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This Week at Physics

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Events During the Week of December 8th through December 15th, 2019

Monday, December 9th, 2019

Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
Integrated Solenoid-Free Tokamak Startup Studies on Pegasus and Pegasus-III
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Michael Bongard, UW-Madison
Host: John Sarff
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Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
The poetry of chaos
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Robin Chapman, UW Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Abstract: I have been writing poetry on the nonlinear, dynamic aspects of life, climate change, and our discussions of chaos for the past twenty years and will read selected work, including poems from my recently published book The Only Home We Know (Tebot Bach, 2019)
Host: Clint Sprott
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Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Dark Matter and Dark Radiation from Primordial Black Hole Domination
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Gordan Krnjaic, Fermilab
Abstract: If even a relatively small number of black holes were created in the early universe, they will constitute an increasingly large fraction of the total energy density as space expands. It is thus well-motivated to consider scenarios in which the early universe included an era in which primordial black holes dominated the total energy density. Within this context, we consider Hawking radiation as a mechanism to produce both dark radiation and dark matter. If the early universe included a black hole dominated era, we find that Hawking radiation will produce dark radiation at a level ΔNeff∼0.03−0.2 for each light and decoupled species of spin 0, 1/2, or 1. This range is well suited to relax the tension between late and early-time Hubble determinations, and is within the reach of upcoming CMB experiments. The dark matter could also originate as Hawking radiation in a black hole dominated early universe, although such dark matter candidates must be very heavy (mDM>1011 GeV) if they are to avoid exceeding the measured abundance.
Host: Nicholas Orlofsky
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Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Cosmology Journal Club
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 5242 Chamberlin Hall
Abstract: Please visit the following link for more details:
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 Ross Cawthon ( and Santanu Das (
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Making space telescopes happen
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: Supernova Conference Room (5117),WIPAC offices at 222 West Washington Ave., Suite 500
Speaker: Max Mutchler
Abstract: The era of big space telescopes has led to unique institutional arrangements, data access, workforce needs, and public engagement which are redefining how astronomy is done, and who does it. This evolution is broadening ideas of what a career in astronomy can consist of, with largely untapped potential to make the field more welcoming and inclusive of historically under-represented demographics. This talk will describe activities and innovations at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which manages the science programs for three of NASA's flagship astronomy missions (Hubble, Webb, and WFIRST) -- and which has deep roots at UW-Madison.
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R. G. Herb Condensed Matter Seminar
Quantum combinatorial optimization algorithms
Time: 1:00 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Dr. Yuri Alexeev, Argonne Argonne National Laboratory
Abstract: Quantum computing is a promising area of science, but after 20+ years of tremendous research efforts and enormous investments large scale, general purpose, universal quantum computers capable of solving realistic problems are not yet available. However, small scale universal quantum computers and "quantum annealers" capable of tackling certain classical optimization problems are now available with limited access. In this talk, I will present our recent advances in the development of quantum combinatorial optimization algorithms like QAOA. I will also overview the state of quantum computing in Argonne National Laboratory.
Host: Saffman
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Friday, December 13th, 2019

R. G. Herb Condensed Matter Seminar
Time: 12:15 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Michael Murrell, Yale
Abstract: TBD
Host: Pupa Gilbert
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NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forum
Exploring the Cosmic Dark Ages: the Lunar Orbit Array
Time: 2:30 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin
Speaker: Xuelei Chen, National Astronomical Observatories of China/ Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC)
Abstract: Radio observations of the redshifted 21 cm line of hydrogen will allow exploration of cosmic epochs before the first luminous objects formed: the epoch of reionization, cosmic dawn, and the cosmic dark ages. This talk will describe the Lunar Orbit Array, a Chinese instrument under study to orbit the Moon to measure the global spectrum of the sky and make sky maps from 1 MHz to 200 MHz, corresponding to redshifts from ~ 1000 to 7.
Host: Peter Timbie
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