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This Week at Physics

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Events on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Atomic Physics Seminar
Towards Precision Spectroscopy of Single Trapped Molecular Ions
Time: 11:00 am
Place: 5280 Chamberlin
Speaker: Brian Odom, Northwestern University
Abstract: Precision of the best molecular spectroscopy is currently orders of magnitude behind atomic ion spectroscopy, owing primarily to challenges in molecular state preparation and readout. Applications of improved molecular spectroscopy would include searches for time-variation of fundamental constants, parity violation studies, and searches for fundamental electric dipole moments. Our group at Northwestern University is developing the necessary tools to perform clock-quality spectroscopy on single trapped molecular ions. We are currently working with species having semi-closed electronic cycling transitions, so that optical pumping into the rotational ground state can be achieved by pulse-shaping of a resonant femtosecond laser. I will also describe a simple readout technique we are developing to map the internal molecular state onto a co-trapped atomic ion, using a pulsed radiation pressure force to excite secular motion.
Host: Saffman
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Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
Cognitive functions of language and their implications for language evolution
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Gary Lupyan, UW Department of Psychology
Abstract: Language is a defining trait of our species. A standard assumption shared by many in the cognitive sciences is that language simply allows for public expression of ideas that are themselves represented in a language-independent aEuro~mentaleseaEuroTM. Similarly, capacities on which humans appear to differ markedly from other animalsaEuro"relational reasoning, theory of mind, categorization, and executive functionaEuro"are often viewed as developments largely unrelated to language. In contrast, recent empirical evidence suggests that normal human cognition is actually language-augmented cognition. Exploring the role that language learning and language use exerts on human cognition leads to a better understanding of the evolutionary trajectory of language and offers a partial solution to the puzzle of how humans have come to possess intellectual capacities that could not have evolved through natural selection (aEurooeWallaceaEuroTMs problemaEuro). A computational framework for exploring the role language exerts on cognition is also discussed.
Host: Sprott
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High Energy Seminar
What can a W boson and some jets reveal at CMS?
Time: 3:00 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin
Speaker: Jake Anderson, Fermilab
Abstract: The final state with the leptonic decay of a W boson and a few high pt jets is a fertile area to probe important physics questions at the LHC. Starting with the known standard model, I explore WW and WZ production in the semi-leptonic final state and anomalous triple-gauge coupling. Moving to a search for the enhancement reported by CDF near 150 GeV, I detail the CMS result of a search for this final state. Finally I'll report the latest high-mass Higgs boson searches in decays H > WW > lnujj. All of these topics have made important contributions to our understanding of the electroweak physics and beyond.
Host: Matthew Herndon
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