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What Is A Particle? Bernd Schroers' inaugural lecture



About the Lecture This is a talk about the smallest units of matter. The atomic hypothesis - that all matter is made of indecomposable particles - has dominated thinking about matter and energy in modern physics, culminating in today's Standard Model of particle physics. This model is one of the triumphs of modern science, crowned last year with the discovery of the Higgs particle. At the same time, it is a bafflingly complicated description of what is supposed to be the simplest form of matter. It also leaves open important questions, including the one in the title of this talk. Therefore, different ways of modelling particles are currently being explored. One approach is to view particles as localised defects of an underlying medium. In mathematics, such defects are called topological solitons. Rather intriguingly, they now play key roles in several different areas of mathematics and physics. The talk begins with a review of the history of particle physics. I will then outline aspects of my research on topological solitons as models for particles and explain in what sense the idea behind solitons has its origin very close to the Heriot-Watt Edinburgh campus. About Bernd Schroers Bernd Schroers was born and grew up in the Ruhr Valley in Germany. He attended the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales before studying physics at the University of Bonn. After completing Part III of the Mathematical Tripos in Cambridge he obtained his PhD in Mathematical Physics from the University of Cambridge in 1993. He worked as a post doc at the Universities of Durham and Amsterdam until 1999, when he was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Fellowship. He carried out research at the University of Edinburgh for a year before moving to Heriot- Watt University in 2000, initially as a lecturer. He became a reader in 2005 and a professor in 2012. About the Inaugural Lecture Series Each year Heriot-Watt University organises a series of lectures by newly appointed Professors and Chairs to celebrate their achievement and to showcase the diversity of research carried out at the University as well as its practical applications. Lectures usually take place in the Cairn auditorium and are free and open for anyone to attend. Join us for refreshments from 4.30pm and stay for some drinks and canapees afterwards! REGISTER

What Is A Particle? Bernd Schroers' inaugural lecture


Cairn Lecture Theatre, Postgraduate Centre
Heriot-Watt University
Research Avenue North
EH14 4AS