PUBLIC LECTURE: The Quest for Unification
A public lecture by Professor Stefan Theisen, Max-Planck-Institute for Gravitational Physics and 2013 IAS Short Stay Visitor.
Experimental physics explores natural phenomena from the smallest to the largest length scales, covering the world of subatomic particles at one end of the scale and the evolution of the cosmos at the other. Theoretical physics brings order to the wealth of experimental data. The aim is to explain the observed phenomena as following from as few `laws of nature’ as possible. This naturally requires trying to describe apparently disparate phenomena by the same physical theory, a process call `unification’. Examples include the work of Maxwell, who unified electricity, magnetism and optics, and Einstein, who unified space and time.
After a brief tour through the milestones of unification since Newton, Professor Theisen will concentrate on the present status, which is contained in the two so-called standard models, the standard model of cosmology and the standard model of elementary particle physics. He will then provide a brief introduction to string theory.
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