Department Colloquia

A High Resolution Movie of the Night Sky with LSST

Speaker: 
Meredith Rawls (U Washington)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-02-16 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

On a mountaintop in Chile, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope is preparing to map the night sky. When its decade-long mission begins in 2022, the LSST will image the entire visible sky every few nights with a 3.2 gigapixel camera. In this talk, I will describe the hardware and software being built to collect, process, and archive an unprecedented volume of astronomical images.

Fast Radio Bursts: a mysterious new class of astronomical object

Speaker: 
Kiyo Masui (UBC)
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2017-01-05 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Douglas Scott
Intended Audience: 
Undergraduate

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are a recently discovered and poorly understood class of astronomical transient, observed at gigahertz frequencies and with millisecond durations. The dispersion of these signals by intervening plasma indicates that the sources are extragalactic and may even be at cosmological distances. Their high rate (with thousands occurring daily) and extreme brightnesses have made them challenging to explain theoretically.

Benchmarking Progress towards Quantum Computing

Speaker: 
Joseph Emerson
Event Date and Time: 
Thu, 2016-12-01 16:00 - 17:00
Location: 
Hennings 201
Local Contact: 
Fei Zhou
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

Quantum information technologies are poised to radically outperform their classical counterparts by manipulating coherent quantum systems. These technologies promise new, secure forms of communication, sensors with dramatically enhanced sensitivity, and exponential gains in computational capabilities.

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:

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