Department Colloquia

Weird Mysteries: Applying Science to the Paranormal

Speaker: 
Ben Radford (skeptic)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-10-05 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Many people believe things for which there is little evidence and no definitive proof, from astrology to psychics (and polls show that over half of the public believe in ghosts). Yet the issue is not one of belief but evidence: either ghosts, Sasquatch, and psychic powers exist or they do not; if they exist, there should be scientific proof. How good is the scientific evidence for these claims? How does a science-based investigator approach these mysteries and separate fact from fiction?

The reasonable and unreasonable effectiveness of hydrodynamics in exotic quantum matter

Speaker: 
Hong Liu (MIT)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-02-08 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Henning 201
Local Contact: 
Fei Zhou

Hydrodynamics has a long and glorious history, describing phenomena ranging from
flows of water, patterns of weather, to star and galaxy formations. During the last
decade, it has also played  important and often surprising  roles in characterizing
various types of exotic quantum matter. In particular, it helped formulating a new
class of quantum matter: quantum liquids without quasiparticles.  I will briefly
review these stories and explain physical reasons

Dynamical Quantum Phase Transitions

Speaker: 
Anatoli Polkovnikov (Boston U.)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-01-11 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Henning 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Phase transitions are usually defined through emergence of singularities of free
energy of the system with changing some external parameter like temperature.
Familiar examples include liquid-gas transitions, or transitions between
paramagnetic and ferromagnetic phases. Quantum phase transitions are very similar
except that they occur at zero temperature and are driven by quantum fluctuations.
In this talk I will introduce a concept of dynamical quantum phase transitions,

Towards designing and probing ultra-quantum matter

Speaker: 
Victor Gurarie (U of Colorado)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-11-09 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Henning 201
Local Contact: 
Fei Zhou
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Ultra-quantum matter is the proposed umbrella term to describe states of matter made of quantum particles with long range quantum entanglement among them. These states of matter lie outside the standard Landau classification of phases of matter by broken symmetries, where solid is distinct from liquid because its crystalline lattice breaks translational invariance. Typically ultra-quantum matter does not break any symmetries despite forming distinct phases of matter.

Novel Orbital Physics: Unconventional Bose-Einstein Condensation, Ferromagnetism, and Curie-Weiss Metal in Optical Lattices

Speaker: 
CongJun Wu (UCSD)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-11-16 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Henning 201
Local Contact: 
Fei Zhou
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

Orbital is a degree of freedom independent of charge and spin. It plays an important role in physical properties of transition-metal-oxides including superconductivity and magnetism. The recent developments of optical lattices have opened up an opportunity to study novel features of orbital physics that are not easily accessible in solid state systems.

Einstein, Gravitational Waves and a New Science [note time and location]

Speaker: 
Barry Barish (Caltech)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-11-30 17:30 - 18:30
Location: 
Hebb Theatre
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves 100 years ago, but the effects are so tiny that even Einstein thought they could never be detected. After 40 years of controversy, theorists finally developed a consensus that they really do exist. Then the problem became whether experimental physicists could develop instruments sensitive enough to actually detect them?

Nature’s all-in-one: gateable superconductivity in the strongly correlated topological insulator WTe2

Speaker: 
Josh Folk (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-09-07 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The success of graphene research over the past decade has demonstrated the power of transistor-type measurements in 2D materials to investigate novel electronic states of matter.  In graphene, table-top electrical measurements routinely probe collections of interacting relativistic particles, under easily tuneable conditions such as density, temperature, and magnetic field.  Over the past ten years, the palette of elements and compounds available to construct 2D materials has been expanded well beyond carbon, and the range of condensed matter phenomena available

Anomalous diffusion

Speaker: 
Martin Barlow (UBC Mathematics)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-10-19 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

A random walk on a graph G has anomalous diffusion if the mean square deviation after n steps is sublinear in n. Systems that have, or are expected to have, anomalous diffusion include some regular exact fractals, and random graphs at their critical point. I will discuss these, and in particular what we know about diffusion on critical percolation, the uniform spanning tree, and random planar triangulations.

Repurposing a Spy Telescope for Studying Dark Energy and Exoplanets

Speaker: 
David Spergel (Princeton/CCA)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-10-12 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

In 2025, NASA (hopefully with CSA as a partner) plans to launch WFIRST, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope.  WFIRST is a 2.4-meter telescope with more than a 100 times the field of view of the Hubble Space Telescope.  WFIRST will fly with a wide field camera and a coronagraph.   The wide field camera is poised to make significant contributions to our understanding of dark energy and to carry out a diverse program of astrophysics.  The coronagraph should be able to obtain contrast ratios 1000x better than those previously achieved from space and characteriz

Lepton Universality violation, a promising approach towards new physics beyond the Standard Model

Speaker: 
Guy Wormser (LAL, Orsay)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-09-28 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Janis McKenna
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The Standard Model of particle physics, one of the most remarkable theoretical construction of the XX century, has a very precise prediction power for all man-made experiments using accelerators. Although it is almost certain, for reasons that will be explained in this talk, that the SM is not the final theory, it resists up to now to all attempts to discover any deviation from its predictions that could show  the path towards a more complete theory.

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