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 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. 

  • 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, Nov 19, 2019

Andrew A Geraci, Northwestern: “Hunting for Fifth-forces and Dark Matter with AMO-based Sensors”

We normally think of large accelerators and massive detectors when we consider the frontiers of elementary particle physics, pushing to understand the universe at higher and higher energy scales. However, several tabletop low-energy experiments are positioned to discover a wide range of new physics beyond the Standard model, where feeble interactions require precision measurements rather than high energies. In high vacuum, optically-levitated dielectric nanospheres achieve excellent decoupling from their environment, making force sensing at the zeptonewton level (10-21 N) achievable. In this talk I will describe our progress towards using these sensors for tests of the Newtonian gravitational inverse square law at micron length scales. Optically levitated dielectric objects and optical cavities show promise for a variety of other applications, including searches for gravitational waves and Dark Matter. Finally, I will discuss the Axion Resonant InterAction Detection Experiment (ARIADNE), a precision magnetometry experiment using laser-polarized 3-He gas to search for a notable dark-matter candidate: the QCD axion.

Tue, Dec 3, 2019

Physics/Astronomy Senior Thesis Talks

Tue, Dec 10, 2019

Physics/Astronomy Senior Thesis Talks

Tue, Jan 28, 2020

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 4, 2020

Tue, Feb 11, 2020

Tue, Feb 18, 2020

Sanam Nader-Esfahani, Amherst College

Tue, Feb 25, 2020

Tue, Mar 3, 2020

Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi: American Museum of Natural History

Tue, Mar 10, 2020