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Whatcha Doing Saturday Morning? UT to Host New Physics Series

Antimatter. The Big Bang. Ghostly neutrinos. The public is invited to spend Saturday mornings this spring with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Department of Physics and Astronomy learning about intriguing and newsworthy science topics.

Saturday Morning Physics will feature physics faculty talking about their areas of expertise and how they pertain to the world around us.

The series kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, with Professor Soren Sorensen, an expert in experimental nuclear physics. His lecture, “What Is Everything Made Of? The Quest for Building Blocks of the Physical Universe,” will look at molecules, atoms and other matter, and explain how scientists constantly search for new discoveries. Sorensen will end the lecture with the discussion of these fundamental building blocks and how they relate to superstring theory.

Sorensen attended the University of Copenhagen and the Niels Bohr Institute in his home country of Denmark. After earning his doctorate, he spent a year at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and later became an assistant professor at UT in 1984. While in high school in Denmark, Sorensen attended similar lectures at the University of Copenhagen. He attributes those experiences to his current success in his field of study.

“I was fascinated by all the things I learned that were way beyond what I was taught in high school,” Sorensen said. “As a result I became convinced that studying nature as a physicist would be a challenging but very exciting career goal. I have never regretted that decision. My work as a nuclear physicist has turned out to be even more rewarding and fascinating than I dreamed about.”

Sorensen’s lecture, as well as the other presentations, will be held from 10 to 11:15 a.m. with questions and discussion from 11:15 a.m. to noon in Room 307 of the Science and Engineering Research Facility (SERF), 1499 Circle Drive. The April 8 lecture will be in Room 415 of the Nielsen Physics Building, 1408 Circle Drive. Limited parking will be available in the 11th Street Garage.

Here is a schedule of the Saturday Morning Physics presentations:

Feb. 11—Yuri Kamyshkov, professor, “Where Is Antimatter in the Universe?”

Feb. 18—Sowjanya Gollapinni, assistant professor, “The Ghostly Neutrinos”

Feb. 25—Stefan Spanier, professor, “The Big Bang Machine”

March 4—Anthony Mezzacappa, the Newton W. and Wilma C. Thomas Endowed Chair, “A Look Through the Cosmic Photo Album at Our Ancestors: Massive Stars”

March 11—Jaan Mannik, assistant professor, “Cellular Biophysics—a New Frontier for Physics”

April 1—Kate Jones, associate professor and associate department head, “Stardust and Atom Smashers”

April 8—Christine Nattrass, assistant professor, “Recreating the Big Bang at the Large Hadron Collider”

April 22—Steven Johnston, assistant professor, “Studying Quantum Mechanics with Light and Computers”

April 29—Jian Liu, assistant professor, “Condensed Matter Physics: A Diverse Society of Electrons”

For more information about the lectures or to sign up, visit the Department of Physics and Astronomy website.



Kranti Gunthoti (974-5697,
Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,

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