Department Colloquia

Topological insulators: from spin-orbit coupling to supersymmetry-on-a-chip

Speaker: 
Joseph Maciejko (University of Alberta)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2016-11-17 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Henning 201
Local Contact: 
Fei Zhou
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

Topological insulators are an unusual class of insulators whose surfaces can carry electric currents while their bulk cannot. This surface conduction proceeds with little or no dissipation of heat, which makes topological insulators promising candidate materials for low-power electronics. In this talk I will give an overview of the field of topological insulators, and argue that recent developments in this field may lead to the observation of exotic phenomena predicted in elementary particle physics such as axions and supersymmetry.

 

101 years of General Relativity: from Einstein in 1915 to Relativistic Cosmology in the 21st century.

Speaker: 
Pedro Ferreira (Oxford)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-01-26 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

The faulty reasoning used by Poynting in determining energy fluxes in electrical conductors

Speaker: 
Albert Curzon (SFU) & Frank Curzon (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2016-10-27 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

We "point out" some possibly serious errors which can arise from Poynting's treatment of energy fluxes - especially for time independent current flows in electrical conductors. The basic error made by Poynting is that he assumed, essentially that if two vectors, A and B have the same divergence then A = B. We show how this reasoning can be extended to hydrodynamics, and bow it can be used to explain some other quite unexpected results in soccer! We will also outline some of the difficulties we have experienced in trying to publish our results.

Simulating Spacetime

Speaker: 
Matt Choptuik
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2016-11-24 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Numerical relativity deals with the computational solution of Einstein's
equations for the general relativistic gravitational field.  Paralleling
what has happened in many other areas of science, the evolution of high
performance computing, in conjunction with the development of appropriate
numerical techniques, has enabled direct computational assault on many of
the most pressing problems in gravitational physics. 

Ultracold Disordered Quantum Gases

Speaker: 
Prof. Brian DeMarco (UIUC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2016-10-20 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

​Disorder is the rule, rather than the exception, in nature.  Despite this, we understand little about how disorder
affects interacting quantum matter.  I will give an overview of our experiments using ultracold atom gases to probe
paradigms of interacting disordered quantum particles.  We introduce disorder to naturally clean atomic gases cooled
to billionths of a degree above absolute zero using focused optical speckle.  I will explain how we observe Anderson

The Progenitors of Type Ia Supernovae

Speaker: 
Chris Pritchet (UVic)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2016-11-03 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Supernovae are split into different classes, depending on their observed properties - perhaps the most intriguing class being the so-called "Type Ia SNe". In this talk I will review the basic properties of SNe Ia, and their (past and future) importance in establishing the acceleration of the Universe. I will then discuss two recent research directions that shed light on the progenitors. Both of these methods provide support for the so-called “double degenerate” model of SN Ia explosions.

When galaxies and puppets collide: Adventures in astronomy outreach

Speaker: 
Jaymie Matthews (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2016-09-22 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott

Jaymie was this year's recipient of the Qilak Award for Astronomy Communications, Public Education and Outreach - the citation when he received that award gives an impression of the range of activities that we'll hear about in this talk:

Cosmology, Cell Phones, and Video Games: Mapping Dark Energy with CHIME

Speaker: 
Keith Vanderlinde (U Toronto)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2016-10-13 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott

Among the great surprises of modern cosmology was th discovery of Dark Energy, which dominates the energy budget of the Universe and is driving the acceleration of its expansion rate. Decyphering its properties and nature will require novel measurements spanning vast swaths of the observable Universe.

What has the LHC taught us about the top quark?

Speaker: 
Alison Lister (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2016-10-06 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201

While the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 has completed the Standard Model of particle physics, there are still many open questions about the fundamental particles and forces, from the origin of dark matter through to the searches for new symmetries of nature, to name just a couple. The LHC is hoping to elucidate some of these mysteries. I personally believe that new physics will manifest itself in top quarks. Despite its discovery now over 20 years ago, it is only at the LHC that we can truly enter the era of precision measurements of the top quark.

Cosmology under a microscope: Watching the growth of topological defects across a quantum phase transition

Speaker: 
Cheng Chin (University of Chicago)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2016-11-10 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Fei Zhou
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Our recent research tests an intriguing conjecture first proposed by T. Kibble in 1976 on the emergence of cosmic domains  in the early universe. In 1985, W. Zurek popularized this idea in the condensed matter community that the same mechanism generates topological defects form when a many-body system transpasses a symmetry breaking phase transition.

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