Department Colloquia

FINDING THE HIGGS BOSON: A TRIUMPH OF HUMAN CURIOSITY

Speaker: 
Kyle Cranmer, New York University
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-09-20 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Colin Gay, Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
One of the great intellectual achievements of human kind is the standard model of particle physics. This theory describes how fundamental particles like electrons and quarks interact and gives us the building blocks for understanding the universe we see around us today. A key part of this theory is the Higgs field, which permeates space and time. Finding the Higgs boson - the experimental manifestation of this field - and measuring its properties has become one of the most fundamental scientific endeavors in history.

From Nuclear Forces to Nuclei

Speaker: 
Sonia Bacca, TRIUMF
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-09-27 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Ab-initio nuclear theory aims at understanding nuclei starting from strongly interacting protons and neutrons. Forces among nucleons can be linked to fundamental quantum-chromodynamics through an effective field theory. Describing the complex nature of nuclei arising from such forces poses both conceptual and computational challenges. I will describe how we try to solve some of them. Then I will connect theoretical predictions of bound and break up observables for both stable isotopes and halo nuclei to experimental results from the major nuclear physics facilities, including TRIUMF.

Matter-wave clocks

Speaker: 
Holgar Müller, Berkeley
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-10-11 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
De Broglie's matter wave hypothesis describes particles as oscillators at the Compton frequency mc^2/h, where m is the particle's mass, c the speed of light, and h the Planck constant [1].

COLLOQUIUM CANCELLED!

Speaker: 
Paul Steinhardt, Princeton
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-01-24 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Moshe Rozali
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Exploring planets far, far away... without hyperdrive: The latest results of the Kepler exoplanet census

Speaker: 
Jaymie Matthews
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-02-14 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Ingrid Stairs, Robert Raussendorf
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
What are the structures and atmospheric compositions of exoplanets (planets beyond the Solar System)? Do they have strong magnetic fields and if so, how do those fields interact with their parent stars? What are the properties of those stars and their flare and spot activities?

Deconstructing the electron: Quantum physics in one dimension

Speaker: 
Thierry Giamarchi, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2013-01-10 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Marcel Franz, Ian Affleck
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
The effect of interactions on quantum particles is a long standing question, with important consequences for most realistic systems. In one dimension interactions lead to a radically new type of physics, very different from the one we know for higher dimensional systems.

Protein folding, misfolding, and aggregation observed directly using single-molecule force spectroscopy

Speaker: 
Michael Woodside, National Institute for Nanotechnology, NRC, Edmonton
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2012-11-15 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Steve Plotkin
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate
Most proteins reliably fold into specific "native" three-dimensional structures which are required to perform their function properly. When the folding process goes awry, however, non-native structures can result that lead to disease, with examples ranging from Alzheimer's to scurvy. My lab is studying the mechanisms driving such misfolding in two disease-related proteins, PrP (prion disease) and alpha-synuclein (Parkinson's).

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.
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