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Angels and Demons: The Science Revealed

Manfred Paulini, Wednesday, May 6, 2009

6:30pm - Porter Hall 100, Gregg Hall


This May, Sony Pictures will release Angels and Demons, an action-packed thriller based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel that focuses on an apparent plot to destroy the Vatican using a small amount of antimatter that is made using the Large Hadron Collider and is stolen from CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. The physics at the heart of Angels and Demons calls attention to what happens when matter and antimatter meet. The absence of practically any antimatter in the universe is crucial to our existence. To understand that absence of antimatter is one of the big challenges of particle physics. On May 6, a week before the release date, Carnegie Mellon’s Dr. Manfred Paulini will discuss science facts and fiction in Angels and Demons, the mystery of the missing antimatter, and how future particle physics experiments will explore some of the secrets of the universe. Dr. Paulini is an experimental particle physicist and member of the CMS experiment which will start operation at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in the fall of 2009.

About Manfred Paulini
As an experimental high energy physicist, Manfred Paulini studies questions connecting particle physics to issues relevant to cosmology. One such question is the predominance of matter over antimatter in the universe, which requires that there is a breaking of the CP symmetry between matter and anti-matter in particle physics. As a member of the CDF experiment at Fermilab, Paulini studies the violation of CP symmetry and matter-antimatter oscillations in Bs meson decayss. Another question concerns the nature of dark matter that makes up about one quarter of the content of the universe. Paulini will search for the production of dark matter particles with the CMS experiment at CERN and will be analyzing the CMS data looking for supersymmetric particles as candidates for dark matter.

Manfred Paulini received his Ph.D. from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California in Berkeley and at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory before he joined the Department of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University in 2000 where he is currently Associate Professor with tenure.