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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

Saturday Science Lecture on Compton Forever

Saturday, November 5, 2022 | 10:00 AM

Crow Hall, 201
Crow Hall, St. Louis, MO 63105

Arthur Compton’s 1922 scattering experiments conducted here at Washington University demonstrated the particle nature of light and paved the way for the development of quantum mechanics. In this talk, however, I will discuss how the “Compton Effect,” as it has become to be known, continues to play an important role in modern physics. “Compton scattering” of microwave photons from the Big Bang by the hot gas surrounding clusters of Galaxies (known as the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect) is an important probe in Cosmological studies. “Inverse Compton Scattering,” which leads to photon energies comparable to the rest mass energy of electrons, is believed to be a ubiquitous mechanism for producing much of the high energy radiation seen from powerful jets emanating from near the event horizons of black holes throughout the Universe. “Compton telescopes” have become important experimental tools to study such phenomena. I will highlilght the work utilizing the Compton effect that is being conducted here in the physics department at WashU, as well as at research institutions throughout the world (now and “forever”!).

This lecture is being presented as part of the Compton Centennial Celebration honoring 100 years since Arthur Holly Compton discovered the dual particle/wave nature of X-rays.

This lecture will be offered in person and on Zoom. The Zoom link will be sent via email to everyone on our email list before each lecture. Those wishing to join the email list should email a request to physics@wustl.edu.

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Arts & Sciences


Science & Technology



Event Contact


Speaker Information
Mike Nowak from the Department of Physics, Washington University in St. Louis, will be hosting this Saturday Science Lecture on Compton Forever"
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