Jeffrey Berryhill (Fermilab)

Smashing Atoms for a Living

Watch the talk (running time 53:17)

In the fall of 2008, nestled between the Jura and the Alps on the French-Swiss border, the most ambitious and complex scientific experiment ever conceived will begin: the Large Hadron Collider. Massive superconducting magnets aligned in a ring 17 miles in circumference will accelerate protons through seven trillion volts before focusing them into a single collision point smaller than a grain of sand. Scientific instruments the size of office buildings will analyze the resulting debris 40 million times per second, and thousands of physicists around the world will be struggling to understand the results. In this lecture, Jeff will describe the humbling scope of this project, how he came to pursue this kind of scientific career, and what we hope to learn from it about the makeup of the universe, its distant origins, and its ultimate future.

Jeff is a Robert Wilson Fellow in experimental physics at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. His research is concerned with revealing the fundamental building blocks of matter and the forces by which they interact at the subatomic level. Using the world's most powerful particle accelerators, he has performed experiments at the Fermilab Tevatron, the Stanford Linear Accelerator, and most recently the Large Hadron Collider project in Geneva, Switzerland. Jeff graduated from a public high school in Ames, Iowa, received a bachelors degree in physics and mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a Ph. D. in physics from the University of Chicago. He and his family reside in Aurora, Illinois.

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