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Aug. 2 Cafe – Spin and the Quantum Rules for Apartment Rentals

East Bay Science Cafe

Spin and the quantum rules for apartment rentals

with Dr. Robert Cahn

Wednesday, August 2 2017

Restaurant Valparaiso

1403 Solano Ave, Albany, CA

 7:00 pm

 

Almost all elementary particles act as if they are spinning. Scientists once believed that this spin would always be 0, 1, 2… measured in the units of quantum mechanics. Yet the spin of electrons turned out to be ½. Moreover, particles with spin ½ can’t really share space with each other. This fact shapes the entire physical world.

What’s in a spin ½? Picture the locations available to electrons as apartment rentals. The rules for renting determine the structure of atoms and molecules. If electrons had spin 0, sharing would not just be allowed, but desired. All electrons would end up sharing the same apartment, with dire consequences.

Dr. Bob Cahn

 

Dr. Robert Cahn

Dr. Cahn is a Senior Research Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His primary research has been in elementary particle theory. Together with colleagues, he developed one of the primary means for producing and detecting Higgs bosons. From 2007 to 2015, Dr. Cahn led the Cosmology Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which includes Nobel Prize winners George Smoot and Saul Perlmutter. From 1991 to 1996 he was the Director of the Physics Division at LBNL.

Read more about his work and find more resources about particle physics at his homepage

 

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