Physics and Astronomy Calendar

semester, 2018


Friday, January 5th 2018
Speaker: No colloquium this week.

Wednesday, January 10th 2018
12:00 pm:
Community Recognition Luncheon in Tate B50 lobby

QUESTIONS? Contact Julie at jjmurphy@umn.edu or 612-625-6928

Speaker:  Jaebak Kim, Korea University
Subject:  Search for CP violation using T-odd correlations in D0 → K+K−π+π− decay / The 3-dimensional level one track trigger for the Belle II experiment

We search for CP violation using T-odd correlation in the singly Cabbibo suppressed D0 -> K+K-pi+pi- decay at the KEKB asymmetric e+e- collider. The D+- particles are reconstructed to tag the D0 particles and a triple product using the momentum of the D0's daughter particles is calculated. Cuts and vetos are applied to the reconstructed sample. A two dimensional simultaneous fit using four sub-samples depending on the triple product and D0 flavor while using the invariant mass of D0 and the invariant mass difference between D+ and D0 particles as the two dimensions is performed. The T-odd correlation and systematics are calculated.

The next generation e+ e- collision experiment called Belle II will start colliding particles this year. It will search for new physics using high precision measurements which were not possible before. The precision will be achieved by using a high luminosity beam. Due to the luminosity of the beam, there must be an fast and efficient trigger system in order to record the physics relevant data. The Belle II level 1 trigger system is a combination of sub-trigger FPGA based systems, where the main triggers are the central drift chamber (CDC) trigger and electromagnetic calorimeter detector trigger (ECL) trigger. Between them the CDC trigger finds the momentum and vertex position of charged tracks. These precise information will then be used to determine whether the event has
interesting physics or not. If the event is determined to be physics relevant, the DAQ system will record the detector data to disk. The level 1 CDC trigger consists of 7 types of boards. They are the Frontend boards, Merger boards, TSF boards, 2D finder board, Event time finder board, 3D tracker boards, and Neural Network boards. Each board has a specific function that makes tracking charged track possible with high precision.


Friday, January 12th 2018
Speaker: No colloquium this week.

Monday, January 15th 2018

Tuesday, January 16th 2018
12:20 pm:
Space Physics Seminar in Tate 301-20
There will be no seminar this week.

Wednesday, January 17th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Jeff Derby (Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, U of M)
Subject: The synergy of modeling and novel experiments for melt crystal growth research

Our understanding of crystal growth fundamentals and processes are advanced when the synergy between mathematical models and novel experiments is exploited. We present recent examples of how modeling and experiments together have enabled the identification of fundamental mechanisms important during the growth of bulk crystals from the melt.

We first discuss how microgravity experiments, carried out via sounding rockets, motivated a reexamination of classical theories for foreign particle engulfment during crystal growth. Via the development and application of rigorous numerical models, we were able, for the first time in over a decade of research on this system, to quantitatively describe data on the engulfment of SiC (silicon carbide) particles during the growth of crystalline silicon. Moreover, model results identified previously unascertained mechanisms responsible for the behavior of this system and, via this insight, provided insight for analytical derivation of a new scaling law for the dependence of critical engulfment velocity on particle size.

We finish with an overview of exciting, new research that employs neutron imaging to directly “see,” in operando, the bulk growth of scintillator crystals during a gradient-freeze process. We argue that the synergies of “seeing” via both models and neutron imaging will improve our fundamental understanding and provide for a closed-loop approach for optimizing the growth of large, single crystals from the melt.

This research was supported in part by NASA NNX10AR70G, DOE/NNSA DE-NA0002514, DOE/NNSA/DNN R&D (LBNL subcontract AC0205CH11231); no official endorsement should be inferred.

Faculty Host: Paul Crowell
3:35 pm:
To be announced.

Thursday, January 18th 2018
10:10 am:
Biophysics Seminar in PAN 120
Speaker: John Yin, University of Wisconsin
Subject: Paths to biological polymers: an insight from virus infections and origins of life

(1) Given the genome of a virus and PubMed, how well could one predict the one-step growth of the virus? Decades of biochemical and biophysical studies on bacteriophage T7, incorporated into a chemical kinetic model for template-dependent processes of transcription, translation, and genome replication, as well as particle assembly and release, enabled simulation of one-step growth behavior that recapitulated the experimentally observed kinetics of phage growth. Extension of the model and experiments to study the effects of host-cell physiology on phage growth highlighted the host cellular protein synthesis machinery as a key limiting resource for phage growth.
(2) Given amino acid monomers, but no cells, no templates and no protein synthesis machinery, how might the monomers nevertheless form polymers? The synthesis of peptide bonds between amino acids is a condensation reaction that is generally disfavored in aqueous solutions. However, we have found that for appropriate initial conditions of pH and temperature, drying of amino acids can promote their condensation to form peptides.
So what is the common insight from (1) and (2)? The often neglected “nurture” part of “nature versus nurture” can be important. The kinetics of phage growth depends on the physiological state of its host cell, and the de novo synthesis of a polypeptide species critically depends on the acidity and temperature of its initial solution. In short, we are all products of our environments.

Faculty Host: J. Woods Halley
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Harvey Brown, Philosophy of Physics, University of Oxford
Subject: Quantum Bayesianism (QBism): the way to understand the quantum world

The recent philosophy of Quantum Bayesianism, or QBism, represents an attempt to solve the traditional puzzles in the foundations of quantum theory by denying the objective reality of the quantum state. Einstein had hoped to remove the spectre of nonlocality in the theory by also assigning an epistemic status to the quantum state, but his version of this doctrine was recently proved to be inconsistent with the predictions of quantum mechanics. In this talk, I present plausibility arguments, old and new, for the reality of the quantum state, and expose what I think are weaknesses in QBism as a philosophy of science. (The talk is based on this paper: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/12978/


Friday, January 19th 2018
10:10 am:
Nuclear Physics Seminar in Tate 201-20
To be announced.
12:20 pm:
Speaker: Evan Moen
Subject: Spin Transport in Superconducting Spin Valves
Speaker: No colloquium this week.
Speaker: Harvey Brown, Philosophy of Physics, University of Oxford
Subject: "How Einstein Came to Use the Action-Reaction Principle in Promoting his Theory of Gravity"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

Einstein regarded as one of the triumphs of his 1915 theory of gravity — the general theory of relativity — that it vindicated the action–reaction principle, while Newtonian mechanics as well as his 1905 special theory of relativity supposedly violated it. In this talk I examine why Einstein came to emphasise this position several years after the development of general relativity. Several key considerations are relevant to the story: the connection Einstein originally saw between Mach’s analysis of inertia and both the equivalence principle and the principle of general covariance, the waning of Mach’s influence owing to de Sitter’s 1917 results, and Einstein’s detailed correspondence with Moritz Schlick in 1920. (The talk is based on ‘Einstein, the reality of space, and the action-reaction principle’, H.R.B. and Dennis Lehmkuhl, in Einstein, Tagore and the Nature of Reality, Partha Ghose (ed.), Routledge, London and New York, 2016; pp. 9-36. arXiv:1306.4902v1.)

4:40 pm:
Speaker: Priscilla Cushman, University of Minnesota
Subject: SuperCDMS - searching for dark matter

Monday, January 22nd 2018
1:25 pm:
To be announced.

Tuesday, January 23rd 2018
2:30 pm:
Nuclear Theory Seminar in Physics 301-20
Speaker: Chun Shen, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Subject: Going with the flow— the nuclear phase diagram at the highest temperatures and densities
Candidate for the Nucear Theory Assistant Professor position

Nuclear matter has a complex phase structure, with a deconfined Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP) expected to be present under conditions of extreme pressure and temperature. The hot QGP filled the universe about few microseconds after the Big Bang. This hot nuclear matter can be generated in the laboratory via the collision of heavy atomic nuclei at high energy. I will review recent theoretical progress in studying the transport properties the QGP at almost zero baryon density. The recent beam energy scan experiments at the Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider (RHIC) offer a unique opportunity to study the nuclear phase diagram in a hot and baryon-rich environment. I will focus on the development of a comprehensive framework that is able to connect the fundamental theory of strong interactions with the RHIC experimental observations. This dynamical framework paves the way for quantitative characterization of the QGP and for locating the critical point in the nuclear phase diagram. These studies will advance our understanding of strongly interacting many-body systems and build interconnections with other areas of physics, including string theory, cosmology, and cold atomic gases.


Wednesday, January 24th 2018
1:30 pm:
Speaker: Fiona Burnell (University of Minnesota)
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Paul Crowell

Thursday, January 25th 2018
Subject: There will be no colloquium this week

Friday, January 26th 2018
Speaker: Jorn Kersten (Bergen U., Norway)
Subject: Late Kinetic Decoupling and Self-Interacting Dark Matter

The cosmological LambdaCDM standard model faces some problems related to the formation of structures at relatively small scales, most notably the missing-satellites problem, the cusp-core problem, the too-big-to-fail problem, and the diversity problem. I will advertise late kinetic decoupling of dark matter as a mechanism to address the missing satellites problem. Afterwards, I will describe a model involving self-interacting dark matter and sterile neutrinos that can tackle all four small-scale problems.

Speaker: No colloquium this week.
Speaker: Nancy Tomes, Department of History, Stony Brook University
Subject: "’Recovery’ as Concept, Model, and Movement in the Mental Health Field: the Challenge of Writing a ‘History of the Present’"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

Since the 1980s, the recovery concept has become central to efforts to empower people with severe and persistent mental illness. Advocates of the recovery model stress the importance of non-medical measures, such as supported employment, supported housing, strong community networks and perhaps most importantly, the support and leadership of other people with lived experience of mental illness. My talk will explore both the history and the historiography of the recovery model in the mental health field. I will discuss how the approaches that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s differed from previous attempts at “after care” for ex-mental patients, and look at their overlap with contemporary developments in addiction treatment and the disability rights movement. Finally, I will discuss criticisms of the recovery movement and its place in late 20th c. “reforms” of the welfare state as an example of how historical scholarship intersects with contemporary advocacy concerns and policy issues.


Monday, January 29th 2018
3:30 pm:
FTPI Special Seminar in Tate 301-20
Speaker: Maxim Pospelov
Candidate for FTPI Faculty Position
Faculty Host: Keith Olive

Tuesday, January 30th 2018
1:00 pm:
FTPI Special Seminar in Tate 201-20
Speaker: Maxim Pospelov
Candidate for FTPI Faculty Position
Faculty Host: Keith Olive

Wednesday, January 31st 2018
1:30 pm:
Speaker: Sergey Frolov (Pittsburgh)
Subject: Quantum dot chains as emulators of topological superconductors

Tunneling spectroscopy measurements on one-dimensional superconducting hybrid materials have revealed signatures of Majorana fermions which are the edge states of a bulk topological superconducting phase. We couple strong spin-orbit semiconductor InSb nanowires to conventional superconductors (NbTiN, Al) to obtain additional signatures of Majorana fermions and to explore the magnetic-field driven topological phase transition. Specifically, we map out the phase diagram of the topological phase in the space of Zeeman energy and chemical potential, and investigate the apparent closing and re-opening of the superconducting gap. We investigate how the topological superconducting phase would manifest in finite size systems, by electrostatically splitting the wire into segments of varied length. By chaining up several segments of a nanowire, we are realizing a quantum simulator of the Kitaev chain with tunable on-site energies and couplings between the sites, a step towards quantum simulation with semiconductor nanostructures.

Faculty Host: Vlad Pribiag

Thursday, February 1st 2018
Speaker: Claudia Scarlata
Speaker: Mark Bell, University of Minnesota
Subject: Nuclear Weapons and International Politics Today

Nuclear weapons are back in the news. This talk provides an overview of the most important and pressing current issues relating to nuclear weapons and international politics, including ongoing US-North Korea tensions, US nuclear modernization and the US Nuclear Posture Review, the extent of presidential authority over nuclear weapons, the risk of nuclear proliferation by U.S. allies and adversaries, and the recent nuclear ban treaty. The talk places these current issues within a broader historical context and discusses the extent to which today's nuclear concerns represent continuity or change from previous eras.

Faculty Host: Robert Lysak

Friday, February 2nd 2018
Speaker: Liliana Velasco-Sevilla (Bergen U., Norway)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: No colloquium this week.
Speaker: Marc Swackhamer, School of Architecture, University of Minnesota
Subject: "Hypernatural: Architecture's New Relationship with Nature" - MCPS Annual Science Studies Symposium
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

Recent decades have witnessed the increasing popularity of nature-focused movements in architecture, such as sustainability, biophilia, biomimicry, biodesign, and emergent design. These movements are dramatically altering the relationship between the designed environment and the natural world, and although overlaps exist, there is no common discourse that unites these areas of study. A holistic framework is therefore needed to address these disparate areas of inquiry, the full spectrum of their operations, and their common goals and methodologies. This talk will address the ways in which architectural designers increasingly work directly with natural processes—rather than against them—in order to amplify, extend, or exceed natural capacities.


Wednesday, February 7th 2018
1:30 pm:
Speaker: Cristian Batista (Tennessee)
Faculty Host: Natalia Perkins

Thursday, February 8th 2018
Speaker: Liliya Williams
Speaker: Cristian Batista (Tennessee)
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Natalia Perkins

Friday, February 9th 2018
Speaker: Robert Lasenby (Perimeter)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: Dr. Terry Jones, MIfA, U of Minnesota
Speaker: Jacqueline Feke, Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo
Subject: "Ptolemy's Ethics"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

Why did Ptolemy devote his time to the mathematical sciences, especially astronomy? The answer lies in his brief ethical statement in the first chapter of the Almagest. Coopting virtue ethics for the mathematician, Ptolemy argues that the best life is the one devoted to mathematics, where the mathematician configures his soul in accordance with the good order in the heavens. In this paper, I analyze this ethical statement and argue that to understand why and how astronomical objects serve as ethical exemplars in Ptolemy’s philosophy we must look to his Harmonics. It is because musical pitches, heavenly bodies, and human souls are all characterized by harmonic ratios that the study of either harmonics or astronomy can lead to the good life.


Monday, February 12th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Lawrence Rudnick, UMN
Subject: Galaxy Clusters
3:30 pm:
FTPI Special Seminar in Tate 301-20
Speaker: Katherine Freese
Candidate for FTPI Faculty Position
Faculty Host: Keith Olive

Tuesday, February 13th 2018
1:00 pm:
FTPI Special Seminar in Tate 201-20
Speaker: Katherine Freese
Candidate for FTPI Faculty Position
Faculty Host: Keith Olive

Wednesday, February 14th 2018
1:30 pm:
Speaker: Damjan Pelc (University of Minnesota)
Faculty Host: Paul Crowell

Thursday, February 15th 2018
08:00 am:
Speaker: TBD
Subject: TBD
Speaker: Jamie Cheshire and Tom Jones

Friday, February 16th 2018
Speaker: TBA
Subject: TBA
Speaker: No colloquium this week.
Speaker: Cynthia Connolly, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
Subject: "A 'Big Business Built for Little Customers:' Children and the Flavored Aspirin Market in the United States, 1948–1973"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

By the early postwar era, new children’s consumer goods such as sweetened cereals, toys, games, and books flooded the market. In September, 1947, the bright orange-colored St. Joseph Aspirin for Children joined them amid a wave of creative marketing for what became known as candy aspirin. An immediate success, flavored low dose aspirin reshaped medical, nursing, and parental responses to pediatric fever and pain. Unfortunately, however, its popularity with children resulted in an unintended consequence—a 500% increase in aspirin poison rates within a few years. While pediatricians and public health activists argued for warning labels and reconfigured bottles that made it harder for children to access the pills, the aspirin industry went on the offense, using tactics similar to those of the cigarette industry— challenge the problem’s existence; the data underpinning the science; deflect blame onto parents; and mount a public relations campaign aimed at confusing the public. This paper analyzes a complicated set of negotiations at the junction of science, commerce, and childhood. In an era rife with child protection rhetoric, debates surrounding children’s aspirin in the years between 1948 and 1973 reveal the competition among stakeholders to “speak” for children, the many negotiations regarding how to determine children’s “best interests,” and what can happen when recommendations for children’s well-being challenge the economic well-being of major corporations.


Monday, February 19th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Marcelo Alvarez, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Subject: Reionization
Faculty Host: Shaul Hanany
3:30 pm:
FTPI Special Seminar in Tate 301-20
Speaker: Mithat Unsal
Candidate for FTPI Faculty Position
Faculty Host: Keith Olive

Tuesday, February 20th 2018
1:00 pm:
FTPI Special Seminar in Tate 201-20
Speaker: Mithat Unsal
Candidate for FTPI Faculty Position
Faculty Host: Keith Olive

Wednesday, February 21st 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Erez Berg (U of Chicago)
Faculty Host: Rafael Fernandes

Thursday, February 22nd 2018
Speaker: Avery Garon
Speaker: Erez Berg (University of Chicago)
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Paul Crowell

Friday, February 23rd 2018
Speaker: Daniel Chung (U. Wisconsin, Madison)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: Attila Kovacs
Speaker: Nahyan Fancy, Department of History, DePauw University
Subject: "Did Humoral Theory Undergo any Changes in Post-Avicennan Medicine? Examples from the Commentaries of Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288) and his Successors in Western Eurasia"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

It has long been maintained that Galenic/Hippocratic humoral theory reigned supreme in Islamic societies from when Greek medical texts were translated into Arabic in the ninth century till the arrival of European colonial powers in the nineteenth. Historians have provided various explanations for the persistence of humoral theory in Islamic societies ranging from the (alleged) religious prohibition against dissection to a predisposition amongst medical writers towards systematizing and summarizing rather than critical inquiry. Yet, medical writers engaged critically with medical theory in their commentaries on the Canon of Medicine and the Epitome. The leading figure in this critical engagement was Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288). Underlying his modification of humoral theory was a sustained critique of the Galenic physiological and anatomical understanding of digestion. Consequently, the paper provides evidence for Ibn al-Nafīs conducting anatomical observations on dead animals. Moreover, the fact that his new proposals were debated and accepted by later Islamic physicians counters the prevalent assumption that his works were ignored in the later period, and thus raises the distinct possibility that these new ideas on the humors and digestion were appropriated by Renaissance physicians such as Jean Fernel.


Wednesday, February 28th 2018
4:30 pm:
See Joint Quantum Materials & Condensed Matter Seminar on Thursday this week only.

Thursday, March 1st 2018
Speaker: Evan Tyler
Speaker: Sara Seager, MIT
Subject: Exoplanets
Joint Colloquium with Earth Sciences (Nier Lecture)
Speaker: Sara Seager, MIT

Friday, March 2nd 2018
Speaker: Andrew Spray, (IBS, Daejon, Korea)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: Dr. Mateusz Ruszkowski, U. Michigan
Faculty Host: Thomas W. Jones
Speaker: Alisa Bokulich, Department of Philosophy, Boston University
Subject: "Using Models to Correct Data: Paleodiversity and the Fossil Record"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

It has long been recognized that models play a crucial role in science, and in data more specifically. However, as our philosophical understanding of theoretical models has grown, our view of data models has arguably languished. In this talk I use the case of how paleontologists are constructing data-model representations of the history of paleodiversity from the fossil record to show how our views about data models should be updated. In studying the history and evolution of life, the fossil record is a vital source of data. However, as both Lyell and Darwin recognized early on, it is a highly incomplete and biased representation. A central research program to emerge in paleontology is what D. Sepkoski has called the “generalized” (or what I prefer to call “corrected”) reading of the fossil record. Building on this historical work, I examine in detail the ways in which various models and computer simulations are being used to correct the data in paleontology today. On the basis of this research I argue for the following: First, the notion of a data model should be disentangled from the set-theoretic, ‘instantial’ view of models. Data models, like other models in science, should be understood as representations. Second, representation does not mean perfectly accurate depiction. Data models should instead be assessed as adequate-for-a-purpose. Third, the ‘purity’ of a data model is not a measure of its epistemic reliability. I conclude by drawing some parallels between data models in paleontology and data models in climate science.


Monday, March 5th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Zewei Xiong, UMN
Faculty Host: Yong-Zhong Qian

Thursday, March 8th 2018
Speaker: Trevor Knuth and Terry Jones
Tate Grand Opening

Friday, March 9th 2018
Speaker: Stephen Martin (Northern Illinois U.)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: David Sand, U. Arizona
Faculty Host: M. Claudia Scarlata

Thursday, March 15th 2018
Speaker: No Journal Club - Spring Break
Subject: There will be no colloquium this week due to Spring Break

Friday, March 16th 2018
SPRING BREAK - No seminar this week
Speaker: No colloquium this week - Spring Break

Monday, March 19th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Liliya Williams, UMN

Wednesday, March 21st 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, MIT
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Vlad Pribiag

Thursday, March 22nd 2018
Speaker: Sharan Banagiri and Larry Rudnick
Speaker: Pablo Jarillo-Herrero (MIT)
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Paul Crowell

Friday, March 23rd 2018
Speaker: Gokce Basar (U. Illinois, Chicago)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: Dr. Jordan Stone, U. Arizona
Faculty Host: Charles E. Woodward
Speaker: Rebecca Kluchin, Department of History, California State University - Sacramento
Subject: "Court-Ordered Cesarean Sections in 1980s America"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

In June 1987, Angela Carder was twenty-seven years old, married, pregnant, and in remission from cancer. Twenty-five weeks into her pregnancy, she learned that the disease had returned and metastasized in her right lung. Her prognosis was terminal and her condition deteriorated rapidly. When George Washington University Hospital administrators learned that Carder was dying and lacked a plan to save her fetus, they initiated an emergency legal hearing to determine their responsibility to her pregnancy. A judge ordered Carder to undergo an immediate cesarean section. The baby lived two hours. Carder died two days later.

Carder’s parents appealed the decision and in 1990, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled in their favor. The Carder case became national news and entered popular culture when the popular television show LA Law ran an episode based on it. But the Carder case did not occur in a vacuum; in fact, one month before Carder died, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article that revealed twenty-one prior attempts of court-ordered cesarean sections, eighteen of which were successful. Eighty-one percent of patients forced to undergo surgery were women of color and twenty-four percent were non-English speakers. The media attention granted to the Carder case obscured the other forced cesareans and erased women of color from the story. This paper reveals this hidden reproductive history, places it in the context of other reproductive abuses, and locates women of color at the center of the story instead of on the periphery. It argues that court-ordered cesarean sections simultaneously continued the long history of reproductive abuses directed at women of color and represented a new form of abuse specific to the post-Roe era and the politics of legal abortion.


Wednesday, March 28th 2018
1:30 pm:
Speaker: Paul Canfield (Iowa State)
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Martin Greven

Thursday, March 29th 2018
Speaker: Brian O'Neill
Speaker: Barry Mauk, APL
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Robert Lysak

Friday, March 30th 2018
Speaker: Hooman Davoudiasl (Brookhaven)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: No colloquium this week.
Speaker: Susan Rensing, Department of Women's & Gender Studies, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh
Subject: HSTM Alumni Lecture - "‘A Coldly Scientific Venture’: Unwed Mothers and the Eugenic Baby Panic"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

In January of 1928, the New York World set off a firestorm of controversy with a front page story about a wealthy widow, Grace Burnham, who had “mated lovelessly” as a eugenic experiment. Newspapers rushed to seek out stories of other women who were conceiving eugenic babies by selecting a man purely for reproduction, not for marriage. Unlike the wholesome eugenic babies that won ribbons in Better Baby Contests at state fairs, these eugenic babies were portrayed as potential Frankensteins--creations of science run amok. Moral condemnation raged in editorials across the nation as experts weighed in with their opinions about this alarming trend. This talk will use the eugenic baby panic as a cultural lens to examine fears about science bereft of morality in the late 1920s and early 1930s.


Wednesday, April 4th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Sung-Sik Lee (Perimeter Institute)
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Andrey Chubukov

Thursday, April 5th 2018
Speaker: Nathan Eggen
Speaker: Alessandra Corsi, Texas Tech
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Vuk Mandic

Friday, April 6th 2018
Speaker: TBA
Subject: TBA
Speaker: No colloquium this week.
Speaker: Stuart Glennan, Department of Philosophy, Butler University
Subject: “Compositional Minimalism”
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

In her paper, “Causality and Determination,” Elizabeth Anscombe advanced an approach to causation that Peter Godfrey-Smith has dubbed “causal minimalism.” In this approach, causation is not one thing, but many. Causal relations depend upon a heterogeneous set of specific activities – like bonding, pushing, tearing or fighting. My aim in this talk is to pursue a related strategy for compositional relations between parts and wholes – whether these be between atoms and molecules, tissues and organs, or children and families. Composition, like causation, is not one thing, but many – largely because parts are bound into wholes by causal relations.


Monday, April 9th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Jose Diego, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, CSIC
Faculty Host: Patrick Kelly

Wednesday, April 11th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Xiaojia Wang (University of Minnesota)
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Paul Crowell

Thursday, April 12th 2018
Speaker: Karl Young
Speaker: Doug Glenzinski, Fermilab
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Dan Cronin-Hennessy

Friday, April 13th 2018
Speaker: Kristian Jensen (San Francisco State U.)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: T. Rivera-Thorsen,
Faculty Host: M. Claudia Scarlata
Speaker: Lawrence Principe, Department of History of Science & Technology, Johns Hopkins University
Subject: "Wilhelm Homberg’s Laboratories and Instruments: Doing Chymistry in Early Modern France"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

One of chemistry’s chief characteristics is its union of head and hand, theory and practice, and the subsequent need for workspaces and instruments doing chemistry practically. Wilhelm Homberg (1653-1715), the chief chymist of the Parisian Académie Royale des Sciences, worked in many different spaces over the course of his remarkable career. Starting in 1702, he worked in what was called at the time “the most magnificent laboratory that chymistry had ever known”--a workspace specially-built for him in the Royal Palace by his patron (and collaborator) Philippe II, duc d’Orléans, the future Regent of France. Philippe also outfitted this laboratory with the most extraordinary--and costly--scientific instrument of time, and Homberg enjoyed exclusive access to it. This talk examines the various workspaces Homberg used, highlighting the results that he achieved and their relation to spaces and instruments, the role of patronage, and the changing nature of chymistry in the period.


Monday, April 16th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Hugh Dickinson, UMN

Wednesday, April 18th 2018
1:30 pm:
Speaker: Ali Yazdani (Tentative)
Faculty Host: Paul Crowell
7:00 pm:
Kaufmanis Public Lecture in McNamara Alumni Center
Speaker: Victoria Kaspi, McGill University
Subject: Astronomy's Newest Extragalactic Mystery: Fast Radio Bursts!

In 2007, astronomers discovered a new mysterious cosmic phenomenon: Fast Radio Bursts. These events consist of short, intense blasts of radio waves arriving from far outside our Milky Way galaxy. Their origin is unknown, however Fast Radio Bursts appear ubiquitous in our Universe, with roughly 1000 arriving every day over the full sky. I will discuss the Fast Radio Burst mystery and what is presently known about it, and describe a revolutionary new radio telescope being built in Canada that will soon enable astronomers worldwide to make major progress in our understanding of the FRB puzzle.


Thursday, April 19th 2018
Speaker: John Phillips
Speaker: Ali Yazdani (Princeton University)
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Paul Crowell

Friday, April 20th 2018
Speaker: Nobuchika Okada (U. Alabama)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: No colloquium - See info for the Kaufmanis Public Lecture on the 18th
Speaker: Roberta Humphreys, Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics, University of Minnesota
Subject: "Margaret Burbidge, and the Annie Jump Cannon Award or How I Met Vera Rubin -- a Personal and Scientific Recollection"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

Monday, April 23rd 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Qi Wen, UMN
Faculty Host: Shaul Hanany

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

Friday, April 27th 2018
Speaker: Mustafa Amin (Rice U)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: Dr. Christian Veillet, Large Binocula Telescope Observatory (LBTO)
Faculty Host: Charles E. Woodward
Speaker: Richard Samuels, Department of Philosophy, The Ohio State University
Subject: "How to Acquire Number Concepts: A New Puzzle (With Stewart Shapiro and Eric Snyder)"
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.

Philosophers and psychologists have long been interested in how human beings learn mathematical concepts in general, and natural number concepts, in particular. Efforts to explain how such concepts are learned, however, have resulted in a number of puzzles and problems, which have led some to conclude that these concepts cannot be learned. In this talk, we first sketch some of the more important of these puzzles, and then articulate a new one that rests upon an apparent tension between two of the best empirical probes into our natural number concepts – linguistic semantics and developmental psychology. On the face of it, the dominant views in these respective fields are in tension with each other, so that if the semanticists are right, then our best accounts of how natural number concepts are learned must be wrong. Having set out this puzzle in some detail, we argue that a structuralist conception of the naturals offers a partial resolution of this apparent tension.


Monday, April 30th 2018
1:25 pm:
Faculty Host: M. Claudia Scarlata

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

Friday, May 4th 2018
Speaker: Yanou Cui (U. California, Riverside)
Subject: TBA
Speaker: Dr. Silva Protoppa, U. Maryland
Faculty Host: Charles E. Woodward

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