Thursday, January 29, 2009

Upcoming: AAAS Symposium (2/15/09)

This is a shameless plug for something I am organizing at the upcoming AAAS 2009 meeting in Chicago, in just a couple of weeks. I and several colleagues, in collaboration with the BNL Public Affairs folks (who are promoting this as well), are putting together a short symposium about the physics we do at RHIC, and how it relates to other, wide-ranging fields of science. In particular, we have people discussing both string theory, connected through the famous "AdS/CFT Correspondence", and cold atomic physics.

What relates all of these three topics (as I attempted to illustrate in the triangle diagram above) is the idea of the "perfect liquid". Both RHIC physicists and cold atomic physicists have discovered liquid-like behavior in their respective systems, despite a factor of 10^20 (1 with 20 zeros after it) difference in temperature (i.e. RHIC makes liquid at 2 trillion degrees, while the atomic guys make them at billionths of a degree above absolute zero!). And the most interesting predictions made about the properties of both systems have come from string theory, using calculations where gravitons scatter off of a black hole sitting in the 5th dimension. No kidding.

Seriously, how often do people in such disparate subjects discover that they are working on similar problems? Anyway, if this piques your interest, please stop by the symposium at the AAAS 2009 in Chicago on Sunday, Feb 15, 10:30am (yes, yes, registration required...)

No comments: