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Mysteries of the universe revealed at TAMU-CC

Adam Reiss (left) and David Gross, two Nobel Prize winners in physics, will speak at two free public forums in Corpus Christi on May 21. Both events will be held in the University Center’s Anchor Ballroom, 6300 Ocean Drive. Courtesy photos

The secrets of the universe will be unraveled at two free forums May 21 by Nobel Prize winners in physics Adam Riess (2011) and David J. Gross (2004). Both will speak to local high school, middle school and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students at 9:30 a.m. and again to the public at 7 p.m. in the University Center’s Anchor Ballroom.

“For many people, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and interact with two scientists who have achieved the highest possible recognition for their work in physics,” said Dr. Barbara Szczerbinska, physics professor in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences and the PPC Steering Committee Chair. She invited the community to come and “learn from them about their journey in understanding what the universe is made of, its origin and history.”

The forums, both of which will end with a question-and-answer session, are part of the 11th International Conference in interconnections between Particle Physics and Cosmology. The conference runs May 22-26 at the Omni Hotel in downtown Corpus Christi.

The event centers on topics such as neutrino physics, gravitational waves, direct and indirect dark matter detection and dark energy amongst many others. Since its inception in 2007 at Texas A&M University, PPC has traveled to places such as Torino, Italy; CERN in Geneva, Switzerland; Seoul, South Korea; Leon, Mexico; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“PPC2017 will bring together approximately 100 international experts in particle and nuclear physics, cosmology and astrophysics,” Szczerbinska said. “It will allow for intellectual integration in a dynamic atmosphere of intense scientific interactions right here in Corpus Christi.”

Reiss received his Nobel for his contributions to the discovery that the universe is expanding. He is a Thomas J. Barber Professor in Space Studies at John Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. His research provided the first direct and published evidence that the expansion of the universe was accelerating and filled with dark energy. He was awarded the Albert Einstein Medal for his leadership in the High-z Supernova Search Team’s discovery. The discovery was named “The Breakthrough Discovery of the Year” by Science magazine in 1998. NASA has documented Riess’ findings as the number one achievement of the Hubble Space Telescope to date.

Gross was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 2004 along with H. David Politzer and Frank Wilczek for the discovery of “Asymptotic Freedom in the Theory of the Strong Interaction.” He is the former director of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is the former Thomas Jones Professor of Mathematical Physics at Princeton University. His other awards include the Sakurai Prize, the Dirac Medal, the Oskar Klein Medal and the Harvey Prize. In 2016, he began a three-year term as the president of the American Physical Society and is the current chancellor’s chair professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

At the student forum, they will discuss their research achievements and describe their path to winning the Nobel.

The evening event will feature a talk by Riess titled “Supernovae Reveal an Accelerating Universe” describing his team’s discovery. He will also discuss why understanding the nature of dark energy presents one of the greatest remaining challenges in astrophysics and cosmology.

For more information on the conference and the free public forums, click here.

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