Iranian American a Leading Theoretical Physicist


Iranian American a Leading Theoretical Physicist

May 16, 2008

It is remarkable that Nima Arkani-Hamed is only in his mid-30s but has already distinguished himself as one of the leading thinkers in the field of particle physics.

Nima Arkani-Hamed was born in 1972 in the United States to Iranian parents. Arkani-Hamed graduated from the University of Toronto with a Joint Honors degree in Mathematics and Physics.  He then attended the University of California, Berkeley for his graduate studies where he earned his Ph.D in 1997.  Mr. Arkani-Hamed went on to Stanford University at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) for his post-doctoral studies, before returning to Berkeley to join the faculty at the Physics Department.  He was a Professor of Physics at Harvard University from 2002 to 2008, before joining the prestigious Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton where Albert Einstein served for many years.

Towards the end of this summer an experiment is turning on at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland, where protons are made to collide at fantastic speeds close to the speed of light.  The primary aim of this experiment is to create and detect the elusive particle known as ‘Higgs’ which is responsible for all masses.  In addition, physicists are hoping to discover other fundamental aspects of nature including an amazing symmetry known as supersymmetry which predicts that every particle comes with a ‘shadow’ particle.  There are other more extreme possibilities, which if discovered would be quite unexpected and revolutionary:  One of these is the prediction made by Arkani-Hamed (and two other colleagues) which postulates that the extra dimensions that string theorists have predicted could be large enough to be observed in these experiments.  Whether or not such predictions are borne out, Nima Arkani-Hamed is one of the main leaders of particle physics today.

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