School of Physics and Astronomy

Half-Life: A mysterious tale of neutrinos and spies

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Frank Close, acclaimed author of several books explaining physics to the general audience, will come to the School of Physics and Astronomy at QMUL on Friday March 4th at 4:15pm in the G.O.Jones Lecture Theatre. He will talk about his latest book telling the story of physicist Bruno Pontecorvo.

Bruno Pontecorvo was the father of neutrino astronomy and a brilliant nuclear physicist who disappeared through the Iron Curtain at the height of the Cold War. He was first with an idea on how to find the ghostly neutrino, he proposed experiments that led to discovery of solar neutrinos, he realised that there is more than one variety of these enigmatic beasts and inspired the new science of neutrino astronomy. Yet, he never won a Nobel Prize, and this is partly because his time in the Soviet Union prevented him fulfilling his ideas. To this day, the mystery remains – why did he flee so suddenly, was he a brilliant spy as well as a physicist, and what secrets did he take with him to the Soviet Union? Prof. Frank Close of Oxford University tells the story, from his new book Half Life and reveals the role of the infamous traitor, Kim Philby in the affair.

SPA Colloquium March 4th 2016: