Lecturer to examine the point of basic research

Why should resources – financial or intellectual – be dedicated to the pursuit of theoretical knowledge when the world has so many pressing problems? On April 24 particle physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed will examine the significance of performing basic research in his latest public talk as an A.D. White Professor-at-Large. The talk will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Rockefeller Hall’s Schwartz Auditorium and is free and open to the public. A reception will follow at 9 p.m. at the West Pavilion of Clark Hall.

Known for his raw and honest discussions, Arkani-Hamed’s talk will be a no holds barred discussion about the funding and pursuit of curiosity-driven basic research, according to event organizer Yuval Grossman, professor of physics. A Q&A session with the audience will follow the lecture.

“Nima does a remarkable job of getting you to rethink the way you approach science,” said Grossman. “While his ideas are shaped by the framework of theoretical research, he’s also able to convey these meaningful ideas to the general public. Every time he comes to Cornell we have some very profound discussions.”

Arkani-Hamed is professor of natural sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. His research focuses on the relationship between experiment and theory, with a particular interest in particle accelerators and cosmological observations.

His many awards include the inaugural $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize, the creation of physicist and internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner; the Sackler Prize; the Gribov Medal; and the INFN-Pisa Gamberini Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1997.

Arkani-Hamed’s talk is sponsored by the Department of Physics and the A.D. White Professors-at-Large Program.

This article also appears in the Cornell Chronicle.

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