Department Colloquia

The Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS)

Speaker: 
Martin White, Berkeley
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-10-25 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Scott Oser
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The SDSS-III's Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) is a 6-year effort to map the spatial distribution of luminous galaxies and quasars and probe the inter-galactic medium. The goals of the survey are to constrain the characteristic scale imprinted by baryon acoustic oscillations in the early universe, the growth of structure through redshift space distortions, the matter power spectrum and the evolution of massive galaxies and quasars. I will give a brief update on the status of the survey and some of our early results.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the Earth's Magnetic Field

Speaker: 
Carl Michal, UBC
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-01-31 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a powerful clinical technique used extensively for medical diagnosis. It is also a flagship application of undergraduate physics. Magnetic resonance and imaging are standard experiments in upper level undergraduate physics labs, but are not generally used in introductory courses due to the cost and perceived complexity. Over the past couple of years, we have developed a low-cost instrument and series of lab activities aimed at first year university students who intend to pursue studies outside of physics.

The exotic life of Majorana states in quantum wires and beyond

Speaker: 
Gil Refael, Caltech
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-03-28 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Marcel Franz
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Majorana states have been tantalizing us for many years due to their mysterious and unusual properties. Originally, Etore Majorana proposed them as a particle that is its own anti-particle. More recently it was realized by Kitaev that due to their non-Abelian exchange statistics, they could form the foundation for topologically protected quantum computers. In my talk I will describe some of the unique properties of Majorana states, how to utilize them, and how to realize them in the most simple way.

Measuring accelerating expansion of the Universe with CHIME

Speaker: 
Mark Halpern
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-11-29 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Acoustic processes in the plasma which pervades the early Universe govern the shape of the anisotropy of the cosmic background which has been measured by WMAP and other probes. Once the Universe became transparent, these acoustic signals stopped propagating. The density variations associated with them have remained fixed in co-moving (expanding) coordinates.

Disappearance of Reactor Neutrinos: Daya Bay and Beyond

Speaker: 
Karsten Heeger (University of Wisconsin)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-11-08 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Scott Oser
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Experiments with reactor antineutrinos have played an important role throughout the history of neutrino physics. Recently the Daya Bay experiment observed the disappearance of electron antineutrinos over kilometer-scale baselines and measured the last unknown neutrino mixing angle theta13. Experiments with reactor neutrinos at short baselines enable precision studies of neutrino properties, probe non-standard physics, and offer opportunities for reactor monitoring. I will describe the recent results of the Daya Bay experiment and discuss prospects for future reactor experiments.

Superposition, entanglement, and raising Schrödinger’s cat

Speaker: 
Dave Wineland, NIST Boulder
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-11-22 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Louis Deslauriers, Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Already in 1935 Erwin Schrödinger knew that, when extended to the realm of our everyday experience, quantum theory permits rather bizarre situations. To illustrate his point, he introduced his well-known cat that can simultaneously be both dead and alive, a superposition of both possibilities. These days we can create situations that have the same attributes of this unfortunate cat, although so far only on the micro- and meso-scopic scale.

Towards a quantitative understanding of high-temperature superconductivity

Speaker: 
Bernhard Keimer (Max-Plank Institute, Stuttgart, Germany)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-03-29 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
George Sawatzky
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Starting from a tutorial introduction to conventional and unconventional superconductivity, this talk will provide an overview of current research efforts to understand the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity in copper oxide and iron pnictide compounds. Our group contributes to this effort by accurately mapping out spin fluctuation spectra in these materials through a combination of neutron, x-ray, and Raman scattering methods.

Fruit of the Vine, Two Buck Chuck, or Lighter Fluid: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in Wine and Homeland Security Problems

Speaker: 
Matthew Augustine (UC Davis)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-03-22 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Carl Michal
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
With the emergence of a new technique, wine collectors now have a promising procedure for quantifying the amount of spoilage in unopened bottles of fine and, often, expensive wine. Although originally developed to screen for the oxidative spoilage of fine wine, this full bottle nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) method has recently been extended to the detection of explosive liquid precursors in stream of commerce non-ferrous metal containers.

Light at the start of the tunnel: the Higgs coming into focus

Speaker: 
Robert McPherson (UVic, TRIUMF)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-03-15 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Tom Mattison
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
Almost 20 years after the start of construction, the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is begining to probe the physics it was designed for: electroweak symmetry breaking, whether via the Higgs mechanism or other processes. Even running at half design energy, the 2011 data set from the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC have narrowed-down the allowed range of the Standard Model Higgs mass to a very small window, and we may have glimpsed the first signs of the Higgs at a mass around 125 GeV. Beyond the simple Standard Model Higgs, we also look for signs of physics beyond the Standard Model.

The Quantum Way of Doing Computations

Speaker: 
Rainer Blatt (University of Innsbruck)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-03-08 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Since the mid nineties of the 20th century it became apparent that one of the centuries’ most important technological inventions, computers in general and many of their applications, could possibly be further enormously enhanced by using operations based on quantum.
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