28 Oct 2009



Information on RAL Lectures



“BIG PHYSICS GETS SMALL: Moving Toward a TeV Accelerator Using Plasma Wakes”
Professor C. Joshi - University of California Los Angeles Friday 30th October 2009 PICKAVANCE LECTURE THEATRE (R22), RAL - 3PM
John D Lawson - Reception Reception at 4pm in R18 Central Exhibition Area

Experiments at accelerators have produced many key breakthroughs in particle physics during the past 50 years. Today, as exploration begins of physics at the “terascale”, the machines needed are extremely large, costly and time-consuming to build. As early as 1982 the US Department of Energy (DOE) began a program to develop new ideas for particle acceleration, which has since become extremely active. From the outset it was clear that developing an entirely new concept for acceleration of charged particles would be a multi-disciplinary endeavor, requiring a sustained research effort of several decades to come to fruition (HEPAP 1980). Here I would like to examine just how far one advanced concept – plasma wakefield accelerator - has come after 20 or so years of research, and to prognosticate how it is likely to develop in the next decade.

John D Lawson was one of RAL’s most celebrated Scientists. His research covered many areas of science, well known for his many contributions to accelerator physics and fusion that include Alfvén – Lawson criterion, the Lawson - Woodward theorem and the Lawson criterion. To celebrate science a special RAL Lecture is held every year, this is followed by a reception. This year’s lecture will be presented by one of the pioneers in laser and plasma accelerators Professor Chan Joshi.


What is the Aim of Science: Truth or Empirical Adequacy?’ 

James Ladyman - University of Bristol 29th October 2009 R22 LECTURE THEATRE - 3PM
What is the true goal of science? Is it to correctly describe the unobservable furniture of the world, or is it to make increasingly accurate predictions about what can be observed? There is no doubt that the history of science is one of great progress in respect of the latter goal, but some philosophers and scientists question whether the former goal is achievable or even worth pursuing. One of the best arguments for scepticism about whether current science correctly reveals the hidden causes of the phenomena is that there have been very successful theories in the past, such as Newtonian mechanics, optical ether theories of light, classical electromagnetism and others that are according to our best current theories largely wrong despite being approximately empirically adequate to an excellent degree. Using some specific examples, I will present the arguments on both sides of this issue and try to find a reasonable middle way.


Mechanoenzymatics - W H Bragg Lecture 2009
Professor Hermann Gaub - Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München 28 October 2009 The Harrie Massey Lecture Theatre, UCL at 16:00
The Department of Physics and Astronomy and the London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, would like to invite you to attend the W H Bragg lecture. Professor Gaub is one of the pioneers in applying physical measurement techniques to bio-molecular systems and investigating the nano-mechanics of single biological molecules. His pioneering studies provided new insight into life systems through physical concepts. His Bragg lecture will give some stimulating examples of that, as well as of his ability to use the working principles of living systems to develop novel artificial devices.


From Galileo to the Present – 400 Years of Solar Physics
Alan Title - Professor of Physics, Stanford University Senior Fellow, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center 21st September 2009 R22 LECTURE THEATRE - 3PM
In 1609 Galileo discovered Sunspots and measured the rotation of the Sun. These observations started a revolution in our understanding of our solar system and the universe as a whole. In this talk I will step quickly through four centuries of critical scientific discoveries and even take a short peek into the future. The talk will present an overview of the progress in and importance of understanding our star using observations, computer animations, and numerical simulations.