'Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays: Messengers from the Extreme Universe'
Thursday, 20th October 2016 (19:45 - 22:00)
'The highest energy cosmic rays remain one of the Universe's most elusive mysteries. We have detected cosmic rays with energies greater than a tennis ball travelling at 100 miles per hour, yet we know next to nothing about these quirks of nature. What are they made of? Where do they come from? And, most puzzling of all, what in the Universe can accelerate a particle to such extreme energies? In recent years, the latest generation of cosmic ray observatories -- including the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina and the US-based Telescope Array -- have started to shed light on this puzzle. In this talk, I will review the history of cosmic ray observations and summarise what we now know, then point the way forward to future discoveries.'
Speaker: Dr. Matthew Malek
Matthew may be the only physicist you ever meet who has gone SCUBA diving in a particle physics detector. After starting uni with the intention of a career in cognitive psychology, he accidentally got sidetracked in to particle physics. Matthew cut his professional teeth at the Kamioka Observatory in Japan, where he earned his doctorate by using the Super-Kamiokande experiment to hunt for relic neutrinos from ancient supernovae in the early universe. After completing his degree, Matthew continued to wander the far corners of the globe, studying ultra-high energy cosmic rays at the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina and then searching for dark matter in Italy’s Gran Sasso underground laboratory.
In 2006, he made Oxford his home, and in 2010 he returned to his first love: Neutrino research. When not probing the mysteries of the universe, Matthew can be found ringing church bells, running, swimming, cycling, or hiking. He is an avid theatre buff, and recently completed his long-term goal of seeing every one of Shakespeare’s plays performed live on stage.