Department Colloquia

Physics learning and learning to be a physicist

Speaker: 
Eleanor Sayre (Kansas State)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-04-12 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Henning 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott/Warren Code
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Learning physics means learning lots of technical content, including mathematical tools, lab skills, and physics concepts.  It also requires learning cultural content, from expectations about how we structure equations to beliefs about the nature of research. Focusing on upper-division physics students, this talk integrates research across several projects to build a robust picture of what it means to become a physicist.

The most extreme star-forming galaxies in the Universe

Speaker: 
Caitlin Casey (U Texas)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-03-29 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Hunting Dark Matter with the Axion Dark Matter eXperiment (ADMX)

Speaker: 
Christian Boutan (PNNL)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-03-22 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The Axion is a well-motivated hypothetical elementary particle. Its existence is a consequence of a particularly elegant solution to the so-called "strong CP problem" of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). Not only would the discovery of the axion solve deep issues in QCD, an axion with a mass of μeV - meV could account for most or all of the missing mass in our galaxy and finally reveal the composition of dark matter.

Breakthroughs and Challenges in Observational Cosmology

Speaker: 
Mark Halpern and Gary Hinshaw (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-02-15 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Henning 201
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

The 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was awarded to the WMAP Science
Team for their observations of CMB anisotropy.  These data formed the basis for the
now-standard cosmological model of a flat universe dominated by dark matter and dark
energy which has been expanding for 13.8 billion years.  We will put these
observations in the context of pre- and post-WMAP observations and discuss the
challenges facing cosmology today.  The talk will conclude with remarks about the

What nuclear physicists can do in medicine

Speaker: 
Anna Celler (UBC & VGH)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-01-25 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Understanding the Remarkable Accuracy of Colour Perception

Speaker: 
Lorne Whitehead (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-01-04 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The Color Vision chapter in Feynman's Lectures on Physics nicely describes the well-established fact that colour vision arises from spectrally selective photo-transduction in retinal cells.  However, that picture offers little insight into the primary evolutionary driver for colour vision - the accurate perception of the colours of surfaces.

Black Holes, Holography, and Entanglement

Speaker: 
Veronika Hubeny (UC Davis)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-04-05 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Mark van Raamsdonk
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Black holes have been instrumental in paving the way toward a quantum theory of gravity.  Their elegant mathematical formulation has revealed that black holes behave as thermodynamic objects, which subsequently motivated the holographic principle.  Its concrete realization, the gauge/gravity duality, offers a framework for elucidating the fundamental nature of spacetime, once we understand the map between the two sides of the duality sufficiently well.  Research over the last decade has offered tantalizing hints that quantum entanglement plays a foundational rol

Fusion to ITER - a quest for a golden fleece?

Speaker: 
Jo Lister
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-03-01 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott/Alison Lister
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The physics of nuclear fusion as an energy source was laid down in the nuclear
binding energy formula and was demonstrated in the early 1950s with a test
explosion. Experiments were already underway in many countries in the 1940s to
produce "controlled" fusion in the laboratory. The Zeta experiment at the end of the
1950s drew a blank and interest in unlimited energy dissipated, although the
laboratory research continued. In the late 1960s, the Russians made a breakthrough

No Colloqium

Speaker: 
Reading break
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-02-22 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The Dynamical, Strong-Field Regime of General Relativity

Speaker: 
Frans Pretorius (Princeton)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-03-15 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

LIGO has ushered in the era of gravitational wave astronomy, having observed several signals consistent with binary black hole mergers, and one attributable to a binary neutron star collision. The latter event also produced significant electromagnetic radiation, and was observed across the spectrum by a host of telescopes and satellites. In this talk I will discuss what these events can teach us about the fundamental nature of dynamical, strong-field gravity.

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