60 second science: Quarks and gluons with Professor Graham Ross

One of the UK’s best kept physics secrets, Graham Ross laid out the pathway to the discovery of the gluon, the force carrier for the strong nuclear force binding quarks together.

Professor Graham Ross from the University of Oxford is the winner of the 2012 Dirac Medal awarded by the Institute of Physics.


I’ve worked for many years trying to connect physical theories to experimental observation. The most exciting time has been when the gluon was discovered at DESY.

What John Ellis and Mary K Gaillard and I did, was to realise that you could look for the gluon in an analogous way to the way quarks had been looked for. And, indeed, they found unambiguous evidence that there was a new particle beyond the quarks that had new properties of the gluon.

My work ultimately relates to the nature of reunification. One of the active areas that I’m involved in is trying to make predictions of the parameters of the Standard Model in the context of an underlying unifying string theory.

Why the mathematics that we have discovered should be relevant to the physical processes is surprising, I think, and something that may have a fundamental reason, but continually amazes me.

Professor Graham Ross, Wadham College Library, 2012

Professor Graham Ross, Wadham College Library, 2012

About the film

Filmed on location at:

  • Wadham College, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom. September 2012.

Director: Martyn Bull
Producer: Thomas Delfs
Camera: Mark Whatmore
Editors: Liam Angell, Mike Willbourne
Cast: Professor Graham Ross

Production company: insitu
Client: Institute of Physics

Camera: RED Epic, Canon 550D

DESY images: DESY Deutches Elektron-Synchrotron
Standard Model Image: The Globe of Science and Innovation, CERN
Archive video: Courtesy of CERN
TASSO logbook: Sau Lan Wu/Symmetry
Caltech from the air: Tobin Frick/tobo on Flickr

Further reading

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