Imperial College London

World leading physicists come together at Imperial


Particle physicists, cosmologists and string theorists attend symposium<em> - News</em>

By Danielle Reeves
Wednesday 4 July 2007

Some of the world's leading physicists are gathering at Imperial College London this week for the 13th International Symposium on Particles, Strings and Cosmology. Over 200 delegates from around the world will attend more than 100 talks by renowned scientists including Professor Stephen Hawking and Nobel prize-winner, Professor Gerard 't Hooft.

The conference is bringing together experts from three distinct areas of physics: particle physicists who study the elementary particles that make up matter and radiation, string theorists whose model of physics is built on one-dimensional extended objects called strings, and cosmologists who use observations and mathematical tools to analyse the universe as a whole. The aim of the event is to encourage beneficial collaborative working across these distinct disciplines and to promote the exchange of ideas.

Although many of the conference's speakers and delegates are theorists, a significant proportion of the event is also dedicated to the major forthcoming experiments in these fields. Speakers addressing these issues will include Imperial's Professor Tejinder Virdee , international spokesman for the CMS experiment at CERN, which hopes to detect new particles when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator is activated at CERN later this year. Professor Virdee will give an overview of the status and prospects of the LHC – the biggest experiment on earth.

Professor Stephen HawkingProfessor George Efstathiou from the University of Cambridge will also speak about the importance of ESA's Planck Satellite, due to be launched next year, which will measure cosmic background radiation, giving scientists new insight into the beginning of the universe.

The last day of the Symposium, Saturday 7 July, is a special day of public talks in honour of the late Nobel laureate, Professor Abdus Salam, who came to Imperial 50 years ago. Professor Salam won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979 for his work on 'Electro-Weak Theory', which is part of scientists' efforts to provide a unified description of the four fundamental forces of nature. Speakers at this special event will include Professor 't Hooft who will deliver the physics' department's centenary Salam Lecture, and members of Professor Salam's immediate family who will their share memories of his life and work.

Dr Arttu Rajantie   from Imperial's Department of Physics, Chair of the Symposium's organising committee said: "This is an exciting time for physics and this Symposium provides leading experts from three different fields with the chance to come together, discuss future research and share ideas. I'm delighted that such an eminent list of speakers are taking part in this event, and I hope that many new links and opportunities for collaborative work are developed here at Imperial over the next few days."

Speaking of the 'Salam +50' event on 7 July, Professor of Physics at Imperial, Michael Duff , added: "This public event will be a fitting tribute to a distinguished scientist. We are honoured to welcome members of Professor Salam's family to the College this week to celebrate the life and achievements of a remarkable man."

To register to attend the Salam +50 event, please go to // 0/

For full details of the PASCOS conference, see:


Press office

Press Office
Communications and Public Affairs

Click to expand or contract

Contact details