This Week at Physics

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This Week at Physics

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Events During the Week of March 18th through March 25th, 2018

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
Heavy Ion Fusion: New Paradigm and Strategy to Fit the Technology
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Dr. Alex T. Burke, Arcata Systems
Abstract: Heavy Ion Fusion (HIF) burst on the scene in 1976, based on the insight, from Al Mashke (Brookhaven) and Ron Martin (Argonne), that particle accelerator technology had the necessary energy to ignite fusion pellets by driving them with high-energy beams of heavy ions. It became widely recognized that RF accelerators, because of their efficiency, durability and rep-rate, have the greatest potential as drivers for future inertial fusion power plants. Just as quickly, in 1979, funding of the high-energy physics (HEP) and accelerator communities to continue HIF development came to a screeching halt. Why did this happen? The best answer is that, being an ICF (Inertial Confinement Fusion) technology, HIF intersected with the classified area of H-bombs and therefore fell under the purview of the weapons labs. But HIF wasn’t needed for (in fact conflicted with) the mandate of weapons technology and stockpile stewardship; most of the accelerator and the HEP community is “open” and therefore separate from the classified world of weapons. Despite a paucity of funding for HIF in the U.S. and worldwide, important technological advances have been made since 1979 that add more confidence and less risk to HIF, such as cylindrical fusion pellets with fast ignition, and the Single-Pass RF Driver concept that eliminates the need for storage rings and greatly increases the brightness of the final beams delivered to the pellet. The attractiveness of the physics and economics of large scale HIF leads us to consider a new paradigm in the form of very big power plants on the order of 100GW instead of the canonical 1GW. This implies a new paradigm not only for fusion technology but for how society gets energy, develops resources and produces raw materials for the economy such as liquid fuel, electricity, and water. This talk will concentrate on how private industry can lead the way to such a "game changing" paradigm shift in future energy supplies in the 21st Century.
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Council Meeting
Council Meeting
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 2314 Chamberlin Hall
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Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
What makes math hard? Hint: It’s not the math
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin (Refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Mitchell J. Nathan, UW School of Education
Abstract: I present findings on mathematical intuitions and invented solution strategies to challenge well-entrenched notions that mathematics is hard to learn. I consider how Expert Blind Spot shapes the framing of Math-As-Hard that can alienate learners from entering a field of great creativity and enormous societal relevance, and I challenge the audience to reflect on who benefits from this framing (look around the room), the implications for the future of science and public policy, and what we all can do about it.
Host: Clint Sprott
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"Physics Today" Undergrad Colloquium (Physics 301)
Physics of Climate Change
Time: 1:20 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Susan M Nossal, UW Madison Department of Physics
Host: Wesley Smith
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Title to be announced
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Pedro Machado, Fermilab
Abstract: TBA
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Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

No events scheduled

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Astronomy Colloquium
SDSS-V: Pioneering Pantopic Spectroscopy
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and Cookies 3:30 PM, Talk starts at 3:45 PM
Speaker: Juna Kollmeier, Carnegie Observatories
Abstract: I will describe the current plans for the Fifth Generation of SDSS. SDSS-V will be an unprecedented all-sky spectroscopic survey of over six million objects. It is designed to decode the history of the Milky Way galaxy, trace the emergence of the chemical elements, reveal the inner workings of stars, and investigate the origin of planets. It will provide the most comprehensive all-sky spectroscopy to multiply the science from the Gaia, TESS and eROSITA missions. SDSS will also create a contiguous spectroscopic map of the interstellar gas in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies that is 1,000 times larger than the state of the art, uncovering the self-regulation mechanisms of galactic ecosystems. It will pioneer systematic, spectroscopic monitoring across the whole sky, revealing changes on timescales from 20 minutes to 20 years. The project is now developing new hardware to build on the SDSS-IV infrastructure, designing the detailed survey strategy, and actively seeking to complete its consortium of institutional and individual members.
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Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Physics Department Colloquium
Discovering the Highest Energy Neutrinos Using a Radio Phased Array
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Abigail Vieregg, University of Chicago
Abstract: Ultra-high energy neutrino astronomy sits at the boundary between particle physics and astrophysics. The detection of the highest energy neutrinos would be an important step toward understanding the most energetic cosmic accelerators and would enable tests of fundamental physics at energy scales that cannot easily be achieved on Earth. IceCube has detected astrophysical neutrinos at lower energies, and at higher energies the best limits to date on the flux comes from IceCube and the ANITA experiment, a NASA balloon-borne radio telescope designed to detect coherent radio Cherenkov emission from cosmogenic ultra-high energy neutrinos. The future of high energy neutrino detection lies with ground-based radio arrays like ARA, which would represent an large leap in sensitivity. I will discuss a new radio phased array design that will improve sensitivity enormously and could push the energy threshold for radio detection down to overlap with the energy range probed by IceCube.
Host: Albrecht Karle
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