Gerardus 't Hooft

Big, Bold and Beautiful Science - an Explanation Owed to the Public

Thursday, 29 June 2000
14:00 - 14:30 CEST


In various branches of science, advances can only be made by the use of large, expensive devices that often require multinational collaborations. Some of those devices, such as spacecraft, are producing spectacular pictures of planets and moons never seen before from so close, and this makes it easy to justify them towards the public.
For the big particle accelerators it is more difficult to explain to the public why we need them. As a Nobel laureate I now see it as my task to bring home to the public what beautiful results have been achieved with these accelerators. A milestone was the construction to the "Standard Model". Now, theoreticians and experimentalists face the problem of uncovering those laws of physics that are behind the questions not answered by the Standard Model. To investigate these experimentally, even bigger machines will be needed. In the meantime, many interesting theoretical ideas are being put forward and tested for their internal consistency.

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