Higgs Public Lecture

TL;DR: I gave a public lecture about the Higgs to 500 people and felt like a rock star.


While back at SLAC for the Summer Institute, I had the opportunity to give a public lecture about the Higgs. The target audience was the general public, which in the bay area still seems to skew towards the technologically knowledgeable: high-school students with an interest in science, silicon valley types, retired engineers, etc…

SLAC has posted the video to youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuZJFzFKLwo

I prepare slides on what seems like a daily basis for work. Needless to say, this was a very different experience. The technical level was substantially different, and it gave me more of an opportunity to play with entertaining graphics and videos. Frankly, I think it all came out quite nicely, and the audience feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

There were over 500 people in the audience, apparently a new record. The organizers had to prepare spill-over space outside of the Panofsky auditorium (where I was presenting) and opened a second auditorium. According to the security guards, they still had to turn away about 50 cars when they ran out of space. For ~60 minutes I got to feel like a rock-star! 😉

One thought on “Higgs Public Lecture

  1. Well, it is important to rembeemr always that humans are creatures made from flesh and blood, but still we sometimes represent them as stick figures because it is easier. Representing elementary particles as little balls is somewhat inaccurate, but a lot easier to draw and interpret than a depiction of them as little ripples, once you’re looking at many of them from far away. It’s a short-hand, like a stick figure; the truth is more elaborate.Protons, however, are something more complicated; because they are made out of so many quarks and antiquarks and gluons, they are a lot more like little balls than the quarks and gluons themselves. And yet they’re still ripples of a sort. So they’re a lot harder to draw and depicting them as balls is more accurate. In fact this is also true even of atoms; atoms are ripples, but they have an internal structure which makes them also like balls. This is easy to state in math formulas, but very hard to draw. It’s as though the ripple is made from multiple colors, and the different colored parts of the ripple can move apart from one another by a certain distance, which may be much smaller than the length of the ripple. [Yes, that’s confusing – easy to say in math, but not freshman math.]

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