The Padua Botanica Garden hosts the Nobel Lecture by the theoretical physicist Gerardus ‘t Hooft, Nobel Prize in Physics 1999 with Martinus J. G. Veltman “for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions in physics”. Organized by the University of Padua, the event is part of the 800th Anniversary Celebrations.
The meeting is opened by Fabio Zwirner, pro-rector for Research at the University of Padua.
With this Lecture, the Dutch scholar proposes a “confrontation Infinity”, also in dialogue with Gianguido Dall’Agata, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Moderator: Telmo Pievani (University of Padua).
In theories of physics, it occasionally happens that attempts to calculate some effects that have been observed, yield “infinity” as an answer. To come with meaningful predictions for the outcome of an experiment, which of course must be described in terms of finite numbers, careful reinterpretations are asked for. This is what happened when the interactions among elementary particles were studied. Mass corrections for instance, seemed to become infinite. The question was how to handle these strange infinities. The problem was resolved by studying the system in different numbers of dimensions, an unexpected cure for a sick theory. Yet such answers are not good enough if one really wants to understand what is going on. Asking sharper questions brings us new surprises.
The conference is held in English.