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Monday, 1 February 2021, 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Online Lecture

Neutrino: The Particle that Shouldn’t Exist

Professor Roberto Trotta

In 1930, the great physicist Wolfgang Pauli did something that “no theorist should ever do”: he invented a new particle that he thought nobody could ever detect in order to save the principle of energy conservation in certain radioactive decays he was studying. Pauli’s impossible particle turned out to be real: the neutrino, a particle that one of its discoverers called “the most tiny quantity of reality ever imagined by a human being”. 

This lecture will chart the fascinating history and science of neutrinos, from their discovery in 1956 to the role they played in understanding solar physics. We will see that neutrinos are today hunted for in the depths of the Antarctic ice cap, shot through the crust of the Earth and observed in huge water tanks under miles of rock. They are revealing the physics of distant supernovae, helping understand dark matter and might hold the key to the Big Bang itself.

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Roberto Trotta is Visiting Gresham Professor of Cosmology and Professor of Astrostatistics at Imperial College London, currently on leave of absence to the International School of Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, where he is part of the senior leadership team establishing a new Data Science Institute.

His research focuses on cosmology, machine learning and data science. An award-winning author and science communicator, he is the recipient of the Annie Maunder Medal 2020 of the Royal Astronomical Society for his public engagement work. For more information about him, please visit his website: http://robertotrotta.com/

Roberto Trotta's lecture series are as follows:

2021/22 The Frontiers of Knowledge

2020/21 The Unexpected Universe

2019/20 The Nature of Reality

All lectures by the Visiting Professor of Cosmology can be accessed here.

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