The University of Chicago News Office
Sept. 15, 2006 Press Contact: Steve Koppes
(773) 702-8366

Surprising clues to mysteries of universe is subject of free lecture series

Eight free lectures at the University of Chicago will give individuals who are interested in new scientific discoveries a look into the surprising places experimental physicists often explore to attain a more complete understanding of the laws of nature.

"Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe: Looking for Clues in Surprising Places," is the title of this year's Arthur Holly Compton Lectures, sponsored each spring and fall by the University's Enrico Fermi Institute. The 64th series of these public lectures will begin Saturday, Sept. 23, and will be held each Saturday through Nov. 11. The lectures will be given from 11 a.m. to noon in Room 106 of the Kersten Physics Teaching Center, 5720 S. Ellis Ave. As with all Compton lectures, they are intended to make science accessible to a general audience and to convey the excitement of new discoveries in the physical sciences.

Delivering the lectures will be Brian Odom, Research Associate in the Enrico Fermi Institute and also a Fellow in the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University. Odom will discuss topics including how physicists go deep underground to look for yet undiscovered particles believed to compose the bulk of the universe's mass; how they study atoms caught in laboratory traps in hopes of understanding the origins of matter in the big bang; and how they probe gravity at tiny distances in order to shed light on nature's strange behavior on the huge length scales of the universe.

Odom received his B.S. in physics with honors from Stanford University. He then attended Harvard University, where he received his A.M. and Ph.D. in physics.

A former physicist at the University, Compton is best known for demonstrating that light has the characteristics of both a wave and a particle. He organized the effort to produce plutonium for the atomic bomb and directed the Metallurgical Laboratory Chicago, where Fermi and his colleagues produced the first controlled, nuclear chain reaction in 1942.

For more information about the lecture series, call (773) 702-7823.
Last modified at 02:58 PM CST on Friday, September 15, 2006.

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