UHM Physics Department Colloquia - Previous Years

Nobel week 2008 - "Why would anyone go to Stockholm in December? " (Stephen Olsen, UHM-Physics)

by Prof. Stephen Olsen (Physics & Astronomy/UHM)

Rm 112 (UHM - Watanabe Hall)

Rm 112

UHM - Watanabe Hall

2505 Correa Road Honolulu, HI 96822

Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa shared half of the 2008 Nobel Physics prize in recognition of their seminal insight in 1973 that CP violation --- i.e. matter-antimatter differences --- could be incorporated into the Standard Model of particle physics in a natural way, but only if six different types of quarks (the u-, d- & s-quarks) existed in nature. At the time, when only three different types of quarks were known, this seemed like a pretty far-fetched idea. Nevertheless, shortly after the KM paper appeared, UH theorist Sandip Pakvasa & UH visitor Hirotaka Sugawara showed that the KM idea could, in fact, account for CP violations that were known at that time, a result that led people to take the KM proposal seriously. Subsequently, when three more quarks (the c-, b- & t-quarks) were discovered, the KM idea was incorporated, albeit tentatively, into most theories. A prediction of the KM idea is the occurrence of huge matter-antimatter differences in certain decays of particles containing b-quarks. In 2001, the Belle experiment in Japan and the BaBar experiment at Stanford verified the KM prediction, thereby securing the prize for K & M. In recognition of their contributions to this episode, Kobayashi invited Pakvasa & Sugawara along with leaders of the Belle (including me!) & BaBar experiments to be his guests at the award ceremony in Stockholm on December 10 (Alfred Nobel's birthday). In this talk I will describe the ceremony and associated events, including the physics, chemistry & economics Laureate lectures, the banquet with the Royal Family, & the subsequent all-night party at the Royal Institute of Technology. A little bit of science & a lot of pictures.
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