Stuff: What is it and why does it stick together?

Physics West Lecture Theatre 117
Engineering and Physical Sciences, Research, Teaching
Thursday 17th March 2011 (17:15-19:00)
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Karen Wright, Vice-Chancellor's Office. Tel: 0121 414 5937. Email:

An inaugural lecture by Professor Paul Newman, Professor of Particle Physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Since the beginnings of civilisation, mankind has sought to decipher the basic building blocks of matter and the forces that bind them together. This lecture will explain how physicists from Birmingham and elsewhere reached the modern view of the atomic nucleus as being built from protons and neutrons, which in turn consist of quarks bound together by the appropriately named gluons.

Knowledge of this structure is crucial to our understanding of what happens when protons collide at ultra-high energy at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. However, some questions remain, which will also be explored. Can there really be as many gluons around as experiments suggest? Why do protons often stay intact when they are struck very hard by other particles? Moreover, will the quark and gluon picture survive the searches for deeper structure now taking place at the Large Hadron Collider?