Events at Physics
On November 8, 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Rӧntgen discovered a new invisible form of rays. He called them ‘X-Strahlen’ or X-rays. Since that day, X-rays have revolutionized medical imaging and science. Starting in the 1970s, powerful accelerator rings — the so-called synchrotrons — have dramatically advanced the scientific use of X-rays, by producing intense and highly-focused X-ray beams. Another quantum leap occurred in the late 2000s, when X-ray free-electron lasers came to light. These X-ray lasers produce ultra-short pulses with a brightness over one billion times larger than even the most powerful synchrotron sources. For the first time, scientists can study matter not just at the length scale of atoms and molecules, but also at the femtosecond (10-15 s) timescale of molecular motion. The dream of making molecular movies of a chemical reaction or a biological function in real time is becoming reality. We will describe these machines and present some of the most exciting examples of recent X-ray laser research.
The Discovery Building is at 330 N. Orchard St, Madison WI. Park for a small fee in Lot 20 at 1390 University Ave, Madison WI