SEMINAR - HYBRID EVENT: New Tools for New Science: Observing Transformations of Matter

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: SCAS SCAS, Linnéanum, Thunbergssalen, Thunbergsvägen 2 Uppsala
  • Lecturer: Adam Kirrander, Natural Sciences Fellow, SCAS. Senior Lecturer in Chemical Physics, University of Edinburgh. Visiting Scientist, Brown University
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Klas Holm
  • Seminarium

Adam Kirrander, SCAS and University of Edinburgh, gives a seminar on "New Tools for New Science: Observing Transformations of Matter". The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.


Almost all matter around us consists of atoms. Understanding how atoms link to each other to form intricate structures, from rock salt to DNA, belongs to one of the great achievements of modern science and has been awarded many Nobel prizes. New facilities known as X-ray Free-Electron Lasers (XFELs) exploit relativistic electrons to create ultrashort pulses of x-rays, sufficiently intense to record the motions of atoms and electrons. This opens the door for a more sophisticated understanding based on dynamic rather than static properties. In this talk, I will survey the historical developments that have taken us to this point, taking the view that it is often new instruments that drive scientific progress. The journey involves detours via frogs (sic) and the Cold War Star Wars program, before arriving at state-of-the-art experiments that measure the atomic motions during chemical reactions and the flow of energy through photoexcited molecules. Finally, I will examine the prospects for new experiments at XFELs that may have profound impact on research across chemistry, physics, biology, and materials science, including an opportunity to measure electron correlation, which is one of the most fundamental proper-ties of matter.

For more information and the webinar link, please see