Past Department Colloquia

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.
Thu, 2012-11-01 16:00 - 17:00
Jordan Gerton, Utah (Experimental cond. matt and optics)

Colloidal quantum dots (QDs) are fluorescent nanometer-scale semiconductor crystals that have a number of interesting optical properties including large absorption cross-sections, spectral tunability, and high quantum efficiencies. Due to these properties, QDs have been employed in a wide variety of applications including next-generation solar cells, novel light sources, and as fluorescent labels in bioimaging. In many applications, it would be advantageous to control both the direction and intensity fluctuations of the emitted fluorescence.

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.
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