Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Week of Monday, October 1st 2018


Monday, October 1st 2018
12:15 pm:
Speaker: Iary Davidzon, IPAC/Caltech
Subject: Probing the early universe *without* JWST

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will not be the only breakthrough for high redshift (z>~3) studies. Exquisite data are coming from Subaru and Spitzer telescopes, eventually covering a large area of the sky (~25 sq deg) at an unprecedented depth. Probing such a large cosmic volume will allow to collect a statistically significant sample of rare, massive galaxies still undetected in pencil-beam HST surveys. In this talk I present "pathfinder results" from the COSMOS field, showing the importance of rare massive objects to constrain star formation efficiency and stellar-to-halo mass relationship at z>3. In the same context, I also discuss present limitations from an observational point of view and how they affect our understanding of galaxy evolution (e.g. the so-called "Eddington bias").

Faculty Host: M. Claudia Scarlata

Wednesday, October 3rd 2018
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
10:10 am:
Biophysics Seminar in 120 PAN
Speaker: Jon Garamella, graduate student in Vincent Noireaux’s lab, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota
Subject: Synthetic cell prototyping using a cell-free transcription-translation system (TXTL)

Cell-free Transcription-translation (TXTL) systems can be used in synthetic cell engineering to reconstitute cellular processes and functions. The bottom-up construction of cell-sized compartments programmed with DNA that are capable of sensing their chemical and physical environment remains challenging. Here, we develop techniques to prototype synthetic cells with passive and active membrane functionality. We construct liposomes programmed to intake nutrients from the surroundings and respond to external, mechanical stimuli using alpha-hemolysin and the mechanosensitive channel of large conductance, respectively. High-throughput techniques to test the viability of membrane proteins are also described.

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
12:20 pm:
Speaker: Nathan Bosch
Subject: TBA
Speaker: Daniel Harlow (MIT)
Subject: TBA
4:40 pm:
Speaker: Patrick Kelley, MIFA

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