Dr. Sébastien Descotes-Genon: Matter, antimatter, colour and flavour in particle physics
Source: Monday physics colloquium
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Matter, antimatter, colour and flavour in particle physics
Dr. Sébastien Descotes-Genon, Laboratoire de Physique Théorique, CNRS/Univ. Paris-Sud 11, Orsay
The last fifty years have witnessed a remarkable evolution in our understanding of the building blocks of matter and their interactions. After recalling some milestones in this evolution (and in particular the notions of flavour and colour), I will focus on the intriguing asymmetry between matter and antimatter observed at the level of elementary particles. I will show how several generations of high-energy experiments have progressively confirmed the validity of Kobayashi and Maskawa's theoretical description of this asymmetry, leading to their 2008 Nobel Prize. I will then discuss the potential of such studies to unravel new particles or interactions as well as some of the open questions to be solved by the physicists working now in this research field.