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Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures

Helen Quinn on March 10, 2010 at 7 p.m.

Andrew Fraknoi


Dr. Helen Quinn (of Stanford University) will give a free public lecture on “The Many Mysteries of Antimatter”,part of the 11th Annual Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures, in the Smithwick Theater, Foothill College, El Monte Road and Freeway 280, in Los Altos Hills, California.

No background in science will be required for this talk. Seating is first come, first served. Parking on campus costs $2.

Call the series hot-line at 650-949-7888 for more information and driving directions.

Antimatter is just like matter with all its properties reversed. But when antimatter meets a matching amount of matter, they destroy each other, both turning suddenly into energy. Scientists think there may have been equal amount of matter and antimatter in the early universe, and yet today we have lots of matter and very little antimatter. How and when that imbalance developed is one of the great mysteries in understanding the underlying properties of the universe.

Dr. Quinn, who is co-author of the definitive popular book on antimatter, will discuss the history of our understanding of antimatter and how we use the little bit of antimatter around today to study some of the highest energy processes among the stars and galaxies. One particularly interesting possible source of antimatter is the annihilation or decay of dark matter particles, mysterious material that is thought to make more of the universe than the regular matter we know and love. Dr. Quinn will discuss ongoing antimatter experiments that are helping to put limits on the nature and behavior of dark matter.

Dr. Quinn is Professor of Physics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center at Stanford and Assistant to SLAC’s Director for Education and Outreach. She has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and is a former President of the American Physical Society. Her book The Mystery of the Missing Antimatter (2008, Princeton University Press) is an engaging introduction to the world of particle physics.

The lectures are co-sponsored by:

* NASA Ames Research Center

* The Foothill College Astronomy Program

* The Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

* The SETI Institute

Past Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures are now available in MP3 format at:


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