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Public Lecture Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Lord Kelvin | Unveiling the Secrets of the Universe with Neutrinos and Gravitational Waves by Nobel Laureate Professor Takaaki Kajita

This year the University of Glasgow is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of William Thomson, otherwise known as Lord Kelvin.

Lord Kelvin is one of the most prominent figures in the University’s history, having held the chair of Natural Philosophy for 53 years, and his influence is still felt through the inventions, innovation and inspiration which shaped the world in which we live.

The University will celebrate his life and legacy through a series of events and reflections over the course of this year.

As part of the celebration Nobel Laureate Professor Takaaki Kajita will give a talk on measuring neutrinos and gravitational waves honouring the tradition of Lord Kelvin who developed scientific instruments for high precision measurements.

This public lecture is supported by the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Physics Scotland. The talk with be aimed at S1/S2 and above.


Neutrinos are one of the fundamental subatomic particles. It has been assumed that neutrinos have no mass. However, it was predicted more than 50 years ago that, if neutrinos have mass, they will change their type (flavour) while propagating in the vacuum or in a medium. This phenomenon is called neutrino oscillations.

Neutrino oscillations were discovered in 1998 and they are very important to understand the secrets of the Universe. In particular, neutrinos with very small mass may be the key for understanding the origin of matter in the Universe. Gravitational waves are generated by the violent motion of heavy masses. Therefore, gravitational waves are expected to be a very important new means for observing the Universe, such as binary blackhole mergers or binary neutron star mergers.

This talk will discuss experimental studies of neutrinos and gravitational waves and what they may say about the Universe we live in.

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