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 Larry Hunter (lrhunter@amherst.edu) with any questions about colloquia.

Tue, Jan 29, 2019

Information Session for Junior Physics & Astronomy Majors

Information Session for Junior Physics & Astronomy majors beginning at 4:00 p.m. in the Science Center room A013. This will be an informational meeting for all juniors where we will discuss how to go about applying to graduate school and options and procedures for honors thesis projects. Pizza will be served.

Tue, Feb 5, 2019

Associate Professor, Alex Pope, UMASS

Tue, Feb 12, 2019

Assistant Professor Jinglei Ping, UMass Amherst

Tue, Feb 19, 2019

Professor James Valles, Brown University

Tue, Feb 26, 2019

Associate Professor Takeuchi Tatsu, Virginia Tech: Proposal of a New Terminology for Newton's 3rd Law: From Force-centric to Momentum-centric Pedagogy of Newton's Laws

Newton's 3rd Law, aka the action-reaction law, can be quite confusing to many students, and to some of us instructors, and even to some textbook writers as well. The main reason for this is the unfortunate choice of terminology by Newton in his Principia. Many people think that what Newton meant by "reaction" is the reaction to "action" (which it isn't) and this misunderstanding is prevalent not only in the classroom but in popular media as well. I propose that even though "action" and "reaction" are the terms used by Newton himself (they are the same in Latin), it is high time we abandoned them for better ones that would aid in our own and our students' understanding. I will present my own proposal in this talk, though I suspect there may be better ones, and also propose a new pedagogy which emphasizes the concept of momentum above force in teaching Newton's Laws.

Tue, Mar 5, 2019

Tue, Mar 19, 2019

Olaf Ellers, Bowdoin College "Biomechanics of Underwater Walking: Sea Stars, Crabs, Octopi"

Tue, Mar 26, 2019

Tina Shih, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Tue, Apr 2, 2019

Andrew Eddins '11: UC Berkeley

Tue, Apr 9, 2019

Professor Brian Collett, Hamilton