Subscribe now

Instant Expert

Uncover everything we know about the nature of matter

New Scientist Default Image
Uncover everything we know about the nature of matter
13 April 2024
10:00am - 5:00pm
Conway Hall, London

Instant Expert: Particle physics: Revealing the mysteries of matter

Saturday 13 April, 10am - 5pm | Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL

The Large Hadron Collider began smashing atoms together in 2009 and continues to throw up surprising insights into the fundamental building blocks of the universe. It’s via evidence from particle accelerators such at the LHC and its predecessors that we derived our best understanding of the nature of matter: the Standard Model of particle physics.

But what is the Standard Model and is it complete? Is it the final answer to the question of what atoms are made of? The Standard Model implies four forces of nature, could there be a fifth?

Particle accelerators have also given us evidence to answer other questions, such as what gives objects mass. They’ve also allowed us to explore mysterious particles like quarks and neutrinos. Join six leading experts to find out everything we know about what stuff is made of.


We are always seeking ways to make our events more inclusive and to find new ways to deliver value to you. For 2024 we have reduced the ticket prices and introduced a new ticket option “super early bird” for our Instant Expert events. All our Instant Expert events will be held at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London. An Instant Expert ticket will no longer included refreshments or lunch, but the agenda includes a lunch break and there are many great eateries close to Conway Hall to choose from. But what doesn’t change is that each event will continue to feature six expert speakers sharing their knowledge and latest research on the event topic. We hope you like the changes we have made to the event format for 2024, and as always we welcome your feedback.

At this Instant Expert, you’ll:

  • Learn about the standard model of particle physics, and why it’s only the beginning.
  • Explore the incredible results from particle colliders such as the LHC at CERN.
  • Discover neutrinos, the strangest particles in the universe.
  • Find out why matter has mass.
  • Uncover why there’s more matter than antimatter in the universe.

Talks and speakers:

The standard model - the theory of (almost) everything

Harry Cliff, Particle Physicist, University of Cambridge

The standard model of particle physics is the closest we’ve come to a theory of everything, describing the the basic ingredients of matter and the forces that hold them together with dazzling, sometimes maddening accuracy. In this talk, Dr Harry Cliff will describe how the standard model was assembled over more than a century, beginning with the discovery of the electron in a pokey Cambridge lab in 1897 and culminating with the observation of a Higgs boson using the largest scientific instrument ever built, the Large Hadron Collider, in 2012. Along the way we’ll discover the beautiful mathematical principles that underly this magnificent theory and the questions that it leaves unanswered.


Melissa Uchida, Lecturer in High Energy Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge

Neutrinos are the second lightest particles in the Universe and the second most abundant.  They are all around us but yet pass completely unnoticed through matter; in fact around 500 billion just passed through your thumbnail as you read this.  But this tiny particle has challenged our understanding of particle physics and its behaviour can have cosmological implications. Here we will look at the nature of neutrinos, at some of the experiments working to understand them and think about some of the big questions. Are neutrinos partly responsible for the creation of our Universe?


Gavin Hesketh, Professor of Physics, University College London

Gavin will present the latest results from the Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab, USA. These measurements hit international headlines in 2021 and again in 2023, as they show a clear disagreement with the Standard Model - our current understanding of the universe on the smallest scales. This disagreement could be what particle physics has sought for decades: the first sign of a major discovery and breakthrough in our understanding of the universe. Or it could be a problem with the theory calculation. Will the Standard Model be proved right again? Gavin will explain how the experiment works, and what the results mean.

The Applications of Particle Accelerators

Rob Edgecock, Professor of Accelerator Applications, University of Huddersfield

Probably the best known particle accelerator in the world is the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. However, this gives completely the wrong impression of what an accelerator is! There are now more than 40000 accelerators in daily use around the world, all of which are very much smaller, less complex and, indeed, very much cheaper than the LHC. In this talk, I will explain how these machines work and describe some of the main applications in health and industry and some new applications under development for the environment. I will show how important they already are to everyday life and how they could be even more important in the future.

LHCb and antimatter

Chris Parkes, Leader Large Hadron Collider Beauty experiment, CERN

The Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiment specializes in investigating the slight differences between matter and antimatter by studying a type of particle called the "beauty quark", or "b quark". Join Chris Parkes, former head of the LHCb experiment, to gain insights into how these experiments contribute to our understanding of the asymmetry between matter and antimatter, a puzzle that has intrigued physicists for decades.

The Higgs Boson at the energy frontier: What next and what else?

Sinead Farrington, Professor of Experimental Particle Physics, University of Edinburgh

It is almost twelve years since the discovery of the last particle in the Standard Model.  We will look at what have we learnt since about the properties of this unique particle and what we might learn next at the High Luminosity LHC.  We’ll talk both about the Higgs boson itself, and its ability to self-interact, and about other possibilities that go Beyond the Standard Model.  The High Luminosity LHC is a precise picoscope for how fundamental objects interact and we will look at the capabilities it can provide to understand the landscape of the subatomic world.

Who should attend?

Anyone interested in particle physics, whatever your age or background. Whether you're a scientist, a student or simply a fascinated human being, Instant Expert: Particle physics - Revealing the mysteries of matter offers the chance to learn directly from the experts at our one-day masterclass.

Benefits of attending:

  • Become an expert in one day
  • Informal set-up, meet like minded people
  • Open your mind, be inspired
  • Unique chance to ask your burning questions to our experts

What's included in your ticket:

  • In-depth and engaging talks from six leading scientists
  • Ask-an-expert Question Time session
  • Your chance to meet our six speakers and New Scientist host
  • Exclusive on-the-day New Scientist subscription deal, book and merchandise offers

Booking information:

The event will be held at the Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Doors will open at 9:15am, with talks commencing at 10am sharp. The event will finish at 5pm.

We require the name of each person attending - please ensure this is provided at the time of booking. If you need to change the name of an attendee, please notify us as soon as possible:

Eventbrite will email you your ticket(s) immediately after purchase. Please remember to bring your ticket(s) with you as you'll need it to gain entry. We can scan tickets from a print out, or off the screen of a phone / tablet / smartwatch.

The schedule / exact running order for the day will be confirmed closer to the event, and will be emailed to all ticket holders.

Lunch will NOT be provided at this event. Visitors are welcome to bring their own food, or purchase lunch at one of the many establishments around Red Lion Square and the surrounding area.

Should you require details about disabled access, please contact us at:

Tickets are non-transferable to any other New Scientist event.

All tickets are non-refundable.

New Scientist reserves the right to alter the event and its line-up, or cancel the event. In the unlikely event of cancellation, all tickets will be fully refunded. New Scientist Ltd will not be liable for any additional expenses incurred by ticket holders in relation to the event.

Tickets are subject to availability and are only available in advance through Eventbrite.

Uncover everything we know about the nature of matter
13 April 2024
10:00am - 5:00pm
Conway Hall, London