Colloquium Series

Physical Sciences Colloquium Series

Sponsored by the Department of Physical Sciences

The Department sponsors several colloquia each semester, which usually take place 12:45 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Tuesdays or Thursdays unless otherwise noted. Refreshments are served at 12:45 p.m., and the talk starts approximately five minutes later. The venue is usually COAS 207, but the location can vary so be sure to check the listed room.

This page is updated each fall and spring semester.

If you are interested in speaking, please contact Dr. Edwin Mierkiewicz.

More information coming soon for the following events:

Friday, March 3, 2017 - with Gaby Gonzalaz in the IC Auditorium from 7-8pm

Thursday, March 9, 2017 -  with Louis McNally in COAS Room 207 from 12:45-2pm

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - with Thomas Vogel in COAS Room 207 from 12:45-2pm

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - with Karen Gaines in COAS Room 207 from 12:45-2pm

Friday, March 31, 2017 - in the IC Auditorium from 7-8pm

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - with Jay Johnson in COAS Room 207 from 12:45-2pm

Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Peter R. Saulson, Ph.D. the Martin A. Pomerantz ’37 Professor of Physics from Syracuse University

Listening in on Black Holes with Gravitational Waves

"On 14 September 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) recorded a signal generated by the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion light years away. Minute vibrations of space were all that remained of one of the most powerful events in the universe. Remarkably, we can listen to this signal simply by amplifying it and playing it through speakers. The sound tells the story, never before witnessed, of what happens when black holes collide. I’ll explain what gravitational waves are, how LIGO detected them, and what discoveries might come next from this new way of exploring the universe."

The lecture will be held in COAS Room 207 from 12:45 - 2pm

Friday, February 3, 2017
Dr. Sam Durrance, Professor of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology

The Ultimate Observing Runs

Dr. Sam Durrance will discuss his work on the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope, what it is like to train as a NASA Astronaut, and what it is like to fly in space. Dr. Durrance was trained as a NASA Astronaut and flew as a payload specialist on two Space Shuttle missions (STS-35, STS-67). He has been Director of Florida’s Space Grant Consortium (00-04’), and Executive Director of the Florida Space Research Institute (01-06’). He has taught courses covering topics ranging from the space program, to astrophysics and astrobiology. Dr. Durrance’s research interests include astronomical instrumentation, planetary astronomy, exoplanets, spacecraft operations, and biological effects of spaceflight.

The lecture will be held in the Willie Miller Center Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The Astronomy Open House will be in the College of Arts & Sciences from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Monday, September 12, 2016
Javier Licandro, Ph.D., Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Spain

When Comets Sleep: the Asteroids in Cometary Orbits

Please note that this event begins at 12:00 noon and is held in COAS 315.

The main phenomenological distinction between comets and asteroids is that comets are active objects as they present gas and dust ejection from the surface at some point of their orbits, while asteroids are inert objects as they do not show any kind of large scale gas and dust ejection. There are some objects in typical cometary orbits that never showed any kind of activity, the Asteroids in Cometary Orbits (ACOs).

To identify ACOs several classification schemes based on the orbital elements have been used. Recently Tancredi (2014) presented the more restrictive criteria to identify ACOs used until now and a list of 316 of such objects.

I present the surface physical properties of the Tancredi’s population of ACOs based on multi-wavelength (from visible to mid-infrared) photometry (including SARA observations), spectroscopy and WISE thermal data and compare it to comet properties. I show that these objects and comet nuclei also have very similar properties which strongly support that ACOs are dormant comets.

Thursday, September 15, 2016
Marek Szczepanczyk, Ph.D. Student, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona

The Rise of a New Era of Astronomy: the Discovery of Gravitational Waves and Gravitational Wave Core-collapse Supernova Science

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) advanced generation detectors started operation in September 2015 with a great success: the discovery of Gravitational Waves (GW) from merging black holes. This detection is the beginning of a new era of Gravitational Wave Astronomy. Along with looking optically at the sky, we are able now to "hear" the Universe.

In the first part of my presentation, I will talk about the discovery, GW detectors and the future of Gravitational Wave Astronomy. In the second part of my presentation, I will summarize my field of research - Gravitational Wave Core-Collapse Supernova (CCSN) Science. CCSN is a violent end of life of a massive star. When a star burns its fuel, it creates a heavy iron core in the center of the star that collapses after exceeding so called Chandrasekhar mass (~1.5 of solar mass). This collapse usually triggers an explosion that is so energetic that it can glow stronger than the host galaxy. The waves from CCSN are unfortunately very weak but extremely rich in physics, and they are one of the most interesting GW sources.

Thursday, September 22, 2016
Robert Fleck, Ph.D., Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Picturing the History of Science: a Rollicking Romp through the History of Science from the Paleolithic to the Present

"In Science, it is when we take some interest in the great discoverers and their lives that it becomes endurable, and only when we begin to trace the development of ideas that it becomes fascinating." -Nineteenth-century Scottish physicist, James Clerk Maxwell

Thursday, September 29, 2016
Neil Comins

LIGO and the Detection of Gravity Waves

Einstein’sequations of General Relativity predict that gravitational energy can travel by creating ripples in the fabric of spacetime. The search for these gravitational waves has been underway since the mid-1960s. There have been several generations of ever-more-sensitive gravitational wave detectors, culminating in the Advanced LIGO technology,which in 2016 detected gravitational waves created by the merger of two black holes. In his talk, Comins will present the theory, history, technology, and recent results surrounding this research.

This event takes place from 12:45-2:00 pm in COAS Room 207

Friday, September 30, 2016
Astronomy Open House and Lecture

Lecture by Neil Comins, "What if the Moon Didn't Exist"

Exploring alternative versions of Earth is a very powerful tool for understanding our planet, as well as for creating new worlds to explore both scientifically and through science fiction. In this talk, astronomer Neil F. Comins will explore what the Earth would be like if the Moon had never formed. The differences are staggering, as are the consequences for life on that world.

The lecture will be held in the Willie Miller Center Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The Astronomy Open House will be in the College of Arts & Sciences from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Monday, October 3, 2016
Mark Newpower

Colloquium Lecture

One of the largest health risks to astronauts on a mission to Mars will be radiation exposure.Radiation from galactic and solar sources,along with the Van Allen belts create an environment that needs to be carefully understood before a manned mission to Mars is undertaken. For a theoretical 2.5 year mission the estimated effective radiation dose to crew members exceeds current dose limits of radiation workers by a factor of 8.This presentation is meant to be an introduction to radiation biology and radiation risk from the perspective of a medical physicist. The proton and ion radiation present in the solar systemwill be discussed,along with the biological effects of such radiation. There will also be a brief discussion of proton and heavy ion therapy, where protons and ions such as helium and carbon are accelerated to kinetic energies sufficient to penetrate several centimeters into the body and kill cancer. The presentation will wrapup with an overview of the current medical research in biological modeling of proton therapy.

Please note that this event begins at 12:00 noon and is held in COAS 315.

Thursday, October 6, 2016
Thomas Vogel

Colloquium Lecture

Thursday, October 13, 2016
John Olivero

Colloquium Lecture

Thursday, October 27, 2016
William Barott

A Sea of Signals: Passive Radar and Communications in a Congested Spectrum

Friday, October 28, 2016
Astronomy Open House and Lecture

Lecture by Ron Oliversen on NASA's Juno Mission

The lecture will be held in the Willie Miller Center Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The Astronomy Open House will be in the College of Arts & Sciences from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Friday, November 18, 2016
Astronomy Open House and Lecture

Lecture by Robert Fleck, "From Dust to Dust: the Life Cycle of Stars"

The lecture will be held in the Willie Miller Center Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The Astronomy Open House will be in the College of Arts & Sciences from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

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