Physics @ Berkeley
Events in Physics
Title: Elementary Particle Physics: A Personal Look Ahead    (Colloquia)
Start Date: 12/10/2007
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: 1 Pimentel Hall
Speaker: Burt Richter
Contact Person: Nathan Proctor   (510) 642-3034

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” is the way Dickens begins the Tale of Two Cities.  The line is appropriate to this time in particle physics.  It is the best of times because we are in the midst of a revolution in understanding.  It is the worst of times because accelerator facilities are shutting down before new ones are opening, restricting the opportunity for experiments, and because of great uncertainty about future funding.  Over the last 15 years we found that we knew much less than we thought we did. Neutrinos can change from one type to another. Visible matter only makes up 5% of the energy density of our universe; dark matter makes up 20%; and something called dark energy makes up the rest.  Our tools now include telescopes and satellites and underground facilities as well as the big accelerators.  I will give a personal view for a general audience of the most important opportunities for the field under a scenario that is constrained by a tight budget, and is consistent with a recent National Academy of Science report on future opportunities. It is a time where we cannot afford the merely good, but must focus on the really important if we are to continue our quest to learn what the universe is made of and how it all works.  


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