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NASA Talk Explains How Big Things May Be in the Smallest Package

HAMPTON, Va., March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Is the quest for the tiniest particle the key to understanding the universe?


Find out on Tuesday, March 11, at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., when William & Mary physics professor Josh Erlich will present "The Higgs Boson and Why It Matters" at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center.

On July 4, 2012, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator near Geneva, announced the discovery of a new particle that resembled the long-sought Higgs boson. In the world of theoretical particle physics, the Higgs boson is considered the missing building block of the universe.

Erlich will be available to answer questions from the media during a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. that day. Media who wish to do so should contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786, or by e-mail at [email protected], by noon on the day of the talk for credentials and entry to the center.

That same evening at 7:30, Erlich will present a similar program for the general public at the Virginia Air & Space Center in downtown Hampton. This Sigma Series event is free and no reservations are required.

The Higgs boson is a necessary ingredient in the Standard Model of particle physics, and the related Higgs field is responsible for the masses of all elementary particles. Erlich will introduce the Standard Model, describe the Higgs boson, and explain how it was discovered, what has been learned about it since its announcement and the implications for the future. He will also explain why the discovery is both a triumph and a concern for elementary particle physics.

Erlich is an associate professor of physics at the College of William & Mary. He received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and did postdoctoral research at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Washington, Seattle, before arriving at William & Mary in December 2004. Erlich studies elementary particle physics beyond the Standard Model, and is interested in the relationship between particle physics and other fields such as superconductivity and cosmology.

For more information about NASA Langley's Colloquium and Sigma Series Lectures, visit:

NASA Langley press releases are available automatically by sending an e-mail message to [email protected] with the word Subscribe in the subject line. You will receive an e-mail asking you to visit a link to confirm the action. To unsubscribe, send an e-mail message to [email protected] with the word "Unsubscribe" in the subject line.

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