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Department of Physics

Horton-Smith to Present Third Annual Nobel Prize in Physics Lecture 

Glenn Horton-SmithBy Sarah Golin

Glenn Horton-Smith will present the third annual Physics Nobel Prize Lecture this spring, highlighting the recent 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics. This lecture, entitled “Neutrinos: The Best-Understood Ghost Particle in Nature” will be held on Monday, February 22, from 4:30 -5:30 p.m. in 102 Cardwell Hall.                

The lecture will talk about the neutrino, which is an indivisible particle of matter created by nuclear reactions inside stars, including our own star, the Sun. Neutrinos interact so weakly with ordinary matter that a shell of lead six thousand miles thick would only stop one solar neutrino in a billion. Despite this difficulty, enough important discoveries have been made about neutrinos to merit 4 Nobel Prizes in Physics; one for the first detection of neutrinos, one for the first detection of neutrinos from space, one for the creation of artificial neutrino beams and the discovery that neutrinos come in different "flavors", and the latest in 2015 for the discovery that neutrinos oscillate between flavors. These discoveries have revealed ways that neutrinos can be used in studies of physical processes inside the sun, on earth, and in the cosmos. More fundamentally, they have helped establish the Standard Model of particle physics, which successfully accounts for all known interactions of matter in terms of just four kinds of forces. 

This lecture will be of interest to all students, faculty, and staff, regardless of physics background knowledge. 

Dr. Glenn Horton-Smith is an associate professor of physics at Kansas State University.  He is an expert in neutrino research. He is currently active in several neutrino experiments, including MicroBooNE, Mu2e, and DUNE.