Fall 2017: Colloquium Series

Talks are usually scheduled on Thursdays during common hour (12:50 – 1:50 PM) in Room N304 of the Science and Engineering Building, unless otherwise indicated. Lunch is served starting at 12:20PM. All are welcome!

Thursday September 07
1st week of classes: no talk scheduled

Thursday September 14, 2017

Effects of Supplementary Information on Solution Methods to Kinematics Problems

Evan Halstead
Physics Department, Skidmore College

A student once told me that the formula sheets I provided for tests always made her want to immediately jump to the formula sheet for every problem instead of thinking about it first. That got me wondering whether I was inadvertently influencing all of my students’ solution methods with subtle cues. To answer this question, a team of students and I devised an experiment in which participants solved three kinematics questions while having access to either relevant equations, irrelevant equations, an image, or no supplementary information at all. They were then asked to describe their solution process. Answers were grouped by solution method in order to see if the type of supplementary information that was provided correlated with the solution method. I present and comment on the results.

Thursday September 21, 2017

Summer Student Poster Day

The department hallways will be decorated by posters by Union College physics majors who participated in summer research this year. The authors will stand by their posters to discuss their work and answer our questions while we all enjoy lunch during our first official colloquium of the new academic year.

Thursday September 28, 2017

Signal Processing Using Chaos

Chandra Pappu
Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering, Union College

A new, rich class of oscillators namely chaotic oscillators with nonlinear behavior have tremendous potentials in the field of signal processing. Due to its self-synchronizing capabilities these oscillators can be used in network synchronization, receiver-transmitter synchronization etc. In addition, chaotic waveforms generated by chaotic systems are noise like and wideband in nature. The potentials of these chaotic systems are illustrated considering few examples. Firstly, I illustrate the application of chaos for secret communications. Secondly, I show the advantages of using chaotic frequency modulated signals in jamming/intereference environment. Finally, I demonstrate the high resolution capability of chaotic waveform considering BOEING 777 airplane.

Please note the change in location. This seminar will be in Lippman 017.

Thursday October 05, 2017

A Classical, Magnetic, Many-Body System
Adventures in Desk Toy Physics

Nelia Mann
Department of Physics & Astronomy, Union College

®Buckyballs are small, strong, spherical magnets sold in sets as popular desk toys. Each separate magnet can be well modeled as a magnetic dipole, and thus interactions between pairs of magnets are easily understood in terms of classical electrodynamics. In larger numbers, the magnets form structures that can be thought of as analogous to structures of atoms or molecules within bulk materials. In this talk, I will utilize some of the traditional tools of solid state physics along with numerical techniques to analyze this “toy system”. The results suggest that insight into real solid state systems might be gained through comparison to this system.

Thursday October 12, 2017

Superconducting qubits for quantum processors

Daniela Bogorin
National Research Council Fellow, Air Force Research Laboratory

In the last two decades remarkable advances have been made in quantum information processing. There are many technologies that are being developed for the physical realization of a quantum bit (qubit), each with its own advantages and disadvantages. These technologies include optical photons, trapped ions, superconducting qubits, neutral atoms, molecules, quantum dots, nuclear spins, and NV centers in diamond among others. Superconducting qubits based on Josephson Junctions superconducting circuits is one of the leading technologies. Progress in the development of superconducting qubits in the last five years demonstrates a viable path towards quantum processors with tens of qubits, required for proving quantum supremacy and ultimately towards a fault tolerant quantum computer. Superconducting qubits have high coherences ~ 100 μs and are manipulated by fast gates ~ few ns and are fabricated using semiconductor technology. In this talk I will present a short overview of the field and an introduction of superconducting qubit technology.

Thursday October 19, 2017

Confining colloids: From dynamic artificial cells to luminescent nanodiamond sensors

Viva Horowitz
Department of Physics, Hamilton College

Watching nano- and microscale particles in confined environments can reveal new physics, whether we create a dynamic system that mimics cellular motion or use the quantum spin of nanodiamonds to explore a magnetic environment. In the first part of this talk, we’ll explore the possibilities of using self-propelled particles to create a super-diffusive system that beats Brownian motion, much like the interior of cells. We’ll discuss how to investigate the motion of these particles using holography and other optical techniques, and see how these particles can be encapsulated in lipid vesicles or in droplets. The dynamics and transport processes of this artificial cytoplasm may prove necessary to sustain gene expression, growth, and reproduction in future artificial cells. In the second part, we’ll explore how nitrogen-vacancy color centers embedded in nanoparticle diamonds have electronic quantum spin states that are sensitive to magnetic fields via electron spin resonance. When we pick up these nanodiamond probes using optical tweezers, we can measure and map the magnetic environment despite the motion and random orientation of nanodiamonds levitated by the laser beam. However, challenges remain: these spin states are sensitive to impurities in the diamond crystal and surroundings. We need to find the best diamond particles for spin-based magnetic, electric, and thermal sensing in fluidic environments and biophysical systems. Toward this end, we are building a microfluidic device to sort nanodiamonds according to their optical properties.

Please note the change in location. This seminar will be in N300.

Thursday October 26, 2017

Nucleation in Undercooled Metal Droplets –Applications in the Microelectronics Industry

Eric Cotts
Physics and Materials Science, Binghamton University

Most of the metallic materials that we use in daily life are prepared by casting from the melt. We seek to understand and control the physics of such solidification processes. Classical nucleation theory reflects the essence of the nucleation and initial growth of crystals from an undercooled melt. It works best for systems with simpler bonding mechanisms, such as Lennard-Jones and many transition metals. For more complex systems, such as Sn, metastable precursors form first from the melt at nanometer length scales. These metastable inoculants can affect the entire structure of solids, and their properties (for instance in microelectronic interconnects). We explore the nucleation of undercooled Sn droplets as a function of impurity concentration, and examine effects on the microstructure, and properties, of interconnects in electronic packages.

Thursday November 02, 2017

Physics in Radiation Oncology

Tom Mazur (class of 2007)

Applications of physics pervade medicine. “Medical Physics” refers to careers in radiology and radiation oncology that provide support for the safe and effective delivery of radiation to cancer patients for both diagnostics and therapy. A conventional career trajectory for a medical physicist begins with a post-graduate degree in Medical Physics that covers a specialized curriculum tailored to a career in a clinical setting. Many clinics, especially in academic settings, increasingly value candidates with non-conventional backgrounds in basic sciences like physics. After graduating from Union College, I attended graduate school in the physics department at The University of Texas at Austin where I studied atomic physics. After graduate school, I was a post-doctoral researcher in the radiation oncology department at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. I now am a researcher and clinical trainee in the same department. In this talk I will describe careers in medical physics, including necessary pre-requisites and training, day-to-day responsibilities, various technologies, and opportunities for research.

Thursday November 09, 2017 No: seminar

The Department is hosting the NYSSAPS and ASNY joint Fall meeting on Gravitational Waves on November 10 and 11. For more information and registration, visit www.nyssaps.org.

Congratulations Prof Rainer Weiss on Winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics!

Back to the Colloquium main page
Back to Physics and Astronomy Department Homepage

Skip to toolbar