Higgs: The Theory, the Discovery, and the Fate of the Universe

With JoAnne Hewett and Maria Spiropulu

Thursday, June 27, 2013 | 7:30 p.m.
Exploratorium, Pier 15, Kanbar Forum
Included with museum admission.

Note: A ticket to Thursday evening hours does not guarantee admission to special programs with limited seating. There is limited capacity for this program; 130 tickets will be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.

Last July, the international physics community witnessed what is arguably the biggest discovery in the history of high-energy physics: a Higgs boson. Scientists at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, presented findings of the long-sought fundamental particle—findings confirmed in March this year. Prior to this discovery, individuals working across decades, nations, and scientific disciplines collaborated to invent and build one of the largest machines ever, the Large Hadron Collider and its giant detectors, as well as new ways to collect, share, and carefully sift through its mountains of data.

To share the startling theoretical leaps and epic experimental program behind this monumental achievement, we’ve invited JoAnne Hewett, a theoretical physicist from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and Maria Spiropulu, a Caltech experimental physicist working at CERN, to speak with us. Join them to explore Higgs and its implications—from the ways elementary particles acquire mass to a greater understanding of our universe. All this from one particle? Are you in? Come and find out about this adventure and where it’s taking us.

JoAnne L. Hewett is a theoretical physicist and Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at Stanford University. She received her PhD from Iowa State University and has worked at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory since 1994. Her research interests include theoretical particle physics, phenomenology of electroweak interactions within and beyond the Standard Model, collider signatures and effects in rare processes, heavy flavor physics, and the signature of extra space-time dimensions.

Maria Spiropulu is an experimental physicist and Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. She received her MA and PhD from Harvard University and has spent the past 20 years researching elementary particles and their interactions at Fermilab's Tevatron collider and CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Her research includes searches for dark matter and global analysis of particle observations in exploration of the nature of dark matter, characterization of the recently discovered boson at the LHC, look-alike model separation, big data analysis, new accelerator technologies, and multi-application detector R&D. She is a 2009 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Photo: CERN