Superposition: physicists and artists in conversation

First meeting with Ben

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First meeting with Ben, I was very excited by the unknown but also a little nervous, could my non-scientific brain get to grips, even a little bit, with particle physics? I needn’t have worried, Ben’s enthusiasm and passion for his subject shone through and I was hooked straight away! He introduced me to particle detectors; the physical locations where experiments and research occur.

One in Japan, called Super-Kamiokande, is amazing, a visual feast for the eye; I was captivated. It’s a huge underground cylindrical drum and the walls are lined with glass domes which are hand blown by men in the mountains of Japan where the air is cleanest. The men also refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol, to ensure their breath is pure. All I wanted to do when I left was to find an underground lake and silently row across it, floating clear glass balls on the surface behind me. My preconception that particle physics might be a tad dry and abstract was shattered, replaced by the promise of poetry and rich sensory experiences – can hardly wait!

©Kamioka Observatory, ICRR (Institute for Cosmic Ray Research), The University of Tokyo. Source


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