Fundamental Physics Investigator Addresses Conferences

Ho Jung Paik of the University of Maryland was busy in October attending two major conferences where he presented talks. On October 15 at the 2002 Space Congress held in Houston, he discussed the design and potential scientific benefits of the two experiments that he, with Vol Moody and Don Strayer, has proposed to NASA for performance on the ISS: ISLES (Inverse Square Law Experiment in Space) and SMILE (Spin-Mass Interaction Low-temperature Experiment). These experiments utilize the extremely high vibration rejection capability of superconducting differential accelerometers to convert the noisy ISS into an excellent platform for precision gravity experiments. The microgravity environment of the ISS permits very soft suspension of the test masses, which drastically improves the intrinsic sensitivity of gravity sensors. At the meeting, Paik was elected to be an organizer of the Fundamental Physics session for the next Space Congress.

On October 24-26, Paik talked about his experiments at the Jubilee Symposium of the Korean Physical Society held in Seoul, Korea. His invited talk was titled "Precision gravity experiments to test predictions beyond General Relativity and the Standard Model of particle physics." He showed how superconducting accelerometer technology can be combined with the space environment to test recent predictions of string theories that Newton's law may be violated at submillimeter ranges. He also explained how a different application of the same technology can be used to search for a proposed spin-mass interaction, which would be mediated by the hypothetical particle called the "axion."