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SMU to host physicists' Light Cone Conference May 23-27

Seeing the physical world from the point of view of an observer travelling at the speed of light

May 12, 2011

More than 50 physicists from around the globe are expected to attend the annual Light Cone Conference on May 23-27, being hosted this year by the Department of Physics in SMU's Dedman College.

Light Cone IllustrationThe conference focuses on a branch of theoretical physics called light cone quantization, which means investigating the physical world from the point of view of an observer travelling at the speed of light, explains SMU physicist Simon Dalley.

The Superconducting Super Collider, which was to have been built in Waxahachie, was intended to provide insight in the study of that viewpoint. While the SSC was cancelled in 1993 because of national budget problems, a similar facility — the Large Hadron Collider — has just begun operating in Europe. Several SMU physicists are involved in the project. Located near Geneva, the LHC is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It will be used to explore some of the most fundamental questions of physics and advance our understanding of the laws of nature.

Among the conference keynote speakers will be Professor Stanley Brodsky of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, winner of the 2007 J.J.Sakurai Prize and one of the most prolific theoretical physicists of our time.

The conference is sponsored the SMU Department of Physics, SMU Dean of Graduate Studies, the Lightner-Sams Foundation, the McCartor Fellowship Fund and Springer-Verlag Publishing.

The conference has been held annually since 1991 all over the world and overseen by the International Light Cone Advisory Committee (ILCAC). ILCAC was co-founded by the late Gary McCartor, an SMU Physics professor who first brought the conference to SMU in 1992. Simon Dalley, a senior physics lecturer at SMU, is a ILCAC director and president of the Dallas Regional Science & Engineering Fair.

For more information about the conference, go to the conference website or contact Dalley ( or 214-768-2109).