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NMSU physics department announces evening colloquium series

WHAT: New Mexico State University Department of Physics Colloquium



New Mexico State University professor of physics Gary Kyle will kick off the physics colloquium series with a lecture on the various states of matter scientists have the ability to create in a laboratory with high energy accelerators and lasers. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

Jan. 28, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: New Mexico State University - Las Cruces, Corbett Center Auditorium

It's an evening about atom smashing, the Big Bang and black holes at a level that high school students and the general public can understand. The New Mexico State University Department of Physics is hosting an evening colloquium series for the spring semester to reach out to youth, the community and anyone with an interest in science. NMSU professor of physics, Gary Kyle, is the first scheduled speaker in the series.

"We strongly encourage and invite any high school, or middle school students interested in science to attend these lectures," said William Gibbs, interim department head of physics at NMSU. There is no cost for admission.

Kyle's talk "Doing Astrophysics in the Laboratory" will address a form of physics known as experimental cosmology, a research area he has studied for more than 13 years. The presentation will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at the NMSU Corbett Center Auditorium. The current Gardiner professor of physics at the NMSU's College of Arts and Sciences, Kyle has done this on-going research with the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory. In experiments there, Kyle and his colleagues use a RHIC to smash together two nuclei of gold atoms to see what forms of matter were created at the very start of the universe in the Big Bang. In his research, the fields of particle and nuclear physics overlap with astrophysics.

"I thought it would be interesting to discuss the various extreme states of matter in the universe which only recently have been created in the laboratory using high energy accelerators and lasers," Kyle said. These include the conditions inside stars that can be recreated at the National Ignition Facility at Livermore National Lab; and the state of matter known as Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP), scientists are able to produce at RHIC. Prospects for the future may include creation of mini-black holes, Kyle said.

Each speaker in the series will gear the presentation of their subject toward "non-scientists" and bring the language to a level of understanding for the general public including high school and junior high school students.

Upcoming speakers throughout the semester will be published at a later date. For more information on the series, contact (575) 646-6711.