“Understanding Physics!” Lecture Series




Christopher Wiebusch



+49 241 80 27300



The Understanding Physics lecture series hosted by RWTHextern in collaboration with the RWTH Department of Physics seeks to bring the general public up to speed on some of the most fascinating physics research that is taking place right now.


At the kick-off lecture on November 13, 2021, Dr. Sebastian Staacks from the Institute of Physics II will offer an introduction to “The Sensors of our Smartphones”: the developer of the phyphox app will explain why our cell phones have so many sensors and how they work. Developed at RWTH, phyphox provides easy access to the sensors on our smartphones so we can use them for physics experiments. However, the sensors can also tell us a lot about our current environment.

Professor Robert Harlander from the Institute for Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology will talk about “The Unbearable Lightness of the Higgs, or: Is Nature Natural?” He will explore whether general ideas and concepts can be applied to the laws of nature. For example, according to our current understanding of what is “natural,” the Higgs boson, discovered in 2012, should be many billions of times heavier than it actually is. Until now, it was thought that the lightness of the particle was due to its theory being incomplete. But that would mean that more new particles should be discovered at the LHC. Since this has not happened so far, the question arises whether our concept of what is natural needs to be reconsidered.

Professor Dr. Dante Kennes, Institute for Theory of Statistical Physics, will give a talk on “New Kinds of Crystals.” Recently, the idea of twisting layers of two-dimensional crystals on top of each other has revolutionized solid-state research. A small twist leads to a geometric effect known as a moiré pattern, which can be used to control kinetic energy scales in solids. New experiments demonstrate that this trick can control superconductivity, quantum anomalous Hall phases, and topological phases of matter in an unprecedented way.

The lectures, which will be given in German, are scheduled to take place Saturdays from 11am to 12:30pm in the OTTO FUCHS lecture theater (H03) in the C.A.R.L. lecture hall center, Claßenstraße 11.

All lectures are open to the public, free of charge. Registration is not required. Please note that the current regulations of the Coronavirus Protection Ordinance apply. For further information, please visit the website of the Physics Department.