Anticipating A New Golden Age

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Our present Core Theory of matter (aka “standard model”) was born in the 1970s, a Golden Age for fundamental physics. To date it has passed every experimental test, extending – by many orders of magnitude – to higher energies, shorter distances, and greater precision than were available in the 1970s. Yet we are not satisfied, because the Core Theory postulates four separate interactions and several different kinds of matter, and its equations are lopsided. In this lecture, Prof. Wilczek will describe powerful and extremely beautiful ideas for restoring unity and symmetry to the fundamental laws. These ideas are firmly rooted in empirical reality, but at present the evidence for them is circumstantial. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will provide critical tests. If Nature has been teaching, not teasing, discoveries at the LHC will inaugurate a new Golden Age, bringing our fundamental understanding of the physical world to a new level. Standard model, fundamental physics, experiment, LHC, unification, particle physics, supersymmetry, vacuum fluctuation