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This Week at Physics

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Events on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
"GPU Accelerated Simulations of Chaotic PDEs"
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Jon Seaton, UW-Madison Dept. of Physics
Abstract: It is well known that chaos exists in systems of ordinary differential equations (ODEs), however, the study of chaos in partial differential equations (PDEs) remains rather new and unexplored. This is in part due to the computational resources needed to accurately simulate such systems. However, recent improvements of graphics processing units (GPUs) for use in general computing may provide a fast and economical way to solve complex systems such as PDEs. This talk will discuss the development of an algorithm which both numerically solves and determines the existence of chaos in nonlinear PDEs while utilizing the multiprocessor architecture of the GPU. This new method will aid in our search for simple examples of chaotic PDEs.
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High Energy Seminar
NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forum
Exciting Prospects in the Study of the Ghostly Neutrino: the Reactor Anti-Neutrino Anomaly
Time: 3:00 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin
Speaker: John G. Learned, University of Hawaii, Manoa
Abstract: While we have made great progress in understanding neutrinos, with all their surprises, it seems the fun may not be behind us, with new anomalies coming over the horizon. I will focus on the emerging "reactor anti-neutrino anomaly," and the potentially revolutionary implications, which may point towards the existence of new sterile neutrinos. Finally, I will describe a little detector we are building which relates to some of these issues.
Host: Karsten Heeger
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Astronomy Colloquium
Hilldale Lecture
"The Small Star Opportunity"
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Prof David Charbonneau, Harvard CfA
Abstract: When exoplanets are observed to transit their parent stars, we are granted direct estimates of their masses, radii, and (by inference) composition, and we can undertake studies of their atmospheres. I will begin by summarizing the findings of the NASA EPOXI Mission, which re-used the Deep Impact Spacecraft to conduct a search for rocky worlds in a handful of known exoplanet systems. I will then report on the latest findings from the NASA Kepler Mission, which is conducting a transit search of 160,000<br>
Sun-like stars for rocky, habitable planets. I will then turn my attention to the particular opportunities afforded by nearby low-mass stars: TheMEarth Project uses an array of modest telescopes to search such stars for planets as small as 2 Earth radii in the stellar habitable zones. Should we succeed in identifying such worlds, their proximity to us would enable spectroscopic investigations of their atmospheres with facilities such as the James Webb Space Telescope.<br>
Host: Astronomy Department
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