Department Colloquia

A Capella Science: This is not a lecture!

Speaker: 
Tim Blais
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-04-06 19:00 - 20:30
Location: 
Woodward IRC 2
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Public

This isn't really part of the normal colloquium series, but a special end of term event in the evening of the last day of classes!  Tim Blais is an ex-graduate student in theoretical physics who has become a populariser of science.  His first "A Capella Science" video, "Rolling in the Higgs" has 800,000 Youtube hits and his most popular, "Bohemian Gravity", has about 3 million.  You can find 20 or so other videos by him on the A Capella Science Youtube Channel.  Bring family and friends to what will be a combination of science and entertainment!

Twisted: New Photonic Materials Inspired by Nature

Speaker: 
Mark MacLachlan (UBC Chemistry)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-03-09 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott

3-minute thesis talks

Speaker: 
Graduate students
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-03-02 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Janis McKenna

This will be our Department's round of the annual "3MT" competition.  Several of our graduate students will try to motivate and summarise their research projects within the constraints of a 3-minute-long presentation using a single slide.  Come and support them!

What do we know about the whole Universe?

Speaker: 
Douglas Scott (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-02-09 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

All empirical data relating to our Universe are currently well fit by a basic model that contains only a few key ingredients: the background is described by homogeneous and isotropic solutions within General Relativity, in which there is domination by vacuum energy and cold dark matter in a roughly flat expanding geometry; the density fluctuations appear to be nearly scale-invariant, adiabatic and Gaussian (close to the simplest thing we could imagine); and all of today’s structure grew through gravitational instability.

Tensor networks: from quantum matter to quantum gravity

Speaker: 
Brian Swingle (Univ. Maryland)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-03-16 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Recent rapid progress in many-particle quantum physics has been driven by a wide variety of new experiments, by theoretical insights into gravity and field theory (like the AdS/CFT duality), and by the prospect of constructing a universal quantum computer. In the midst of this boom, we are also looking at old problems in new ways, using concepts from quantum information. However, a general framework is still lacking.

Novel nano-structured materials and opto-electronic devices for classical and quantum optical applications

Speaker: 
Johann Peter Reithmaier (Uni. Kassel)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-02-02 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Jeff Young
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

With the improved control of nano-scale dimensions, material and device properties can be optimized towards their quantum mechanical limits. For example, atom-like features, such as discrete energy levels, may allow the optimum carrier distribution for stimulated emission in lasers, resulting in improved device performance in comparison to conventional quantum well technology. However, if one wants to utilize the quantum nature of single nano objects (e.g., for single photon emission), then the control of the environment and of the individual object geometry is also important.   

The chiral anomaly in Dirac-Weyl semimetals.*

Speaker: 
Nai Phuan Ong (Princeton University)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-03-23 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Fei Zhou
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

To date, the anomaly has been observed most clearly in the two semimetals Na_3Bi and GdPtBi. I will discuss what Weyl Fermions are, and how they may be realized in real materials. The realization allows the chiral anomaly to be observed in a crystal. I will explain what the chiral anomaly is and remark on its historical context, starting with pion decay. Finally I will discuss several tests that buttress the conclusion.

*Supported by the Moore Foundation, ARO and NSF.

 

 

 

 

 

Iron Pnictides: A New Piece in the High Tc Superconductivity Puzzle.

Speaker: 
Adriana Moreo (ORNL/Univ. Tennessee)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-01-19 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Mona Berciu
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

During most of the last century superconductivity was observed in some metals at the very low temperatures achieved with liquid Helium. Below a critical temperature Tc electrons overcome their Coulomb repulsion thanks to an attraction created by the distortions of the ionic lattice and form Cooper pairs that can move without resistance. The efforts to raise Tc were unsuccessful until the discovery of the high Tc superconducting cuprates in 1986.

Iron pnictides: unconventional s-wave superconductors

Speaker: 
OsKar Vafek (NHMFLab/FSU, Tallahassee)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-01-12 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Marcel Franz
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

Superconductivity results from condensation of bound electron pairs, the so-called Cooper pairs. In the conventional Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer theory, the attraction between electrons originates from their interaction with the ionic lattice and the exchange of quanta of the lattice vibrations, phonons. The resulting wavefunction for the Cooper pairs carries zero angular momentum, leading to s-wave superconductivity.

Hearing the Stars: New Insights into Stellar Interiors from Asteroseismology

Speaker: 
Lars Bildsten (KITP, UCSB)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-03-30 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Long-term and sensitive space-based photometry from the Kepler and CoRoT satellites (as well as MOST) has allowed us to finally "hear" the stars. These remarkable data have yielded accurate measurements of masses, radii and distances for more than 30,000 stars across the Milky Way.  More profoundly, these observations are revealing the interior conditions of the star, clearly differentiating those that are undergoing helium burning in their cores to those that are only burning hydrogen in a shell.

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