Unless otherwise noted, all physics seminars and colloquia are held on Tuesdays from 4:45 to 6:00 pm, in Lecture Room 3 of Merrill Science Center. Tea and snacks will be served before seminars at 4:15 in 204 Merrill. If you would like to be mailed seminar announcements, please send an email to Physics.
Contact colloquium organizer Larry Hunter with any questions about colloquia.
Today - Tue, Feb 28, 2017
Engineering is the practical discipline that brought us the wheel, printing press, steam engine and smartphone. The building of tools has always been a hallmark of our species, and technology has become an important driver of social change. But what is it to be an engineer? In what ways are the stereotypes of engineers an outdated 1950s caricature? In this talk we will focus on who engineers are becoming by highlighting projects at the intersection between technology and the liberal arts. These will include projects on landmine-detecting rats, biomusical instruments, the re-creation of historical scientific instruments, and the design of medical devices. The talk will conclude with some ideas on where technology might take us next.
Tue, Mar 7, 2017
Abstract: Given that particles and their antiparticles are on similar footing theoretically, it is a puzzle that the universe contains much more matter than antimatter. Physicists have speculated that the matter-antimatter asymmetry might have been generated during the electroweak phase transition, when the Higgs field — the thing that gives masses to elementary particles — went from being switched off to switched on shortly after the big bang. I will discuss the basic idea behind this framework, experimental probes, and challenges and opportunities for model-building, including a possible connection to dark matter.
Tue, Mar 21, 2017
"Planet Formation through Radio Eyes."
The disks of gas and dust around young stars provide the raw material and initial conditions for planet formation. Millimeter-wavelength interferometry is a powerful tool for studying gas and dust in planet-forming regions, and it has recently undergone an immense leap in sophistication with the advent of the ALMA interferometer. I will discuss some ways in which millimeter-wavelength interferometry is being used to study the process of planet formation in circumstellar disks, with particular emphasis on the degree to which debris disk structure reflects the dynamics of embedded planetary systems.