If you went to school in the late 20th century, you were taught that the nucleus of an atom was made of protons and neutrons, full stop. But, in fact, within atoms, there are even smaller subatomic particles called quarks and gluons — and understanding them has become one of the central challenges of physics.
Quarks and gluons are so small — and the way they interact is so mysterious — that scientists have turned to the world’s largest supercomputers in search of answers.
Phiala Shanahan, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 in science , discussed this challenge at the Perimeter Institute Wednesday evening. She talked about the subatomic realm and what quarks and gluons can reveal about dark matter and the nuclear reactions that power the sun. If you missed the lecture, you can view a replay of it here:
The Perimeter Institute’s public lectures are generally held once a month. TVO.org will stream the entire 2018–19 series.