Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

All future

Thursday, March 29th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Barry Mauk, APL
Subject: New perspectives on Jupiter’s novel space environment and aurora from NASA’s Juno mission

B. H. Mauk, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, USA (

Jupiter’s uniquely powerful auroras are thought to be symptoms of Jupiter’s attempt to spin up its space environment and shed angular moment (albeit minuscule amounts). The processes involved connect together such disparate phenomena as the volcanoes of Jupiter’s moon Io and the Jupiter-unique synchrotron emissions imaged from ground radio telescopes at Earth. While the power sources for auroral processes at Earth and Jupiter are known to be very different, it has been expected that the processes that convert that power to auroral emissions would be very similar. NASA’s Juno mission, now in a polar orbit at Jupiter, is dramatically altering this view about how Jupiter’s space environment operates. Auroral processes are much more energetic than expected, generating beams of electrons with multiple MeV energies and with directional intensities that can be more intense than the electrons within Jupiter’s radiation belts. The most intense auroral emissions appear to be generated by processes that have no precedent within Earth auroral processes. And, the auroral generation processes are poorly correlated, unexpectedly, with any large-scale electric currents thought necessary to regulate the interactions between Jupiter’s spinning atmosphere and space environment. These and other findings are discussed, along with presentation of Juno’s broader mission and discoveries.

Faculty Host: Robert Lysak

Thursday, April 5th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Alessandra Corsi, Texas Tech
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Vuk Mandic

Thursday, April 12th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Doug Glenzinski, Fermilab
Subject: A Rare Opportunity - the Mu2e Experiment at Fermilab

The muon, a heavy cousin of the electron, was discovered in 1936. Since
that time they have only ever been observed to do one of two things: 1)
scatter or 2) decay into final states that include a combination of
charged leptons and neutrinos. A new experiment at Fermilab - the Mu2e
experiment - is going to look for a third thing: a muon trapped in atomic
orbit that interacts with the nucleus to produce an electron and nothing
else. This is a process that's predicted to occur very very rarely, maybe
once every 10^15 decays,(or less!). But this very rare decay will probe
new physics mass scales up to 10,000 TeV/c^2 and may hold the key to
understanding physics at its most fundamental level. The Mu2e experiment
is an ambitious endeavor whose goal is to observe this very rare
interaction for the first time - a discovery that could help reveal a new
paradigm of particle physics.

Faculty Host: Dan Cronin-Hennessy

Thursday, April 19th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Victoria Kaspi, McGill University.
Subject: TBD

Thursday, April 26th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: John Bush, MIT
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: J. Woods Halley

Thursday, May 3rd 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Jeffrey Bub, Maryland
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Michel Janssen

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