UVic speaker delves into dark matter

Director of CERN facility in Geneva will talk about the Large Haldron Collider that helped identify the "God particle"

CERN director general Dr. Rolf Heuer will be at UVic for a public talk on April 27. Scientists say the Higgs boson

CERN director general Dr. Rolf Heuer will be at UVic for a public talk on April 27. Scientists say the Higgs boson

The mystery of dark matter longs to be solved, and while many a physicist tackles the cause, one will come to UVIc to talk about it.

Scientists say the Higgs boson, or “God particle”, may only be the first of many such discoveries to be made in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN facility in Geneva, Switzerland. On Monday, Dr. Rolf Heuer, director general of CERN, will talk about the recent relaunch of the LHC, the significance of the Higgs boson, and what we can expect from the LHC in the coming months.

The inaugural Alan Astbury memorial public lecture honours the late professor with Nobel connections.

“Alan was a very famous physicist and known all over the world,” said Dr. Richard Keeler, a longtime colleague of Astbury.

Keeler worked with Astbury from 1981 (two years prior to either of them being employed at UVic) until Astbury’s death last year.

“I went to CERN as a young post-doctoral fellow in 1980 and worked in Alan’s group … That experiment got the Nobel Prize so that made us popular,” Keeler said.

The Nobel Prize in Physics for 1984 was awarded jointly to Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer for decisive contributions to the large project, a collaborative effort of many people that led to the discovery of the field particles W and Z.

“He was a really big part of the second Nobel Prize that the Higgs experiment got,” added Keeler.

Astbury was director of TRIUMF laboratory in Vancouver from 1994 through 2001. He strengthened TRIUMF’s reputation as a prime institution for subatomic research and redefined the priorities of its program. The widely recognized scientist furthered Canadian participation in international particle physics projects by arranging Canada’s contribution to the LHC.

“This will be the first in a series of lectures. We’ll see where it takes us,” said Keeler.

It’s a fitting tribute for the first memorial lecture, as Heuer will talk about seeing where the LHC accelerator can take them next.

“It has an accelerator which is circular and is 27 kilometres in circumference. It’s the world’s largest machine of any kind and it’s the world’s largest particle accelerator,” Keeler explained. “It collides protons with protons head on, and then we analyze what comes out of these collisions.”

Already credited with the discovery of the Higgs boson, widely known as the God particle, the LHC holds the key to discovering the origin of mass, the nature of dark matter and more.

“The accelerator’s been shut down for almost two years and it’s been through a major service call. It’s now going to be raised to a higher energy,” Keller said, adding it should produce nearly twice as much energy. “That means maybe we can produce new stuff. Nobody’s seen collisions like these in a laboratory before. There are things we’re looking for and that’s where our astrophysical friends with telescopes come in.”

Those “friends” have noticed more unusual material in the universe.

“There’s four to five times more of this dark matter than the stuff we’re made out of. It’s actually the dominant stuff in the universe and we’re at the lower end. But we’ve never been able to see it in the lab,” Keeler said. “We’d like to make that at the collider, that’s one of the things we’re looking for.”

The lecture takes place Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Bob Wright Centre, room B150.  A live webcast will also be available via www.uvic.ca/astbury.

 

Just Posted

Shaelyn Sinnott of Oak Bay Volunteer Services delivers groceries for client Irene Kenny. The organization has kept up delivery of food and medication throughout all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Oak Bay Volunteer Services)
Oak Bay volunteers keep critical services running

Duo drove between Oak Bay and Jubilee three days a week, twice a day during pandemic

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Google Maps shows significant traffic backups after a crash reported shortly before noon on Father’s Day, June 20. (Google Maps)
Father’s Day crash in Saanich closes lane of McKenzie Avenue

Police say there were injuries, traffic impacted

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read