Boris on Angels and Demons

By Mark Trodden | May 14, 2009 7:36 pm

boris_kayser_51609.jpg You may recall us mentioning that Fermilab and USLHC are organizing a series of simultaneous public lectures to coincide with tomorrow’s release of the movie “Angels and Demons.”

In Sean’s post, he quoted from an email from Boris Kayser, a Fermilab Distinguished Scientist who also chairs the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society. Boris isn’t just advertising this effort, but is rolling up his sleeves and getting involved himself, in a number of ways. One thing he’s doing is to take part in a Live Video Teleconference on Tuesday, with CERN’s director-general Rolf-Dieter Heuer, and Nobelist Leon Lederman. A few days before that, on Saturday afternoon, Boris is giving a public lecture in New Jersey.

But of most direct relevance for me is that after his Saturday afternoon lecture, Boris is jumping in his car and driving up to Philadelphia where, at 7:30 in the evening, in Claudia Cohen Auditorium, he’ll deliver a public lecture here at Penn.

Antimatter, Matter, and How We Came To Be: The Science Behind “Angels & Demons”

In the novel and movie “Angels & Demons,” a small droplet of antimatter threatens to
entirely destroy Vatican City. Antimatter, matter’s opposite, is quite real. Furthermore,
when antimatter and matter meet, they do destroy each other. The universe is safe for life
only because there is virtually no antimatter in it. Yet, scientists believe that just after the
Big Bang at the beginning of the universe, there were equal amounts of antimatter and

In this lecture, we will explain what antimatter is, and how it is related to matter. We will
describe the efforts of scientists to understand how the universe, starting out with equal
amounts of antimatter and matter, came to be a world with almost no antimatter, so that
we can exist.

If you’re in the Philly area I hope you’ll consider dropping by to see the talk. If you happen to have read my three-part discussion on the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe, starting here, you should find Boris’ walk through the material an interesting new perspective. If you haven’t read my series (what is wrong with you?), then the lecture should be a wonderful introduction.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science and Society

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About Mark Trodden

Mark Trodden holds the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Endowed Chair in Physics and is co-director of the Center for Particle Cosmology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a theoretical physicist working on particle physics and gravity— in particular on the roles they play in the evolution and structure of the universe. When asked for a short phrase to describe his research area, he says he is a particle cosmologist.


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