Events at Physics

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Events on Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Physics & Astronomy Department
Senior Sendoff Pizza Party
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: Courtyard between Chamberlin & Sterling (weather permitting)
Abstract: Pizza and Soda.
Host: Chung
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Special Plasma Theory Seminar
Two Novel Diagnostic Techniques for Spherical Tokamaks (plus a bit of biology)
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 414 ERB
Speaker: Dr. Roddy Vann, University of York, York, UK
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Theory/Phenomenology Seminar
Prospects for Hypercharged and Gaugino AMSB at the LHC
Time: 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Howie Baer, University of Oklahoma
Host: V. Barger
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Physics Department Colloquium
The Transient Revolution in Astrophysics
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall (coffee at 3:30 pm)
Speaker: Eliot Quataert, UC-Berkeley
Abstract: The advent of large astronomical surveys based on rapid advances in detector technology and data storage is generating an unprecedented amount of data on time-variable astronomical objects, up to 100 Terabytes per night in the coming decade. In addition to providing new insights into a wide variety of known phenomena (e.g., variable stars, supernovae, and black holes), historical analogues suggest that these surveys are likely to discover entirely new classes of astronomical objects. I will illustrate the discovery potential of the current generation of astrophysical transient surveys by focusing on two concrete examples of "known unknowns." The first is a "kilonova" produced by the decay of heavy elements created during the merger of two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole; a similar transient can be produced during the collapse of a white dwarf to a neutron star. These events are particularly interesting since they are the likely progenitors of some gamma-ray bursts and are also the primary target for km-scale gravitational wave observatories such as Advanced LIGO. The second "known unknown" I will highlight is a ~ week-long electromagnetic flare produced by the tidal disruption of a star that passes close to the event horizon of a massive black hole at the center of a galaxy. The study and characterization of kilonovae and tidal disruption events in the coming years will open up a new window onto the physics and astrophysics of compact objects in the universe.
Host: Forest and Zweibel
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