Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Week of Monday, January 21st 2019

Monday, January 21st 2019

Tuesday, January 22nd 2019
1:25 pm:
Space Physics Seminar in Tate 301-20
Organizational Meeting

Wednesday, January 23rd 2019
1:30 pm:
There will be no seminar this week.
To be announced

Thursday, January 24th 2019
10:10 am:
Biophysics Seminar in 120 PAN
To be announced
There will be no Journal Club this week due to faculty candidate presentation
12:15 pm:
Faculty candidate presentation in Physics 301-20 Tate
Speaker: Stephen Taylor, California Institute of Technology
Subject: Frontiers Of Multi-Messenger Gravitational-Wave Astrophysics
Candidate for the MIfA faculty position

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 (like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope), 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.

3:35 pm:
Speaker: Roger Steuwer, U of Minnesota
Subject: From the Old to the New World of Nuclear Physics, 1919-1939
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

These two interwar decades, as I discuss in my new book, The Age of Innocence: Nuclear Physics between the First and Second World Wars (Oxford University Press. 2018), saw the nascent field of nuclear become the dominant field of experimental and theoretical physics owing to an international cast of gifted physicists. Prominent among them were Ernest Rutherford and James Chadwick, George Gamow, the husband and wife team of Frédéric and Irène Joliot-Curie, John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton, Ernest Lawrence, Enrico Fermi, Niels Bohr, Gregory Breit and Eugene Wigner, and Lise Meitner and Otto Robert Frisch. Their fundamental discoveries and pioneering inventions arose from a quest to understand nuclear phenomena; none were motivated by a desire to find a practical application for nuclear energy. In this sense, they lived in an “Age of Innocence.” They did not, however, live in isolation. Their research reflected their idiosyncratic personalities; it was shaped by the physical and intellectual environments of the countries and institutions in which they worked; and it was buffeted by the turbulent political events after the Great War--the harsh postwar treaties, the runaway inflation in Germany and Austria, and the intellectual migration from Germany and later from Austria and Italy.

Faculty Host: Michel Janssen

Friday, January 25th 2019
11:00 am:
Nuclear Physics Seminar in Tate 301-20
Organizational Meeting
12:20 pm:
Speaker: Nathan Bosch
Subject: Anomalous Electronic Conduction in Composite Silicon Films
12:30 pm:
Speaker: Lucy Fortson, School of Physics and Astronomy - University of Minnesota
Refreshments served at 3:15 p.m.
4:40 pm:
Speaker: Jochen Mueller, Biophysics

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