilab Theorist Chris Quigg is internationally known for his studies of heavy quarks and cosmic neutrinos, and for highlighting the importance of the Fermi scale. He taught at universities around the world, and lectures frequently for the general public on the aspirations and achievements of particle physics. He gave the first Carl Sagan Memorial Lecture in the series Cosmos Revisited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. He was featured recently in The Ultimate Particle, a road movie of particle physics broadcast on ARTE in France and Germany, and has just received an Alexander von Humboldt Prize. Chris Quigg's "Coming Revolutions" and the Large Hadron Collider are featured in the February 2008 issue of Scientific American.

A member of the Fermilab staff since 1974, Chris Quigg was for ten years Head of the Laboratory's Theoretical Physics Department. The author of a celebrated textbook on particle physics, he edited the Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science from 1994 to 2004.


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