It was a day of physics today starting with “Uncovering the secrets of the LHC.” This was an amazing talk given by three physicists who were actually involved with CERN’s Large Hadron Collider: Jon Butterworth from UCL, Tara Shears from Liverpool and Adam Davison. They talked about the basic principles of Quantum Theory, the Higgs Boson and the future of Physics and Quantum Mechanics. They described how they had detected a new particle which is definitely a boson, but are still investigating about whether it’s the Higgs Boson. They’re still running experiments at the LHC but will be shutting down next spring and might open it to the public! The talk was not only illuminating, but also emphasised the vast amount of knowledge about the inner working of the universe that remains to be discovered.
Then it was “Bubbles beyond the bath” describing the incredible physics behind bubbles. Next time you’re in a restaurant, put some raisins in a cup of sprite and see what happens. Look at the size of the bubbles rising inside a glass of beer and a glass of Guinness. It seems beer has Carbon dioxide bubbles that make them big while Guinness has Nitrogen bubbles that make them small. We looked at the lifecycle of bubbles in the ocean and how they contribute almost 10% of the water that forms clouds. So, next time you have a glass of champagne, think of the amazing physics behind bubbles.
The highlight of the evening was a talk on the “Quantum Universe” by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw. They were amazing as expected and managed to illustrate how the theoretical work has been vindicated by some of the findings of the LHC. Jeff Forshaw couldn’t really contain his excitement about Quantum Physics. I don’t think I understood most of it, but I think it all boils down to:
Everything that can happen does happen (as long as we don’t talk about gravity).
As the Rg Veda says “यदि वा दधॆ यदि वा न” (perhaps this is so, but perhaps not).
We rounded up the evening with a pub quiz with an unusually large team at the “Brain of Aberdeen” event. We lost but it was great fun.