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Events on Thursday, April 7th, 2016

R. G. Herb Condensed Matter Seminar
Clearly witnessing the quantum fluctuations of a mechanical oscillator
Time: 10:00 am
Place: 5310 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Dr. Ray Simmonds , NIST, Boulder
Can a harmonic oscillator ever be truly at rest? It may seem strange, but according to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, the answer is: “no!” Even at a temperature of absolute zero, in its lowest possible energy state or “ground state”, the oscillator must still exhibit quantum fluctuations of its position and momentum. Can we unambiguously detect motion of a purely quantum origin? I will discuss a unique experiment that can unequivocally observe the quantum fluctuations of a mechanical oscillator near its ground state of motion. To do this, we have created a hybrid system that merges a microwave opto-mechanical element with a superconducting quantum bit (or qubit). Parametric coupling between the electrical and the mechanical oscillators allows us to cool the mechanics to its ground state and then amplify the intrinsic quantum fluctuations in both oscillators into real energy quanta that can then be detected by the qubit, which effectively acts as an ideal single photon or phonon detector. Operated in reverse, this system could be used to prepare complex quantum states of mechanical motion or to generate entanglement between the mechanical phonons and the electrical microwave photons. Controlling the quantum states of long-lived mechanical oscillators is important for applications in quantum information and for providing new, powerful quantum-enhanced detection methods for unbeatable precision measurements.
Host: McDermott
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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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Astronomy Colloquium
'A Walk on the Warped Side: Searches for Gravitational Waves from Compact Objects in Advanced LIGO'
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and Cookies 3:30 PM, Talk at 3:45 PM
Speaker: Sarah Caudill, UW Milwaukee - Physics Dept
Abstract: The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) recently confirmed one of the last predictions of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, that violent astrophysical collisions create ripples in the fabric of spacetime. On September 14, 2015, a gravitational wave signal from the collision of two massive black holes reached the Earth after traveling 1.3 billion years. The detection of this signal marks the beginning of gravitational wave astronomy and promises many more exciting discoveries in the near future. In this talk, I will discuss the methods that LIGO uses to detect the collisions of binary compact objects containing neutron stars and/or black holes and report on the most recent results from these searches. Additionally, I will discuss what we can learn from these collisions regarding the nature of spacetime.

Host: Prof Elena D'onghia
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Intellectual Property, Commercialization of Innovation at UW-Madison, and an Introduction to D2P
Time: 4:30 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Robert Pozner , Discovery to Product, UW Madison
Abstract: Reviews of the types of innovation that are patentable, the patent process, and the role of patents in commercialization. A description of Discovery to Product (D2P) and it’s role in commercializing technology at UW-Madison.
Host: Duncan Carlsmith
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