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 3:45, Ground Lobby of Science Center followed by the talk at 4:00 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.
Tue, Jan 28, 2020
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 4, 2020
Protik K. Majumder, Williams College: Heavy metals, cheap lasers, and precision measurements of atomic structure
With important contributions from many Williams undergraduates over recent years, we have completed a series of high-precision spectroscopic measurements in Group III and IV atoms such as thallium, indium and lead. These results test state-of-the art theoretical models of these complicated atoms and guide further refinement. I will discuss some recent results including a new precision measurement of a “forbidden” transition in lead which makes use of a laser polarimetry technique capable of microradian optical rotation resolution. Improved models of these heavy atoms aid in the bigger goals of testing the Standard Model (and beyond) with table-top atomic and laser physics experiments.