Oct 9

3rd Annual Verbrugge Memorial Lecture

Dr. Ellen Zweibel from UW-Madison will be on campus to present a talk titled "Cosmic Rays: The Rebels of Thermodynamics".

7:00 – 8:00 pm / Olin 141
2017 Verbrugge Memorial Lecture Info

Our galaxy and others like it are pervaded by a very low density gas called the interstellar medium. Less than one in a billion of these interstellar gas particles is a cosmic ray, traveling at nearly the speed of light. This tiny fraction of particles carries about as much energy as all the rest of the gas. Their very existence is a surprise, given that we expect from thermodynamics that gas particle energies should follow a Bell curve (or more exactly, Fermi-Dirac of Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics). These particles exist only because the interstellar medium has a magnetic field which allows these particles to tap into large scale sources of energy like supernova explosions and galactic rotation. . Even more surprisingly,  cosmic rays have an effect on these large scale energy sources. I'll explain how we think all this works and how cosmic rays are a window into high energy processes in the Universe.

Sponsored by Physics and Astronomy. Contact: Trenne Fields, x4383