Particles, Physics and Fairy Tales

Sat 23 September
5:30pm BST
Venue: Arena
Event [53]


Particles, Physics and Fairy Tales

At the heart of physics is the search for ultimate particles.  The Standard Model sets out the current framework. But many argue that all is not well in the particle physics zoo. A central prediction was the existence of supersymmetry particles but none have been found. At the same time huge experiments have failed to find particles that account for dark matter and dark energy that make up 95% of the universe. Moreover, it is not even clear what a particle is, since some have no dimension and others no mass. Yet physics is rife with proposals for new 'particles'.   

While there are positive spin-offs from the technology created to carry out particle experiments, has the theory itself run out of road? Would we be better describing reality as the product of quantum fields, information, or mathematics, rather than particles? Or does the Standard Model not actually describe the ultimate nature of reality at all, and do its particles just represent a useful fiction?

Theoretical physicist and science communicator Sabine Hossenfelder, theoretical physicist Gavin Salam, and philosopher of science Bjørn Ekeberg explore the dilemmas and debates surrounding particle physics. Shini Somara hosts.

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