Physics and Astronomy Calendar

All future


Monday, August 20th 2018
5:00 pm:
Speaker: Caner Unal
This is the public portion of Mr. Unal's Thesis Defense. His adviser is Marco Peloso.

Monday, September 3rd 2018

Thursday, September 6th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Andrew Zangwill, Georgia Institute of Technology
Subject: Walter Kohn and the Creation of Density Functional Theory
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

Today's most popular method for calculating the electronic structure of atoms, molecules, liquids, solids, and plasmas makes no use of the Schrödinger equation or the many-electron wave function. Instead, it exploits a bold hypothesis: the electron density distribution completely characterizes the ground state of a many-electron system. This hypothesis was advanced in 1964-1965 by the theoretical physicist Walter Kohn and two young postdocs. This talk traces Kohn's educational trajectory (from Nazified Vienna to an internment camp in the Canadian forest to the University of Toronto to Harvard University), his professional trajectory (from applied mathematician to nuclear physicist to solid state physicist to the inventor of density functional theory), and the circumstances which led him to win a share of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Faculty Host: Michel Janssen

Friday, September 7th 2018
12:20 pm:
Speaker: Brenda Knauber
Subject: TBA
Speaker: Andrew Zangwill, Georgia Institute of Technology
Subject: Four Facts Everyone Ought to Know About Science

In 1994, the Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Philip Anderson published an article in The Daily Telegraph of London titled ``Four facts everyone ought to know about science." His `` facts'' are not likely the ones you would choose and my talk draws on extensive biographical research to analyze his choices in detail. What scientific and personal experiences led him to his list? What do his choices say about the scientific philosophy of someone with a legitimate claim to have been the most influential physicist of the second half of the twentieth century? I discuss whether his choices were warranted in 1994 and whether the events of the subsequent twenty-five years might cause him to revise his list.


Wednesday, September 12th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Elbio Dagotto, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Faculty Host: Rafael Fernandes

Thursday, September 13th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Raman Sundrum, University of Maryland College Park
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.
Faculty Host: Tony Gherghetta

Friday, September 14th 2018

Wednesday, September 19th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Ali Yazdani, Princeton University
Faculty Host: Andrey Chubukov

Thursday, September 20th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Ali Yazdani, Princeton University
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

Friday, September 21st 2018
12:20 pm:
Speaker: Scott Dossa
Speaker: Edward Shuryak, State University of New York, Stony Brook; Mithat Ünsal, North Carolina State University; Zohar Komargodski, Weizmann Institute of Science; Cédric Deffayet, Institut d'astrophysique

Edward Shuryak
State University of New York, Stony Brook

Mithat Ünsal
North Carolina State University

Zohar Komargodski
Weizmann Institute of Science

Cédric Deffayet
Institut d'astrophysique de Paris


Monday, September 24th 2018
12:15 pm:
Speaker: Joshua A. Frieman, Fermilab
Faculty Host: Vuk Mandic

Wednesday, September 26th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Inna Vishik, UC Davis
Faculty Host: Martin Greven

Thursday, September 27th 2018
3:35 pm:
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium in Physics Tate B50
Speaker: Raymond Jeanloz, UC Berkeley
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium
Faculty Host: Cynthia Cattell

Friday, September 28th 2018
12:20 pm:
Speaker: Shuhui Luo
Subject: TBA
Speaker: Vladimir Rosenhaus (KITP)

Wednesday, October 3rd 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Reserved for CQM Speaker
Faculty Host: Ke Wang
7:00 pm:
Misel Public Lecture in McNamara Alumni Center, Memorial Hall
Speaker: Professor Nergis Mavalvala, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Subject: Gravitational Waves: A New Window to the Universe

Recent announcements of the first ever detections of gravitational waves from colliding black holes and neutron stars have launched a new era of gravitational wave astrophysics. I will describe the science, technology, and human story behind these discoveries that provide a completely new window into some of the most violent and warped events in the Universe.


Thursday, October 4th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Professor Nergis Mavalvala, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Subject: Gravitational wave detectors: past, present and future
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves for the first time in 2015, and has continued to make discoveries. I will discuss the instruments that made these discoveries, the science so far, and plans for future improvements and upgrades to LIGO.


Friday, October 5th 2018
Speaker: Daniel Harlow (MIT)
Subject: TBA

Wednesday, October 10th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Joel Moore, UC Berkeley
Faculty Host: Andrey Chubukov

Thursday, October 11th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Joel Moore, UC Berkeley
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

Friday, October 12th 2018

Wednesday, October 17th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Reserved for CQM Speaker
Faculty Host: Ke Wang

Thursday, October 18th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Terry Hwa, UCSD
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.
Faculty Host: Elias Puchner

Friday, October 19th 2018
Speaker: reserved
Subject: TBA

Wednesday, October 24th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Johnpierre Paglione, University of Maryland
Faculty Host: Vlad Pribiag

Thursday, October 25th 2018
10:10 am:
Biophysics Seminar in 120 PAN
Speaker: Oleg Krichevsky, Molecular Biophysics Lab, Ben-Gurion University
Subject:  T cell communication through cytokines follows a simple sink-diffusion model

Immune cells communicate by exchanging cytokines to achieve a context-appropriate response, but the distances over which such communication happens are not known. We used theoretical considerations and experimental models of immune responses in vitro and in vivo to quantify the spatial extent of cytokine communications in dense tissues. Using T cell exchange of IL-2 as a model system, we established that competition between cytokine diffusion and consumption generated spatial niches of high cytokine concentrations with sharp boundaries. The size of these self-assembled niches scaled with the density of cytokine-consuming cells, a parameter that gets tuned during immune responses. In vivo, we measured interactions on length scales of 80–120 um, which resulted in a high degree of cell-to-cell variance in cytokine exposure. Despite the complexity of the immune organs, the profiles of cytokine fields both in vitro and in vivo quantitatively follow the predictions of a simple model, essentially without any free parameters.

Ref. Oyler-Yaniv A, Oyler-Yaniv J, Whitlock B.M, Liu Z, Germain R.N, Huse M, Altan-Bonnet G. and O. Krichevsky (2017) , Immunity, 46, 609-620.

Faculty Host: Elias Puchner
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Steven Gubser, Princeton
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.
Faculty Host: Priscilla Cushman

Friday, October 26th 2018
Speaker: reserved
Subject: TBA

Wednesday, October 31st 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Adam Wei Tsen, University of Waterloo, Institute for Quantum Computing
Faculty Host: Ke Wang

Thursday, November 1st 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Robert Kleinberg, Columbia University & Boston University
Subject: mK to km: How Millikelvin Physics is Reused to Explore the Earth Kilometers Below the Surface
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

Investigations of the superfluid phases of liquid helium-3 would seem to have little application to the study of rock formations thousands of meters below the surface of the earth. However, the physicist’s tool box is versatile, and techniques used in one field of study can be reused, with appropriate adaptation, in very different circumstances.

The temperature of liquid helium-3 in the millikelvin range can be measured using an unbalanced-secondary mutual inductance coil set designed to monitor the magnetic susceptibility of a paramagnetic salt. The loss signal is discarded by phase sensitive detection. Now consider the task of measuring the electrical conductivity, at centimeter scale, of the earth surrounding a borehole. Turn the mutual inductance coil set inside out, with secondary coils arranged to be unbalanced with respect to the rock wall. Instead of discarding the loss signal, use it to measure conductivity. A sensor based on this principle has been implemented in a widely deployed borehole geophysical instrument, used to estimate the prevailing direction of the wind millions of years ago, or to decide where to drill the next well in an oilfield.

Nuclear magnetic resonance may seem a very improbable measurement of the rock surrounding a borehole. Conventionally, we place the sample (which might be a human being) inside the NMR apparatus. In borehole deployment, the instrument is placed inside sample, the temperature is as high as 175C, pressure ranges to 140 MPa, and measurements must be made while moving at 10 cm/s. Apparatus with these specifications have been deployed worldwide, and are used to measure a number of rock properties, including the distribution of the sizes of pores in sedimentary rock, and the viscosity of oil found therein. They have also been used for geological and oceanographic studies in northern Alaska, and at the seafloor offshore Monterey, California.

Faculty Host: Shaul Hanany

Friday, November 2nd 2018

Wednesday, November 7th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Jason Petta, Princeton University
Faculty Host: Ke Wang

Thursday, November 8th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Jason Petta, Princeton University
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

Friday, November 9th 2018
Speaker: Keisuke Harigaya (IAS, Princeton)
Subject: TBA

Wednesday, November 14th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Mathias Scheurer, Harvard University
Faculty Host: Rafael Fernandes

Thursday, November 15th 2018
10:10 am:
Biophysics Seminar in PAN 120
Speaker: John Marko, Northwestern University
Subject: Single-molecule studies of protein-DNA interactions

All processing of DNA - transcription, replication, recombination and
repair - depend on the interactions of proteins with DNA. I will discuss
single-molecule methods for analyzing protein-DNA interactions, starting
with the (statistical)-mechanical response of DNA molecules and how
monitoring that can allow novel quantitative studies of proteins that fold
and change topology of DNA molecules. I will then describe a phenomenon
that appears pervasive for biomolecule interactions - "facilitated
dissociation" - that makes rates of turnover of molecular complexes in vivo
very different from what we observe in vitro.

3:35 pm:
Speaker: John Marko, Northwestern University
Subject: Physics of chromosome folding and disentanglement
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

All biological phenomena depend on genetic information which is encoded
into the base-pair sequence along the very long DNA molecules found in all
living cells. The DNAs in chromosomes, in addition to being biologically
important, are amazing physical objects, being 2 nanometers wide and (in
humans) several centimeters in length. I will explain how the cell takes
care of these long, fragile chromosomal DNAs and how it uses DNA itself as
a key mechanical component of the cell nucleus. Then, during and
following DNA replication, our cells face the gigantic challenge of
figuring out how to topologically separate those long polymers from one
another. I will discuss our current understanding of the "lengthwise
compaction" mechanisms underlying this process, focusing on the interplay
between "loop-extruding" SMC complexes (mainly condensin) and
DNA-topology-changing topoisomerase II.

Faculty Host: Elias Puchner

Friday, November 16th 2018
Speaker: Alba Grassi (SCGP Stony Brook)

Friday, November 23rd 2018
Subject: NO SEMINAR - THANKSGIVING

Wednesday, November 28th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Reserved for CQM Speaker
Faculty Host: Ke Wang

Thursday, November 29th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Marco Velli, UCLA
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.
Faculty Host: Robert Lysak

Friday, November 30th 2018
Speaker: Jaroslav Trnka (UC Davies)

Wednesday, December 5th 2018
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Brian Skinner, MIT
Faculty Host: Boris Shklovskii

Thursday, December 6th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Stacy McGaugh, Case Western
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.
Faculty Host: J. Woods Halley

Friday, December 7th 2018

Thursday, January 31st 2019
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Roger Steuwer, U of Minnesota
Subject: From tFrom the Old to the New World of Nuclear Physics, 1919-1939he Old to the New World of Nuclear Physics, 1919-1939
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.
Faculty Host: Michel Janssen

Wednesday, May 1st 2019
1:25 pm:
Speaker: Jack Harris, Yale University
Subject: TBD
Faculty Host: Paul Crowell

Thursday, May 2nd 2019
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Jack Harris (Yale University)
Subject: TBD
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.
Faculty Host: Paul Crowell

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