Department Colloquia

2-dimensional phase separation in cell membranes: How yeast harness physics to organize proteins and lipids

Speaker: 
Sarah Keller (Univ. Washington)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-09-13 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
(No prior knowledge of biology is required for this talk!) For decades, scientists have argued about how living cell membranes acquire and maintain regions enriched in particular lipid and protein types. One of the more contentious theories has been that lipids and proteins spontaneously phase separate within the plane of the membrane to create liquid regions that differ in their composition. Physicists have long observed this type of demixing in simple artificial membranes. Clear identification of the same transition in a living biological system has heretofore been elusive.

How helices bend, curve and stretch: does physical intuition help us understand protein mechanics?

Speaker: 
Nancy Forde (SFU)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-09-27 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Our group is investigating the mechanics of a key structural protein, collagen, which is comprised of three chains that coil to make a triple helix. Collagen is the fundamental structural protein in vertebrates and is widely used as biomaterial, for example as a substrate for tissue engineering. In spite of its prevalence and mechanical importance in biology, the mechanics of collagen is surprisingly unresolved.

The human voice, the erhu and the violin

Speaker: 
Chris Waltham (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-12-06 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Biomechanics and neural control of maneuvering flight

Speaker: 
Doug Altshuler (UBC Zoology)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-11-22 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
My research program is motivated by fascination with bird flight. My laboratory group uses a multi- disciplinary approach that includes biomechanics, physiology, and neuroscience to examine flight ability. Our current research is organized around two topics: 1) how birds morph their wings and what benefits this provides; and 2) how optic flow signals are encoded in the avian brain and used to guide their flight. As we gain understanding of flight mechanisms, we further endeavor to apply comparative approaches that provide deeper insight into avian ecology and evolution.

The Future of Cancer Medicine: Personal or Industrial?

Speaker: 
David Jaffray (Toronto)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-11-29 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

TBD

Speaker: 
Ian Fisher (Stanford)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-11-15 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Soft Materials at surfaces and interfaces: Elastocapillarity

Speaker: 
Kari Dalnoki-Veress (McMaster)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-11-08 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The physics of soft materials is distinct from hard matter, as the weaker intermolecular bonds can result in a large response to external stresses. In recent years, there has been a significant interest in understanding the interaction between a liquid’s surface tension and a solid’s elasticity: elastocapillarity.

Atoms in Cavities

Speaker: 
Erich Mueller (Cornell)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-11-01 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Physicists have been exploring techniques for the controlled manipulation of large collections of quantum objects.  A valuable strategy has been placing collections of laser-cooled atoms in optical cavities.  I will review the state of the field, some of the underlying physics, and the outlook.

Excited-State Dynamics and Quantum Interactions from First Principles

Speaker: 
Prineha Narang (Harvard)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-10-25 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

In order to surpass conventional, bulk properties of materials, an accurate description of excited-state phenomena is essential. Light-matter interactions and electronic excited-state phenomena require high-level electronic structure methods beyond the all-pervasive density-functional theory. Simultaneously, the properties of interest are fundamentally non-equilibrium and require techniques that are reliable beyond small perturbations from equilibrium.

Occam's Razor and Climate Change: How to Explain Climate Change to Non-Scientists

Speaker: 
Andy Bunn (Western Washington University)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-10-18 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

For over a decade I have made a special effort to communicate climate science to groups that are often underserved by the scientific community. I have found that focusing on the history of science and making appeals to logic are very effective ways of engaging some audiences. In this talk, I will walk through this two-pronged approach by discussing how the work of pioneering 19th century physicists like Fourier, Tyndall, and Arrhenius informs much of modern climate science.

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