Sowers Distinguished Lecture Series: Particles and Accelerators are Tools: What are they good for?:

Date: September 19, 2023
Time: 7:30 - 8:30 PM
Venue: Holtzman Alumni Center
Organizations: Virginia Tech College of Science
Description: The Virginia Tech College of Science continues their J. Mark Sowers Distinguished Lecture Series with the talk titled "Particles and Accelerators are Tools: What are they good for?" on Tuesday, September 19, 2023 inside Assembly Hall within the Holtzman Alumni Center on the campus of Virginia Tech.

Humans have been using tools since the stone age. Today, the tools are everywhere and becoming more and more sophisticated. I will start by discussing a brief history of elementary particles and accelerators and how we use them for all sorts of things that range from manufacturing, to sophisticated medical procedures, to advancing science. I will close with some thoughts on the future of where this field is going.

Nigel Lockyer is an experimental particle physicist. Lockyer was most recently director of TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics from 2007-2013 and then director of the Department of Energy’s Fermilab from 2013 to 2022. He was a professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of British Columbia and is presently a professor of Physics at Cornell University.

His research focused on high-energy particle experiments at the energy frontier, with an interest in testing fundamental symmetries and studying the heaviest quarks. He also pursued his interests in accelerator science and technology. While at Pennsylvania, Lockyer developed his interest in the applications of physics to real-world problems; he worked with the Penn Medical School on proton therapy for cancer using accelerators and detectors for medical physics.

All talks are free and open to the public.

The J. Mark Sowers Distinguished Lecture Series in the College of Science at Virginia Tech is a forum for the exchange of new and innovative ideas in scientific fields. The series has attracted national and world-renowned scholars, including a laser physicist, a nanoscientist, an astrophysicist (and also Nobel Laureate), an applied mathematician, the director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, and a statistician who specializes in machine-learning. Discussions have delved into brain sciences, speech and hearing development, black holes, and more.

The Holtzman Alumni Center is located at 901 Price's Fork Road in Blacksburg, VA on the campus of Virginia Tech.

For more information, visit: or or