Dr. Vinod Chohan of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) chats with a White Rock Rotary Club member at the Nov. 26 meeting.

Science trends ‘changing’

Nuclear physicist Dr. Vinod Chohan speaks to White Rock Rotary members

While many people might have a hard time getting their heads around particle theory – as internationally noted nuclear physicist Dr Vinod Chohan acknowledged  at  White Rock Rotary Club’s lunch meeting last week – most probably have an intimate acquaintance with one of the better-known byproducts of the experimental work of Geneva-based CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research).

“If it weren’t for us, you wouldn’t have the World Wide Web,”  Chohan – whose work with CERN on particle acceleration contributed to a 1983 Nobel Prize –   told club members and guests Nov. 26.

CERN experiments required the development of the “most extensive computer system in the world” to share information rapidly between at least 2,500 physicists, he said.

The Tanzanian-born specialist and engineer, on the Peninsula to visit his sister, Rama Bali, was part of the CERN team that led to the Higgs-Boson discovery of the W and Z bosons – elementary particles that play an important role in the principles involved in nuclear fission – and closely associated with Simon Van der Meer, who shared in the Nobel Prize for the work.

CERN’s experiments utilizing a Large Hadron Collider to simulate the circumstances that led to the formation of the universe – “we believe everything started with a big bang about 14 million years ago” – were done primarily “to push back the frontiers of knowledge,” he said.

But they also led to huge advancements in technology, including development of detectors that had a huge impact on health care by making possible sophisticated medical imaging, he noted.

The experiment, which created a “circular collider” 27 km in circumference, seems to have pointed CERN scientists toward creating an FCC (future circular collider, “a mind-boggling” 100 km in circumference – but Chohan said the reality is that it will be subject to ongoing competition among the sciences for funding.

“No one science can claim to have a monopoly – we all have to play it by ear,” he said following the meeting, before also addressing members of the public at a talk that evening at Panorama Ridge Secondary.

“Like NASA – why is that getting the money now? It’s because (its work) is something that intrigues the majority of people. My field was very sexy after the Second World War, because of the nuclear bomb and looking at what the potential of nuclear physics was, but now it’s 60 or 70 years later.”

 

Just Posted

Surrey rallies for change in global climate strike

Holland Park event part of marches around the world Sept. 20

Surrey RCMP need help to find missing man

Denis Godard, 64, who was reported missing on Sept. 19

Little library stolen in Clayton Heights

Thieves permanently check out family’s book collection

Cloverdale Community Kitchen hosts ‘learning’ breakfast for students

Coast Capital Savings offered short presentations on financial topics

Surrey council sends back 25-storey highrise proposal, asks for more height and density

Developer says it is ‘currently reviewing direction’ from mayor, council

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Vancouver police get green light to use drones for investigations

Drones will be used to investigate motor vehicle collisions, crime scene analysis and more

Most Read

l -->