Martin Perl, 1995 Nobel Laureate in Physics — Talks Postponed Until Further Notice

"Craft and Art in Experimental Science"

Date:To be announced
Location:To be announced
Time:To be announced
Description: Martin Perl looks back on his first forty years of research in experimental physics as a craft and as an art. Using as a background his discovery in the 1970s of the tau lepton, the discovery that led to finding the third generation of elementary particles, he reflects on aspects of science that are often omitted from the sociological, historical discussions of scientific research.

Among his topics are:

  • Choosing experiments,
  • The use and misuse of obsession in research,
  • The denial of anxiety in experimental science,
  • The art of knowing enough but not too much,
  • Good and bad colleagues in research,
  • Why is it so hard to get a good idea in science?

"Searching for Isolated Particles with Fractional Electric Charge"

Date:To be announced
Location:To be announced
Time:To be announced
Description: Two premises of the modern theory of elementary particles are:
  1. that the only particles with fractional electric charge are quarks, and
  2. quarks are bound in hadrons and cannot be individually isolated.
The experimental evidence for these premises is broad but not conclusive. Hence we have developed and are using an improved Millikan falling liquid drop method to search for isolated particles with fractional charge. Our interest is in particles that may have been produced in the early universe.
In the talk, various methods that have been used to search for fractional electric charge at accelerators, in cosmic rays and in bulk matter are summarized.

Our experiments use a CCD video camera to image the trajectories of liquid drops falling through air in the presence of a vertical alternating electric field. The images are computer processed in real time, the electric charge on a drop being measured with an error of 1/40 of an electron charge. This apparatus, our first results, our dreams and our program are explained.

Some of the special pleasures we find in the this experimental work comes from having become involved in research areas that lie far from elementary particle physics; such as colloid and suspensoid chemistry, fluid mechanics, mineralogy and machine vision.

Return to Physics Home Page