"What is a particle?" with Dr. Matthew McCullough
Today on the show, we are joined in the home studio with Dr. Matthew McCullough. Matthew got his Masters of Physics and his doctorate in Theoretical Particle Physics from the University of Oxford in the UK. He is currently working as a theoretical physicist at the CERN laboratory coming up with cool new theories about Dark Matter and our universe. As a theorists, not to be confused with previous pod guests that were experimental physicists, his job is to think deeply about the rules that govern the universe and to come up with brand new theories about how it all works. We talked about growing up in Belfast, Ireland; getting kicked out of his band; how we know Dark Matter exists; and ultimately, how math underpins the nature of our universe.
On this episode, Dr. Gabriel Facini, a particle physicist and Leena’s good friend, joins us in the studio. Gabe got his B.S. in Engineering Physics from the University of Arizona (ARIZONA!). He received his PhD in 2011 from Northeastern University, working at the Tevatron experiment. He is now an STFC Ernest Rutherford fellow at University College London and is the convener of the largest physics group, the Exotics group, in the ATLAS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. We talked about everything from Hell’s Kitchen to extra dimensions in the Universe.
On this episode, Dr. Mark Williams, an experimental particle physicist (and Leena’s husband!), joins us in the home studio. Mark got his MPhys in physics at Oxford University, and his PhD in particle physics at Lancaster University, in the United Kingdom. He moved to the Tevatron Particle Accelerator in Chicago, Illinois to do field work during his PhD. He currently has a Royal Society Fellowship and a tenure-track position at the University of Manchester while based at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. We talked about his adventures in semi-professional foosball, his work investigating why antimatter matters, and the improbability of our existence.
On this episode, we interviewed Dr. Katy Tschann-Grimm, Leena's close personal friend. Katy got her bachelor’s degree in physics at UCLA, and then got her PhD in Particle Physics at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. She is currently starting a faculty position in the Department of Physics at California State University East Bay, in San Francisco. We discussed that Goddamn Particle, the Higgs Boson, and she told us about her visit with Al Gore at CERN. We also talked about her love of baking and her current projects writing cookbooks. She was also kind enough to offer some advice for getting kids interested in science.