The art of experiment and the pace of discovery in particle physics
David R. Nygren
University of Texas Arlington, USA
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, USA
The first electrical detection of single ionizing events occurred more than 100 years ago when Ernest Rutherford and Hans Geiger succeeded in recording single alpha particles from radon decay using a gas-filled detector and an electrometer. Remarkably diverse innovations based on gas-filled devices, emulsions and liquids followed and continue to enjoy importance in the arsenal of nuclear and particle physics techniques. The evolution of all these techniques is interesting not only for their contributions to discovery, as well as for aspects that were strangely overlooked. Although a mature field, novel ideas are still emerging that will further enable the advance of discovery.
About the speaker: David Nygren, Presidential Distinguished Professor of Physics at UT Arlington, is a particle physicist best known for his invention of the time projection chambers. His many innovations in radiation detection have transformed research in particle and nuclear physics and cosmology, enabling a broad range of measurements, from the imaging of complex events at high luminosity colliders to searches for the rarest low energy phenomena. Among his many awards are the 1998 APS Panofsky Prize, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2015 APS DFP Instrumentation Award, and the 2018 IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award.