“Axions: Ghost Riders in the Sky” is SLAC public lecture on April 3

by Contributed Content on April 2, 2018

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Theoretical physicist Hendrik Vogel will talk about Axions: Ghost Riders in the Sky at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm. The lecture will take place at SLAC’s Panofsky Auditorium (2575 Sand Hill Road). The event is free; registration is not required.

At a first glance, ther galaxy appears to be made of stars separated by vast and empty space. However, we now know that this space is filled with things that are more difficult to see – gas, photons and the elusive dark matter. We do not know what kind of particle dark matter is made of. In most theories it is heavier than the proton, present in space as a few particles per liter.

However, there is another possibility – the axion, a particle originally imagined at SLAC to explain a mysterious property of the neutron. If they exist, axions would be light and ghostly, streaming almost invisibly through the galaxy, and a single liter of space would contain a billion billion of them.

This lecture will describe the properties of the axion and explain how physicists are trying to observe this particle. The discovery of axions would not only revolutionize fundamental physics but would also open up a new, rapid and encrypted communication technology.

Hendrik Vogel is a theoretical physicist working at the interface of particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. He received his PhD in 2016 from the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany.

In the same year, he joined SLAC’s theory group as a postdoctoral scholar. Hendrik studies the possibilities for detecting light, weakly interacting particles – both known particles like the neutrinos and hypothetical particles such as the axion – and studies the influence of these particles on stars, supernovas and the early universe.

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