Past Department Colloquia

Thu, 2012-10-25 16:00 - 17:00
Martin White, Berkeley

The SDSS-III's Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) is a 6-year effort to map the spatial distribution of luminous galaxies and quasars and probe the inter-galactic medium. The goals of the survey are to constrain the characteristic scale imprinted by baryon acoustic oscillations in the early universe, the growth of structure through redshift space distortions, the matter power spectrum and the evolution of massive galaxies and quasars. I will give a brief update on the status of the survey and some of our early results.

Thu, 2012-10-18 16:00 - 17:00
Avery Broderick
Supermassive black holes, the million to billion solar mass cousins of the more commonly described remnants of massive stars, are now believed to exist at the centers of nearly all galaxies, and power some of the most energetic phenomena in the universe, with cosmological implications. Nevertheless, due to their compact nature, it remains unclear how supermassive black holes grow, how they launch the ultra-relativistic outflows observed, if gravity in the vicinity of their horizons is well described by general relativity, and even if event horizons exist.
Thu, 2012-10-11 16:00 - 17:00
Holgar Müller, Berkeley
De Broglie's matter wave hypothesis describes particles as oscillators at the Compton frequency mc^2/h, where m is the particle's mass, c the speed of light, and h the Planck constant [1].
Thu, 2012-09-27 16:00 - 17:00
Sonia Bacca, TRIUMF
Ab-initio nuclear theory aims at understanding nuclei starting from strongly interacting protons and neutrons. Forces among nucleons can be linked to fundamental quantum-chromodynamics through an effective field theory. Describing the complex nature of nuclei arising from such forces poses both conceptual and computational challenges. I will describe how we try to solve some of them. Then I will connect theoretical predictions of bound and break up observables for both stable isotopes and halo nuclei to experimental results from the major nuclear physics facilities, including TRIUMF.
Thu, 2012-09-20 16:00 - 17:00
Kyle Cranmer, New York University
One of the great intellectual achievements of human kind is the standard model of particle physics. This theory describes how fundamental particles like electrons and quarks interact and gives us the building blocks for understanding the universe we see around us today. A key part of this theory is the Higgs field, which permeates space and time. Finding the Higgs boson - the experimental manifestation of this field - and measuring its properties has become one of the most fundamental scientific endeavors in history.
Thu, 2012-03-29 16:00 - 17:00
Bernhard Keimer (Max-Plank Institute, Stuttgart, Germany)
Starting from a tutorial introduction to conventional and unconventional superconductivity, this talk will provide an overview of current research efforts to understand the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity in copper oxide and iron pnictide compounds. Our group contributes to this effort by accurately mapping out spin fluctuation spectra in these materials through a combination of neutron, x-ray, and Raman scattering methods.
Thu, 2012-03-22 16:00 - 17:00
Matthew Augustine (UC Davis)
With the emergence of a new technique, wine collectors now have a promising procedure for quantifying the amount of spoilage in unopened bottles of fine and, often, expensive wine. Although originally developed to screen for the oxidative spoilage of fine wine, this full bottle nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) method has recently been extended to the detection of explosive liquid precursors in stream of commerce non-ferrous metal containers.
Thu, 2012-03-15 16:00 - 17:00
Robert McPherson (UVic, TRIUMF)
Almost 20 years after the start of construction, the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is begining to probe the physics it was designed for: electroweak symmetry breaking, whether via the Higgs mechanism or other processes. Even running at half design energy, the 2011 data set from the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC have narrowed-down the allowed range of the Standard Model Higgs mass to a very small window, and we may have glimpsed the first signs of the Higgs at a mass around 125 GeV. Beyond the simple Standard Model Higgs, we also look for signs of physics beyond the Standard Model.
Thu, 2012-03-08 16:00 - 17:00
Rainer Blatt (University of Innsbruck)
Since the mid nineties of the 20th century it became apparent that one of the centuries’ most important technological inventions, computers in general and many of their applications, could possibly be further enormously enhanced by using operations based on quantum.
Thu, 2012-03-01 16:00 - 17:00
Paul Wiggins (University of Washington)
Almost all biological systems exhibit precise spatial and temporal control of protein, mRNA, and DNA localization, demonstrating that cells measure distance and detect proximity with a molecular-scale tool kit. Although these phenomena have traditionally been studied in the context of the detailed expression patterning in development, recent exciting results reveal that intricate spatial organization is the rule rather than the exception in the bacterial cell.
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