Unifying the Universe
- 7:30-8:30 pm
St. John's College, Fairmont Lounge
2111 Lower Mall
One reason why physics is so effective as a science is the “separation of energy scales” in Nature—phenomena occurring at different scales can be described using different methods and models. However, there are also remarkable unifying principles, relating vast galactic structures extending across billions of light years down to the Higgs boson, sixteen orders of magnitude smaller than a pinhead. The mechanism behind this unification, threading the whole history of our Universe from its quantum birth until now, is called “cosmological inflation”. This extremely rapid expansion of the very early Universe also gives us what is in effect a gigantic microscope, allowing a glimpse into the mysteries of its quantum creation and the beauty of the underlying mathematical constructions.