Speaker – Professor Arttu Rajantie, Imperial College, London
This week the TBSHS Maths and Physics Society were delighted to welcome Professor Arttu Rajantie from Imperial College. His lecture took place during enrichment on Wednesday 26th November and was attended by a large group of year 12 and 13s, as well as several gifted and talented students from lower down the school.
The Professor is an admissions tutor and also a member of Imperial’s Theoretical Physics research group, specialising in applications of quantum field theory in cosmology and particle physics. More relevantly to year 13 students, he has also worked at the Large Hadron Collider and is heavily involved in the MoEDAL experiment. This provided an excellent insight for the year 13s who will be visiting CERN in Geneva next February half term.
In addition to his work at Imperial College, Professor Rajantie is also a visiting professor at King’s College London and an external examiner for the University of Sussex. During the 5 years he spend in Cambridge he worked with Professor Ron Horgan, one of the society’s guests last year and husband to the school’s own languages teacher, Dr. Frances Horgan.
Professor Rajantie’s talk focused on the role of the Higgs field in particle physics and how the mechanism the gives elementary particles their mass actually works. With an analogy that involved rolling a cake tin with a magnet attached along a table, he convincingly demonstrated the symmetrical properties of the Higgs field and how oscillations give rise to mass. In his talk, Professor Rajantie also discussed the standard model of particle physics and the relative strengths of the fundamental forces of nature, explaining why massless force carriers give rise to forces acting over an infinite distance.
There was just enough time afterwards for several questions from the audience and for the presentation of a ‘thank you gift’ as a token of our appreciation. We would like to express our gratitude that Professor Rajantie took time out of his busy schedule to come and visit us and give a very interesting lecture.