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Dan Melconian Headshot
September 25, 20184:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)

Fundamentally Cool Physics with Trapped Atoms and Ions


Dan Melconian (Texas A&M University)



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

Ever since radioactivity was first observed and Rutherford discovered the atomic nucleus at the turn of the 19th century, nuclear physics has been shaping and testing our understanding of the fundamental particles and forces governing our universe. The culmination of many great insights from nuclear as well as other fields of physics—from understanding α, β and γ decay, through to electroweak unification and beyond—has led to our current understanding as embodied by the so-called “standard model” of particle physics. Although this theory is by far the most stringently tested (and stubbornly successful) model ever conceived by mankind, we know that the standard model is incomplete. Physicists from a variety of subfields continue to test aspects of the standard model and look for the “new physics” which will guide us to a more complete theory. This talk will describe some of the ways nuclear physics continues to probe the fundamental symmetries within the electroweak sector of the standard model. In particular, I will explain how we apply the novel technologies of atom and ion traps to provide an ideal source of very cold, short-lived radioactive nuclei. I will then describe the table-top experiments we are performing which push the precision frontier to complement searches for new physics at large-scale facilities such as the LHC.

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