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Departmental Colloquium


Universality of the weak interaction

Ian Towner
Dept. of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy, Queen's University

Time
 
Wed. January 25, 2006     1:00 PM     Stirling C

Abstract
 
The electromagnetic interaction is known to be universal. Its strength depends on the charges of the interacting particles and these charges are the same whatever the environment the particle finds itself. For example, the charge on a free electron is the same as that on an electron bound in an atom, or bound in a lattice. It is hypothesized that the weak interaction should be similarly universal. I will discuss this concept of universality and show how precision nuclear beta decay experiments are used to confirm the hypothesis.

Our own Ian Towner is the 2006 recipient, with John Hardy or Texas A&M University, of the Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics from the American Physical Society. They were recognized for their ultra-high precision measurements and detailed analyses of 0+ → 0+ nuclear beta decay rates to explore the unitarity of the Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa quark mixing matrix as a test of the electroweak Standard Model. Come and celebrate Dr. Towner's success!

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