Events at Physics

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Events During the Week of November 10th through November 16th, 2013

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Cosmology Journal Club
An Informal discussion about a broad variety of arXiv papers related to Cosmology
Time: 12:30 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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Condensed Matter Theory Group Seminar
Topological transport in spin-orbit coupled bosonic Mott insulators
Time: 4:30 pm
Place: Chamberin 5310
Speaker: Clement H. Wong
Host: Natalia Perkins
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Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
Tutankhamun's Chariots, Stunt-Kite Ballet, and the Exodus (Chaos Choreography and Modeling)
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Bela Sandor, UW Department of Engineering Physics
Abstract: What might have happened at the Red Sea between Moses and Pharaoh, if the Exodus story is at least partially true? Who was Pharaoh? What did he drive, and how, befitting a super-athletic warrior king? My discovery process combines diverse methods and tools, and gives ideas for future work: aEurocent Analysis of ancient hardware and art; chariot replication and field testing for the NOVA documentary aEurooeBuilding PharaohaEuroTMs ChariotaEuro (original airing Feb. 6, 2013). aEurocent Statics and dynamics (including an important abstract concept that Newton missed, though the ancients understood it). Modeling structural dynamics and integrity; time-dependent material behaviors; sophisticated wheels, suspensions, joints, and a dual-function anti-roll mechanism. aEurocent Chaos choreography in BethellaEuroTMs system of controlling multiple stunt kites, which are sensitive to small changes in stimulation; the method would allow measurements of force vectors at handles and the resulting agent dynamics. aEurocent Chaos choreography in high-speed pharaonic war games, with one person handling two horses and two different weapons in a burst event; did Pharaoh use this technique in the Exodus scene? Consider a clear view of all handles and corresponding agents. aEurocent Human factors: Was Pharaoh playing a chaos experiment?
Host: Clint Sprott
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NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forum
A multi-messenger quest for the sources of the highest energy cosmic rays
Time: 2:30 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Foteini Oikonomou, UCL
Abstract: The origin of ultra high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) remains unknown despite decades of experimental and theoretical research; their discovery will bring to light the nature of the Universe's most violent accelerators. In this talk I will discuss the observable signatures of UHECRs that can be used to constrain the nature and distribution of their yet unknown sources, focusing on the constraints imposed by the arrival direction distribution of the highest energy cosmic rays detected at the Pierre Auger observatory in Argentina. Constraints on the sources of UHECRs may also come from the secondary particles (gamma-rays and neutrinos) that UHECRs produce during their propagation. I will present the results of a search for the signatures of UHECR acceleration in the gamma-ray spectra of blazars and discuss the implications for the detectability of such signatures with current and upcoming gamma-ray instruments.
Host: Markus Ahlers
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Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Department Meeting
Time: 12:15 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin Hall
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Thursday, November 14th, 2013

R. G. Herb Condensed Matter Seminar
Universal Features of Counting Statistics of Phase Slips in Superconducting Nanocircuits
Time: 10:00 am
Place: Chamberlin 5310
Speaker: Alex Levchenko, Michigan State University
Abstract: I will present a systematic study of the statistical properties of switching current distributions deduced from the measurements of phase-slip-induced switching events on different types of superconducting weak links. I will discuss three types of devices in which a weak link is formed either by a superconducting nanowire, a graphene flake subject to proximity effect, or a quantum dot. We demonstrate that independently of the nature of the weak link, higher moments of the distribution take universal values. In particular, the third moment (skewness) of the distribution is close to -1 both in thermal and quantum regimes. The fourth moment (kurtosis) also takes a universal value close to 5. The experimentally discovered universality of the cummulants is confirmed by an analytical model.
Host: Maxim Vavilov
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NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forum
The MicroBooNE and ArgoNeuT Liquid Argon Time Projection Chambers
Time: 2:30 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin
Speaker: Jonathan Asaadi, Syracuse
Abstract: TBLiquid argon time projection chambers (LArTPC's) provide an extraordinary level of information about the interactions of neutrinos. Amongst the several different efforts ongoing at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to develop the liquid argon detector technology and utilize it to study neutrino interactions are the MicroBooNE and ArgoNeuT experiments. The MicroBooNE experiment is a 170 ton total mass LArTPC. MicroBooNE will be deployed in the Booster neutrino beam at Fermilab and is scheduled to start taking data in early 2014. The ArgoNeuT experiment deployed a relatively small 0.7 ton total mass LArTPC in the NuMI neutrino beamline at Fermilab, running from September 2009 to February 2010. The data collected is now being analyzed and used to measure neutrino interaction cross-sections. This talk will present an overview of LArTPC's, the current status of the assembly, installation, and operational readiness of the MicroBooNE detector, as well as ongoing analysis from ArgoNeuT data including a look at neutral current pi0 interactions from the NuMI beam.
Host: Vandenbroucke
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Astronomy Colloquium
Diagnosing Elliptical Galaxy Formation with Simulations
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Greg Snyder, STSci
Abstract: A challenge in extragalactic astronomy is that we cannot watch what happens to galaxies before and after they are observed. In particular, it remains debated whether galaxy mergers or internal processes drive supermassive black hole growth, trigger luminous starbursts, and shape the population of galaxies we see today. However, given increasingly available computer resources, it is now possible to predict how galaxies might evolve according to a huge variety of observations. With hydrodynamical simulations followed by dust radiative transfer, I examine the formation of elliptical galaxies through three putative phases: dust-obscured starburst, transition object, and red spheroid. I derive an idealized JWST-accessible mid-infrared diagnostic using model spectra from simulations of merger-induced starbursts. I use similar models to reconcile the numbers of optically selected post-starburst galaxies with independent estimates of the galaxy merger rate. To conclude, I describe efforts to build a aEurooemock observatoryaEuro from large-volume cosmological hydrodynamical simulations, with which observations of many types can be brought to bear to constrain the physics of galaxy formation.
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Friday, November 15th, 2013

Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Geometry and the quantum Hall effect
Time: 11:00 am
Place: Chamberlin 5280
Speaker: Dam Son, University of Chicago
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Title to be announced
Time: 2:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Tongyan Lin, University of Chicago
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Flavored Dark Matter and R-Parity Violation
Time: 2:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Tongyan Lin, University of Chicago
Abstract: Minimal Flavor Violation offers an alternative symmetry rationale to R-parity conservation for the suppression of proton decay in supersymmetric extensions of the Standard Model. The naturalness of such theories is generically under less tension from LHC searches than R-parity conserving models. The flavor symmetry can also guarantee the stability of dark matter if it carries flavor quantum numbers. We outline general features of supersymmetric flavored dark matter (SFDM) models within the framework of MFV SUSY. A simple model of top flavored dark matter is presented. If the dark matter is a thermal relic, then nearly the entire parameter space of the model is testable by upcoming direct detection and LHC searches.
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Physics Department Colloquium
Viscosity, Quark Gluon Plasma, and String Theory
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall (coffee at 4:30 pm)
Speaker: Dam Son, University of Chicago
Abstract: Viscosity is a very old concept which was introduced to physics by Navier in the 19th century. However, in strongly coupled systems, viscosity is difficult to compute from first principle. In this talk I will describe some recent surprising developments in string theory which allow one to compute the viscosity for a class of strongly interacting quantum fluids not too dissimilar to the quark gluon plasma. The approach has lead to a new understanding of the effects of quantum anomalies in relativistic fluid dynamics. I will describe efforts to measure the viscosity and other physical properties of the quark gluon plasma created in relativistic heavy ion collisions.
Host: Hashimoto
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