Hidden Pieces: The LHC and our Dark Universe
On 4 July 2017, one billion people – a large portion of our planet’s population – took time out of their day to watch a one-and-a-half-hour scientific seminar featuring plots, graphs, Greek letters, and comic sans. Why? A deep-rooted survival instinct told these people that the discovery by CERN scientists of a fundamental component of our universe was something worth paying attention to. Or they were just news junkies. But, they were right.
Today, at CERN, and other physics laboratories around the world, we are seeking answers to the most fundamental questions of humankind: What are we made of? Where did we come from? Where are we going? What are the rules behind all this? Although we might never find the answers, the pursuit of them provides us with the knowledge and skills our children need to survive. I discuss current puzzles in particle physics and cosmology, then challenge us to keep opening our research (data, source, results) to take advantage of our culturally rich, diverse population.
Dr. Steven Goldfarb is a scientist working on the ATLAS Experiment at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics. He is an advocate of non-alternative facts (something we used to call truth) and, as such, is active in science communication. Dr. Goldfarb currently chairs the International Particle Physics Outreach Group, coordinates the University of Michigan REU CERN Summer Student and Semester Abroad programs, serves on the US National Science Foundation’s Quarknet advisory board, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. In his spare time, Steve fronts the Geneva-based Canettes Blues Band