Dubbed ‘The God particle’ and the building block of the universe, 2012 saw the discovery of the elusive Higgs Boson… it’s an exciting time to be a physicist – and definite cause for celebration at this year’s Glasgow Science Festival! I had a chat with Dr Aidan Robson about the particle physics events on offer this year…
Who are you and what do you do?
Aidan Robson. I’m a particle physicist and lecturer at the University of Glasgow.
What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?
We’re taking the discovery at CERN of a new elementary particle, the Higgs boson, as an excuse for a weekend celebrating Scotland’s long-standing participation in CERN experiments. There will be talks, workshops, a masterclass, hands-on exhibits, and a chance to chat to particle physicists and hear what we’re up to and what’s next. It’s aimed at interested adults aged 16+, but younger people might also enjoy the hands-on exhibits.
When you think of Glasgow, what are the first 3 words that come to mind?
Home, craic, character
If there was a zombie apocalypse, where would you hide?
In the accelerator tunnels at CERN, of course.
What’s your favourite park or nature spot in Glasgow and why?
From the university, a ten minute brisk walk gets me views across Kelvingrove gallery and the cranes to the hills, into the park and down to the river, and a stern look from Lord Kelvin’s statue to remind me to go back to work.
Impress us with your favourite science fact
Only about 4% of the universe is made of the matter we know about, like protons and neutrons. Particle physicists are trying to work out what all the rest is.
Join Aidan and other physicists for a weekend of FREE workshops, activities and talks on 14-16th June at ‘Elementary: CERN and Scotland’ in the Wolfson Medical School of the University of Glasgow.
Aidan will also be giving a Philip Dee Memorial Lecture on the Large Hadron Collider and Higgs Boson at 19:30 on 14th June in the Kelvin Building, University of Glasgow. Free but ticketed. Book online.
For the basics of the Higgs Boson, check out this video by TED/CERN: