Stephen Sekula is an Associate Professor of Physics at SMU and an SMU Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor. He conducts research at the forefront of the field using a one-of-a-kind machine: the Large Hadron Collider located at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. Using this facility he and his colleagues are studying the recently discovered Higgs particle, the primogenitor of fundamental mass in the universe. He is also the co-author of a book for a general audience, "Reality in the Shadows (or) What the Heck's the Higgs?" Together with co-authors S. James Gates Jr. (theoretical physicist) and Frank Blitzer (aerospace engineer), they explore the history of science and physics and take the reader on a journey into what is known, what we wish were known, and how to bridge between the two. His research has been continuously supported by the U.S. Department of Energy since 2012 and he has earned numerous awards and recognition for his teaching and mentoring at SMU, including the HOPE Professor of the Year Award (2016), Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award (2015), and the SMU Golden Mustang Award (2012).
The table topic will be centered on several key ideas about large-scale modern science including how you conceive of and then sustain large international projects like the Large Hadron Collider and how machines like this can recreate the universe in miniature, capturing a moment just after the universe came into existence, so that one can discern the laws of nature then and now to better understand the history of the whole universe.