Experimental Particle Physicist (with Adam Bradley)

Dark matter is that goth kid over in the corner that you really don’t know that much about

Who are we? Where do we come from? Just what the hell is going on out there?!  That is what today’s guest, Adam Bradley, and his cohorts are trying to find out.  Adam is an experimental particle physicist.  Due to that lengthy title, it is Adam’s job to help us better understand the universe and our place in it.  Dark matter, dark energy, and theoretical particles are part of his every day.  If we hope to make it to the promised land as a species, it’s going to be thanks to smart people like Adam leading the way. Does all that knowledge weigh heavy on his mind, or is he able to live a normal life like the rest of us?

What is the next Collider we’re going to make...because there can only be one of those. It’s going to be so big and so expensive that that’s all you can do.
What science does it collects evidence and it builds a model based on that evidence. That model will then make it so that we can collect more evidence and then build another model and it just keeps going like that in a spiral...it’s circling itself, but in a direction.

Contents

2:55 – Experimental vs theoretical physics.

7:50 - Can new discoveries/technology make older work seam pointless?

12:50 - Dark matter and dark energy.

29:05 – How is there more dark matter and energy than regular matter and energy?

34:50 – The LUX Dark Matter Experiment.

53:10 – p-values

55:30 – 20+ years and nothing to show for it.

56:55 – What makes us keep looking and not just assume that we’re getting this whole thing wrong?

1:01:20 – If the LHC makes dark matter, do the LUX experiments become irrelevant?

1:02:05 – Direct and indirect detection.

1:03:10 – The LZ experiment.

1:04:25 – Will one dark matter experiment success make other dark matter experiments go more smoothly?

1:05:20 – The Majorana Demonstrator Double Beta Decay Experiment.

1:06:40 – The Higgs Field and neutrinos.

1:23:10 – Antimatter.

1:28:35 – The ghost particle.

1:29:20 – The danger of some of the high level particle physics experiments.

1:30:25 – Does it get boring running the same experiment for a long period of time.

1:31:40 – Are there such things as real facts in science? And how can science and religion live together?

1:45:20 – Listener Question @VinylCoast – Will theoretical physics build a bridge between religion and science?  Sometimes quantum mechanics can seem like a belief system.

1:51:30 – What physics discovery do you think would change human civilization the most both practically and philosophically?

1:56:35 – Who writes Adam’s checks and how much does he make?

1:59:00 – Advice for people looking to get into the sciences.

Links

LUX Dark Matter Experiment

The Majorana Demonstrator Double Beta Decay Experiment

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN

The LZ Dark Matter Experiment

Why is there more matter than anitmatter

South Park Atheism Sea Otter Episode

Why is there more dark matter and energy than regular matter and energy? Explaination below:

As far as why there's more dark matter, it's a technical explanation I'll try to give succinctly here. We talked about the early universe being a hot mess with photons breaking apart proton-electron pairs, and when it cooled enough this stopped and we see that patter on the sky as the Cosmic Microwave Background. Well, earlier it was even hotter and messier, with particles and antiparticles being created and then annihilated all over the place. Because of their weak interaction rate, dark matter in the form of WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles) stopped being created and annihilated long before normal matter stopped being created and annihilated. A very technical published discussion of all this starts on the numbered page 218 in this pdf (http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-ph/9506380). The plot on the page number 221 shows that as the universe cooled as it grew in size, the number density of particles fall until "freeze-out" when the particles no longer have enough energy to annihilate each other. This happens earlier for WIMPs, and later for normal matter.

Blake Fletcher

San Francisco, CA

Livin it up!