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Shereen Sunday Interview: Dr Victoria Martin

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Shereen Nanjiani Shereen Nanjiani | 10:10 UK time, Monday, 20 June 2011

Dr Victoria Martin - Teaching

Dr Victoria Martin

I've always had a fear of interviewing scientists. Like my fear of numbers, I think it comes from being so rubbish at maths and science at school. I'm convinced my brain won't be able to compute the concepts they're trying to explain to me.

This week on the show I spoke to a particle physicist. And guess what? I think I understood! She's Dr Victoria Martin and she's one of a number of Edinburgh University scientists who're searching for the answers to the universe at CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider.

Victoria loves particles and is almost lyrical in describing the beauty she sees in them. Her goal in life is to find the Higgs Boson, the so-called God particle, though she told me it was actually originally called "the goddamned particle" because it's so elusive. Better listen to Victoria's own explanation about the theory. While I said I understood it, I could tie myself in knots trying to explain it myself!

The man who came up with the Higgs Boson was Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University and Victoria was one of his last students before he retired. In fact, Edinburgh Uni is still leading the way in this research with many of its scientists smashing atoms at CERN. Victoria told me she gets a real feeling of excitement every time the plane touches down at Geneva.

She says she doesn't want to die before finding the answer to the Universe. Didn't have the heart to tell her it's 42.


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