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Events During the Week of January 19th through January 26th, 2014

Monday, January 20th, 2014

No events scheduled

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
Can entropy be thought of as a fluid in biological systems?
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Jim Reardon, UW Department of Physics
Abstract: Climb into an automobile and drive in any direction on the highway of your choice, and in anywhere between a few minutes and a few hours, you'll find that your automobile refuses to go any farther. You could reasonably say that this is because it has run out of energy. You might wait for a while by the side of the road, and then try to start the car again, but it won't work. Since you're now stranded in the middle of nowhere, you now have a good opportunity to try this experiment: after doing appropriate warm-up exercises, start sprinting as fast as you possibly can (presumably in the direction of the nearest gas station). In something less than 40 seconds, your legs will refuse to carry you any farther, and you will either slow down or fall down. Yet if you lie there for a while by the side of the road, and then try to sprint again, you'll find that you can, nearly as well as before. It cannot be said that you have run out of energy. It might perhaps be said that you have temporarily accumulated too much entropy, and have to wait a while for it to dissipate. Whether or not this is a reasonable statement depends on whether entropy can be thought of as a fluid. In this seminar I'll argue that the answer is "yes" and support the argument with quantitative phenomonological data.
Host: Clint Sprott
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Atomic Physics Seminar
Faculty Candidate Seminar
Searching for Extraordinary Physics in Ordinary Places
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Michael Hohensee, UC Berkeley
Abstract: The Standard Model and General Relativity have proven to be extraordinarily good at describing the world we live in. Unfortunately, it is not yet clear how these theories are reconciled with one another at extremely high energies. This is one of the puzzles which motivates ongoing experimental and observational searches for new phenomena in high energy, astro-particle, gravitational, and precision measurement physics. Any deviation from the predictions of the Standard Model and General Relativity could point the way towards a unified theory. This talk will describe recent developments in precision tests of the fundamental symmetries underlying both the Standard Model and General Relativity using atomic physics techniques. As I will show, sometimes the most sensitive test of new physics doesn't require observing physics at very high energies, large distances, or extreme gravitational environments. Sometimes the best place to look for extraordinary physics is in what might at first seem to be a rather ordinary place.
Host: Thad Walker/Deniz Yavuz
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Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Chasing the Ghost Particle Madison Premiere
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: Marquee Theater, Union South
Speaker: Albrecht Karle, UW Dept of Physics, Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC)
Abstract: Join us for the free viewing of Chasing the Ghost Particle: From the South Pole to the Edge of the Universe on Wednesday, January 22 at 7:00 PM in the Marquee Theater, Union South. The 30-minute show features stunning simulations of the most energetic places in our universe, the galaxies around us, and a view of IceCube from inside the Antarctic ice. The evening begins with a talk by Professor Albrecht Karle on the history of neutrinos and the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. At 8:00 PM, the show begins. For more info, visit Presented by the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center, the WUD Film Committee, and Wednesday Nite @ the Lab.
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Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Astronomy Colloquium
A trillion times beyond visible: Astronomy with the Cherenkov Telescope Array
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Prof Justin Vandenbroucke, UW Physics Department
Abstract: In the past decade, gamma-ray astronomy has entered a golden age. In the GeV energy range, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has discovered surprising new sources and classes of sources, provided strong evidence that Galactic cosmic rays are produced by supernova remnants, and set strong constraints on the nature of dark matter. The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) will make similar breakthroughs at energies a thousand times higher. CTA will consist of dozens of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes detecting gamma rays with energy between 30 GeV and 300 TeV. CTA will have a broad science program including elucidating the origins of Galactic and extra-galactic cosmic-rays and the mechanisms of particle accelerators much more powerful than those on Earth, detecting or constraining dark matter particle interactions in situ in the cosmos, and measuring the energy spectrum of cosmic-ray electrons and positrons.
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Friday, January 24th, 2014

Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Majorana Physics Through the Cabibbo Haze
Time: 2:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Jue Zhang, University of Florida
Abstract: Motivated by SO(10), where the charge two-thirds and neutral Dirac Yukawa matrices are related, we propose a special form of the seesaw Majorana matrix. It not only can mitigate the severe hierarchy of the quark sector, but also contains a Gatto-Sartori-Tonin like relation, which predicts specific values for the light neutrino masses. Two different ways of obtaining that special Majorana matrix from the family symmetry $Z_7 rtimes Z_3$ will be presented. The first way requires a linear combination of two dimension-five family invariant operators, while in the second one a single dimension-six operator is needed.
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Physics Department Colloquium
Validation of Quantum Devices
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall (coffee at 4:30 pm)
Speaker: Matthias Troyer, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
Abstract: About a century after the development of quantum mechanics we have now reached an exciting time where non-trivial devices that make use of quantum effects can be built. While a universal quantum computer of non-trivial size is still out of reach there are a number commercial and experimental devices: quantum random number generators, quantum encryption systems, and analog quantum simulators. In this colloquium I will present some of these devices and validation tests we performed on them. Quantum random number generators use the inherent randomness in quantum measurements to produce true random numbers, unlike classical pseudorandom number generators which are inherently deterministic. Optical lattice emulators use ultracold atomic gases in optical lattices to mimic typical models of condensed matter physics. Finally, I will discuss the devices built by Canadian company D-Wave systems, which are special purpose quantum simulators for solving hard classical optimization problems.
Host: Sue Coppersmith
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