“The coming revolutions in fundamental physics”

Nobel Prize laureate David Gross to hold a talk at the Albert Einstein Institute.

October 01, 2009
On Wednesday, October 7 at 2:00 p.m. Location: Lecture hall in the main building of the Max Planck Campus Address: Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476 Potsdam-Golm

Large Hadron Collider, string theory and quantum gravity: 
What’s happening with elementary particle physics and what are the most important questions it faces?

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN will most likely be started up again mid-November. The experiments planned there just may herald the start of a new revolution in physics. In his talk, Gross will provide an overview of the current status of research in elementary particle physics and will particularly focus on the planned experiments at the LHC. Research in string theory goes beyond the Standard Model of particle physics, which will also be a subject of Gross’ talk. With string theory, which describes all particles and interactions as oscillation states, gravity is also to be integrated into a unified image of the cosmos. Such a quantum gravity theory, which unites Einstein’s general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, will likely force a radical modification of the standard concepts of space and time at extremely small distances.

David Gross is one of the leading theoretical physicists of our day. In 2004 he received the Nobel Prize in physics together with Frank Wilczek and David Politzer for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction. The strong interaction - one of the four fundamental forces in physics - explains the connection between quarks. This connection is all the weaker the closer the quarks are to one another. In extreme circumstances, the interaction is so weak that the quarks behave almost as if they were free particles. In the 1980s, David Gross’ interests shifted from elementary particle physics to string theory; together with Harvey, Martinec and Rohm he proposed one of the five super string theories.

Gross is director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1986 he received the Sakurai Prize of the American Physical Society, 1988 the Dirac Medal and 2000 the Oskar-Klein-Medal of the Universität Göteborg as well as the Harvey Prize from Technion in Haifa. In 2003 he received the prize in elementary particle physics from the European Physical Society and in 2004 the gold medal from the French Academy of Sciences. In 2000 he was given an honorary doctorate by Montpellier University and in 2001 from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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