Wichita State News

Secrets of the universe to be revealed at Wichita State

Thursday, March 27, 2014
Photo: Greg Bock
Greg Bock

It’s no April Fool’s joke – at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, scientist Greg Bock, associate laboratory director for particle physics at Fermilab, will present “From kaons to neutrinos: How tiny particles can help unlock the secrets of the universe.”

The lecture will take place in Wichita State University’s 209 Hubbard Hall, and is free and open to the public.

Bock was chosen as the next Watkins Visiting Professor in Physics at Wichita State for his life-long pursuit of knowledge in particle physics. His work culminated in an understanding of the origins of charge parity (CP) violations in the subatomic neutral kaon system.

This breakthrough came from his work in the KTeV experiment from 1992-2000 in Fermilab, America’s national particle physics research laboratory funded by the Department of Energy, for which he was project director. He is also a member of the MINOS experiment, a long-baseline experiment designed to observe the phenomena of neutrino oscillations, an effect related to neutrino mass.

The recent understanding of CP violations is important in physics because it accounts for all visible matter in the universe today. According to the theories of how our universe formed, explained WSU Physics Professor Nickolas Solomey, all matter and anti-matter in the early universe was created equally before it annihilated.

“But a small amount, one part in 1,000 did not annihilate because of an imbalance in elementary particle physics that allowed anti-matter to turn into matter faster than matter could turn into anti-matter – the Charge Parity violation,” said Solomey. “It is this 1/1,000 of the matter that survived the annihilation of the early Big Bang and went on to make up stars, planets and everything else. The talk should be exciting.”

The Watkins Visiting Professorship was created in 1974 by the Watkins Foundation, is funded by a grant provided through the Watkins fund, part of the Wichita State University Foundation’s endowment. Bock will make a second technical lecture at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, in 128 Jabarra Hall.

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Created on Thursday, March 27, 2014; Last modified on Monday, March 31, 2014