This Week at Physics

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This Week at Physics

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Events During the Week of September 4th through September 11th, 2011

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Labor Day

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Flavor Symmetries and Lepton Mixing in Light of Non-Vanishing theta13
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin
Speaker: Claudia Hagedorn, INFN, Padua and the University of Padua
Abstract: I will first discuss the new experimental results indicating non-vanishing theta13 and then emphasize the implications for models using flavor symmetries to predict a specific mixing pattern. I will explain in some detail the origin of flavor mixing from non-trivially broken discrete symmetries. At the end I may give a brief overview of other ideas recently proposed in order to accommodate values of theta13 around 0.1.
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Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Department Meeting
Time: 12:15 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin Hall
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Thursday, September 8th, 2011

R. G. Herb Condensed Matter Seminar
The search for Majorana Fermions in semiconductor nanowires
Time: 10:00 am
Place: 5310 Chamberlin
Speaker: Roman M. Lutchyn, Microsoft Station Q, University of California
Abstract: The exploration of topological phases of matter is one of the main challenges in condensed matter physics. Among the exciting recent developments in this direction are the discoveries of the new phases of matter with many intriguing properties such as topological insulators and superconductors. In my talk, I will focus on topological superconductors and discuss how to realize spinless p-wave superconductivity in semiconductor/superconductor heterostructures. I will show that such a non-trivial topological state emerging at the interface supports zero-energy modes that can be occupied by Majorana fermions. These quasi-particles, which are exotic in the sense that they are at the same time their own antiparticles, are effectively fractionalized objects (anyons) obeying non-Abelian statistics. Despite being first predicted by E. Majorana in 1930s, there is still no conclusive evidence of their existence. If found, Majorana fermions would constitute a key building block for the implementation of fault-tolerant topological quantum computation schemes that are inherently decoherence-free. I will conclude by proposing several experiments for detecting Majorana fermions in nanowires.
Host: Maxim Vavilov
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Graduate Introductory Seminar
Atomic, Molecular and Optical Seminar
Time: 5:30 pm
Place: 2223 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Lawler, Lin, Saffman, Walker, Wehlitz, Yavuz
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Friday, September 9th, 2011

Physics Department Colloquium
Transport in High-mobility Two-dimensional Electron Systems
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall (coffee at 4:30 pm)
Speaker: Maxim Vavilov, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Abstract: Two dimensional (2D) electron systems show fascinating behavior in magnetic fields at low temperatures when the quantum nature of electron propagation plays a crucial role. During the last decade, a series of experiments explored properties of 2D systems far away from thermodynamic equilibrium. I will give an overview of the most exciting observed phenomena, which include a zero-resistance state and non-linear differential conductivity under illumination of 2D electrons by microwaves. A qualitative explanation of these phenomena will be given, based on the quantum description of 2D electron transport in the presence of a disordered impurity potential and strong applied electric fields.
Host: Department
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