Past Department Colloquia

Thu, 2018-10-18 16:00 - 17:00
Andy Bunn (Western Washington University)

For over a decade I have made a special effort to communicate climate science to groups that are often underserved by the scientific community. I have found that focusing on the history of science and making appeals to logic are very effective ways of engaging some audiences. In this talk, I will walk through this two-pronged approach by discussing how the work of pioneering 19th century physicists like Fourier, Tyndall, and Arrhenius informs much of modern climate science.

Thu, 2018-10-11 16:00 - 17:00
Bill Louis (LANL)

The LSND and MiniBooNE short-baseline neutrino experiments have provided evidence for neutrino oscillations at a mass scale of approximately 1 eV. When combined with oscillation measurements at the solar and atmospheric mass scales, these experiments imply the existence of more than three neutrino mass states and, therefore, one or more "sterile" neutrinos. Such sterile neutrinos, if proven to exist, would have a big impact on particle physics, nuclear physics, and astrophysics, and would contribute to the dark matter of the Universe.

Thu, 2018-10-04 16:00 - 17:00
Corinne Manogue (Oregon)

The Paradigms in Physics program began 20 years ago at Oregon State University.  In those two decades, we not only completely restructured the content trajectory for majors to be more aligned with how professionals think about the content, but we also designed many course activities which reflect not only our own education research but also results from other PER and DBER groups.

Thu, 2018-09-27 16:00 - 17:00
Nancy Forde (SFU)
Our group is investigating the mechanics of a key structural protein, collagen, which is comprised of three chains that coil to make a triple helix. Collagen is the fundamental structural protein in vertebrates and is widely used as biomaterial, for example as a substrate for tissue engineering. In spite of its prevalence and mechanical importance in biology, the mechanics of collagen is surprisingly unresolved.
Thu, 2018-09-20 16:00 - 17:00
Robert Caldwell (Dartmouth)

The Cosmic Gravitational Wave Background (CGB) is a hypothesized relic radiation field that, if detected, would give us clues to the earliest moments of the history of the Universe. In this talk, accessible to students and non-experts, I will describe the physical processes that can give rise to a CGB, novel features including a net polarization of the gravitational waves (as distinct from the polarization of cosmic microwave background photons), and methods of detection.

Thu, 2018-09-13 16:00 - 17:00
Sarah Keller (Univ. Washington)
(No prior knowledge of biology is required for this talk!) For decades, scientists have argued about how living cell membranes acquire and maintain regions enriched in particular lipid and protein types. One of the more contentious theories has been that lipids and proteins spontaneously phase separate within the plane of the membrane to create liquid regions that differ in their composition. Physicists have long observed this type of demixing in simple artificial membranes. Clear identification of the same transition in a living biological system has heretofore been elusive.
Thu, 2018-09-06 16:00 - 17:00
Pisin Chen (Nat. Taiwan Univ.)

In spite of the remarkable physics revolutions made in the 20th century, it is surprising to realize that only 5% of the substance in the Universe can be explained by the established knowledge of physics. The remaining 95% are believed to be contributed by dark matter and dark energy. What are they made of? In addition to the question about its composition, the understanding of how the Universe began remains incomplete, despite the remarkable success of the notion of cosmic inflation. What was before the Big Bang?

Thu, 2018-04-12 16:00 - 17:00
Eleanor Sayre (Kansas State)

Learning physics means learning lots of technical content, including mathematical tools, lab skills, and physics concepts.  It also requires learning cultural content, from expectations about how we structure equations to beliefs about the nature of research. Focusing on upper-division physics students, this talk integrates research across several projects to build a robust picture of what it means to become a physicist.

Thu, 2018-04-05 16:00 - 17:00
Veronika Hubeny (UC Davis)

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

Thu, 2018-03-29 16:00 - 17:00
Caitlin Casey (U Texas)
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