This Week at Physics

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This Week at Physics

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Events During the Week of April 23rd through April 30th, 2017

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
Understanding the Plasma Response to Resonant Magnetic Perturbations
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 2317 Engineering Hall
Speaker: Dr. Alan Turnbull, General Atomics, USA
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Cosmology Journal Club
An Informal discussion about a broad variety of arXiv papers related to Cosmology
Time: 12:15 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 Amol Upadhye (
Host: Amol Upadhye
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Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
Scenarios, simulations, and sustainability science: Planning for the future of complex systems
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Chris Kucharik, UW Nelson Institute
Abstract: Cleaning up the Yahara lakes is difficult because they are part of a complex system, where the needs of humans and ecosystems compete and long-term challenges, such as climate change and land use planning have many possible consequences and solutions. How can we better prepare for the future given this complexity and uncertainty? We can start with scenarios, or provocative and plausible stories that guide numerical simulations of the future. Together, these tools can help us understand how our decision-making today could impact our lakes and landscapes in the future. This presentation will cover the process and new model results that are a part of Yahara 2070, a set of scenarios created for the Yahara River watershed by the Water Sustainability and Climate Project at UW-Madison.
Host: Clint Sprott
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"Physics Today" Undergrad Colloquium (Physics 301)
Quantum Circuits
Time: 1:20 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Maxim G Vavilov, UW Madison Department of Physics
Host: Wesley Smith
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Title to be announced
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin
Speaker: Peisi Huang, Texas A&M
Abstract: TBA
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Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

No events scheduled

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Astronomy Colloquium
Simulating the Evolving Milky Way: From Disk to Halo
Time: 3:00 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and cookies at 3:30 pm, Talk at 3:45 PM
Speaker: Sarah Loebman, University of MI
Abstract: The Milky Way is the most observationally accessible galaxy in our Universe. In many ways it is also a "typical galaxy," making it an important benchmark for studying galaxy formation. For this reason, uncovering the formation history of the Milky Way is the key goal of major ongoing surveys such as APOGEE and Gaia. However, observations of the Milky Way span a complex multi-dimensional space which necessitates sophisticated modeling to interpret. In this talk, I will highlight some recent achievements utilizing state-of-the-art simulations to aid in our exploration of the Milky Way's formation and evolution. In particular, I will discuss recent APOGEE observations of the Milky Way's disk and the role radial migration has played in redistributing stars within it. I will also discuss observations and simulations of kinematics in the Milky Way's stellar halo, emphasizing how measurements of kinematic moments hold power for constraining the merger history of the Milky Way. Finally, I will discuss a strong prediction of LCDM - that stellar halos are radially anisotropic - and I will highlight the potential Gaia holds for testing this prediction in the Milky Way.
Host: UW Astronomy Department
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Friday, April 28th, 2017

Physics Department Colloquium
A research-validated approach to transforming upper-division physics courses
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin hall
Speaker: Steve Pollock, Colorado University
Abstract: At most universities, including the University of Colorado, upper-division physics courses are taught using a traditional lecture approach that does not make use of many of the instructional techniques that have been found to improve student learning at the introductory level. We are transforming upper-division courses (E&M, quantum, and Classical Mechanics) using principles of active engagement and learning theory, guided by the results of observations, interviews, and analysis of student work at CU and elsewhere. I will outline these reforms including consensus learning goals, clicker questions, tutorials, modified homeworks, and more, as an example of what a transformed upper-division course can look like, and as a tool to offer insights into student difficulties in advanced undergraduate topics. We have examined the effectiveness of these reforms relative to traditional courses, based on grades, interviews, and attitudinal and conceptual surveys. Our results suggest that it is valuable to further investigate how physics is taught at the upper-division, and how education research may be applied in this context.
Host: Baha Balantekin
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Physics Awards Banquet
Time: 5:30 pm
Place: The University Club
Abstract: Awards presentation for student and alumni award winners.
Host: Albrecht Karle
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