Particle accelerators are the backbone of today’s particle physics research and help us understand the smallest building blocks our world is made of. To understand this deeper, more powerful accelerators are needed, beyond what is possible with today’s LHC. The world’s physics community is continuously running studies to explore science questions and evaluate the required accelerators; one of those the studies is the Future Circular Collider study led by CERN. In this episode we discuss the science questions as well as the core engineering challenges with the two leaders of the FCC study, Michael Benedikt and Frank Zimmermann.
Mass spectrometers are devices for measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of molecules and ions. They use many different measurement principles and are used in various areas of science. Our guest Alexander Makarov works as a Director Global Research for Thermo Fisher‘s Life Sciences Division and has invented the Orbitrap principle used widely in modern mass spectrometers. We talk about mass spectrometry in general, the different measurement principles, engineering challenges, the invention of the Orbitrap, use cases for mass spectrometers and the different machines sold by Thermo Fisher.
The European XFEL is an x-ray free electron laser currently being built in Hamburg. In this episode we talk with Joachim Schulz about the project itself, the design and construction of the laser and the experiment hall, as well as about some of the science that is expected to be done with XFEL once it is finished.
String Theory is currently one of the most important theories in fundamental physics, with applications to a variety of subfields including black holes and cosmology, nuclear physics others. This episode is an introduction to the core ideas of the field, as well as to some of its applications. Our guest is Alexander Westphal of Germany’s particle physics lab DESY. He does a wonderful job of introducing the very abstract topic in a way that could be understood by non-physicists, at least to some degree.
This episode is about ITER, the international project to build an experimental fusion plant in southern France. While on vacation in that area, I had the opportunity to visit the site and talk to Richard Pitts about many aspects of the project. We focus mostly on the physics and the engineering challenges, but also address some of the organizational aspects of this huge scientific project. Note that this episode is essentially a continuation of omega tau 022 – Nuclear Fusion at MPI für Plasmaphysik; I recommend to listen to this episode first, if you haven’t done so yet.