Department Colloquia

TBD

Speaker: 
Corinne Manogue (Oregon)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-10-04 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Polarization of the Cosmic Gravitational Wave Background

Speaker: 
Robert Caldwell (Dartmouth)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-09-20 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The Cosmic Gravitational Wave Background (CGB) is a hypothesized relic radiation field that, if detected, would give us clues to the earliest moments of the history of the Universe. In this talk, accessible to students and non-experts, I will describe the physical processes that can give rise to a CGB, novel features including a net polarization of the gravitational waves (as distinct from the polarization of cosmic microwave background photons), and methods of detection.

Our Amazing Universe

Speaker: 
Pisin Chen (Nat. Taiwan Univ.)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-09-06 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Bill Unruh
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

In spite of the remarkable physics revolutions made in the 20th century, it is surprising to realize that only 5% of the substance in the Universe can be explained by the established knowledge of physics. The remaining 95% are believed to be contributed by dark matter and dark energy. What are they made of? In addition to the question about its composition, the understanding of how the Universe began remains incomplete, despite the remarkable success of the notion of cosmic inflation. What was before the Big Bang?

Short-Baseline Neutrino Anomalies and the Evidence for Sterile Neutrinos

Speaker: 
Bill Louis (LANL)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-10-11 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Doug Bryman
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The LSND and MiniBooNE short-baseline neutrino experiments have provided evidence for neutrino oscillations at a mass scale of approximately 1 eV. When combined with oscillation measurements at the solar and atmospheric mass scales, these experiments imply the existence of more than three neutrino mass states and, therefore, one or more "sterile" neutrinos. Such sterile neutrinos, if proven to exist, would have a big impact on particle physics, nuclear physics, and astrophysics, and would contribute to the dark matter of the Universe.

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.

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