Studying the Building Blocks of Matter: Public Talk Planned for Oct. 7 at Jefferson Lab

CEBAF Race Track

This aerial photo shows the outline of the racetrack-shaped CEBAF accelerator at Jefferson Lab, located in Newport News, Va..

NEWPORT NEWS, VA. – In conjunction with Virginia Science Festival events around the Commonwealth, Jefferson Lab Staff Scientist Douglas Higinbotham will present “Studying the Building Blocks of Matter” on Oct. 7.
Since ancient times, humans have inquired about what makes up the world around them. In antiquity, the Greeks believed the world to be made up of earth, water, air, fire and the aether. Today, researchers at Jefferson Lab study quarks and gluons: what we now believe to be the fundamental building blocks of the atomic nucleus, according to Higinbotham. Jefferson Lab's research on the building blocks of matter will be presented along with a discussion about why you should care.

The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in Jefferson Lab’s CEBAF Center auditorium, located at 12,000 Jefferson Ave., Newport News. The program is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about science. The program will last about one hour and will include a question-and-answer period at the end.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Enter at Jefferson Lab’s main entrance (Lawrence Dr.). Everyone over 16 is asked to carry a photo ID. Security guards may perform ID, bookbag, purse and vehicle checks. For directions and information about other education and lecture programs, visit

Higinbotham graduated in 1992 from The College of William & Mary with a major in physics and a minor in mathematics. He attended graduate school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, graduating with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics in January 2000. He joined Jefferson Lab in 2001 as a staff scientist. He has more than 100 publications, and in the course of his work, he proposes ideas for new experiments, coordinates with collaborators from around the world, and helps carry out experiments conducted at Jefferson Lab. He mentors doctoral candidates, college students and area high school students and has twice been awarded the U.S. Department of Energy's Outstanding Mentor Award.


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. JSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. (SURA).

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit