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This Week at Physics

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Events During the Week of October 2nd through October 9th, 2016

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Graduate Introductory Seminar
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberln Hall
Speaker: McCammon, Timbie
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Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
Magnetic Mirror Fusion Game Changing Discoveries
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Tom Simonen, Michigan Tech
Abstract: Scientific results from the Russian Gas Dynamic Trap (GDT) experiment [1] and technological developments from ITER R&D motivate examination of new magnetic mirror confinement fusion concepts. This talk will describe advances in the understanding of the physics [2] of axisymmetric MHD- stability, ion cyclotron micro-stability and axial electron temperature confinement as well as developments in ITER of high-field superconducting magnets, high-frequency MW level microwave gyrotrons, and 1 MeV energy neutral beams all of which are applicable to mirror systems. Favoring high ion temperatures, we note that mirrors provide the possibility of burning advanced fuel such as DD [3].
Footnote: During the 1980's the Wisconsin Phaedrus experiment played a significant role in developing the understanding of mirror physics [4] and, more recently, collaborated with the GDT experiment.
1. P.A. Bagryanski, et al., Physical Review Letters 114, 205001 (2015)
2. T.C. Simonen, Journal of Fusion Energy 35, 63 (2016)
3. T.K. Fowler, submitted for publication and presented at Open Systems Conference 2016
4. N. Hershkowitz, Nuclear Fusion 30, 1761 (1990)
Host: Cary Forest
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Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
Making sense of the 2016 presidential election
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: David Canon, UW Department of Political Science
Abstract: David Canon, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, will discuss the most unusual presidential election of our lifetimes. He will discuss the importance of election rules on the outcome of elections, analyze the most recent election forecasts, and talk about possible electoral reforms.
Host: Clint Sprott
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Council Meeting
Council Meeting
Time: 1:00 pm
Place: 2314 Chamberlin hall
Speaker: Albrecht Karle
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Flavorful UV Instantons and the Strong CP Problem
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin
Speaker: Kiel Howe, Fermilab
Abstract: We describe a new solution to the strong CP problem inspired by the massless up quark solution. At high energies, QCD is embedded in a SU(3)xSU(3)xSU(3) model, with each matter generation charged under a different site. Instanton effects are unsuppressed at the scale of Higgsing to the SM diagonal QCD, and a set of anomalous U(1)_PQ symmetries removes the low-energy strong CP phase. A non-zero theta parameter is generated at loop level near current bounds. Similar models can also lead to a heavy axion solution to the strong CP problem.
Host: Joshua Berger
Presentation: FlavorfulInstantons-Madison.pdf
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PUMP: Prospective Undergraduate Majors In Physics
Time: 4:00 pm
Speaker: Physics Faculty
Abstract: Interested in majoring in Physics?
Come to PUMP: Prospective Undergraduate Majors in Physics!
During this informal meeting, advisors and faculty will be discussing various topics including: Why you should major in Physics; What you can do with a Physics degree; Physics major course requirements; Undergraduate research opportunities; and Tutoring & mentoring opportunities.
Refreshments will be served. No R.S.V.P. is required to attend.
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Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Department Meeting
Department Meeting
Time: 12:15 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin hall
Speaker: Albrecht Karle
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Thursday, October 6th, 2016

R. G. Herb Condensed Matter Seminar
Scaling analysis and instantons for quantum spin tunneling and Quantum Monte Carlo simulations
Time: 10:00 am
Place: 5310 Chamerlin Hall
Speaker: Vadim Smelyanskyi, Google
Abstract: We will provide an overview of recent results of Google quantum computing team on the role of collective tunneling in quantum annealing algorithm. We will discuss the comparison of theory and experiments performed on DWave machine. We will describe an instantonic calculus for the thermally-assisted tunneling decay rate in a fully connected quantum spin model. We show that the tunneling decay problem can be mapped onto the Kramers escape problem of a classical random dynamical field. This dynamical field is simulated efficiently by Path Integral Quantum Monte Carlo (QMC). We show that the exponential scaling with the number of spins of the quantum tunneling rate and the escape rate of the QMC process are identical. We provide further examples where QMC has quadratic speed up in scaling over quantum tunneling.
Host: Vavilov
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Cosmology Journal Club
An Informal discussion about a broad variety of arXiv papers related to Cosmology
Time: 12:15 pm
Place: 5242 Chamberlin Hall
Abstract: Please visit the following link for more details:
Please feel free to bring your lunch!
If you have questions or comments about this journal club, would like to propose a topic or volunteer to introduce a paper, please email Amol Upadhye (
Host: Amol Upadhye
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Astronomy Colloquium
The Central Molecular Zone of the Galaxy: Dense Molecular Clouds, Massive Stars and Magnetic Fields
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and Cookies 3:30 pm, Talk at 3:45 PM
Speaker: Cornelia Lang, University of Iowa, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Abstract: In addition to harboring a supermassive black hole at its very core, the Galactic Center is one of the most physically extreme environments in the Galaxy. Dense and massive molecular clouds are abundant in this region, yet star formation is not as active as one might expect. In addition, radio observations have revealed a population of synchrotron-emitting filaments that provide insight on the magnetic field strength and configuration in this unique region of the Galaxy. Physical interactions may be occurring at the interfaces of dense molecular clouds and the interstellar magnetic filaments. I will review recent observational results of several unusual molecular clouds and the population of magnetized filaments that stand out in radio continuum images of the Galactic center and discuss the implications for better understanding the astrophysics of this region.
Host: UW Astronomy Deparment
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NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forum
High Energy Neutrinos from pulsar wind nebulae
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall ***Note New Time****
Speaker: Dafne Guetta, ORT Braude College
Abstract: Several Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWN) have been detected in the TeV band in the last years. This TeV emission can be fitted with a purely leptonic model making some assumptions on the Infrared backround around the PWN and on the magnetic field that most of the times is far from its equipartition value. We consider the possibility that part of this emission is due to an hadronic component implying the production of 1-100 TeV neutrinos. The IceCube high-energy neutrino telescope has been collecting data since 2006 and so far no neutrino event has been associated with a PWN. We use the non-detection of neutrinos to constrain the hadronic content of PWN independent of the hadronic model parameters. We also estimate the number of neutrino events expected from these sources in Antares and in KM3NeT and derive the constraints on the hadronic contribution to the TeV emission. Both Antares and KM3NeT have better potential than IceCube to detect neutrinos from PWNs as these sources are galactic.
Host: Francis Halzen
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Friday, October 7th, 2016

Physics Department Colloquium
In silico extreme plasmas: from plasma based accelerators to pair plasmas
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin hall
Speaker: Luis Silva, University of Lisbon
Abstract: The advent of ultra intense lasers and particle beams is opening new frontiers in physics by triggering the exploration of scenarios with unprecedented extreme conditions dominated by relativistic effects ranging from plasma based accelerators and intense light sources to collisionless shocks and the magnetospheres of pulsars. In some of these conditions, even QED effects play an importance role, with the production of hard photons and electron-positron pairs. These scenarios are highly nonlinear and can only be fully captured via self consistent ab initio massively parallel kinetic simulations. I will revise some of the most important advances and the open challenges in the field, illustrating how large scale numerical simulations are helping us to capture in silico these extreme laboratory and astrophysical environments.
Host: Cary Forest
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