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Vicki Greene: “Newton’s Unfinished Business”

by Nov. 3, 2011, 4:50 PM

Watch video from the November 2 Thinking Out of the Lunchbox event.

Vicki Greene, professor of Physics and Astronomy, spoke on “Newton’s Unfinished Business.”

What is the universe really made of? From Newton onward, the concept of mass, or inertia, has been central to our understanding of the nature of matter in the universe. Neither Einstein’s Relativity revolution nor quantum mechanics changed the importance of mass in everything from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest clusters of galaxies, and even the entire universe. Surprisingly, we don’t really understand what mass is and where it comes from. Unraveling this longstanding mystery is the goal of the scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider, the greatest particle accelerator ever built; now operating in Switzerland. In this presentation, we discuss how these experiments may bring us to the point of solving a centuries’-old puzzle.

Thinking Out of the Lunchbox is a series of conversations with David Wood, Centennial Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University.

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