By Michael Banks in Washington, DC
Today I met up with Harvard University theorist Lisa Randall to speak to her about all things particle physics.
Randall was speaking about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in a plenary lecture here at the 2011 American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, DC. She is definitely a physicist in demand with a crowd of no fewer than 20 people wanting to ask her a question after the talk.
Randall is looking forward to the next few years now that the LHC is finally starting to deliver data but would not single out one particular area of LHC research for special attention. “It’s all exciting,”says Randall.
Randall has been vocal about the decision to close the Tevatron at Fermilab later this year. It was proposed that the accelerator continue for another three years in search for the Higgs boson but it will now close by October 2011 to make way for experiments in neutrino and muon physics. “I was trying to push them to keep it running,” says Randall. “[Researchers at Fermilab] would have something significant to say about the search for the Higgs boson [if it was allowed to continue].”
Will the prospect of no leading high-energy accelerator now hit US particle physics? “Physics is universal so it doesn’t matter where the experiments are performed,”says Randall. “But it does impact on the training of young physicists. It would be nice for Americans to be a part of it more.”
Randall is also busy putting the finishes touches to a new book called Knocking on Heaven’s Door, which is about the LHC and other topics such as dark matter as well as covering the “nature of what science is and what scientific creativity is”. The theorist will publish the book in the autumn and will no doubt be hoping it has a similar success to her 2005 hit book Warped Passages.
Make sure you catch the full interview with Randall on physicsworld.com in the coming weeks.