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This Week at Physics

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Events During the Week of March 8th through March 15th, 2015

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Plasma Physics (Physics/ECE/NE 922) Seminar
Simulations of Centrifugal Magnetospheres in Massive Stars
Time: 12:00 pm
Place: 1610 Engineering Hall
Speaker: Chris Bard, , UW-Madison, Physics
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
SUSY strikes back: there is no crisis for SUSY but a new collider may be required for discovery
Time: 3:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Howard Baer, University of Oklahoma
Abstract: Many authors have proclaimed a crisis state for SUSY due to the growing gap between the weak scale as typified by the Z and h mass, and the SUSY breaking scale which now sits in the mid-TeV range. This is the so-called Little Hierarchy. Vernon and I argue that the 'crisis' arises due to mis-calculation of electroweak fine-tuning and failure to combine dependent terms. The large log measure neglects the H_u soft mass while Barbieri-Giudice is typically applied to effective theories instead of supergravity. When these measures are rectified, they agree with the EW fine-tuning measure and predict light higgsinos which are hard to see at LHC but would be clear at an ILC. Extending naturalness to the QCD sector, we expect dark matter to consist of an axion-higgsino admixture: i.e. two dark matter particles.
Host: Ran Lu
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Department Meeting
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin Hall
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Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
Characterizing variations in Wisconsin’s extreme weather
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall (Refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Steve Vavrus, UW Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Abstract: Anecdotal evidence suggests an increasing occurrence of extreme weather in recent years, but a major impediment to identifying and quantifying trends is the absence of a common measuring stick. Many definitions of extreme weather exist, but they are often haphazard and not comparable to one other for quantifying the aggregate behavior of extremes. To help remedy this problem, I created a simple, non-parametric index of extreme weather based on the combined percentile rankings of temperature and precipitation (at monthly or longer timescales). This integrated index reveals that extreme weather has indeed been unusually pronounced in recent years in Madison and across Wisconsin. However, the reasons for the high index values vary considerably by location. The temporal and spatial variations of extreme weather in Wisconsin and elsewhere are probably a combination of chaotic weather processes and emerging anthropogenic climate change.
Host: Clint Sprott
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Spontaneously broken supersymmetries in string compactifications
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Hagen Triendl, CERN
Abstract: Supersymmetric compactifications of string and M-theory have been intensely studied over the last years. One of the major questions in this context is the appearance of perturbative and non-perturbative string corrections. In this talk I will explain that many of these compactifications admit additional, spontaneously broken supercharges that can explain the vanishing of certain perturbative string corrections and lead to conjectures for the vanishing of certain non-perturbative corrections. I will give concrete examples and show how they are related by dualities.
Host: Ran Lu
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Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Physics Education Innovation Seminar
Physics Education Innovation
Time: 11:00 am
Place: 5310 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Duncan Carlsmith, UW - Madison, Department of Physics
Abstract: Cheap lecture capture - Professor Duncan Carlsmith - (UW-Madison)

Abstract: The Revolabs Xtag wireless lapel microphone permits recording audio over your powerpoint or keynote slideshow while you freely wander the lecture room. I will discuss lecture capture technologies, demonstrate the use of this simple technique, and show you how to 1-click publish your captured lecture to the cloud.

Enhancing Quantum Mechanics Using Mathematica - Professor Thad Walker (UW-Madison)

Abstract: I will describe how I have been using Mathematica as a tool for both analytical and numerical work in the 448/9 sequence. There are several ways it enhances the learning experience. It greatly extends the variety of problems that can be reasonably solved. It does tedious algebra simply and correctly. It forces students to concretely implement abstractions such as changes of basis, outer product spaces, and matrix representations. It allows me to give take home exams without concern that the students will find the answer on the internet. Plus, it forces many otherwise computer illiterate students to develop computational skills that they will find useful for whatever scientific or technical career they may eventually end up in. Finally, since it is relatively easy to use I do not have to spend class time teaching how to use it. They build up their skills through a sequence of worked examples from lecture. In 449, I assign a major computational project, done in self-assembled groups, to calculate some of the energy levels of the helium atom from first principles to better than 1% accuracy. This project requires numerical work, implementation of angular momentum algebra (depending on which states I pick) and perturbation theory and impresses upon the students that quantum mechanics really works.
Host: Carlsmith/Timbie
Poster: http://www.physics.wisc.edu/twap/posters/2015/3661.pdf
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Department Meeting
Time: 12:15 pm
Place: 5310 Chamberlin Hall
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Thursday, March 12th, 2015

NPAC (Nuclear/Particle/Astro/Cosmo) Forum
The status of Himalayan Gamma Ray Observatory (HiGRO)
Time: 2:30 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Bannanje Sripathi Acharya, Tata Institute
Abstract: Work on VHE gamma-ray astronomy using the Atmospheric Cherenkov Technique started in India way back in 1969,soon after the discovery of pulsars. Over the years, steady improvements in telescope hardware have led to increase in the sensitivity and collection area as well as reduction in the energy threshold of the experiments. The latest in this series of experiments is the HiGRO project located at very high altitude (4.3km), at Hanle in the Ladakh region of Himalayas. In the first phase of this project 7 telescope array called HAGAR was installed the year 2008. It is an array of wavefront sampling non- imaging telescopes having a threshold energy of about 200 GeV for gamma-rays. This is the first ACT array operating at very high altitudes. A 21-m imaging telescope (called MACE), built by BARC group, will be commissioned at the same site adjascent to HAGAR array in this year. With MACE, the threshold energy of gamma-rays is expec to be about a few tens of GeV. Regular observations of galactic and extra galactic objects using HAGAR are going on since October 2008. I shall describe the status the HiGRO project at Hanle and the recent results obtained using the HAGAR array.
Host: Mike Duvernois
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Astronomy Colloquium
The James Webb Space Telescope
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Jonathan Gardner, NASA
Abstract: The James Webb Space Telescope is the scientific successor to the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes. It will be a large (6.6m) cold (50K) telescope launched into orbit around the second Earth-Sun Lagrange point. It is a partnership of NASA with the European and Canadian Space Agencies. The science goals for JWST include the formation of the first stars and galaxies in the early universe; the chemical, morphological and dynamical buildup of galaxies, the formation of stars and planetary systems and understanding our Solar System. Webb has four instruments: The Near-Infrared Camera, the Near-Infrared multi-object Spectrograph, and the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph will cover the wavelength range 0.6 to 5 microns, while the Mid-Infrared Instrument will do both imaging and spectroscopy from 5 to 28.5 microns. The observatory is confirmed for launch in 2018; the design is complete and it is in its construction and test phase. Recent progress includes the completion of the mirrors and the flight instruments and the start of cryogenic testing.
Host: UW Astronomy Department
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Theory Seminar (High Energy/Cosmology)
Title to be announced
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Sujeet Akula, Monash University
Abstract: TBA
Host: Ran Lu
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PUBLIC TALK AT THE DISCOVERY CENTER
PUBLIC TALK : Finding our origins with the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: HF Deluca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
Speaker: Jonathan Gardner, NASA
Abstract: Astronomers try to answer the biggest question of all: “How did we get here?” Using a flood of data from the Hubble Space Telescope, other space missions, large telescopes on the ground and super-computer simulations, we are starting to piece together the history of how simple particles, mass and energy that formed in the Big Bang changed over time to become galaxies, stars and planets today. In this talk, I will discuss some of the most important astronomical discoveries of the last 20 years, and the role that space telescopes have played in those discoveries. The next decade looks equally bright with Hubble and the promise of its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. I will describe Hubble’s greatest accomplishments and how they lead to the reasons we are building Webb.
Host: UW Astronomy Department
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Friday, March 13th, 2015

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:
    http://cmb.physics.wisc.edu/journal/index.html
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 Le Zhang (lzhang263@wisc.edu)
Host: Peter Timbie
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Physics Department Colloquium
Quantum information and a Michelson-Morley test with electrons
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall (coffee at 4:30 pm)
Speaker: Hartmut Haffner, University of California, Berkeley
Abstract: Quantum information processing promises to speed up certain computational tasks. The expectations are high, but many technological hurdles have to be overcome before we can build a quantum computer. Nevertheless, already today quantum information allows for novel insights into physics. In this talk, I will summarize our progress towards building an ion trap quantum computer as well as a surprising application of quantum information to fundamental physics. Using the precise experimental control over individual ions, we verify Lorentz invariance at a level of 10-18, improving the limits set by traditional Michelson-Morley experiments by a factor of five.
Host: Mark Saffman
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