Our students, Ayşe Duru Yapar from 6D and Ceren Çına from 6F interviewed Kazem Azizi.
(1) Ö: Can you share with us your story of how you became a physicist?
K: Yes, as I mentioned before even at the age of 3,4 and 5 when I looked at the events, I wanted to know their reasons. For example, when I was a kid, I used to look at the moon and wondered why the moon did not fall on Earth. To find out the answer to such questions the only way was to be a physicist, so I chose physics. I found the answers to most of my questions so, I’m happy.
Ö: What makes you want to study high energy and particle physics?
K: After becoming a physicist, I thought of developing more technologically. So, I started with lasers. I made a laser for my master thesis. It was a very useful device and although it has been used a lot in medicine and technology, it didn’t really help me find answers to my philosophical questions: How did the universe begin? How was it formed? Where will we go? I tried hard to find answers to these questions. So, I disconnected myself from experiments and devices and I headed towards theoretical physics that allowed me to think freely. Later, I realized that I had to understand specific events in order to understand general events and if I wanted to understand them, I had to research more about the high energies. You can only detect small particles with high energies. So, the name of this field is High Energy and Particle Physics. I could only find the answers to my questions in this field.
(2) Ö: What are the effects of physics laws on other fields of science?
K: Physics is nature - this is the actual definition. To be precise, the language of physics is mathematics too. In atomic physics, for example, if you study the movement of electrons, some of the physics is transformed into chemistry. Chemistry is an important science, but the infrastructure is physics. If we look at cells, biology or living systems, we see physics. To understand the cell, we need to understand the structure of the cell. In order to understand the structure of that cell, we also have to look at molecules, atoms and particles. In human sciences, human behaviour depends on the behaviour of particles. Therefore, one's attitude does not change at once because it is a basic thing. Therefore, the main subject, including humanities, is nature and its foundation is physics. It was known that it used to be mathematics, but I believe that physics is the actual science right now. Mathematics is also extremely important because it is the language of nature and physics.
(3) Ö: What is “The Theory of Everything” that scientists are after?
K: According to its name, the Theory of Everything is also known as a theory that can explain everything. There are four basic interactions in nature. In the universe you can express all kinds of events between living and inanimate beings according to their genus, but physicists don't settle for it. They say that they want to get one formula and it should explain everything. It should be the theory of nature and the theory of everything. Einstein was interested in this theory and kept working on it for his last 30 years. Later, other physicists also worked on it like Stephen Hawking, but they did not succeed. Now they continue. Two of the four interactions have been combined. Nobel Prize has been received, and in this team there was a Pakistani scientist from Muslim countries. The scientists combined the electromagnetic interaction with the weak core effect. The strong core force, on which I am working now, may get close to it, but the gravitational force is still far away. In order to explain this question we need to know some concepts. For example, there is a kind of science called “Quantum Gravity”. It needs a lot of improvement. If we can define gravitation at the quantum level, we will have a better understanding of this theory, and we will be able to take important steps on that path.
(4) If every theory can be written, would it make a difference in human life?
K: Our universe is made up of 25% substance, and the other 96% is made up of dark substance and dark energy. With the help of theories and in terms of physical science we would come to the end by discovering the meaning of the universe. We will develop our technology more later on. A theory of everything, in that sense, will bring us a to good point. Unfortunately we are far from that place. Why? We are having problems because we can’t express the gravity at the quantum level.
Ö: Who are the physicists who inspire you the most?
K: The most inspiring one is Maxwell. The second is Einstein.Then comes Hawking. Hawking is a very important inspiration. I have taught myself after researching Hawking's whole life and work. He has been successful in unimaginable things and showed us what man can accomplish despite being in a chair and in prison. I have a lifelong respect for him. I also respect his wife very much. Why? Because his wife is a teacher of English language and literature. Hawking had no health problems when they met and married at age 21. But after a few months, this problem slowly began to manifest itself and he became unable to use his entire body. His wife has always been there for him. A significant part of his success is actually his wife's work. If I have to add another, of course, there is Newton. These four people are very important for me and in the field of physics.
(5) What could be done for the development of physical science in Turkey?
In Turkey it should start from parents. The parents should encourage their children to think and inquire at the age of 3-4. They should help children learn about different things and their reasons, draw their attention by pointing to visual examples everywhere. For example, when the child sees a bird or a plane flying he can ask “How does it fly? How does it happen?”. Or when he sees some water he can ask “Why is water moving from top to bottom?”. The parents should talk about such things and encourage children to ask more questions. We need to raise inquisitive students and pay attention to their questions. We need to draw their attention to nature and its organisation, to explain the importance of mathematics. We shouldn’t forget that physics is on the main components of technology. Physics being the basic unit of a country determines echnology development, production increase, gives space for great ideas to develop and leads to the economic increase. If Turkey wants to be among the top ten economies, our first basic science should go first. Unfortunately today physics and mathematics are undersestimated and this situation affects the economy badly. That is why our country should value the fundamental science, emphasise and support it to achieve the great results.
(6) Ö:What is the importance of experiments at CERN?
K: The most important aspect of the experiments at CERN is that it answers our philosophical quesitons. It also answers questions such as Who are we, Where did we come from, Where will we go, What made up our universe as a structure?
In this structure, what are the particles, Is there a basic particle? What are the smallest ones? How matter was formed, How our universe was formed, and How did it continue up to here?
It will also answer questions such as; dark matter, dark energy and visible matter and understanding the structure of these black holes. It also help to advance our technology.
For example, Where do you think ‘’www.internet’’ was discovered? At CERN. At first they connected the computers of two physicists at CERN and the data was transferred into each other At the time, it turned out to be Internet. There was a room when I went to CERN; it was written ‘’the room where www was discovered’’. The first basic idea was discovered at CERN. CERN develops many of our technologies including the internet. CERN is an engineering marvel and it is one of most important experiments that humans have achieved. Thus, it is very important asCERN is seeking the answers to Our philosophical questions about our universe and our future such as; how is matter formed, where does the mass of matter come from and what is real? It also continues to improve technology.
(7) Ö: Were there any unanswered questions in CERN?
K: Of course so many… Our knowledge is not enough! Even though we have progressed a lot, we are still lacking information about the universe. Therefore, we need to research more! Let me give you an example. In 2012, we found a Higgs particle that would give mass to other particles. But it will take 20 more years to confirm that theory. Is that really Higgs particle that we are looking at? We still haven’t answered many questions. Are there extra dimensions or not? There is something called supersymmetry. It explains how the tiniest part of the cosmos works. Supersymmetry is an important paradigm in nature. Supersymmetry and extra dimensions- super dimensions investigate the structure of string theory. We are trying to give meaning to all the aspects researched in this field. We have analysed and understood the structure of black holes. The most important thing is that we still haven’t found the answers to the questions such as ‘’What is dark matter? What is dark energy?” Too many questions to be answered… In future, there will be bigger hadron colliders than CERN. Theoretical scientists, theoretical physicists are continuing to research. Our knowledge is growing day by day, and there are lots of things to discover and learn!
(8) S: What are the expectations about the PANDA experiment?
K: Recently, particles have been proposed other than the usual conventional particles that I have been working on. In 2003, one of them was a tetraquark called X 3872. Tetraquark is an object consisting of four quarks. The normal universe, for example, has three quarks in the proton, or a category we call mesons, where there are two quarks.
There's a quark and an antiquark. But these four different systems were first found by the “Bell Experiment” in 2003. Bell is an experiment in Japan. Then CERN researched a lot, Fermilab was researched a lot in America. They obtained certain information - 5 quark systems. What is their exact structure? It could not be determined. PANDA aims to determine them 100 percent. At the same time, the proton is the most stable particle that makes up matter. PANDA will obtain more information about the electromagnetic property of the proton, such as its internal structure. Other laboratories cannot answer these questions. We have many questions. Especially in Hadron physics, we call hadron objects that are made up of quarks that we call hadron. In order to answer this physics, PANDA experiment is well-designed, and it will answer many questions.
In the big space, which I also work on, there is a star called neutron stars. These are tiny and dense. If you ever take a spoon of those neutron stars, the spoon will weigh thousands of tons.
We need to understand the infrastructure and the behaviour of the nucleus in that dense medium. For example, the mass of the neutron in our body is 939 megaelectronvolts. Megaelectronvolt is a unit of mass. But in a dense environment, let's say I'm single, when I'm a single neutron, that's the mass of me. As for the second and third neutron, my behaviour begins to change. When we reach a certain critical density, there are complete shifts in my parameters. For example, my mass falls from 938 megaelectronvolts to 600 megaelectronvolts. So theoretically, research continues to help us understand the behaviour of neutrons in that star. The aim of PANDA is to perform these experiments. When they are researched, we will have a much better understanding of neutron stars.