Nature’s Greatest Puzzles Attract
Physicists to SLAC Summer Institute
With youthful enthusiasm, hundreds of
scientists will explore Nature’s Greatest Puzzles at the SLAC Summer
Institute (SSI) on August 2-13.
Graphic by Michael Hyde
“Exploring the fundamental nature of
matter, spacetime and energy has never been so exciting,” said SSI
Program Director JoAnne Hewett (THP). “There are deep mysteries to
investigate, such as realizing Einstein’s dream to unify the forces,
detecting and producing the dark matter particle, understanding the
birth of the Universe, completing the list of nature’s basic building
blocks and symmetries, unraveling the nature of neutrinos and solving
the riddle of dark energy.”
To scrutinize 10 outstanding questions,
the program directors changed the usual format of the 32-year-old summer
school. Each day will consist of an
overview lecture on one of the puzzles, followed by talks on
experimental results and detailed theory related to the day’s topic. In
addition to Hewett, the program directors are John Jaros (EA), Tune
Kamae (GLAST) and Charles Prescott (EA).
“Each day is an a la carte menu, so to
speak,” Kamae said. “The puzzles are interrelated and many address
common themes between particle physics and cosmology.”
“They’re great questions and a good
representation of the future of the field,” Jaros said.
So far, 200 students and scientists from
around the world—about half from outside the U.S.—have registered to
participate in the lectures, discussions, poster sessions and, of
course, the enticing dinners, social hours and excursions.
“When I first came here, the whole Lab
would come out to the dinners. It’s an incredible deal and a lot of
fun. I wish we had more of the Lab there enjoying them,” Jaros said.
Dinners catered by SLAC favorite Jeff
Machado’s Elegant Cuisine, are $5 for students, $8 for others. “Bring
the whole family,” said conference organizer Maura Chatwell, “and wear
your favorite Hawaiian shirt for the luau dinner on August 9. We’ll
also have great live music, including an appearance by Neil Calder (COM)
and his traditional Irish band, The Ripping Tendons, and our own Jamie
Davis (REG) will entertain us at the August 12 dinner.”
No matter how good the food and music, for
the participants the real dessert is the science.
“Through this year’s institute you can
learn almost everything,” said Kamae.
Last year’s institute on cosmic
connections attracted people from multiple fields. “Last year was a
spectacular success, so people are really paying attention to what we do
at SSI,” Kamae said.
“We expect another good mix of people
from across disciplines this year,” Jaros said. “It should be fun. We
got some really good, naïve, fundamental and deep questions from people
who weren’t an ‘expert’ in a topic.”
The expert speakers from SLAC are Michael
Peskin (THP) on ‘Higgs Basics’, Tom Rizzo (THP) on ‘Experimental
Signatures of Extra Dimensions’, and Roger Blandford (KIPAC) on ‘Cosmic
Acceleration Mechanisms’. Three well-known physicists are wrapping up
the last day: Andrei Linde (Stanford) will discuss ‘Inflation and String
Theory’, Fred Gilman (Carnegie Mellon) will give a ‘Road Map to the
Future’ and Nima Arkani-Hamed (Harvard) will give ‘The Last Word on
Nature’s Greatest Puzzles’.
To register, see
www-conf.slac.stanford.edu/ssi/2004 or contact Maura Chatwell (Ext.