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Upcoming Activities

Phi Beta Kappa Magee Address: David Latimer on Weak Harbingers of New Physics


Tuesday, October 9, 4 p.m.
Murray Board Room, University of Puget Sound
1500 N. Warner Street, Tacoma (map)

This annual address, given this year by David Latimer, assistant professor of physics, is free and open to the community. Professor Latimer writes:

When trying to discover a new law of nature, theoretical physicists often behave in a seemingly unscientific manner — they just (cleverly!) guess. In this talk, I’ll discuss two examples of physicists attempts to construct new paradigms in particle physics and cosmology.

The first example comes from the mid-twentieth century. En route to developing the framework that governs the fundamental building blocks of nature, a crisis arose in the study of certain nuclear decays: the experimental outcomes were completely at odds with theoretical predictions derived from sacred conservation laws. As a resolution, Wolfgang Pauli reluctantly invented a seemingly undetectable particle, which was later termed the neutrino. The new theory successfully explained the data (and more), and neutrinos, along with their weak interactions, became foundational pillars of the Standard Model of particle physics. Decades later (after their near full acceptance by the physics community), neutrinos were definitively detected.

The second example comes from a current anomaly in physics. From a host of astrophysical observations, it seems that of all the known matter in the universe only a mere fraction can be traced to Standard Model particles; the deficit is termed dark matter. This crisis might be resolved through particle physics. In hopes of emulating Pauli’s success, theorists are inventing weakly interacting particle species to account for the missing mass of the universe. I’ll discuss the theoretical and experimental efforts underway to assess the fruitfulness of this guess. Regardless of whether the dark matter problem has a particle solution, we are on the cusp of another paradigm shift in physics.


Guided Tour of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center


Wednesday, October 17, 10:30 a.m.
1100 Fairview Avenue N., Seattle (map); tour begins at the Thomas Building

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer.

An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first National Cancer Institute–funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

Jeanne Chowning, senior director of science education and training at Fred Hutch, will lead an approximately one-hour tour showcasing the various divisions within Fred Hutch, the organization’s history, and current scientific developments.

Participants can park in the visitor’s lot outside the Thomas Building for up to two hours. Public transportation is also available to the South Lake Union area.

You will need to sign in at the front desk of the Thomas Building. The tour will start out in Pelton Auditorium, which is down the hall past the café and to the right. (See a map of the Fred Hutch campus.

There is no charge to participate in this tour and guests are welcome.

If you have any questions, please contact Linda Willenberg at [email protected] or (425) 641-1606.


Dr. Emily Johnston: "Journey to the Top"


Tuesday, November 6, 11:45 a.m.
Seattle Yacht Club
1807 E. Hamlin Street, Seattle

Dr. Emily Johnston’s career has taken her to some of the world’s most remote spots to practice emergency medicine and engage in mountaineering, mountain guiding, whitewater river guiding, and more. She will share what motivated her to start medical school at age 39; how she can “choose to be enchanted by the environment rather than terrified” in the face of danger; and her harrowing experience when, guiding climbers on Mount Everest, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, and she had to help lead them to safety.

The luncheon starts at 11:45 a.m. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. The cost of the luncheon is $40 per person, and guests are welcome. Free parking is available in the adjacent parking lot.

For your luncheon entrée, you may select either roast turkey breast with mashed potatoes and vegetables, or vegetarian butternut squash ravioli. Please let us know of any special dietary requests.

RSVP by October 31, either by sending a check to PSA-PBK at P.O. Box 15258, Seattle, WA 98115, or online at psa-pbk.org

If you have any questions, please contact Linda Willenberg at [email protected] or (425) 641-1606.

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Happy Hour Social Event


Tuesday, November 7, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Save the Date

Please save the date for a no-host happy hour from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Location TBD in Seattle’s Sodo/Georgetown area. Stay tuned!


Docent tour of the Museum of Glass


Saturday, November 17, 10:45 a.m.
Museum of Glass
1801 Dock Street, Tacoma

Glass! Glass! Glass! A rare opportunity to see art made and in the making awaits at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass. Phi Betes and guests will enjoy a private tour of the exhibition Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight, and will watch Czech artist Martin Stefanek work magic in the hot shop.

The museum says “Raven and the Box of Daylight is the Tlingit story of Raven and his transformation of the world — bringing light to people via the stars, moon, and sun. Visitors will be immersed in Tlingit culture through a dynamic, multisensory environment. Art objects and exhibition text will be supported by audio and video elements. This will include recordings by storytellers, music, recordings of Pacific Northwest coastal sounds, and a backdrop of shadows and projected images. The exhibition is active, surprising, and dramatic, and engages the viewer through sight and sound.” For more information, visit www.museumofglass.org/raven-box-of-daylight.

We will meet at 10:45 a.m .on Saturday, November 17, at the lobby of the Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma (just off I-5 at exit 133). The cost is $12 per person; paid parking is available under the building. The museum’s other galleries are open to us. Guests are welcome.

After the tour, many of us will want to enjoy the museum’s café, Choripan by Asado. Just across the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, the Washington State History Museum has an exhibit called Glass, with over 300 glass objects, both artful and utilitarian (lunch and the history museum are not included in the tour’s price).

RSVP by November 14, either by sending a check to PSA-PBK at P.O. Box 15258, Seattle, WA 98115, or online at psa-pbk.org.

If you have any questions, please contact Linda Willenberg at [email protected]t.net or (425) 641-1606.

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