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Colloquia History

ics Joint Colloquium with Physics and Astronomy/NRAO


Friday, April 26, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Andrew Steiner [Host: Kent Yagi]
University of Tennessee
"From Multimessenger Astronomy to Neutrons and Protons"
ABSTRACT:

Of course, multimessenger astronomy promises to revolutionize

astronomy and our understanding of nucleosynthesis. My

research shows that it goes further: astronomical observations

(via both photons and gravitational waves) provides a unique

laboratory to deepen our understanding of QCD and the

nucleon-nucleon interaction. Most current work is focused

on the equation of state. While the equation of state is

indeed important, in this talk, I show how we can

go beyond energy density and pressure. I present the first

large-scale Bayesian inference of neutron star observations

and nuclear structure data to obtain novel results on the

composition of dense matter and the nature of nucleonic

superfluidity.

ics Colloquium
Friday, April 19, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Dr. Craig D. Roberts [Host: Nilanga Liyanage]
Argonne National Laboratory
"Emergence of Mass in the Standard Model"
ABSTRACT:

Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the nuclear physics part of the Standard Model, is the first theory to demand that science fully resolve the conflicts generated by joining relativity and quantum mechanics.  Hence in attempting to match QCD with Nature, it is necessary to confront the innumerable complexities of strong, nonlinear dynamics in relativistic quantum field theory.  The peculiarities of QCD ensure that it is also the only known fundamental theory with the capacity to sustain massless elementary degrees-of-freedom, gluons (gauge bosons) and quarks (matter fields); and yet gluons and quarks are predicted to acquire mass dynamically so that the only massless systems in QCD are its composite Nambu-Goldstone bosons.  All other everyday bound states possess nuclear-size masses, far in excess of anything that can directly be tied to the Higgs boson.  These points highlight the most important unsolved questions within the Standard Model, namely: what is the source of the mass for the vast bulk of visible matter in the Universe and how is this mass distributed within hadrons?  This presentation will provide a contemporary sketch of the strong-QCD landscape and insights that may help in answering these questions.

 

ics Colloquium
Friday, April 12, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Dr. Vivek Goyal [Host: MIller Eaton]
Boston University
"Computing Images from Weak Optical Signals"
ABSTRACT:

In conventional imaging systems, the results are poor unless there is a physical mechanism for producing a sharp image with high signal-to-noise ratio.  In this talk, I will present two settings where computational methods enable imaging from very weak signals:  range imaging and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) imaging.

Lidar systems use single-photon detectors to enable long-range reflectivity and depth imaging.  By exploiting an inhomogeneous Poisson process observation model and the typical structure of natural scenes, first-photon imaging demonstrates the possibility of accurate lidar with only 1 detected photon per pixel, where half of the detections are due to (uninformative) ambient light.  I will explain the simple ideas behind first-photon imaging and lightly touch upon related subsequent works that mitigate the limitations of detector arrays, withstand 25-times more ambient light, allow for unknown ambient light levels, and capture multiple depths per pixel.

NLOS imaging has been an active research area for almost a decade, and remarkable results have been achieved with pulsed lasers and single-photon detectors.  Our work shows that NLOS imaging is possible using only an ordinary digital camera.  When light reaches a matte wall, it is scattered in all directions.  Thus, to use a matte wall as if it were a mirror requires some mechanism for regaining the one-to-one spatial correspondences lost from the scattering.  Our method is based on the separation of light paths created by occlusions and results in relatively simple computational algorithms.

Related paper DOIs:
10.1126/science.1246775
10.1109/TSP.2015.2453093
10.1109/LSP.2015.2475274
10.1364/OE.24.001873
10.1038/ncomms12046
10.1109/TSP.2017.2706028
10.1038/s41586-018-0868-6

ics Colloquium
Friday, March 29, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Dr. Ho Nyung Lee [Host: Seunghun Lee]
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
"Interfaces in oxide quantum heterostructures"
ABSTRACT:

Complex oxides are known to possess the full spectrum of fascinating properties, including magnetism, colossal magneto-resistance, superconductivity, ferroelectricity, pyroelectricity, piezoelectricity, multiferroicity, ionic conductivity, and more. This breadth of remarkable properties is the consequence of strong coupling between charge, spin, orbital, and lattice symmetry. Spurred by recent advances in the synthesis of such artificial materials at the atomic scale, the physics of oxide heterostructures containing atomically smooth layers of such correlated electron materials with abrupt interfaces is a rapidly growing area. Thus, we have established a growth technique to control complex oxides at the level of unit cell thickness by pulsed laser epitaxy. The atomic-scale growth control enables to assemble the building blocks to a functional system in a programmable manner, yielding many intriguing physical properties that cannot be found in bulk counterparts. In this talk, examples of artificially designed, functional oxide heterostructures will be presented, highlighting the importance of heterostructuring, interfacing, and straining. The main topics include (1) charge transfer induced interfacial magnetism and topologically non-trivial spin textures in SrIrO3-based heterostructures and (2) lattice and chemical potential control of oxygen stability and associated electronic and magnetic properties in nickelate-and cobaltite-based heterostructures.

This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division.

ics Colloquium
Friday, March 22, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Jim Gates, Ph.D. [Host: Diana Vaman]
Brown University
"A Mathematical Journey Thru SUSY, Error-Correcting Codes, Evolution, and a Sustainable Reality "
ABSTRACT:

This presentation describes an arc in mathematical/theoretical physics traversing concepts from equations, graphs, error-correction, and pointing toward an evolution-like process acting on the  mathematical laws that sustain reality.

ics Colloquium
Friday, March 1, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Genya Kolomeisky [Host: Israel Klich]
University of Virginia - Physics
"Kelvin-Froude wake patterns of a traveling pressure disturbance"
ABSTRACT:

Water wave patterns behind ships fuel human curiosity because they are both beautiful and easily observed.  These patterns called wakes were famously described in 1887 by Lord Kelvin.  According to Kelvin, the feather-like appearance of the wake is universal and the entire wake is confined within a 39 degree angle.  While such wakes have been observed, deviations from Kelvin’s predictions have also been reported.  In this talk summarizing my work with UVA alumnus Jonathan Colen I will present a quantitative reasoning based on classical surface water wave theory that explains why some wakes are similar to Kelvin’s prediction, and why others are less so.  The central result is a classification of wake patterns which all can be understood in terms of the problem originally treated by Kelvin.

ics Special Colloquium


Wednesday, February 20, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
David Nichols [Host: Diana Vaman]
University of Amsterdam
"Gravitational waves and fundamental properties of matter and spacetime"
ABSTRACT:

Gravitational waves from the mergers of ten binary black holes and one binary neutron star were detected in the first two observing runs by the Advanced LIGO and Virgo detectors. In this talk, I will discuss the eleven gravitational-wave detections and the electromagnetic observations that accompanied the neutron-star merger. These detections confirmed many of the predictions of general relativity, and they initiated the observational study of strongly curved, dynamical spacetimes and their highly luminous gravitational waves. One aspect of these high gravitational-wave luminosities that LIGO and Virgo will be able to measure is the gravitational-wave memory effect: a lasting change in the gravitational-wave strain produced by energy radiated in gravitational waves. I will describe how this effect is related to symmetries and conserved quantities of spacetime, how the memory effect can be measured with LIGO and Virgo, and how new types of memory effects have been recently predicted. I will conclude by discussing the plans for the next generation of gravitational-wave detectors after LIGO and Virgo and the scientific capabilities of these new detectors. These facilities could detect millions of black-hole and neutron-star mergers per year, and they can provide insights on a range of topics from the population of short gamma-ray bursts to the presence of dark matter around black holes.

 

ics Special Colloquium


Wednesday, February 13, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Eliu Huerta [Host: Diana Vaman]
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"Frontiers in Multi-Messenger Astrophysics at the interface of gravitational wave astrophysics, large scale astronomical surveys and data science "
ABSTRACT:

The next decade promises fundamental new scientific insights and discoveries from Multi-Messenger Astrophysics, enabled through the convergence of large scale astronomical surveys, gravitational wave astrophysics, deep learning and large scale computing. In this talk I describe a Multi-Messenger Astrophysics science program, and highlight recent accomplishments at the interface of gravitational wave astrophysics, numerical relativity and deep learning. I discuss the convergence of this program with large scale astronomical surveys in the context of gravitational wave cosmology. Future research and development activities are discussed, including a vision to leverage data science initiatives at the University of Virginia to spearhead, maximize and accelerate discovery in the nascent field of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics.

 

ics Special Colloquium


Wednesday, February 6, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Robert Penna [Host: Diana Vaman]
Columbia University
"Black Hole Bridges"
ABSTRACT:

Black holes are bridges between astrophysics and fundamental physics.  I will describe three examples of this theme.  First, I will explain how contemporary theoretical ideas deriving from the holographic principle have proven useful for interpreting numerical simulations of electromagnetic outflows from spinning black holes.  These models are currently being tested against X-ray and radio observations of galactic black holes.  Second, I will describe a correspondence between black holes and lower dimensional fluids and discuss the possibility of probing this correspondence with gravitational wave memory experiments.  Finally, I will describe how gravitational wave observations of black hole tidal interactions might be used to find new symmetries acting on the event horizon.

ics Special Colloquium


Wednesday, January 30, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Jeremy Sakstein [Host: Diana Vaman]
University of Pennsylvania
"Testing Gravity with Cosmology and Astrophysics"
ABSTRACT:

We are entering a golden age of cosmology and astrophysics. In the coming decade we will have cosmological data for over a billion galaxies, a census of objects in the Milky Way, and a network of gravitational detectors spanning the globe that will detect thousands of events per year. This presents us with the unprecedented opportunity to learn how gravity behaves at the largest distances, and in the most extreme environments. In this talk I will describe how we can use current and upcoming data to understand the unexplained mysteries of the Universe, such as why the expansion of the Universe accelerating (dark energy). I will also discuss how to connect physics in these disparate regimes and how to test cosmology on small scales. To maximize the discovery potential of the data requires us to construct robust theoretical models, identify novel probes, and connect theory with observation, and I will describe projects where I have attempted to accomplish this. I will conclude the talk by discussing how this interdisciplinary effort will continue into the next decade and beyond.    

 

ics Special Colloquium


Wednesday, January 23, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Sarah Vigeland [Host: Diana Vaman]
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
"Probing Massive and Supermassive Black Holes with Gravitational Waves"
ABSTRACT:

Observations have shown that nearly all galaxies harbor massive or supermassive black holes at their centers. Gravitational wave (GW) observations of these black holes will shed light on their growth and evolution, and the merger histories of galaxies. Massive and supermassive black holes are also ideal laboratories for studying strong-field gravity. Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) are sensitive to GWs with frequencies ~1-100 nHz, and can detect GWs emitted by supermassive black hole binaries, which form when two galaxies merge. The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a planned space-based GW detector that will be sensitive to GWs ~1-100 mHz, and it will see a variety of sources, including merging massive black hole binaries and extreme mass-ratio inspires (EMRIs), which consist of a small compact object falling into a massive black hole. I will discuss source modeling and detection techniques for LISA and PTAs, as well as present limits on nanohertz GWs from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) collaboration.

 

ics Colloquium
Friday, January 18, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Markus Diefenthaler [Host: Simonetta Liuti]
Jefferson Lab
"The Electron Ion Collider Science "
ABSTRACT:

Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of the strong interaction, is a cornerstone of the Standard Model of modern physics. It explains all nuclear matter as bound states of point-like fermions, known as quarks, and gauge bosons, known as gluons. The gluons bind not only quarks but also interact with themselves. Unlike with the more familiar atomic and molecular matter, the interactions and structures are inextricably mixed up, and the observed properties of nucleons and nuclei, such as mass and spin, emerge out of this complex system. To precisely image the quarks and gluons and their interactions and to explore the new QCD frontier of strong color fields in nuclei, the Nuclear Physics community proposes an US-based Electron Ion collider (EIC) with high-energy and high-luminosity, capable of a versatile range of beam energies, polarizations, and ion species. The community is convinced that the EIC is the right tool to understand how matter at its most fundamental level is made.

ics Special Colloquium


Thursday, January 17, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Prem Kumar [Host: Bob Jones]
Northwestern University
"Quantum Engineering: A Transdisciplinary Vision"
ABSTRACT:

A global quantum revolution is currently underway based on the recognition that the subtler aspects of quantum physics known as superposition (wave-like aspect), measurement (particle-like aspect), and entanglement (inseparable link between the two aspects) are far from being merely intriguing curiosities, but can be transitioned into valuable, real-world technologies with performances that can far exceed those obtainable with classical technologies. The recent demonstration by the Chinese scientists of using a low-earth-orbit satellite to distribute entangled photons to two ground stations that are over a thousand kilometers apart is a stunning technological achievement—direct entanglement distribution over the best available fiber links is limited to a few hundred kilometers—and a harbinger of future possibilities for globally secure communications guaranteed by the power of quantum physics.

Harnessing the advantages enabled by superposition, measurement, and entanglement (SME)—the three pillars of quantum physics—for any given application is what is termed quantum engineering in general. In many instances, however, the details of the underlying science (high-temperature superconductivity, photosynthesis, avian navigation, are some examples) is still not fully understood, let alone how to turn the partially understood science into a potentially useful technology. Nevertheless, it has become clear in the last few decades that quantum engineering will require a truly concerted effort that will need to transcend the traditional disciplinary silos in order to create and sustain new breeds of science and technology communities that will be equally versed in quantum physics as they would be in their chosen area of technology. In this talk, I will present my vision for unleashing the potential of quantum engineering, taking some examples from ongoing and proposed research.

ics Special Colloquium


Wednesday, January 16, 2019
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Stephen Taylor [Host: Diana Vaman ]
California Institute of Technology
"Frontiers of Multi-Messenger Black-Hole Physics"
ABSTRACT:

The bounty of gravitational-wave observations from LIGO and Virgo has opened up a new window onto the warped Universe, as well as a pathway to addressing many of the contemporary challenges of fundamental physics. I will discuss how catalogs of stellar-mass compact object mergers can probe the unknown physical processes of binary stellar evolution, and how these systems can be harnessed as standard distance markers (calibrated entirely by fundamental physics) to map the expansion history of the cosmos. The next gravitational-wave frontier will be opened within 3-6 years by pulsar-timing arrays, which have unique access to black-holes at the billion to ten-billion solar mass scale. The accretionary dynamics of supermassive black-hole binaries should yield several tell-tale signatures observable in upcoming synoptic time-domain surveys, as well as gravitational-wave signatures measurable by pulsar timing. Additionally, pulsar-timing arrays are currently placing compelling constraints on modified gravity theories, cosmic strings, and ultralight scalar-field dark matter. I will review my work on these challenges, as well as in the exciting broader arena of gravitational-wave astrophysics, and describe my vision for the next decade of discovery. 

ics Colloquium
Friday, December 7, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Zohar Komargodski [Host: Marija Vucelja]
Stony Brook University
" Using Topology to Solve Strongly Coupled Quantum Field Theories"
ABSTRACT:

I will begin by describing an interacting model in Quantum Mechanics where exact results about the ground state can be established by using tools from topology. I will then argue that such tools are also useful for tackling interesting problems in Quantum Field Theory. In particular, I will review Yang-Mills theory and argue that using topology one can make several predictions about its possible phases. We will then also extend the considerations to Quantum Chromodynamics and discuss possible connections with particle physics phenomenology and with condensed matter physics.

ics Colloquium
Friday, November 30, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Valery Nesvizhevsky [Host: Stefan Baessler]
Institut Laue Langevin, France
"A new approach to search for neutron-antineutron oscillations, and a couple of other phenomena based on neutron reflection from surface: gravitational and whispering-gallery quantum states of neutrons"
ABSTRACT:

“An observation of neutron-antineutron oscillations (n-n ̅), which violate both B and B — L conservation, would constitute a scientific discovery of fundamental importance to physics and cosmology. A stringent upper bound on its transition rate would make an important contribution to our understanding of the baryon asymmetry of the universe by eliminating the post-sphaleron baryogenesis scenario in the light quark sector. We show that one can design an experiment using slow neutrons that in principle can reach the required sensitivity of 1010 s in the oscillation time, an improvement of 104 in the oscillation probability relative to the existing limit for free neutrons. This can be achieved by allowing both the neutron and antineutron components of the developing superposition state to coherently reflect from mirrors. We present a quantitative analysis of this scenario and show that, for sufficiently small transverse momenta of n/n ̅ and for certain choices of nuclei for the n/n ̅ guide material, the relative phase shift of the n and n ̅ components upon reflection and the n ̅ annihilation rate can be small. While the reflection of n ̅ from surface looks exotic and counterintuitive and seems to contradict to the common sense, in fact it is fully analogous to the reflection of n from surface. The later phenomenon is well known and used in neutron research from its first years. We illustrate it with two selected example of gravitational and whispering-gallery quantum states of neutrons.”


[V.V. Nesvizhevsky, A.Yu. Voronin, Surprising Quantum Bounces, Imperial College Press, London, 2015]  

ics Colloquium
Friday, November 16, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Mark Stiles [Host: Joe Poon & Avik Ghosh]
NIST
"Energy-efficient neuromorphic computing with magnetic tunnel junctions"
ABSTRACT:

Human brains can solve many problems with orders of magnitude more energy efficiency than traditional computers.  As the importance of such problems, like image, voice, and video recognition, increases, so does the drive to develop computers that approach the energy efficiency of the brain.  Magnetic devices, especially tunnel junctions, have several properties that make them attractive for such applications.  Their conductance depends on the state of the ferromagnets making it easy to read information that is stored in their magnetic state.  In addition, current can manipulate the magnetic state.  Based on this electrical control of the magnetic state, magnetic tunnel junctions are actively being developed for integration into CMOS integrated circuits to provide non-volatile memory.  This development makes it feasible to consider other geometries that have different properties.  I describe two of the computing primitives that have been constructed based on the different functionalities of magnetic tunnel junctions.  The first of these uses tunnel junctions in their superparamagnetic state as the basis for a population coding scheme.  The second uses them as non-linear oscillators in the first nanoscale “reservoir” for reservoir computing.

ics Colloquium
Friday, November 9, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Marija Vucelja [Host: Bob Jones]
UVA-Physics
"Thermal relaxations, the Mpemba effect, and adaptation of bacteria "
ABSTRACT:

Most of my talk will be about anomalous thermal relaxations, such as the Mpemba effect. Towards the end of my talk, I will also highlight a few topics in population dynamics that I have been working on. 

 

The Mpemba effect is a phenomenon when "hot can cool faster than cold" - a “shortcut” in relaxation to thermal equilibrium. It occurs when a physical system initially prepared at a hot temperature, cools down faster than an identical system prepared at a colder temperature. The effect was discovered as a peculiarity of water. Despite following observations in granular gasses, magnetic alloys, and spin glasses, the effect is still most often referred to as an “oddity” of water, although it is widespread and general.  I will describe how to define a Mpemba effect for an arbitrary physical system, and show how to quantify and estimate the probability of the Mpemba effect on a few examples. 

 

In the remaining time, I will briefly talk about the adaptation of bacterial populations and the immune system of bacteria with CRISPR.  Besides being the biology's newest buzzword and favorite gene editing tool, CRISPR is also a mechanism that allows bacteria to defend adaptively against phages and other invading genomic material. From the standpoint of physics and biology, the coevolution of bacteria and phages yields fascinating open questions. 

ics Colloquium
Friday, October 26, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Susan Coppersmith [Host: Despina Louca]
University of Wisconsin - Madison
""Building a Quantum Computer Using Silicon Quantum Dots""
ABSTRACT:

The steady increase in computational power of information processors over the past half-century has led to smart phones and the internet, changing commerce and our social lives.  Up to now, the primary way that computational power has increased is that the electronic components have been made smaller and smaller, but within the next decade feature sizes are expected to reach the fundamental limits imposed by the size of atoms.  However, it is possible that further huge increases in computational power could be achieved by building quantum computers, which exploit in new ways of the laws of quantum mechanics that govern the physical world.  This talk will discuss the challenges involved in building a large-scale quantum computer as well as progress that we have made in developing a quantum computer using silicon quantum dots.  Prospects for further development will also be discussed.

ics Colloquium
Friday, October 5, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Dragana Popovic [Host: Despina Louca]
Florida State University
"Unveiling the Normal State of Cuprate High-Temperature Superconductors: Hidden Order of Cooper Pairs"
ABSTRACT:

Many unusual properties of strongly correlated materials have been attributed to the proximity of quantum phase transitions (QPTs), where different types of orders compete and coexist, and may even give rise to novel phases.  In two-dimensional (2D) systems, the nature of the magnetic-field-tuned QPT from a superconducting to a normal state has been widely studied, but it remains an open question.  Underdoped copper-oxide high-temperature superconductors are effectively 2D materials and thus present a promising new platform for exploring this long-standing problem.  Although in cuprates the normal state is commonly probed by applying a perpendicular magnetic field (H) to suppress superconductivity, the identification and understanding of the H-induced normal state has been a challenge because of the complex interplay of disorder, temperature and quantum fluctuations, and the near-universal existence of charge-density-wave correlations. 

 

This talk will describe recent experimental advances in identifying and characterizing a full sequence of ground states as a function of H in underdoped cuprates.  In both the absence and the presence of charge order, the results demonstrate the key role of disorder in the H-tuned suppression of 2D superconductivity, giving rise to an intermediate regime with large quantum phase fluctuations, in contrast to the conventional scenario.  Most strikingly, the interplay of the “striped” charge order with high-temperature superconductivity leads to the emergence of an unanticipated, insulatinglike ground state with strong superconducting phase fluctuations, suggesting an unprecedented freezing (i.e. “the hidden order”) of Cooper pairs.  Possible scenarios will be discussed, including the implications of the results for understanding the physics of the cuprate pseudogap regime, as well as other 2D superconductors.

ics Colloquium
Thursday, October 4, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Utpal Chatterjee [Host: Bob Jones]
University of Virginia - Department of Physics
"Charge density wave phase transitions in transition metal dichalcogenides"
ABSTRACT:

Layered transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) are well known for their rich phase diagrams, which
encompass diverse quantum states including metals, semiconductors, Mott insulators, superconductors, and
charge density waves (CDWs). For instance, 2H-NbSe2 and 2H-TaS2 are canonical incommensurate CDW
systems, while 1T-TiSe2 harbors a commensurate CDW order. There is a coexistence/competition of CDW
and superconductivity in 2H-NbSe2 and 2H-TaS2, though this is not the case for pristine 1T-TiSe2. A subtle
interplay of CDW and superconducting orders, however, appears in each of these materials via chemical
intercalation or under pressure. Such a competition between or coexistence of proximate broken-symmetry
phases resembles many aspects of the phase diagram of cuprate high temperature superconductors
(HTSCs)—particularly, in the underdoped regime where the enigmatic pseudogap phase exists. The origin
of the CDW order in these compounds is an intriguing puzzle despite decades of research. We will present
our experimental data, which combine Angle Resolved Photoemission Spectroscopy, Scanning Tunneling
Spectroscopy, scattering and transport measurements, to provide new insights into the relative importance
of lattice and Coulomb effects in the CDW transitions of these compounds. These studies will also highlight
the distinctive impacts of disorder and doping in commensurate and incommensurate CDW systems.
Finally, comparing spectroscopic features of the CDW state of the TMDs with those of the normal state
underdoped HTSCs, we will discuss whether a CDW order can possibly be the origin of the pseudogap
phase in the cuprates.

ics Colloquium
Friday, September 28, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Roxanne Springer [Host: Simonetta Liuti]
Duke University
"Feynmanʼs Footprints: Quantum Field Theory in Nuclear and Particle Physics"
ABSTRACT:

2018 is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Richard Feynman.
His discoveries and new formalisms, and the way he thought about
solving problems, transformed the way we think
about physics. I will talk about examples of how these impacted present results
in nuclear and particle physics.

I will also expand upon what might be called Feynmanʼs Scientific Method,
and how by following that method we can become better scientists ourselves
and nurture the next generation of scientists.

ics Colloquium
Monday, September 24, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 203
Diana Vaman [Host: Bob Jones]
University of Virginia - Physics
"Emergent Gravity"
 
 Slideshow (PDF)
ABSTRACT:

Is gravity a fundamental force? I will discuss a few scenarios in which gravity emerges from the dynamics of some underlying field theory. In holography (or AdS/CFT correspondence), Einstein's equations for the bulk gravity dual are linked to entanglement in the boundary field theory. In another example, the graviton emerges as a composite spin two massless particle in a scalar field theory.

SLIDESHOW:
ics Colloquium
Friday, September 7, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Evelyn Thomson [Host: Chris Neu]
University of Pennsylvania
"Searching for Supersymmetry with the ATLAS experiment"
ABSTRACT:

The ATLAS experiment is searching new territory for evidence of new particles produced in proton collisions at the highest energies.  Questioning assumptions is important in these searches. I will compare selected results from searches for supersymmetry with and without the assumption of R-Parity, a quantum number derived from the spin and type of particle.  I will also present some of the detector-related challenges associated with measuring charged particle momenta, including the planned upgrade of the detector to cope with up to 200 proton collisions every 25 nanoseconds.

ics Colloquium
Friday, April 27, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Andre Luiz De Gouvea [Host: P. Q. Hung]
Northwestern University
"The Brave nu World"
 
 Slideshow (PDF)
ABSTRACT:

I will review the current theoretical and phenomenological status of neutrino physics. In more detail, I will discuss our current understanding of neutrino properties, open questions, some new physics ideas behind nonzero neutrino masses, and the challenges of piecing together the neutrino mass puzzle. I will also comment on the new physics reach of the current and the next generation of neutrino oscillation experiments. 

SLIDESHOW:
ics Colloquium
Thursday, April 26, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Kerry Vahala [Host: OSA/SPIE Student Chapter]
Caltech
"High-Q Optical Micro-cavities: Towards Integrated Optical Time Standards and Frequency Synthesizers"
ABSTRACT:

Communication systems leverage the respective strengths of optics and electronics to convey high-bandwidth signals over great distances.  These systems were enabled by a revolution in low-optical-loss dielectric fiber, complex integrated circuits as well as devices that link together the optical and electrical worlds.  Today, another revolution is leveraging the advantages of optics and electronics in new ways.  At its center is the laser frequency comb which provides a coherent link between these two worlds. Significantly, because the link is also bidirectional, performance attributes previously unique to electronics and optics can be shared. The end result has been transformative for time keeping, frequency metrology, precision spectroscopy, microwave-generation, ranging and other technologies. Even more recently, low-optical-loss dielectrics, now in the form of high-Q optical resonators, are enabling the miniaturization of frequency combs. These new `microcombs’ can be integrated with electronics and other optical components to potentially create systems on-a-chip.  I will briefly overview the history and elements of frequency combs as well as the physics of the new microcombs. Application of the microcombs for spectroscopy and LIDAR will be discussed.  Finally, efforts underway to develop integrated optical clocks and integrated optical frequency synthesizers using the microcomb element are described.

ics Colloquium
Friday, April 20, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Prof. Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond (Emeritus) [Host: Olivier Pfister]
"Teaching physics as it is done: A plea for qualitative methods "
ABSTRACT:

It is customary for young physicists, when entering their professional career, to be astonished by the huge difference between physics as it is done and physics as it is taught. The purpose is to show that teaching of physics as it is done is indeed possible and should be encouraged, despite the undeniable existence of didactical, epistemological and institutional obstacles. 

 

ics Colloquium
Friday, April 13, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
James Wyant [Host: OSA/SPIE Student Chapter]
University of Arizona
"Using Dynamic Interferometry to Measure Optics of Next Generation Telescopes"
ABSTRACT:

There are currently several large telescope projects. One new telescope is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which is planned to be launched into space on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana in Spring 2019. It is expected that JWST will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System. The primary mirror will consist of 18 mirror segments made of beryllium coated with gold to give a total aperture diameter of 6.5 m. It is critical that the 18 mirror segments are properly phased so they perform as a single 6.5 m diameter mirror. JWST's backplane is the large structure that holds and supports the big hexagonal mirrors of the telescope. The backplane has an important job as it must carry not only the 6.5 m diameter primary mirror plus other telescope optics, but also the entire module of scientific instruments. The mechanical stability and thermal characteristics of the graphite composite backplane are extremely important for optimum performance of the telescope. JWST has many challenging optical testing requirements including a) Primary mirror figure testing, b) Back structure measurement, c) Segment phasing, d) Thermal and mechanical strain, and e) Vibrational dynamics.

 

Another telescope currently being constructed is the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), a large ground-based telescope consisting of seven 8.5 m diameter mirrors that will be built on a peak in the Andes Mountains near several existing telescope facilities at Las Campanas, Chile at an altitude of over 2,550 meters. The seven 8.4 m diameter mirror segments will be phased to give a telescope having the resolving power of a telescope 24.5 meters in diameter. GMT is expected to be operational for many decades, enabling breakthrough science ranging from studies of the first stars and galaxies in the universe to the exploration of extrasolar alien worlds. The GMT is poised to answer some of humanity’s biggest questions about the nature of exoplanets and whether we are alone in the universe, about the beginning of the universe to understand the formation and evolution of the galaxies, about the origin of the chemical elements, and how black holes grow. Like the JWST, the GMT has many challenging testing requirements.

During this talk we will describe the JWST and the GMT and the dynamic interferometry techniques that have been developed to measure high quality large telescope optics and the surface vibration and stability characteristics of the supporting structure required for high-quality performance large telescopes.

ics Joint Colloquium with Physics and Astronomy/NRAO


Friday, April 6, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 203
Nicolas Yunes [Host: Kent Yagi]
Montana State University
"What are Gravitational Waves telling us about Theoretical Physics "
ABSTRACT:

The recent gravitational wave observations of the collision of black holes and of neutron stars have allowed us to pierce into the extreme gravity regime, where gravity is simultaneously unfathomably large and wildly dynamical.  These waves encode a trove of information about physics that is prime for the taking, including potential revelations about the validity of Einstein's theory of General Relativity and about nuclear physics in the extreme gravity regime. In this talk, I will describe some of the inferences we can make on both theoretical and nuclear physics from current and future gravitational wave observations. 

ics Colloquium
Friday, March 30, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Adam Kaminski [Host: Utpal Chatterjee]
Iowa State and Ames Lab.
"Chasing Relativistic Electrons in Topological Quantum Materials"
 
 Slideshow (PDF)
ABSTRACT:

The discovery of Dirac fermions in graphene has inspired a search for Dirac and Weyl semimetals in three dimensions thereby making it possible to realize exotic phases of matter first proposed in particle physics. Such materials are characterized by the presence of nontrivial quantum electronic states, where the electron’s spin is coupled with its momentum and Fermi surfaces are no longer closed contours in the momentum space, but instead consist of disconnected arcs. This opens up the possibility for developing new devices in which information is stored and processed using spin rather than charge. Such platforms may significantly enhance the speed and energy efficiency of information storage and processing. In this talk we will discuss the electronic properties of several of newly discovered tellurium based topological quantum materials. In WTe2 we have observed a topological transition involving a change of the Fermi surface topology (known as a Lifshitz transition) driven by temperature. The strong temperature-dependence of the chemical potential that is at the heart of this phenomenon is also important for understanding the thermoelectric properties of such semimetals. In a close cousin, MoTe2, by using high-resolution laser based Angle Resolved Photoemission Spectroscopy (ARPES) we identify Weyl points and Fermi surface arcs, showing a new type of topological Weyl semimetal with electron and hole pockets that touch at a Weyl point. I will also present evidence for a new topological state in PtSn4, that manifests itself by presence of set of extended arcs rather than Dirac points, and so far is not yet understood theoretically. These results open up new directions for research aimed at enhancing topological responsiveness of new quantum materials.

SLIDESHOW:
ics Colloquium
Friday, March 23, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
William Bialek [Host: Marija Vucelja]
Princeton University
"Statistical mechanics for networks of real neurons"
 
 Slideshow (PDF)
ABSTRACT:

Thoughts, memories, percepts, and actions all result from the interactions among large numbers of neurons.  Physicists have long hoped that these emergent behaviors could be described using ideas from statistical mechanics.  Recent experimental developments have made it possible to monitor, simultaneously, the electrical activity in hundreds or even thousands of cells.  I will describe surprisingly simple statistical physics models that provide a detailed, quantitative account of these data, and then turn to renormalization group ideas that allow us to search explicitly for some underlying simplicity.  There are signs that real networks are described by non-trivial fixed points, setting the stage for more ambitious theorizing.

http://www.princeton.edu/~wbialek/wbialek.html

SLIDESHOW:
ics Hoxton Lecture


Thursday, March 22, 2018
7:00 PM
Chemistry , Room 402
William Bialek [Host: Marija Vucelja]
Princeton University
"The Physics of Life"
 
 Slideshow (PDF)
ABSTRACT:

In the four hundred years since Galileo, the physics community has constructed a remarkably successful mathematical description of the world around us.  From deep inside the atomic nucleus to the structure of the universe on the largest scales, from the flow air over the wing of an airplane to the flow of electrons in a computer chip, we can predict in detail what we see, and what will happen when we look in places we have never looked before.  What are the limits to this predictive power?  In particular, can we imagine a theoretical physicist’s approach to the complex and diverse phenomena of the living world?  Is there something fundamentally unpredictable about life, or are we missing some deep theoretical principles that could bring the living world under the predictive umbrella of physics?  Exploring this question gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we expect from our scientific theories, and on many beautiful phenomena.  I hope to leave you with a deeper appreciation for the precision of life’s basic mechanisms, and with optimism about the prospects for better theories. 

VIDEO:
ics Joint Colloquium with Physics and Astronomy/NRAO


Friday, March 16, 2018
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 203
Imre Bartos [Host: Kent Yagi]
University of Florida
"Multi-messenger Astrophysics in Light of LIGO’s Recent Discoveries"
ABSTRACT:

The recent discoveries of gravitational waves unveiled numerous opportunities in astrophysics, as well as in the study of the cosmos and the laws of physics.  In particular, the multi-messenger detection of binary neutron-star merger GW170817 through gravitational waves and across the electromagnetic spectrum already delivered several important results. I will outline what we learned from GW170817 so far (its remnant is still observable!), along with the opportunities and challenges of near-future multi-messenger observations that will broaden our horizon with gravitational waves in the next few years.  We can expect the proliferation of detected binary neutron star and binary black hole mergers, along with the large-scale efforts to rapidly identify the electromagnetic and neutrino counterparts of these events.  Frequent multi-messenger observations will enable the study of exceptional events, source populations, and sufficient statistics to probe new physics and cosmology.

   

Colloquia and Special Lectures Committee
Cass Sackett (Chair)
Bob Hirosky (Member)
Israel Klich (Member)
Seunghun Lee (Member)
Simonetta Liuti (Member)
Marija Vucelja (Member)
Nilanga Liyanage (Ex-Officio)

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