February 2001

From Vanderbilt University

Whatís new on the Cosmos front?

What has happened to our understanding of the universe in the 20 years since Carl Sagan produced the successful television series Cosmos?

That is the subtext of a major conference titled Frontiers in Contemporary Physics-II being sponsored by Vanderbilt and being held in Nashville March 5 to 10, 2001. The audience will include about 150 leading physicists and astrophysicists from around the world who will present their latest research and share ideas about the nature of the universe, ranging from its smallest to its most grand scales. Highlights of the meeting include:

  • Walter Toki from Colorado State University, a member of the BaBar scientific team at the SLACís Asymmetric B-Factory, will present the first publishable results from the experiment and Eric Prebys of Princeton University will provide similar results from Belle, a competing experiment at the KEK accelerator in Japan. The results address the particle/antiparticle puzzle: Why is there more matter than antimatter in the universe?

  • Plans for the next generation of particle accelerators will be covered by Karl Van Bibber of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who will discuss the Next Linear Collider, and Andrew Sessler of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, who will discuss muon colliders and neutrino factories.

  • Speakers will also discuss two recently reported sets of results from Brookhaven National Laboratory: evidence that the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider has created the most dense concentration of matter ever produced in the laboratory in its pursuit to recreate the quark-gluon plasma, the hot dense matter formed during the creation of the universe; and, a new measurement of the anomalous magnetic moment of a subatomic particle called the muon that, if confirmed, would be the first evidence of incompleteness in quantum electrodynamics, until now considered to be the most complete theory in particle physics.

  • Many physicists are hopeful that Fermilab is on the verge of discovering the Higgs particle, a particle that current theories need to explain why some particles have mass and others do not. Chris Tully from Princeton, Peter Zerwas from DESY, the German high energy physics center, and Mike Woods from SLAC will discuss the search for the Higgs particle.

In addition, leading scientists will provide overviews of related topics including: the status and future of cosmology; the question of whether the ghost-like neutrino has mass; string theory and its successor, M-theory; and the connections between particle physics and astrophysics. For the latest version of the program, please check the conference website: http://www.fcp01.vanderbilt.edu.

If you are interested in attending the conference or would like to interview any of the speakers by phone please contact David Salisbury at the number above or conference organizer Prof. Robert Panvini: 615-343-1780 or panvini@vuhelpa.phy.vanderbilt.edu.












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