Colloquium: Prof. Charles Rhodes
Title: "History of the 50 Year Ascent (1960 - 2010): Nonlinear Path To High-Intensity Interactions"
Abstract : The history of nonlinear high-intensity interactions, that commenced in 1961 with the observation of second harmonic radiation  at 347.2 nm in crystalline quartz, spans a range of ~1018 in experimental intensity and the area of study remains a stable, robust province of fundamental laser-based research after a half century. As an example of this effort, over a period of ~25 years, a path of research was cut through this field of nonlinear phenomena that led to the development of a multikilovolt (~4.5 keV) x-ray amplifier of exceptional peak brightness [2-5] whose experimentally based power- scaling limit for a compact laboratory instrument falls in the multi-petawatt realm . This presentation highlights the history of these nonlinear interactions and projects the trajectory of future discoveries. Specifically, it is shown that the experimental data obtained over the past 50 years establishes a universal scaling curve that culminates in the prediction that the Schwinger Limit , the intensity ( ) corresponding to the catastrophic breakdown of the vacuum state, can be physically attained in a laboratory of the genre scheduled for construction in Szeged. Moreover, since the cosmological constant representing the “dark energy” is now experimentally established  to be ΩΛ 0.73, and has surprisingly been quantitatively identified as a manifestation of the elusive Higgs boson [9, 10], the ability to probe directly the nature of the complex entity that we traditionally consider as the “vacuum” can only be expected to yield profound insights into both the basic concept of space and the organizing principle of the universe.
Refreshments will be served at 2:30pm in 2214 SES