Past Department Colloquia

Thu, 2017-01-19 16:00 - 17:00
Adriana Moreo (ORNL/Univ. Tennessee)

During most of the last century superconductivity was observed in some metals at the very low temperatures achieved with liquid Helium. Below a critical temperature Tc electrons overcome their Coulomb repulsion thanks to an attraction created by the distortions of the ionic lattice and form Cooper pairs that can move without resistance. The efforts to raise Tc were unsuccessful until the discovery of the high Tc superconducting cuprates in 1986.

Thu, 2017-01-12 16:00 - 17:00
OsKar Vafek (NHMFLab/FSU, Tallahassee)

Superconductivity results from condensation of bound electron pairs, the so-called Cooper pairs. In the conventional Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer theory, the attraction between electrons originates from their interaction with the ionic lattice and the exchange of quanta of the lattice vibrations, phonons. The resulting wavefunction for the Cooper pairs carries zero angular momentum, leading to s-wave superconductivity.

Thu, 2017-01-05 16:00 - 17:00
Kiyo Masui (UBC)

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are a recently discovered and poorly understood class of astronomical transient, observed at gigahertz frequencies and with millisecond durations. The dispersion of these signals by intervening plasma indicates that the sources are extragalactic and may even be at cosmological distances. Their high rate (with thousands occurring daily) and extreme brightnesses have made them challenging to explain theoretically.

Thu, 2016-12-01 16:00 - 17:00
Joseph Emerson

Quantum information technologies are poised to radically outperform their classical counterparts by manipulating coherent quantum systems. These technologies promise new, secure forms of communication, sensors with dramatically enhanced sensitivity, and exponential gains in computational capabilities.

Thu, 2016-11-24 16:00 - 17:00
Matt Choptuik

Numerical relativity deals with the computational solution of Einstein's
equations for the general relativistic gravitational field.  Paralleling
what has happened in many other areas of science, the evolution of high
performance computing, in conjunction with the development of appropriate
numerical techniques, has enabled direct computational assault on many of
the most pressing problems in gravitational physics. 

Thu, 2016-11-17 16:00 - 17:00
Joseph Maciejko (University of Alberta)

Topological insulators are an unusual class of insulators whose surfaces can carry electric currents while their bulk cannot. This surface conduction proceeds with little or no dissipation of heat, which makes topological insulators promising candidate materials for low-power electronics. In this talk I will give an overview of the field of topological insulators, and argue that recent developments in this field may lead to the observation of exotic phenomena predicted in elementary particle physics such as axions and supersymmetry.

Thu, 2016-11-10 16:00 - 17:00
Cheng Chin (University of Chicago)

Our recent research tests an intriguing conjecture first proposed by T. Kibble in 1976 on the emergence of cosmic domains  in the early universe. In 1985, W. Zurek popularized this idea in the condensed matter community that the same mechanism generates topological defects form when a many-body system transpasses a symmetry breaking phase transition.

Thu, 2016-11-03 16:00 - 17:00
Chris Pritchet (UVic)

Supernovae are split into different classes, depending on their observed properties - perhaps the most intriguing class being the so-called "Type Ia SNe". In this talk I will review the basic properties of SNe Ia, and their (past and future) importance in establishing the acceleration of the Universe. I will then discuss two recent research directions that shed light on the progenitors. Both of these methods provide support for the so-called “double degenerate” model of SN Ia explosions.

Thu, 2016-10-27 16:00 - 17:00
Albert Curzon (SFU) & Frank Curzon (UBC)

We "point out" some possibly serious errors which can arise from Poynting's treatment of energy fluxes - especially for time independent current flows in electrical conductors. The basic error made by Poynting is that he assumed, essentially that if two vectors, A and B have the same divergence then A = B. We show how this reasoning can be extended to hydrodynamics, and bow it can be used to explain some other quite unexpected results in soccer! We will also outline some of the difficulties we have experienced in trying to publish our results.

Thu, 2016-10-20 16:00 - 17:00
Prof. Brian DeMarco (UIUC)

​Disorder is the rule, rather than the exception, in nature.  Despite this, we understand little about how disorder
affects interacting quantum matter.  I will give an overview of our experiments using ultracold atom gases to probe
paradigms of interacting disordered quantum particles.  We introduce disorder to naturally clean atomic gases cooled
to billionths of a degree above absolute zero using focused optical speckle.  I will explain how we observe Anderson

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