Friday, February 13, 2009
Unification of Fundamental Forces: Universal Constants of Physics and the Story They Tell
Department of Physics, Cal Poly Pomona
Albert Einstein harbored a vision of a unified theory of physics: a single theory explaining all known physical phenomena in the universe. Though the concept was initially criticized, the quest for unification has since been revived with unprecedented vigor. Of the four fundamental forces of nature – electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, the strong nuclear force, and gravity – two are unified in the theory of the electroweak interaction and most physicists believe that a "Grand Unified Theory" (GUT) will successfully unite the electroweak with the strong nuclear force, leaving only gravity to be contended with. While there is high hope the Large Hadron Collider may point the way to a successful GUT of the first three fundamental forces, it is highly probable that the unification of gravity will prove far more elusive. Nevertheless, there is strong evidence in favor for the "superunification" of all fundamental interactions – including gravity – and in this discussion we support the idea, not through complex theories of cutting edge theoretical physics, but with a careful appraisal of the fundamental constants of nature. The constants tell a fascinating story: the story of unification.
Refreshments at 4:00 PM. Seminar begins at 4:10 PM.
Building 8, Room 241
For further information, please call (909) 869-4014