Past Department Colloquia

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.
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].
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