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This Week at Physics

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Events on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
Was 2012 a failure for the polls? Was Nate Silver exceptionally accurate?
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin (Refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Charles Franklin, UW Department of Political Science
Abstract: In 2012 polls came in for exceptional scrutiny and criticism. Claims that polls where hopelessly skewed became a common meme of the fall campaign. And indeed, polling faces significant practical challenges. But did the polls, in the end, perform poorly? Interestingly, campaign leaders from both the Obama and the Romney campaign have been quoted saying the polls failed. And yet the Obama campaign made unprecedented use of polling in their data analytics. Meanwhile, Nate Silver came to personify the quantitative analysis of election campaigns. His successful predictions for 50 of 50 states is vindication of his forecasts. But did Nate do better than other forecasts?
Host: Sprott
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"Physics Today" Undergrad Colloquium (Physics 301)
The Origin of Matter
Time: 1:20 pm
Place: 2223 Chamberlin
Speaker: Michael Ramsey-Musolf, University of Wisconsin Department of Physics
Abstract: A series of weekly presentations and discussions of current research topics in physics by the scientists involved in those studies designed to expose students to the topics and excitement of the research frontier.
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Higgs to di-photon decay with new vector fermions
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Pedro Schwaller, Argonne National Laboratory
Abstract: The discovery of the Higgs boson opens the possibility to probe new physics scenarios by analyzing Higgs production and decay rates. The loop induced decay to photon pairs is particularly sensitive to new physics contributions, and a possible enhanced rate for this decay has generated some interest in models that can explain it. I will present an extension of the SM with a family of vector-like leptons. Not only can this model explain an enhanced di-photon decay rate of the Higgs, but it also provides a dark matter candidate while being in agreement with electroweak precision constraints. The necessarily large Yukawa couplings affect the running of the Higgs self coupling, such that an ultra violet (UV) completion is needed below the 10 TeV scale. A promising solution is to embed the model into a supersymmetric grand unified theory. Using RGEs upper bounds on the lepton Yukawa couplings can be derived, which limits the possible enhancement of the di-photon rate. Additional enhancement can be obtained if also the new sleptons are light, and I explore the parameter regions that are compatible with GUT-scale vacuum stability, LEP limits and electroweak precision constraints.
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