Events at Physics

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Events During the Week of September 18th through September 25th, 2022

Monday, September 19th, 2022

Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
Challenges towards the engineering solution of fusion Blanket and Shield
Time: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Place: 1610 Engineering Hall
Speaker: Laila El-Guebaly, UW-Madison
Abstract: Fusion researchers have examined a multitude of magnetic fusion concepts (tokamaks, stellarators, spherical tokamaks, linear systems, etc.) searching for the ultimate source of energy with a viable confinement approach. The current wealth of information includes more than 40 operational experiments and ~60 worldwide conceptual power plant and DEMO studies. However, these achievements are insufficient to conclusively demonstrate the capability of producing commercial fusion power as the technology and materials-related challenges remain significant due to the low priority assigned to their developments. This talk addresses our current understanding of technology-related challenges facing fusion research, such as liquid metal and ceramic breeder blankets, sufficient tritium breeding in blankets to fuel the plasma, radiation-resistant structural materials for 14-MeV neutron environment, and highly efficient shield to protect the magnet and externals. Such challenges should be addressed by designs and directed R&D programs to achieve commercially viable fusion energy, particularly for concepts of interest to UW: stellarator, ST, RFP, and linear systems.
Host: Benedikt Geiger
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Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

APS Chapters Virtual Seminar
APS Chapters Virtual Seminar - Xuan Chen
Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Chamberlin 4274
Speaker: Xuan Chen, Cornell University
Abstract: Join us in person for coffee and snacks or virtually for a talk by Cornell postdoc Xuan Chen on life after grad school!

Life after Grad School:
When I was in the last year of grad school, I have been asking myself who will I be after school. Should I stay in academia, should I go to industry, or are there any other options out there for me? In my talk, I'd like to share my experience with exploring my career path, my job hunting for a postdoc, and my life as a postdoc. In addition, I want to discuss with you the community engagement activities that I am involved in and how you can be a part of the movement to create a more inclusive environment for everyone.

Zoom link:
Host: Luca Riitano
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Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

Thesis Defense
Micro- and nano-optical components for quantum technologies
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Place: Engineering 3609 and virtual-
Speaker: Zhaoning April Yu , Physics PhD Graduate Student
Abstract: The booming of quantum technologies offers exciting opportunities in the field of optics. This thesis includes our effort to address three optical challenges when building a quantum repeater or a quantum chemical sensor, they are: (1) how to engineer diffraction gratings for trapping cold atom clusters; (2) how to efficiently generate optical bottle beams using a single surface-patterned chip; and (3) how to extract fluorescence from color centers in diamond without damaging the diamond surface. To interact with a small (atom-scale) quantum system, miniaturized optical components are often needed with micro- or nanometer structuring. Such compact structuring poses requirements in both simulation and fabrication methods. On the one hand, when designing and evaluating a micro- or nano optical component, unlike conventional bulky optics where light can be approximated as rays, the electromagnetic field must be calculated with nm-scale spatial resolution. On the other hand, when making a micro- or nano optical component, conventional mechanical polishing can not provide sufficient accuracy, thus researchers resort to advanced lithography techniques (such as electron-beam lithography, laser lithography) which has already been used in the semiconductor industry. The methods are introduced and discussed in details for each application scenario. By using finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation method and electron-beam lithography fabrication method, we demonstrate: (1) a grating chip for trapping dual atomic species; (2) an optical metasurface for generating a bottle beam array with a single Gaussian beam luminance; and (3) a silicon light extractor for enhancing the fluorescence collection from nitrogen-vacancy (NV) defects in diamond.
Host: Mikhail Kats
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GREAT IDEAS DEI coffee hour
Time: 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Place: Chamberlin 5280 or online at
Abstract: We will be discussing this paper from Physical Review Physics Education Research: Postsecondary physics curricula and Universal Design for Learning: Planning for diverse learners. We would like people to focus on the abstract, introduction, UDL framework and guidelines, methology and findings sections for the discussion. We will also go over an article summary and we welcome attendees who haven't had an opportunity to read the article.

GREAT IDEAS stands for Group for Reading, Educating, And Talking about Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Advocacy in Science. It is a multimedia reading group dedicated to amplifying the experiences of underrepresented groups in science and academia in order to become better advocates for our peers. GREAT IDEAS is open to everyone (students/ faculty/ staff/ etc), and all are welcome and encouraged to engage with the material and contribute to the discussions. To keep a welcoming and safe environment for everyone, we ask that everyone understand and adhere to our community guidelines for the discussions;. If you would like to submit an article for a future GREAT IDEAS discussion, you can do so on this form.
Host: GMaWiP and Climate and Diversity Committee (contact Faizah Siddique or Cameron Kuchta with questions)
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R. G. Herb Condensed Matter Seminar
Results of the SHAFT experiment
Time: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Alexander Gramolin, Riverlane
Abstract: I present the results of the SHAFT experiment at Boston University to search for axion-like dark matter in the mass range from 12 peV to 12 neV. The experiment is sensitive to the oscillating magnetic field that would be sourced by an axion-like dark matter halo of our Galaxy interacting with a strong static magnetic field in the lab. We employ toroidal ferromagnetic cores made of powdered iron-nickel alloy to enhance the static magnetic field by a factor of 24. Using superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs), we achieve a magnetic sensitivity of 150 aT/rtHz. This sensitivity allows us to improve, over a part of our mass range, the existing laboratory limits on the electromagnetic coupling of axion-like dark matter.
Host: Robert McDermott
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Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

Astronomy Colloquium
Characterizing the Multiphase Interstellar Medium in the Milky Way and Beyond
Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Place: Sterling Hall 4421; via Zoom:
Speaker: Dr. Nick Pingel, UW-Madison
Abstract: The hydrogen gas component of the interstellar medium (ISM) makes up ~75% of the overall mass fraction and exists over a myriad of phases: a cold molecular phase that fuels star formation, a thermally bi-stable neutral phase (HI), and an ionized phase (HII) around regions of massive star formation. The lifecycle of the hydrogen gas in the ISM is a fundamental driver of galaxy evolution; however, many questions remain open about the interplay between these different phases. For instance, how does the turbulent warm neutral medium imprint itself on the cold neutral and molecular phases to influence subsequent star formation? I will present observations of HI emission and absorption that, when analyzed in conjunction, trace the important phase transition between the cold and warm components of the ISM. These observational data come from an assortment of novel surveys: the Galactic ASKAP survey (GASKAP-HI), which provides the most sensitive and spatially resolved view of our own Milky Way and nearby Magellanic Clouds, and the Local Group L Band Survey (LGLBS) that extends this view to members of the Local Group, including the Milky Way analogue M31. In particular, we observe the presence of cold HI into the circumgalactic medium of the Milky Way that is embedded within a turbulent warm component. These unprecedented observations probe the physical state of HI over a large range of environments and will provide touchstone HI data sets for the Magellanic System, Milky Way, and Local Group for the coming decade.
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Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Physics Department Colloquium
Diversifying Science: Lessons from the Field
Time: 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Place: 2103 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Elaine Ecklund, Rice
Abstract: In this talk sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund (Rice University) shares empirical insights from her research on how scientists understand diversity in science. Specifically she discusses how images of the ideal scientist keep underrepresented groups out of science. Her remarks will draw on two research studies, including an examination of how academic physicists and biologists view gender discrimination and family life in relationship to the academic science career. She also draws on data from an eight nation study of how biologists and physicists view religious discrimination and gender discrimination in science. Her talk will end with best practices for diversifying academic science.
Host: Tulika Bose
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Saturday, September 24th, 2022

UW Madison Physics Department Picnic
Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Place: Westmoreland Park, 4114 Tokay Blvd.
Abstract: All Physics Picnic! All are welcome - we hope you'll bring spouse, partners, kids! Westmoreland Park has a playground, basketball courts, tennis courts, a big open field for soccer or frisbee. And a shelter - so the picnic will happen, rain or shine! RSVP:
Host: Sharon Kahn
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