Inner Secrets of the Universe

St Peter's School

Inner Secrets of the Universe

Professor Fred Loebinger chats to pupils in St Peter's library, 2012


Above: Professor Loebinger (second from left) in discussion with St Peter’s pupils.

The York Festival of Ideas continued last night with an exploration of the secrets of the Universe.

The free lecture, hosted by St Peter’s School, was entitled “The Inner Secrets of the Universe: the Story of Elementary Particle Physics”, and was delivered by Professor FK Loebinger.

Scientists have long been attempting to find the basic building blocks which make up the Universe. This quest has prompted the development of large particle accelerators, such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, which have delved into the strange sub-nuclear world of quarks, gluons and leptons. This fascinating and free talk gave an insight into the development of the subject.

Professor Loebinger works at the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester. A member of the University’s Particle Physics Group, the Professor has been at the University for almost 50 years. He has carried out experiments at many different particle accelerators, notably at CERN in Geneva and DESY in Hamburg.

The York Festival of Ideas (14th to 30th June) celebrates the vibrancy of York’s scientific heritage. This year’s programme brings together a range of world-class speakers, exhibitions, performances and a host of stimulating and interactive experiences for people of all ages, including York residents and visitors to the city.

Professor Loebinger is the latest in a line of distinguished speakers giving free-to-attend lectures at St Peter’s School; last month Professor AC Grayling delivered a talk on philosophy and the questions of Aristotle.

Feedback from the event:

What did you most enjoy about the lecture?
"It was very informative and clearly put. Where can I start? He brought a difficult subject conceptually down to earth so that even a non-physics person could follow it and understand it. He did it with wit and humour and was thoroughly informative and entertaining."

"Informal style. Good jokes. Information was at appropriate level. Improving my “understanding” of particle physics in such an interesting and entertaining way."

"The jovial delivery and the content being so well explained."

"The lecture was easy to understand and I felt that I really learnt something."

"Ability to put subject across for lay audience with humour!"

"Clarification of particles – how it all fits together as one who is supposed to teach it and the bloke himself as advertisement for physics."

"Speaker and the content – absolutely superb! A thoroughly enjoyable lecture. As a non physicist I learnt a lot in a very enjoyable way. Thank you Fred."

"The whole event, from beginning to end. St. Peter’s School is a wonderfully civilised environment for a lecture and Fred Loebinger spoke with wonderfully infectious enthusiasm. It was a joy. Thanks so much."

"The speaker’s enthusiasm. Presentation was first rate. Brilliant!!!!!"

"Just the absolutely superb presentation, very clearly put."

"The clarity and enthusiasm of the speaker which made a complicated subject extremely interesting and makes me want to learn more."

"Hearing about the work of Fred and the advancements in particle physics."

"In every respect – content, clarity and presentation. Quite simply the best lecture I’ve heard and witnessed, the applause said it all."

"Brilliant to hear someone so enthusiastic about his subject. Whole room listening. Very complicated subject simplified and brought to life."

"Engaging speaker who made a complex subject both interesting and understandable. Good use of humour made “physicists seem human”."

"Completely engaging and informative. Bring him back!!!"

"Prof Loebinger was fantastic, the lecture was fun, interesting and easy to understand."

"What a great speaker on Monday!!!!  He was very well received – I could understand everything up to the questions/answers at the end!   Fascinating subject….he did a good job plugging Manchester! As always great organisation and a lovely buffet supper to finish the day…nice to see Mick!!!My guests thoroughly enjoyed the event and are always singing the praises of STP."

"What a brilliant lecture. It amazes me how speakers of his calibre are able to deliver such an enormous amount of information in a manner that engages those with prior knowledge as well as others to whom it is entirely new.
Thank you again for a wonderful evening and I am looking forward to the next occasion in November."

"Just a note to say thank you for what is probably the best lecture on physics aimed at the public I have ever attended. He was truly superb.  Whilst I am a physicist, used to be IOP’s Branch Hon Sec some years back, my wife is not - only has O level Physics, but she certainly understood a great deal from it, far more than from Prof Brian Cox I might add."

"Thank you for sending the tickets for the above.  I just wanted to give some feedback as I was unable to on the night as we made a speedy exit!  Thank you to the School for hosting the event, it was well organized and Prof Loebinger was excellent, he managed to hold the attention of the audience for a full hour with his mix of humour, intellect and enthusiasm – well done."

"I look forward to the next event, although the speaker has much to live up to!"

"I just wanted to thank you for such a great event. The talk was fascinating and one of the most understandable I have been to with my son.  For a complicated subject I felt Professor Loebinger explained the topic well and was a very entertaining speaker.
Many thanks"

"Fred captivated a diverse audience of approximately 300+ people, and apart from the laughter you could have heard a pin drop. He covered the entire history of particle physics in a manner which everyone could follow and whetted their appetite for further knowledge in this exciting area of physics. He was a superb ambassador for Manchester University Physics Department. Thank you so much."

"Very many thanks for Professor Fred Loebinger’ excellent lecture last night. It was a wonderful presentation, and I particularly admired the way in which he avoided a host of distractions in order to present the excitement and motivation of the quest which he (and Manchester!) have pursued for so long, while still dwelling on the significant details of some fairly exotic graphs to explain current knowledge in pursuit of the Higgs.  His vision and enthusiasm could only have encouraged many of the pupils in the audience to consider a career in such an exciting field. A wonderful choice for your lecture series!"