Department Colloquia

Black Holes, Holography, and Entanglement

Speaker: 
Veronika Hubeny (UC Davis)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-04-05 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Mark van Raamsdonk
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Black holes have been instrumental in paving the way toward a quantum theory of gravity.  Their elegant mathematical formulation has revealed that black holes behave as thermodynamic objects, which subsequently motivated the holographic principle.  Its concrete realization, the gauge/gravity duality, offers a framework for elucidating the fundamental nature of spacetime, once we understand the map between the two sides of the duality sufficiently well.  Research over the last decade has offered tantalizing hints that quantum entanglement plays a foundational rol

Fusion to ITER - a quest for a golden fleece?

Speaker: 
Jo Lister
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-03-01 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott/Alison Lister
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The physics of nuclear fusion as an energy source was laid down in the nuclear
binding energy formula and was demonstrated in the early 1950s with a test
explosion. Experiments were already underway in many countries in the 1940s to
produce "controlled" fusion in the laboratory. The Zeta experiment at the end of the
1950s drew a blank and interest in unlimited energy dissipated, although the
laboratory research continued. In the late 1960s, the Russians made a breakthrough

No Colloqium

Speaker: 
Reading break
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-02-22 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The Dynamical, Strong-Field Regime of General Relativity

Speaker: 
Frans Pretorius (Princeton)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-03-15 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

LIGO has ushered in the era of gravitational wave astronomy, having observed several signals consistent with binary black hole mergers, and one attributable to a binary neutron star collision. The latter event also produced significant electromagnetic radiation, and was observed across the spectrum by a host of telescopes and satellites. In this talk I will discuss what these events can teach us about the fundamental nature of dynamical, strong-field gravity.

What we talk about when we talk about curved spacetime

Speaker: 
Ted Bunn (U. Richmond)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-02-01 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Students are often not exposed to the main ideas of general relativity until relatively late in their education, due to the mathematical complexity of the theory. In particular, the Einstein field equation is generally presented in a way that obscures its geometrical meaning under a thicket of indices. I will show an index-free geometrical approach to the equation that is suitable for students unfamiliar with tensor calculus.

Experiments in Teaching Physics

Speaker: 
Joanne O'Meara (Guelph)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-01-18 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Over the past decade we have made many changes to our undergraduate physics offerings at Guelph, for majors and non-majors alike. Our goal throughout has been to implement best practices from the Physics Education Research community, in such a way that we are mindful of resource implications.

The MoEDAL Experiment at the LHC - a New Light on the High Energy Discovery Frontier

Speaker: 
James Pinfold (U Alberta)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-11-23 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Gordon Semenoff
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

MoEDAL is a pioneering experiment designed to search for anomalously ionizing messengers of new physics, such as magnetic monopoles or massive (pseudo-)stable charged particles, which are predicted to exist in a plethora of models beyond the Standard Model. MoEDAL started data taking in 2015 at the LHC at a centre-of-mass energy of 13 TeV.

3-Minute Thesis Competition, Physics & Astronomy Heat

Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2018-03-08 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Janis McKenna
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition that assists current graduate students with fostering effective presentation and communication skills. Participants have just three minutes to explain the breadth and significance of their research project to a non-specialist audience. Last year, over 30 universities across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the South Pacific participated in this fun, highly informative and very entertaining event. UBC is one of the first Universities in North America to host a 3MT competition. 

Macroscopic Length Scales, the Higgs Boson, and Cosmological Evolution of Fundamental Parameters

Speaker: 
David Kaplan (Johns Hopkins)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-12-07 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

In this talk, I present the Higgs Boson's Compton wavelength (proportional to its inverse mass), as currently one of the few fundamental length-scales in physics, from which much of macroscopic physics is derived.  The Standard Model of particle physics predicts a direct relationship between the Higgs mass and the mass of all other fundamental particles, but it fails to predict the mass of the Higgs itself.  In fact, the Higgs mass is a conundrum in the Standard Model, as simple (and very reasonable) scaling arguments predict it to be sixteen orders of magnitude

The Accelerating Universe: Lambda, w, and beyond

Speaker: 
Levon Pogosian (SFU)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-10-26 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

While cosmic acceleration is well-established, the nature of Dark Energy causing it remains unknown. A flat universe dominated by a cosmological constant (Lambda) and cold dark matter (CDM) has been cosmologists’ working model of choice for nearly two decades. However, the value of Lambda poses a serious theoretical challenge, exposing a gap in our understanding of the vacuum energy and the way it gravitates. Intriguingly, there appear to be tensions between different datasets within the LCDM framework that would be relieved if Dark Energy was non-constant.

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