Understanding the nature of our universe at the most microscopic level has preoccupied humans through recorded history. In the early 20th century, this pursuit led to the discovery of the atomic nucleus, nuclear fission and fusion, and nuclear weapons, discoveries that can be harnessed for the benefit or the destruction of our society. Today, the pursuit of this understanding -- the field known as elementary particle physics -- finds us in a search to discover a funny object known as the Higgs boson. I'll describe what this object is, why we are investing so much time and resources into the chase, and how we're going about the search using the world's largest scientific instrument, the 28 km long Large Hadron Collider.
Pekka K. Sinervo, F.R.S.C. is an experimental particle physicist at the University of Toronto and the Senior Vice-President, Research at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).
He completed his B.Sc. at the University of Toronto, his Ph.D. at Stanford University in 1986, and held academic positions at the University of Pennsylvania till 1990, when he returned to Toronto as professor in the Department of Physics. He served as chair of the Physics Department from 1997 to 2000. He was subsequently named vice-dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science in 2000 and in 2003 became dean of the Faculty.
Dr. Sinervo returned to full-time particle physics research in 2008 and was to his current role at CIFAR in 2009, He continues particle physics experiments in North America and the CERN Large Hadron Collider. He is author or co-author of over 500 refereed publications and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Physical Society.