Campus News

Renowned physicist to give Rustgi lecture on ‘The End of Space-Time’

By CHARLOTTE HSU

Published October 22, 2018

“Nima is a great, thought-provoking speaker — and very influential. His research helps to dictate the new directions in high-energy physics.”
Dejan Stojkovic, professor of physics and chair
Rustgi Lecture committee
headshot of Nima Arkani-Hamed

Nima Arkani-Hamed. Photo: Andrea Kane, Institute for Advanced Study

Nima Arkani-Hamed, widely regarded as one of the leading particle physicists of his generation, will speak at UB on Oct. 26. His talk is titled “The End of Space-Time.”

The free public lecture will take place at 5 p.m. in 215 Natural Sciences Complex, North Campus.

The event is part of the Department of Physics’ Moti Lal Rustgi Memorial Lecture Series, which was established in 1993 through an endowment from the Rustgi family to honor and remember longtime UB physics professor Moti Lal Rustgi. The lecture is given annually by distinguished researchers in physics. Past presenters include several Nobel Laureates.

Arkani-Hamed is a professor in the School of Natural Sciences at the independent, world-renowned Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

He is considered by many to be one of the world’s best thinkers in the field of high-energy, or particle, physics. This realm of study explores the fundamental nature of the universe by investigating the properties of the particles that make up matter and radiation.

“Nima is a great, thought-provoking speaker — and very influential. His research helps to dictate the new directions in high-energy physics,” says Dejan Stojkovic, professor of physics and chair of the Rustgi Lecture committee this semester. “Nima's recent work is on theories where space and time are not real fundamental notions, but only emerge from some more fundamental principles.”

Arkani-Hamed is concerned with the relation between theory and experiment. His research has shown how the extreme weakness of gravity, relative to other forces of nature, might be explained by the existence of extra dimensions of space, and how the structure of comparatively low-energy physics is constrained within the context of string theory. He has taken a lead in proposing new physical theories that can be tested at the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research).

Arkani-Hamed was one of the inaugural recipients of the $3 million Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. The citation for the award stated that he won “for original approaches to outstanding problems in particle physics, including the proposal of large extra dimensions, new theories for the Higgs boson, novel realizations of supersymmetry, theories for dark matter and the exploration of new mathematical structures in gauge theory scattering amplitudes.”

He is also the recipient of numerous other awards, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Stojkovic organized Arkani-Hamed’s visit in partnership with colleagues including physics professors Doreen Wackeroth and Igor Zutic.