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There is a huge number of particles in the universe, and even the tiniest ones are fundamental for the existence of the universe. But how? Even if you have never heard of these, tonight you will understand more of all these particles, from neutrinos to quarks and gluons, in a pub friendly way.
An introduction to neutrinos, and why the universe couldn’t have existed without them
Neutrinos are the tiniest particles we can think of, they have very small mass, they are extremely abundant, yet they interact very rarely. There are three flavours of neutrinos (electron, muon, tau neutrinos), and since the 1990s we have known that neutrinos can change flavour when they propagate. Neutrinos and antineutrinos (their antimatter counterpart) might change flavour in a different way from each other, and this could explain how the universe evolved to be dominated by matter rather than antimatter.
Words as quantum fields
Dr Sanjaye Ramgoolam (Reader in Theoretical Physics)
Deep inside protons and neutrons are quarks and gluons. These elementary particles are described by quantum field theory. The ideas of quantum field theory are remarkably powerful and versatile. Some of these ideas have recently been used to analyse the statistics of words. Computer scientists build large matrices, harvested from large collections of written text, to represent the words. The ideas from quantum field theory allow us to condense and interpret the matrix data, leading to computer programs that can detect relations between words, by placing them in simple geometrical environments