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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2005 / 11 

College of Science lecture to explore how the sun shines

November 8, 2005

Humans have always wondered about how the sun shines, but it was only during the last 150 years or so that scientists were finally able to figure it out.

A breakthrough in this puzzle came with Einstein’s theory of the equivalence of mass and energy and the development of quantum mechanics in 1925. The answer came a decade later with the birth of nuclear physics. The adventure continues today with new questions such as: Why is there more matter in the universe than antimatter? And, did the sun always shine steadily, or did it vary in ancient times and cause vast changes in weather on the Earth a million years ago?

These are just a few of the intriguing questions that will be explored in a free public lecture sponsored by the Department of Physics in Virginia Tech’s College of Science. “How Does the Sun Shine?” will be held at Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in 1670 Litton-Reaves Hall on the Virginia Tech campus. Featured speaker will be Raju Raghavan, professor of physics and director of the Institute for Particle Physics and Astrophysics at Virginia Tech.

Raghavan has worked for many years in the field of astroparticle physics, developing experiments that impact elementary particle physics, nuclear physics, astrophysics and cosmology. He is involved in the BOREXINO solar neutrino experiment under construction in the Gran Sasso Underground Laboratory in Italy, and his group is developing the Low-Energy Neutrino Sensing (LENS) project that will be installed at the Kimballton Mine in Giles County.

Raghavan’s lecture concludes a year-long celebration on campus of the World Year of Physics.

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The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biology, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college is dedicated to fostering a research intensive environment and offers programs in nano-scale and biological sciences, information theory and science, and supports research centers—in areas such as biomedical and public health sciences, and critical technology and applied science—that encompass other colleges at the university. The College of Science also houses programs in pre-medicine and scientific law.