Events at Physics

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Events During the Week of November 6th through November 12th, 2011

Monday, November 7th, 2011

No events scheduled

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
The early development of empathy
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin
Speaker: Carolyn Zahn-Wexler, UW Departments of Psychology & Psychiatry
Abstract: Compassion, cooperation and concern for others are essential for individuals in all societies to survive and thrive. Yet many competing factors can inhibit their expression. It is essential then to understand processes that contribute to empathy, both those that enhance and hinder its development. Empathy makes it possible for people to connect with others' experiences; moreover, it motivates individuals to help and comfort others, share resources, and provide protection when needed. Empathy has both cognitive and affective components, i.e. the ability to understand the perspective of the other and to resonate emotionally to another's distress. It has neural and physiological correlates; neuroimaging studies support the notion that we are biologically wired to respond to the suffering of others. Emotional contagion is present in the first days of life, seen in infants' reflexive cries when they hear the cries of other infants. This shared emotional response is commonly viewed as a precursor to empathic concern for someone in distress. It quickly becomes more regulated and transformed; between the ages of one and two years children show both cognitive and affective empathy and prosocial efforts to help others in distress. I will focus on longitudinal studies of the early developmental course (0-5 years) of young children's concern for others, providing examples of empathic concern and caring behaviors. These findings, when first reported, ran counter to prevailing theories of early social-emotional development. Early empathy shows moderate consistency over time which means some children change whereas others do not; moreover, change can manifest itself in different ways. While the potential for empathy may be innate and universal, there are clear individual differences. Other biological (e.g. genes, temperament) and environmental (e.g. parenting practices, parental psychopathology, culture) processes can alter its expression and developmental trajectory. I will review some of these factors and consider future directions which include the study of gene-environment interactions.
Host: Sprott
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Massive gravitons and enhanced gravitational lensing
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: Chamberlin 5280
Speaker: Mark Wyman, University of Chicago
Abstract: The mystery of dark energy suggests that there is new gravitational physics at low energies and on long length scales. On the other hand, low mass degrees of freedom in gravity are strictly limited by observations within the solar system. A compelling way to resolve this apparent contradiction is to add a galilean-invariant scalar field to gravity. Called galileons, these scalars have strong self interactions near overdensities, like the solar system, that suppress their effects on the motion of massive particles. These non-linearities are weak on cosmological scales, permitting new physics to operate. Extending galilean invariance to the coupling of galileons to stress-energy -- as was first done in the case of massive gravity -- can have a surprising phenomenological consequence: enhanced gravitational lensing. Weak lensing observations will be able to detect or constrain out this effect, which is not well described by existing model independent tests of GR.
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Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

No events scheduled

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

R. G. Herb Condensed Matter Seminar
Universal Dynamic Decoupling and Quantum Walks in Functional Spaces
Time: 10:00 am
Place: 5310 Chamberlin
Speaker: Adilet Imambekov, Rice University
Abstract: We study the universal dynamic decoupling (DD) schemes, which can restore the coherence of quantum systems (such as qubits) independent of the details of system-environment interaction. We introduce a general mapping between DD sequences and quantum walks in functional spaces, and use it to prove the universality of various DD schemes such as quadratic DD, nested Uhrig DD, and Uhrig concatenated DD. The validity of previously known universal schemes of concatenated DD, Uhrig DD and concatenated Uhrig DD is also established using the same framework.
Host: Vavilov
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Atomic Physics Seminar
Neutron Spin Filter Development at the Spallation Neutron Source
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin
Speaker: Tony Tong, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Host: Walker
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NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forum
The Non-perturbative Gluon Propagator & The Nucleon and Roper Form Factors in a Contact Interaction.
Time: 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: David Wilson, Argonne National Laboratory
Abstract: The Non-Perturbative Gluon Propagator is a principal tool in investigating strongly coupled QCD. It may be obtained from Lattice QCD or its Schwinger-Dyson equation, which shall be discussed here. The transition from perturbative behaviour at large momenta to non-perturbative behaviour at small momenta is accompanied by characteristic phenomena such as dynamical chiral symmetry breaking and confinement. The gluon is expected to play a key role in this through the behaviour of the propagator dressing and its coupling to quarks. Solutions in the Landau gauge working in Euclidean space will be presented and compared to those obtained via other methods.

Secondly, results from a recently completed project will also be presented where the Nucleon, Roper and transition electromagnetic form factors are obtained in a symmetry preserving treatment of the bound state equations of QCD. Using a simplified interaction, the form factors are presented as part of a framework capable of simultaneously describing nucleon and meson physics. The aim of the present study is to address the structure of the Roper resonance which has been a puzzle for several decades and is a key target of the JLab N* program.
Host: Michael J. Ramsey-Musolf & Mario Pitschmann
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Graduate Introductory Seminar
Plasma Seminar
Time: 5:30 pm
Place: 2223 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Boldyrev, Forest, Sarff, Schnack, Terry, Zweibel
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Friday, November 11th, 2011

Cosmology Journal Club
An Informal discussion about a broad variety of arXiv papers related to Cosmology
Time: 12:00 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 Le Zhang (
Host: Peter Timbie
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Higher Spin Gravity in Three Dimensional de Sitter Space
Time: 2:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin
Speaker: Peter Ouyang, Purdue
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Physics Department Colloquium
No Colloquium