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Public Lectures

Ever wonder what goes on at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory? The SLAC Public Lecture Series is your chance to find out! The evening lectures highlight the cutting-edge science happening at the laboratory. From the nanotechnology of diamonds to the latest Higgs Boson discoveries, SLAC public lectures provide non-scientists with a unique insight into the workings of our universe.

Scheduled Lecture

Getting to the Core of Earth’s Magnetic Field

Ben Ofori-Okai ,
Thursday, February 03, 2022 5:00 pm
Public Lecture Poster: picture of earth's magnetic field
Description:

Join us on Zoom (passcode 650650)

Earth’s magnetic field does more than just help us to navigate. It is also used by animals for orientation and migration,  and it protects life on Earth from charged particles that stream in from the sun and from deep space. This field is believed to be powered by a gigantic engine, or dynamo, created by electric currents carried by streams of molten iron in the Earth’s core. Scientists think these electric streams can start spinning spontaneously, driven by the Earth’s rotation. To test that theory, we need to know more about the properties of molten iron in the center of the Earth, where temperatures are a hundred times higher and pressures a million times greater than those on the surface. This lecture will describe studies underway at SLAC that re-create those extreme conditions, and describe a path towards measuring properties of molten iron using the unique capabilities of SLAC’s LCLS X-ray and ultrafast lasers. 

The lecture is one hour long, followed by Q&A.

About the Speaker:
Ben Ofori-Okai

Ben Ofori-Okai is a Panofsky Fellow in SLAC’s High Energy Density Science Division. He received his PhD from MIT, where he worked on developing and implementing novel radiation sources for spectroscopy. Since joining SLAC in 2016, he has been working on ways to probe matter with terahertz radiation, a neglected band that lies between infrared and microwave radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum. He is now using this tool to study matter under conditions of extremely high temperature and pressure.

Public Lecture Highlights

Learn more about the work that we do by watching from our collection of popular recordings from our YouTube Playlist that highlights the breadth of our research.

Super-Human Operator poster

Super-Human Operator: Controlling Accelerators with Machine Learning

Particle accelerators are used every day in a wide range of scientific, medical and industrial applications.

Presenter: Auralee Edelen

 

Brown Dwarfs poster

Brown Dwarfs: Failed Stars or Overachieving Planets?

Giant planets can be up to 13 times the mass of Jupiter, while the least massive stars are about 80 times the mass of Jupiter.

Presenter: Eric Nielsen

 

Seeing is Exploding poster

Seeing is Exploding: Snapping Biological Images with X-ray Laser Blasts

SLAC's X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source, launched a new generation of light sources when it opened 10 years ago last month, with beams 10 billion times brighter than any before.

Presenter: Sebastien Boutet

 

Liquid Diamond poster

Liquid Diamonds: New Materials at Pressures of the Earth's Core

At the center of the Earth, matter is crushed under pressures millions of times higher than we experience here on the surface.

Presenter: Emma McBride

 

CRYO-EM poster

Cryo-EM: Amazing 3-D Views of Life's Molecular Machines

Cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is a revolutionary technology for making 3D images of the inner workings of cells in much higher resolution than ever possible before.

Presenter: Wah Chiu

 

Batteries poster

Batteries for the Future: What's Possible?

Increased demand for energy storage in consumer electronics, electric vehicles and the power grid presents opportunities and challenges for rechargeable battery research and development.

Presenter: Yi Cui

 

Paint-on solar cells poster

Paint-on solar cells poster

Solar power is a clean and renewable source of energy, but it has struggled to compete with fossil fuels on cost.

Presenter: Kevin Stone

 

Gravitational Waves poster

Gravitational Waves: The Sound of Black Holes Colliding

On September 14, 2015, the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) made the first direct measurement of a gravitational wave coming from deep space.

Presenter: Brian Lantz

 

Dark Matter poster

Dark Matter: Detecting Gravity's Hidden Hand

Dark matter is one of the most mysterious components of the universe.

Presenter: Tom Shutt

 

Viewing the beginning of time poster

Viewing the Beginning of Time from the Most Remote Places on Earth

Shortly after the birth of the universe, space was filled by a plasma that was literally red-hot.

Presenter: Zeeshan Ahmed

 

Catalysis poster

Catalysis: the Hidden Path to Foods, Fuels and Our Future

The high standard of living we enjoy today is made possible by catalysts ­– behind-the-scenes agents that promote chemical reactions in the vast majority of industrial processes, including production of fertilizers, gasoline and other essential products.

Presenter: Simon Bare