Past Department Colloquia

Thu, 2013-02-14 16:00 - 17:00
Jaymie Matthews
What are the structures and atmospheric compositions of exoplanets (planets beyond the Solar System)? Do they have strong magnetic fields and if so, how do those fields interact with their parent stars? What are the properties of those stars and their flare and spot activities?
Thu, 2013-02-07 16:00 - 17:00
Gary Hinshaw
The cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation is the remnant heat left over from the Big Bang. This fossil relic provides us with a unique probe of conditions in the early universe, long before any discrete cosmic structure had formed. I will describe what we have learned from painstaking measurements of the CMB, focusing on the final results from NASA's WMAP mission, alone and in conjunction with complementary cosmological observations.
Thu, 2013-01-31 16:00 - 17:00
Carl Michal, UBC
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a powerful clinical technique used extensively for medical diagnosis. It is also a flagship application of undergraduate physics. Magnetic resonance and imaging are standard experiments in upper level undergraduate physics labs, but are not generally used in introductory courses due to the cost and perceived complexity. Over the past couple of years, we have developed a low-cost instrument and series of lab activities aimed at first year university students who intend to pursue studies outside of physics.
Thu, 2013-01-24 16:00 - 17:00
Paul Steinhardt, Princeton
Thu, 2013-01-17 16:00 - 17:00
Giorgio Gratta, Stanford
With the definitive evidence for neutrino oscillations collected in the last decade, we now believe that neutrino masses are non-zero. Oscillation measurements, however, only measure mass differences and give us little information about the absolute values of neutrino masses. The hypothetical phenomenon of neutrino-less double-beta decay can probe the neutrino mass scale with exquisite sensitivity.
Thu, 2013-01-10 16:00 - 17:00
Thierry Giamarchi, University of Geneva, Switzerland
The effect of interactions on quantum particles is a long standing question, with important consequences for most realistic systems. In one dimension interactions lead to a radically new type of physics, very different from the one we know for higher dimensional systems.
Thu, 2012-11-29 16:00 - 17:00
Mark Halpern
Acoustic processes in the plasma which pervades the early Universe govern the shape of the anisotropy of the cosmic background which has been measured by WMAP and other probes. Once the Universe became transparent, these acoustic signals stopped propagating. The density variations associated with them have remained fixed in co-moving (expanding) coordinates.
Thu, 2012-11-22 16:00 - 17:00
Dave Wineland, NIST Boulder
Already in 1935 Erwin Schrödinger knew that, when extended to the realm of our everyday experience, quantum theory permits rather bizarre situations. To illustrate his point, he introduced his well-known cat that can simultaneously be both dead and alive, a superposition of both possibilities. These days we can create situations that have the same attributes of this unfortunate cat, although so far only on the micro- and meso-scopic scale.
Thu, 2012-11-15 16:00 - 17:00
Michael Woodside, National Institute for Nanotechnology, NRC, Edmonton
Most proteins reliably fold into specific "native" three-dimensional structures which are required to perform their function properly. When the folding process goes awry, however, non-native structures can result that lead to disease, with examples ranging from Alzheimer's to scurvy. My lab is studying the mechanisms driving such misfolding in two disease-related proteins, PrP (prion disease) and alpha-synuclein (Parkinson's).
Thu, 2012-11-08 16:00 - 17:00
Karsten Heeger (University of Wisconsin)
Experiments with reactor antineutrinos have played an important role throughout the history of neutrino physics. Recently the Daya Bay experiment observed the disappearance of electron antineutrinos over kilometer-scale baselines and measured the last unknown neutrino mixing angle theta13. Experiments with reactor neutrinos at short baselines enable precision studies of neutrino properties, probe non-standard physics, and offer opportunities for reactor monitoring. I will describe the recent results of the Daya Bay experiment and discuss prospects for future reactor experiments.
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