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Wanted: Inquiring minds for new SU lecture series designed to bring physics to the masses
Wanted: Inquiring minds for new SU lecture series designed to bring physics to the massesSeptember 09, 2002Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
The Department of Physics in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences will launch the first installment of Saturday Morning Physics at SU at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 28 in Stolkin Auditorium in the Physics Building. The lecture, “Searching for Ripples in Space-time: Fulfilling Einstein’s Vision,” is free and designed for all those people who have ever wondered how the world around them works or what physics professors do when they are not teaching.
“Our department includes many internationally known scientists, who are involved in research into some of the most fascinating topics in physics today,” says Professor Mark Trodden, who is organizing the lecture series. “The purpose of this new program is to share the content and excitement of this cutting-edge research with the wider Syracuse community.”
The lectures will include demonstrations designed to help a lay audience understand the concepts that are being discussed and a question and answer period. Professor Peter Saulson, an expert in gravitational wave detection, will present the first lecture. Gravitational waves, a crucial part of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, are thought to be produced during some of the most violent events in the universe, such as exploding stars or supernovas and colliding black holes. The waves then travel through the universe at the speed of light.
Saulson and his research team have been involved in the construction of the National Science Foundation-funded Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatories (LIGO) in Hanford, Wash., and in Livingston, La. LIGO is a nation-wide collaborative project that involves hundreds of scientists from 15 universities. In his lecture, Saulson will erase some of the mystery surrounding Einstein’s famous theory and describe how scientists are hunting down one of the most elusive components-the ripples in space and time that are gravitational waves.