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Student Colloquium - Jan-Wilke Henke: Are fundamental constants really constant?

Info about event

Time

Monday 26 November 2018,  at 14:15 - 15:00
[Translate to English:] Left: Artistic depiction of a quasar, Right: 2012 Nobel Prize laureate David Wineland adjusting a laser setup for high precision spectroscopy. (sources - left: Article “Quasar stellt neuen Entfernungsrekord auf” on “Welt der Physik” (2017), right: Article
[Translate to English:] Left: Artistic depiction of a quasar, Right: 2012 Nobel Prize laureate David Wineland adjusting a laser setup for high precision spectroscopy.

Supervisor: Michael Drewsen

Abstract

Within the theoretical framework of physics, fundamental constants enter as free parameters. The constants are assumed to have no variation in space and time, and their values have to be established from experiments. As a consequence, experimental searches for variations of fundamental constants represent tests of our fundamental physical theories.

After introducing the concept of fundamental constants, and elucidating the importance of checking for their constancy, this talk will present two complementary experimental approaches to check for temporal variations of the fine structure constant, namely, observations of quasar absorption lines and laboratory high-precision spectroscopy. The main focus will here be on the techniques allowing for measurements with unprecedented precision, before turning to results providing an upper bound to rate of change of the fine-structure constant.