Special Physics Seminar: Tuesday, March 12 -- On Symmetry: From Noether to the Higgs

Event Date: 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 5:15pm to 6:15pm

Event Date Details: 

Pizza will be served after the seminar.


Event Location: 

  • Broida 3302
  • Special Physics Seminar

Since the days of Ancient Greece, humans have been drawn to symmetry in both art and science. Over the last hundred years, symmetry has come to the forefront of theoretical physics and it is now often treated as the basis upon which our theories are grounded. In this talk, I will review the importance of symmetry in physics, from its utility in solving problems with (approximate) symmetries to our more modern understanding of it and its role in classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and special relativity. Specifically, I will introduce how Noether's theorem teaches us that symmetries of our physical laws lead to conserved quantities. In the quantum realm, symmetry provides a deeper understanding of particle interactions and even helped in the discovery of new particles. We will see how group theory is the language of symmetry, with sets of transformations forming groups. Finally, I will discuss how symmetry has been the guiding light in the search for a unifying theory of particle interactions and how it has led to an entirely new way of approaching quantum field theories.


Alexandra Miller, Wellesley College