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Physics Program and Mathematics Program present

On Square-Roots of Nothing, Supersymmetry and Error-Correcting Encryption

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A lecture by
Tristan Hübsch
Professor of Physics, Howard University

Symmetry is recognized throughout nature and our descriptions of it. Mathematically, it requires that varying some quantity results in no observable change: rotate a well-formed clover leaf by 120 degrees, and it looks the same. Supersymmetry is such a transformation, the only one known to guarantee our Universe from decaying into another, and then another, and again, and again. Yet, this transformation maps physical quantities measured in terms of ordinary numbers into quantities measured in numbers that square to zero. The study of this supersymmetry being underway for about half a century, it is surprising that a complete (so-called off-shell) representation theory is only now emerging---and it includes certain binary encryption codes, of the kind used by your browser to insure that the downloaded page is a faithful copy of the original on a web-site! This fascinating syzygy of diverse ideas opens doors to new discoveries in physics, mathematics and encryption alike.

This talk does not assume any advanced background in mathematics or physics.
Refreshments will be served afterwards in the Albee Math Lounge.

Location: Hegeman 308