Department Colloquia

Novel macroscopic quantum states in dipolar gases

Speaker: 
Gora Shlyapnikov, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-05-30 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Kirk Madison
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
I will give a brief overview of recent studies of dipolar quantum gases - gases of atoms with a large magnetic moment or gases of polar molecules aligned by an applied electric field. In these gases particles interact with each other via long-range anisotropic dipolar forces which drastically change the nature of quantum degenerate regimes. I will demonstrate possibilities for obtaining a topological superfluid p+ip phase for fermionic polar molecules in 2 dimensions.

The Quest for the Higgs Boson

Speaker: 
Matt Strassler
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-04-18 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Moshe Rozali
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
The recent discovery at the Large Hadron Collider of a new particle, most likely a Higgs boson, marks a turning point in our investigation of elementary particles. I will give an overview of the discovery itself, and describe how, assuming it really is a Higgs boson, it impacts the deep questions that we face in trying to make sense of the confusing world that we inhabit. In particular, I will describe the next phase of the Large Hadron Collider program, and consider the long-term implications of what we might learn during that period.

Final Results from WMAP

Speaker: 
Gary Hinshaw
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-02-07 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
The cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation is the remnant heat left over from the Big Bang. This fossil relic provides us with a unique probe of conditions in the early universe, long before any discrete cosmic structure had formed. I will describe what we have learned from painstaking measurements of the CMB, focusing on the final results from NASA's WMAP mission, alone and in conjunction with complementary cosmological observations.

The Complexity, Simplicity, and Unity of Living Systems from Cells to Cities; A Physicist's Search for Unifying Theories of Biological and Social Structure and Dynamics

Speaker: 
Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-03-21 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Despite its extraordinary complexity and diversity, many of Life's most fundamental and complex phenomena, whether cells or cities, scale with size in a surprisingly simple and universal fashion. For example, metabolic rate scales approximately as the 3/4-power of mass over 27 orders of magnitude from complex molecules to multicellular organisms. Time-scales (such as lifespans and growth-rates) and sizes (such as genome lengths and RNA densities) scale with exponents which are typically simple multiples of 1/4.

A Framework for k-12 Science Education, its role in the US and its messages for a broader audience

Speaker: 
Helen Quinn, Stanford
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-03-14 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Jim Carolan
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Published in 2012 by the National Research Council, the Framework lays out a vision of what is important for all students to learn in school science. It builds on previous NRC work that attempts to bring research on learning into decisions on science teaching. It is the guiding document of an effort to develop a set of "Next Generation Science Standards" that are likely to be adopted by multiple states in the US.

Topological States in Graphene-Based Two-Dimensional Electron Systems

Speaker: 
Allan H. MacDonald, University of Texas
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-03-07 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Marcel Franz
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
The conduction and valence bands of bilayer graphene cross at the material’s honeycomb lattice Brillouin-zone corners. The band wavefunctions are conveniently described in a Bloch spin language in which the polar angle characterizes layer polarization and the azimuthal angle is equal to the momentum-dependent interlayer phase difference. The valence band pseudospin of bilayer graphene has a momentum space texture with vorticity equal to two.

Kepler: NASA's Exo-earth Census

Speaker: 
Natalie Batalha, San Jose State University
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-02-28 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Ingrid Stairs
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Twenty years ago, we knew of no planets orbiting other Sun-like stars, yet today, the roll call is nearly 1,000 strong. Statistical studies of exoplanet populations are possible, and words like "habitable zone" are heard around the dinner table. Theorists are scrambling to explain not only the observed physical characteristics but also the orbital and dynamical properties of planetary systems. The taxonomy is diverse but still reflects the observational biases that dominate the detection surveys. We've yet to find another planet that looks anything like home.

EXO and the quest for Majorana Neutrino Masses

Speaker: 
Giorgio Gratta, Stanford
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-01-17 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Tom Mattison
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
With the definitive evidence for neutrino oscillations collected in the last decade, we now believe that neutrino masses are non-zero. Oscillation measurements, however, only measure mass differences and give us little information about the absolute values of neutrino masses. The hypothetical phenomenon of neutrino-less double-beta decay can probe the neutrino mass scale with exquisite sensitivity.

Controlling the fluorescence emission from individual quantum dots

Speaker: 
Jordan Gerton, Utah (Experimental cond. matt and optics)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-11-01 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
HENN 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Colloidal quantum dots (QDs) are fluorescent nanometer-scale semiconductor crystals that have a number of interesting optical properties including large absorption cross-sections, spectral tunability, and high quantum efficiencies. Due to these properties, QDs have been employed in a wide variety of applications including next-generation solar cells, novel light sources, and as fluorescent labels in bioimaging. In many applications, it would be advantageous to control both the direction and intensity fluctuations of the emitted fluorescence.

Imaging Supermassive Black holes on Horizon Scales

Speaker: 
Avery Broderick
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-10-18 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Ingrid Stairs
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Supermassive black holes, the million to billion solar mass cousins of the more commonly described remnants of massive stars, are now believed to exist at the centers of nearly all galaxies, and power some of the most energetic phenomena in the universe, with cosmological implications. Nevertheless, due to their compact nature, it remains unclear how supermassive black holes grow, how they launch the ultra-relativistic outflows observed, if gravity in the vicinity of their horizons is well described by general relativity, and even if event horizons exist.
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