Transcript for Episode 27 – Dr. Florian Goertz

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human experience is colliding particles

at nearly the speed of light with my

guest night dr. florian guards florian

it’s such a pleasure to have you with us

welcome hellos any other nice to talk to

you lorien let’s just start this

conversation by going over a little bit

of your education in your background how

did you get to working at CERN um so

first I studied physics in Germany and

mines that’s a molests small city are in

the regional frankfurt so south west

germany i obtained my PhD from my

university after getting my master there

then i went as a postdoc postdoctoral

researcher I went to Switzerland to eth

zurich were spent three years to search

a little bit of teaching and then i

applied for fellowship at CERN and in

last year october i started working here

in the series department of sir so my

physics is lackluster at best I mean I’m

I’m pretty good at math but we’re gonna

I think we’re gonna have to simplify for

and make it a little bit entertaining

for the people who are listening what

exactly is going on at cern’s I mean

what are you guys doing over there I

mean one thing that was also media quite

by present was the discovery of the

Higgs boson so I mean we were searching

for the particle for four decades also

that the former accelerated

the former would because accelerator was

divested formula what people were

searching for it and here its own we

finally found the Higgs boson three

years ago and this was really a big step

in the understanding of universe because

this particle was the last missing

ingredient for the model that we call

the Standard Model of particle physics

which is as far as we know the best

description of the most fundamental

properties of nature that we have so far

can you tell us more about this takes

both I mean why is it so important yeah

exactly i mean without this exposé on or

without this mechanism where they

exposed on emerges family all particles

all elementary particles would be

massless there would be no i mean it’s

very hard to to consistently give mast

particles and the Higgs mechanism

provides one mechanism to do so

consistently in the theory and we would

not have found that bottom we would have

been puzzled and would have needed to

see in further what gives master

particles because without mass for

elementary particles the universe as we

see it now could not exist so it’s

really very basic fundamental science

understanding why why we are all here

without without such a mechanism I mean

that we would not have life as we have

at Iran worse so would you would you

call this the greatest mean scientific

discovery known to man um it’s suddenly

one of the greatest discoveries I mean

it’s having found that mechanism is

probably not important to our everyday

life so I mean without knowing this

precise mechanism we could live as with

knowing it but it was one of the biggest

mysteries in our field how we can give

really get really good master particles

in a consistent way and there were a

model for doing this proposed by a bunch

of people in the 1960s so it was 50

years ago that this mechanism was

proposed by peter higgs and others who

share the mobile price also recently

together with conspiring that and I mean


really it’s really amazing that 50 years

ago such a mechanism was proposed and

fifty years later we build the biggest

experiment that mankind has ever built

here and soand with a large hadron

collider and we could now more or less

certainly very finest mechanism I mean

we could verify this mechanism for sure

but there are still details if it’s

really the Higgs boson is it was thought

to be of their small Yong Yong this

particle that’s also kind of my research

I tried to find out if this is particle

that we found you it’s really the one

that was proposed to 50 years ago or if

Burke that’s more more interesting

things going order on this you know

there’s there seems to be this wide

range of canvassing opinions about you

know what you guys are doing and you

know Shiva as sort of the mascot of CERN

and and there there are a lot of sort of

religious people who think that there

could be a wormhole that opens up or a

black hole or something I mean how valid

are these concerns I mean these concerns

about black holes we were taken

seriously and they even have been been

studies on that so okay fortunately in

the first run of the lmc with which

already finished we didn’t create a

wormhole and was also not really

expected so now we are getting to higher

energies but I think we can can be

relieved because there are mean there

are serious arguments against the

emergence of Obama so let me say for

black holes or imply cool let me say for

one minute I’m why people thought that

they could be black holes at the LHC the

reason is that we have this model that I

was mentioning the standard model but we

think that it will be not valid anymore

once we reach a certain energy regimes

and then there are proposals how this

most fundamental model of nature could

be extended and then some of these

proposals the Planck scale so like the

fundamental scale of gravity were also


spacetime needs to be changed would

already appear at energy said we could

prop here so it’s very special models

that predict that something really

extreme could happen at this energy so

in our standard models nothing like that

would happen but we can be relieved

because there are various arguments

against the creation of a black hole

here one of them is for example in the

cosmic radiation that hits our us all

the time we also have very energetic

collisions Kaylee it’s just that we

don’t have so many collisions at the

time but we have these very energetic

collisions and for example we would have

be seen already an event like that

before if it could happen so I mean it

has been taken seriously but many

experts in the field have found out that

we will not create a black hole vot LFC

also when we turn it on again so I mean

have you guys fired it up again since

the first time now I you know we’re just

the preparation for the next long run so

there was a long shot on because we

needed to to prepare the machine for the

running now at higher energies before we

were running at seven tera electron volt

or a terror electron volt which and now

we will model is double the energy and

there we needed some preparation to do

that but now the the machine people are

just putting it again work and first

collisions are about to happen right now

so on Easter day one is to the man you

can do to set up the machine to inject

the beams and our first physics this

will take some time but now it’s we’re

just as we speak just people are working

to to set it up again okay very

interesting so I mean you talk about the

standard model of nature and reality

what I mean what is that can you go into

that a little bit more please yes sure I

mean um we have I mean we see around us

isn’t matter and I mean the what things

are made of yeah i mean the the atoms

these are made of out of matter

particles like protons and neutrons and

this consists of of i mean

this is what you also learn in school

and this consists of even more

fundamental particles so protons and

neutrons consists of quarks perhaps your

we heard about that is a little bit

strange name but this is this is what we

think now is the most fundamental

constituent of the matter yeah I like

like the desk i’m sitting in front of it

it’s made out of atoms protons neutrons

and the most fundamental particles are

box this has been discovered I mean we

are sure that they exist but for example

we don’t know if there could be

something even more fundamental but at

this level with the quirks this the

power matter is described this is done

in the Standard Model of particle

physics we we assume that the most

fundamental metal particles are these

quirks and also the leptons this is

another other kind of particles like

electrons that are running around and

around the protons to form atoms so this

is the matter part yeah and then there

are the forces so all these these metal

particles interact and the interact with

forces and forces also described by

particles for example you know the

electromagnetic force ya like like a

magnetic force of electric forces this

one it’s the same thing 220 time and

this is mediated by the exchange of

photons and this is described how this

really how this behaves for the

interaction strength is and how all the

particles William ject is described by

this theory which is called a tunnel

model of particle physics this it has

three more two more courses that are

described in it this is the weak force

which mediates nuclear decays I know it

was a strong force which which makes

atoms I mean the constituents Warspite

together in the in the nucleus so these

are the three forces that are described

by this by the Standard Model of

particle physics but there’s a force

force force gravity that everyone knows

about this is not described by this

model so this is not not such a big

problem because gravity is very weak so

the standard model describes the other

three forces that be nomination but for

example one thing we are after

also trying to find the bigger theory

that also in depth gravity as a force

for so we know already constitute too

many other reasons at the standard model

is not the final answer it’s a model

that we now use to describe particle

physics at the most fundamental level

but there are more reasons that we think

that if we go to very very small

distances probe really mostly elementary

nature nature that then we need a new

model finally which will replace this

model so my understanding of of this big

device I mean it’s this huge machine

underground the earth and it’s it’s like

a big gun right electromagnetic gun

that’s firing these protons at

themselves and they’re colliding and

then you’re observing the collision

correct right right i mean we inject two

beams of protons here and they will

collide at certain points on these rings

of a circle and opposite directions

through the string through the LHC and

they will collide and then we they are

very energetic because they will be

accelerated all the time to nearly the

speed of light and then they will have

really large large energy and then they

will collide and you can imagine up like

a very very big Michael sculptor so you

know with an optical microscope for

example you can magnify things you can

look into details but if you wouldn’t

want to to probe really smaller

distances to look closer and closer and

closest you need them to go to electron

microscope and the LHC is really you can

magnify this by orders of magnitude then

we go to the LHC so you like the biggest

microscope that we have on earth we can

really look so deep into the matter and

look what is going on on the most

fundamental level really what what binds

the words and i was called together this

is really the question we want to

address here and therefore we need to

build this really really really large

machine to accelerate this proton so far

that we can really look into the

smallest distances what’s really

interesting so yeah that is very

interesting so since I mean since you

guys have already found the Higgs boson

then what what in your opinion would be

the next remark most remarkable thing

that you could find from this search

this is a very good question I mean if

this is also shapes also a field blue

shape our field what we will discover

next and so because you know we knew

before mean before we built the LHC that

we need to find something here here if

we would not have found the Higgs boson

we were sure we would find something

else we had kind of a no-lose serum and

the reason was that we knew the Standard

Model of particle physics and I was

mentioning so many times already would

not be complete without this Higgs boson

and if you take it away from it it will

break down in certain energies and here

at the LHC will just build this machine

at this energy that we really can can

test this energy is where the standard

model would break down without the

exponent so now the Higgs boson will

emerge we found it here so so we know

the standard model will be valid at

least for some some more regime and

energies but the difficult thing is

really that it’s difficult to find

another no loose serum yeah so for the

LHC we really knew either we will find

the Higgs boson or something else for

the next machine so we are really also

hoping that there will be new kaleidos

after the LFC we are thinking hard

really um to really make the point what

we need to discover so while we’re

building this machines and there are

many many reasons that we think the

stunna bonus not to find you one I was

already mentioning was that it doesn’t

describe gravity but there’s also

something funny in this sector of the

Higgs boson because the Higgs boson if

you compare it to fundamental math

skills that we have some nature is

really light and in principle the most

natural value for its mass would be

orders of more orders of magnitude

higher so we don’t understand why it’s

really so light that we can produce it

here and this price also 2020 build

models beyond this model that we have

now to understand how the Higgs boson

can keep so light because you know the

physics that we imagine that should be

out there would would make the exposure

much much heavier than

no and there are other models be

understandable that can explain why it’s

alight and we’re searching for this

models one of them is called

supersymmetry so I’d so perhaps you

already heard about it because it’s also

quite popular were to have a particle

was already mentioned something some of

them in the standard world you would

have a super part of it that would help

to keep this mass of the six-person so

light and so we’re searching for these

super partners for example we’re

searching for this copy of the Standard

Model of these partners of the standard

model that could explain why the exposed

or behaves as a behave so this is one

big past where we have much hopes

another process also mmm higgs boson as

we see it now is also fundamental

particle but it could also be that its

proposed of something more fundamental

and this assaults would also solve many

many of the questions that we ask

ourselves now by really the Higgs

particle behavior this behaves so we’re

also searching for a substructure in

this particle yeah and for example also

in supersymmetry the other Syria was

mentioning there’s not only one

explosive so there could be more so we

also searching for for other process of

this exposes really i mean i could

continue for hours is really much much

we think that should be out there and

which should be discovered just we need

to find out how we can produce it and

this is the important question hmm wow

very very intriguing so i mean from what

I’m understanding you guys you guys were

I mean this is basically at first you

were confirming a theory that was

developed in 1964 by peter higgs and and

you were able to discover this

elementary sort of particle that and

confirm it and now you’ve doubled the

energy in this device and you’re you’re

trying to confirm more so the standard

model and develop it further you don’t

know what you’ll find we have some ideas

what we might find but right now we’re

not sure what we will find so on one

side we are testing this standard model

as you correctly said to more and more

precision so we will measure the

properties of the six paths on how it

decays to other particles of the

standard model will measure other

interactions of particles in the

standard model to more and more accuracy

to be able to see deviations there

because this model said I was mentioning

before that could replace the stomach

model or at some point they would

predict small small differences and for

example how the Higgs boson decays these

are very hard to see if you just produce

few weeks bosons you really need to

produce many many of them you need a

large statistics there to be able to

really dig out this small small

differences in the behavior from the

large sample so this is the program that

is starting now really trying to be more

and more precise and really too I mean

if we be pessimistic two more and more

confirm the standard model or to be

optimistic perhaps we see you little

deviation in these properties perhaps we

produce a little bit more explosives

that we our Syrah predicted all we

produce a little bit less and then we

can see which series would predict that

and how they could solve the problems of

the current zero so this is really the

precision program that we’re doing here

also we have the hope that just as we

produce the six buzzards we might

produce other new particles like for

example another force carrier so for

example we might discover a fifth force

and in addition to the normal forces all

for the matter particles and this is

really what we are really excited now

all these new things to come I think

it’s very interesting just because i

mean i don’t i don’t think the

technology to do an experiment like this

has ever existed before I mean do you

think it’s possible that we could maybe

spawn a mini universe by doing this

experiment yeah I mean I know I can’t

see how this could be done I mean

extreme things these two things can

really happen once once we get the

Planck scale which I was saying the


gravity but this is really artists of

market to beyond what we can do with

with this machine here so we are really

more after creating new particles unless

unless some series are true that were

posed for example by nima like on

eharmony famous physicist from the US

and gr valleys I was demopolis several

years ago where is very very fundamental

skill the Planck scale would not be out

of reach so this is also me right now

the data doesn’t look like this would be

the case because we would probably

already see hints in our data to that

but one ever knows if we go to higher

energies we also might hit surprises so

in case the space-time would really look

different from from what we expect now

we might create very strange things like

black holes for so bad as I said this

would not be dangerous I must stress

this but we can we can we can see many

interesting things perhaps so I mean

let’s let’s go into what your life is

like in inside of CERN and what you do

there on a regular basis I mean how how

does how does that happen how does that

work yes oh I have my office here so we

are together we are two people per

office you know the theory floor so I

must say as a series I’m trying to

interpret the data that the LHC

deliverers are trying to make

predictions what we would see at the LHC

that will then be compared to what we

really see so this is this is my job and

people like us we are we are not the

majority here it sound so soon as around

3,000 people working here regularly and

the co department we have perhaps 60 to

80 or so so we are really a small group

and this other speak majority is really

running the machine and analyzing data

and really doing the very important

work to keep this machine going what I’m

doing on the other hand I could also do

the same thing at another place I don’t

need to be at the same place where this

machine is but it’s very nice to be here

because if I have my dear I can directly

talk to the people that do really the

measurements this is really I mean this

is right now certainly the most exciting

place in the world between what I do for

them in particle physics because we have

really the experiment that tries to find

your ideas just just under yourself yeah

and so what I do I mean I come to the

office in the morning I discussed with

my colleagues I usually one has several

projects at a time or for example what I

was working on recently was trying to to

find out how well we can measure not the

production of one single tech expose on

but of Hick’s pairs so producing to

expose ons in just one collision so we

produce many many explosions but usually

in one collision we produced just one

but for example one can if 11 Billy

tries hard and wait for a long time when

can also find the process of producing

expires so I was studying the amount of

Hick’s Paris or would produce if the

Standard Model of particle physics would

not be the correct theory but if we

would have a deviation from this model

and I was paralyzing these deviations

from this model in the most channel way

that one can do it and then trying to

understand really how far we can go how

many experimental or if it can be less

or so when they compared with other

compared with other measurements so this

is a project I’m just working on and

what it means daily I mean I I sit in

front of my computer I’m I’m programming

also thinking quite a lot just sitting

there and and trying to sync on new

methods to improve things and also I

mean that is hearest also a lot of my

daily time goes in just sitting and

thinking because there are

many things that are not understood in

the the current description of nature

that we have and it’s about trying to

understand what word might fail and then

how it could be improved and then if you

have an idea to go to my next door and

then talk really I mean I’m really

honored to be here because once many

worlds greatest experts are here and I’m

still rather young in my career as a

fellow so I can talk to the greatest

experts in all the fields they have a

new idea and ask their opinion and

perhaps work with them and make some

predictions that might be tested this is

experiment where I’m just sitting years

old this is more lesson one aspect of my

daily life I don’t know if you search

the internet for what’s going on at CERN

but people people are worried people are

a bit scared I mean reasonably so so I

mean let’s dispel that beer let’s let’s

sort of remove the veil I mean how how

can we understand better what is

happening at LHC yeah i mean what one

should really have no fear because we

are not doing something I mean something

really which has never been done before

we are I mean as I said these collisions

that that were performing here they

happen because in the universe we have

four particles that will be accelerated

and fields in the universe and they will

hit each other and we’re just making

this experiment here on earth well we

are producing much more more collisions

that we can really learn about them so

it’s just we are we are trying to

understand the processes that happen in

the universe all over the universe were

trying to understand them better by

observing them so this is really what we

do at CERN so we are really trying to to

have these processes here and our

control we can monitor what happens and

we really try to understand better what

is happening

this can be can be a benefit for all of

us I mean one never knows which

applications can come out of this so i

would really have enough you feel in

trying to understand that all our

universe it’s just about understanding

that we’re not changing anything yet

right right so I mean what how do you

think you mentioned changing our lives

how do you think you could change the

way that we live I mean in a practical

way yeah right now I cannot tell that

yeah but for example also when

electricity was discovered I mean it was

first it was not not clear how useful it

would be you in the future so it’s

always I mean this really this most

fundamental research before probably you

don’t know what will be the outcome but

they can be many outcomes for example

also indirect outcomes like like cancer

therapy for example now in different

places all over the world particle

accelerators are also used to treat

cancer and this is like a spin-off of

this technique was not invented to do so

but it can be used and there are they

are more so I think we just should

always try to push real boundaries of

our understanding without knowing worley

but there will always be innovations for

example so we communicate now by the

world wide web care and you know this

was invented its own it was was a

spinoff from scientists trying to make

their communication more efficient and

there are also also innovations for

industry I mean we have really here many

parts of the accelerator really require

new techniques also from engineering

from industry and this can also be used

in the future but ok this is spin-offs

but ok we never know what we might

discover perhaps just referring to the

to the example of electricity perhaps

we’ll discover something that will

change our lives if not we still I think

everyone has a force inside I’m really

trying to understand why the universe is

as it is how it will finally

and or if it will endevour how it

emerged these are the questions we are

trying to address here for example let

me also mention that we can try to

measure the properties more exactly and

answer these questions I mean what will

be the fate of our universe also how was

universe created there’s the theory of

biogenesis that they are how the

symmetry between the matter the

antimatter was created so you know it

after that I mean during the Big Bang

matter-antimatter were created so the

big question is why didn’t it Anna later

all together again so matter and

antimatter if they meet each other they

will animate but it didn’t all annually

because we are here happily and also we

try to understand these questions

because when we measure these properties

of all these particles we can also find

out why this happened to know why not

all them matter and antimatter only

later so it’s really about first of all

about trying to understand why things

are like they are or they will develop

and then they can be unexpected benefits

all of us wow this is very intriguing

work any any advice for budding

physicist or particle physicists that

are kind of want to pursue the field

that you’re pursuing yeah I my first

advice is always be interested always be

fascinated about the field I’m not

thinking we understood already most of

it always asking questions and yeah and

so we have sky’s the limit I mean never

never same okay I can never reach this

always trying very hard and so yeah I

mean first you need to be fascinated

about it and then just trying to go for

it and speak with people I like that

answer flora nazar is there I mean

should I just direct people to the CERN

website or is there a way to contact you

right now I mean when I can be found on

the throne websites on the theory

department I I can be found on yeah I

mean yeah there are my contact details

in the theory division and also one can

also for applying for tours at surin one

can write to discern

contact address and the phone wants to

make a tour of the facility here I think

I can come justice to everyone’s very

fascinating also when the accelerator is

running and one cannot go to every point

on the crowd there are also models of

the thing and there’s much to see here

on the campus florina I really

appreciate your time and thank you so

much for being here yeah it was the

moment to talk to you this is the human

experience guys we’re gonna get out of

here thank you so much for listening

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