By James Dacey at the APS April Meeting, Anaheim, California
I took this photo just now looking back at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Anaheim, which is hosting this year’s April Meeting of the American Physical Society. I landed here in California last night having surely been one of the few Brits to fly out of the country on the day Prince William married Kate, and the country enjoyed a national holiday. That’s dedication to physics!
The theme of this year’s meeting is “100 years of subatomic physics”, commemorating the centenary of Ernest Rutherford’s discovery of the atomic nucleus. And this morning the programme kicked off with a special plenary lecture by Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg who crammed the history of particle physics into a half hour talk.
In a fascinating discussion, Weinberg argued that the big questions in present-day particle physics mark the end of an adventure that began with Rutherford’s discovery. “The search for the Higgs boson, as well as supersymmetry and dark matter, is the culmination of a reductionist programme that began with quantum mechanics, which followed Rutherford’s experiment.”
But it’s not just particle physics on the bill here in Anaheim: nuclear physics, astrophysics and plasma physics will also feature heavily. So there will no shortage of physics for me to get my teeth stuck into over the next four days. Watch this space for updates!