Standard Model at 50

From Haidar Essili:

All I can think of to describe my experience in the Standard model’s 50th anniversary conference is to repeatedly yell the word wow, until I have lost the will to do so. I am at a loss of words, but I will attempt to put my flustered speech in perspective.

Imagine Albert Einstein dedicating some of his time to share his findings with you. One of the greatest minds explaining the greatest discoveries to you. Not to get greedy but imagine all the great minds of a generation dedicating a couple of days to do just that. I am of course referring to 1927 fifth Solvay International Conference featuring the most prominent names in physics; names including Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Paul Dirac, Erwin Schrodinger, and Wooster’s very own Arthur Compton. Attending a conference of such magnitude is a dream for any aspiring physicist, and this is how it felt to be a part of the Standard Model Conference.

Dr. David Gross and Haidar Essili during SM@50.

In this conference, I listened to my idols talk about the successes of this field I aspire to be a part of. I also listened to my idols talk of the short comings of this theory. No where is the Greek quote “the more I know, the more I know I know nothing” more true than when the most knowledgeable scientists in a field tell of how little we know. In fact, the Standard Model, often dubbed the Theory of Almost Everything, accounts for a mere 4% of the universe’s constituents and even that we don’t fully understand. I sat in the back when speakers took turns calling upon the back rows of undergraduates for help in advancing this theory in the future. Imagine Einstein passing the torch to you. Imagine Einstein asserting the back rows will certainly produce the next Nobel Laureate. Wow!!”

Gerard t’ Hooft (1999) asks Steven Weinberg (1979) a question after the final talk at SM@50. Carlo Rubbia (1984) and David Gross (2004) listening (center left part of the lecture room). In Front of us were Jerome Friedman (1990) and George Smoot (2006). Samuel C.C. Ting (1976) and Takaaki Kajita (2015) left after their presentations during the weekend. In parenthesis are the years of their Nobel Prize in Physics awar