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K-State Today Student Edition

April 24, 2012

Fermi lab scientist discusses importance, mysteries of neutrinos for presentation in Peterson Public Lecture Series in physics

By Communications and Marketing

Boris Kayser

The topic of Kansas State University's 2012 Peterson Public Lecture in Physics may get under people's skin -- or teach them about the tiny but abundant particles under their skin.

Boris Kayser, distinguished scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, will present "Neutrinos Get Under Your Skin" at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, in Town Hall at the Leadership Studies Building. The lecture is free and the public is welcome.

"Neutrinos are among the most abundant of elementary particles and might be one of the candidates for the dark matter in the universe," said Amit Chakrabarti, the William and Joan Porter chair in physics and head of K-State's department of physics. "They are very hard to detect and study, however."

The general subject of this year's Peterson lecture is quantum mechanics. Kayser will describe neutrinos and their unique behavior, which are governed by the laws of quantum mechanics and are different from the behavior of everyday objects, Chakrabarti said. He will explain what scientists have learned about the neutrinos, what they would like to learn and the role neutrinos play in the universe.

"To understand the universe, we must understand the neutrinos," Kayser said.

The author of more than 100 scientific papers, Kayser is a regular speaker on particle physics. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Princeton University and a doctorate degree in particle physics from the California Institute of Technology. For nearly 30 years he served as program director for theoretical physics at the National Science Foundation and helped establish the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. He joined the staff of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in 2001.

K-State's Peterson Public Lecture in Physics is named after Chester Peterson Jr., Lindsborg, who earned two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree from K-State. Peterson established an endowment for the lecture series in 2006 to interest everyone in the fascinating world of modern physics. This focus corresponds with the interests of K-State's department of physics.