Department Colloquia

PhD Comics

Speaker: 
Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson
Event Date and Time: 
Sun, 2017-09-17 19:00 - 20:30
Location: 
Hebb Theatre
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Public

Jorge Cham, the creator of “Piled Higher and Deeper”, and his collaborator physicist Daniel Whiteson, will discuss “PhD Comics” and their new book “We Have No Idea, A Guide to the Unknown Universe”.  Come see this entertaining event, which will include live illustrations!

Flotsam and Jetsam: meteorites, giant collisions, and discarded planets

Speaker: 
Brett Gladman (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-11-02 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Planetary formation functions much the way that 2-year olds eat; that is, most of it goes where it's supposed to, but a non-negligible fraction is dispersed in the vicinity, sometimes leaving at high speed.  In this colloquium I will cover (at a non-expert level) a series of topics related to the processes that occur in planetary systems as they form and evolve.  The size scales from dust to giant planets will be covered, including topics of: meteorite delivery; giant impacts that strip mantles off planets, exposing their bare cores; building the Oort cloud and

The International Race For A Quantum Computer

Speaker: 
Stephanie Simmons (SFU)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-09-14 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Silicon transistors, the essential building block of most modern electronic devices, cannot shrink much further without being rendered inoperable by quantum mechanics. This classical-quantum threshold in fact presents a tremendous opportunity: if we harness quantum mechanics, rather than attempt to avoid it, we could build a quantum computer. Quantum computers will open up a world of opportunities — they could accomplish certain computational tasks exponentially faster, which would otherwise be forever impractical. During this lecture, Dr.

A Painlessly Effective Version of Active Learning and Why It Works

Speaker: 
Dan Schwartz (Stanford)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-09-21 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

To be successful, active learning depends on good tasks.  "Inventing" tasks ask students to find and explain patterns in well-structured data.  These tasks create a time for telling, so that students learn more from lectures and readings, and they are more likely to use what they learn. The current talk provides evidence on the benefits of inventing tasks, why they work, and how to make and use them.  Of course, it also shows some limitations of what instructors are typically doing instead.  

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?

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