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Ever since the composition of molecules revealed the immense world of atoms and beyond, scientists have been pushing the limits of achievable applications. From the search for the magnetic monopoles to the invention of the invisibility cloak and satellite-free GPS, the three speakers are all testing the realms of what may seem absurd but will likely become scientific breakthroughs.
The Mystery of Missing Magnetic Monopoles
Prof. Arttu Rajantie (Professor of Theoretical Physics at ICL)
We have all been taught that a magnet always has two poles, north and south, but is that really true? There are good theoretical reasons to believe that magnetic monopoles, elementary particles with a single north or south pole, should exist, but in spite of extensive searches they have not been found. In this talk, I will explain why we believe magnetic monopoles should exist, how physicists have been trying to find them, what we can learn from our failure to find them, and what we could do if we found them…
The Extraordinary Sensitivity of the Atom Interferometers
Dr Indranil Dutta (Research Associate at ICL)
The word “Quantum” makes you think of something which is very small and tiny. In this realm, classical laws of physics start to change form and there is a lot of exciting research going on to study such a regime. One such research field is based on making an instrument that can measure such spectacularly small regimes of length, time or energy. This instrument uses the quantum behaviour of atoms and light to achieve their extraordinary sensitivity. I will tell you how such an instrument can one day be used for navigation, where satellite-based navigation is not always reliable or available.
Metamaterials and the Science of Waves
Emanuele Galiffi (PhD Student at ICL)
Metamaterials are a new class of artificial materials which owe their optical properties to their engineered microscopic structure. Perfect lenses, which could enable unlimited optical resolution, and invisibility cloaks are only two of the striking ideas which the metamaterial concept has given birth to. Today, the metamaterial concept has spun across every discipline where waves are involved, from acoustics, to seismic and water waves, and even in quantum science, launching a new paradigm for material design, with the only limitations being the laws of physics and human creativity.