Weekly Colloquium

Most weeks during the semester, we host a scholar for a one-day visit. The visit culminates with a public talk on a topic of contemporary physics or astronomy. Students are welcome to these talks, and seniors are required to attend at least nine over the course of a year. Near the end of each semester, honors thesis students give public lectures on their work.  We gather before the talks for tea, coffee, and cookies at 4:00, Ground Lobby of Science Center followed by the talk at 4:15 pm in A011.

Our Astronomy program is part of the Five College Astronomy Department, which hosts its own colloquium series Thursdays at 3:45 pm at UMass in LGRT 1033. 

  • If you would like to be mailed seminar announcements, please send an email to physics@amherst.edu.
  • Contact colloquium organizer Alice Simmoneau (asimmoneau@amherst.edu) with any questions about colloquia.

Tue, Mar 26, 2019

"Engineering Applications of Light-Matter Interactions" Talk By Tina Shih

Tina Shih, of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, will discuss "Engineering Applications of Light-Matter Interactions."

Abstract: The study of how light interacts with materials serves to uncover phenomena that has led to the development of the sensors and technologies we readily use today. This talk will walk through a few examples of light-matter interactions that have demonstrable applications, including ultrafast material switches, aerial 3D mapping and laser communication to the moon and beyond.

Tue, Apr 2, 2019

"Superconducting Circuits for Quantum Metrology with Squeezed Microwaves" - Talk by Andrew Eddins '11

Andrew Eddins '11, physics at the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss "Superconducting Circuits for Quantum Metrology with Squeezed Microwaves."

Abstract: Intensive development of superconducting circuits has been driven by the prospect of quantum-computing applications. While most agree that practical quantum computers remain many years away, the interim development of quantum circuits opens previously inaccessible classes of quantum-physics experiments. For example, circuits have recently emerged as a powerful platform for studying the interaction of matter with a distinctly quantum type of radiation known as “squeezed” radiation, famous for enabling precision beyond the limit set by intrinsic quantum uncertainty, yet notoriously difficult to couple to in conventional AMO setups using lasers and atoms. In this talk, I will present a brief introduction to superconducting circuits, then discuss two experiments leveraging the circuit environment’s compatibility with squeezing, first studying how squeezing modifies fluorescence spectra of an atomic system, and second investigating the use of squeezing for the readout of a quantum-bit, the building block of proposed quantum computers. The results include the first confirmation of two nearly three-decade old predictions of quantum optics, and the first demonstration that squeezed microwaves can improve the signal-to-noise ratio of quantum-bit readout.

Tue, Apr 9, 2019

Professor Brian Collett, Hamilton

Tue, Apr 16, 2019

Professor Bruce Macintosh, Stanford

Tue, Apr 23, 2019

Tue, Apr 30, 2019