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October 25, 2019

Physics Colloquium Series

Date: Thursday, October 31, 2019

Speaker: David Lucas, Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford

Title: Quantum logic with trapped ions: precise, fast, networked

Abstract: The concepts of quantum information processing date back at least 35 years, to the ideas of quantum simulation and computing suggested by Feynman and Deutsch. Experimental progress in the field often appears slow, partly because of the demanding precision required in the elementary logic operations for quantum error correction, partly because of the technical challenges associated with scaling systems up to larger numbers of qubits, and partly because our expectations are colored by the enormous power and progress of classical computing technology over the last hundred years. I will give a brief survey of the state of the art across the various platforms which are being explored for quantum computing, and argue that progress is in fact extremely encouraging. I will then report on recent work in Oxford on improving the precision and speed of quantum logic operations in the ion trap platform, and on building an elementary quantum network to distribute entanglement between two different ion trap “nodes” separated by a macroscopic distance.

Location: Room 100, Willamette hall

Host: David Allcock & David Wineland

Please join us for a catered reception at 3:40pm in the Paul Olum, Willamette Hall Atrium.

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October 11, 2019

Physics Colloquium Series

Date: Thursday, October 24, 2019

Speaker: Benjamín Alemán, University of Oregon

Title: The fall and rise of the mass on a spring

Abstract: The mass on a spring and other mechanical systems have long found use in everyday applications like time-keeping clocks, but, at one time, they were also employed in smarter information technologies such as calculators and computers. However, their place in information processing was eclipsed by the emergence of silicon-based microelectronics. In recent years, thanks largely to the nanometer-scale miniaturization of mechanical systems and the discovery of atomic-scale materials like graphene, mechanical analogs to the mass on a spring have been rising in scientific and technological prominence, and are once again knocking on the door of more sophisticated uses. The next step in this mechanical evolution–as occurred with electronic microchips–is to form large programmable networks of interacting nanomechanical resonators, but such networks demand unprecedented, scalable control over the resonance frequencies and coupling of the constituent resonators. Here, I will detail recent projects in my lab that advance the quest for networks based on optically addressable graphene nanoelectromechanical resonators. By harnessing several unique properties of graphene, we develop an optoelectronic non-volatile mechanical strain memory and a means for fast, photothermally mediated strain modulation, which together enable local static and dynamic frequency control of resonators in large arrays. I will discuss several applications already enabled by our work, such as a new light detector that “hears” light, as well as some wilder, yet promising aspirations.

Location: Room 100, Willamette hall

Host: Laura Jeanty

Please join us for a catered reception at 3:40pm in the Paul Olum, Willamette Hall Atrium.

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October 4, 2019

Physics Colloquium Series

Date: Thursday, October 10, 2019

Speaker: Timothy Cohen, University of Oregon, Physics dept.

Title: Describing Nature Effectively

Abstract: The aim of this colloquium will be to provide some insight into a modern point of view on dimensional analysis known as Effective Field Theory.  This approach systematically distills a physical problem to the essential degrees of freedom that are relevant for modeling the dynamics of interest.  After discussing some intuitive examples, I will describe a situation where these techniques have recently been put to use by myself and collaborators:  heavy dark matter annihilations relevant for indirect detection.  I will expose an issue with the standard Feynman diagram perturbation theory that arises when attempting to predict the annihilation rate.  I will then sketch how Effective Field Theory techniques can be used to restore our ability to calculate in a controlled way, allowing us to produce a precision prediction that is relevant for current and future experiments.

Location: Room 100, Willamette hall

Host: Laura Jeanty

Please join us for a catered reception at 3:40pm in the Paul Olum, Willamette Hall Atrium.

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August 21, 2019

UO Physics Colloquium Series, Fall 2019

Date: Thursday, October 3, 2019

Speaker: Richard Taylor, University of Oregon, Physics dept. Head

Title: State of the UO Physics Department

Location: Room 100, Willamette hall

Host: Laura Jeanty

Please join us for a catered reception at 3:40pm in the Paul Olum, Willamette Hall Atrium.

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June 10, 2019

The Physics Colloquium Series will Resume Fall 2019

The Physics Colloquium Series will Resume Fall 2019

In the meantime:

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May 31, 2019

Neutrino Properties from Cosmology

Date:  Thursday, June 6th, 2019

Time: 4:00pm

Location:100 Willamette Hall

Speaker: Marilena LoVerde, Stony Brook University

Abstract: Cosmic background neutrinos are nearly as abundant as cosmic microwave background photons, but their mass, which determines the strength of their gravitational clustering, is unknown. Even if the neutrino masses are the minimum required by oscillation data, their gravitational effects on cosmological structure will nevertheless be detectable in — and in fact required to explain — data within the next decade. This presents the opportunity to detect the neutrino mass scale and test our standard cosmological model, but also to test for new physics in the dark sector. I will discuss the physical effects of neutrinos, or other hot dark matter, on structure formation, and prospects for learning about the physics these particles with future galaxy surveys and cosmic microwave background experiments.

Host: Tien-Tien Yu

All attendees are invited to attend a colloquium reception in the Willamette Hall, Paul Olum atrium at 3:40pm.

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May 24, 2019

Spacetime, Quantum Mechanics and Positive Geometry

Date:  Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Time: 4:00pm

Location:100 Willamette Hall

Speaker: Nima Arkani-Hamed, Institute for Advanced Study

Abstract: Spacetime and Quantum Mechanics form the pillars of our understanding of modern physics, but there are several indications that these concepts are approximate and must emerge from deeper principles, undoubtedly involving new mathematics. In this talk, I will describe some emerging ideas along these lines, and present a new formulation of some very basic physics– fundamental to particle scattering and to cosmology–not following from quantum evolution in space-time, but associated with simple new mathematical structures in “positive geometry”.

The simplest examples of positive geometries are polytopes old and new, from cyclic polytopes and Associahedra to “cosmological” polytopes. Others, such as the “Amplituhedron”, involve generalizations of polytopes into the Grassmannian. In these examples, we can concretely see how the usual rules of space-time and quantum mechanics can arise, joined at the hip, from fundamentally geometric and combinatorial origins”.

Host: Graham Kribs

All attendees are invited to attend a colloquium reception in the Willamette Hall, Paul Olum atrium at 3:40pm.

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May 17, 2019

Data-driven models and machine learning for the physical sciences

Date:  Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Time: 4:00pm

Location:100 Willamette Hall

Speaker: David Hogg, New York University and Flatiron Institute

Abstract: There is immense hype, and immense promise, in machine learning for physics and astronomy. I use the case of stellar astrophysics as an example area in which to explore these ideas, but my points will be general and apply to any physics area where there are substantial data sets and good but not perfect physical models. When the information in the data is good enough to consistently rule out (in a statistical goodness-of-fit sense) the physical models, can we benefit from the data quality in ways that deliver new insights about fundamental physics? One of the main themes is that we want to pick and choose the parts of machine learning we do and don’t want to be using, because our objectives are very different from those of Amazon and Facebook. I’ll put a lot of emphasis on generalizability and causal structure. (Oh and by the way, data-driven models currently produce more precise measurements of stellar properties and compositions than any physical models.)

Host: Ben Farr

All attendees are invited to attend a colloquium reception in the Willamette Hall, Paul Olum atrium at 3:40pm.

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May 10, 2019

Physics Demonstrations in formal and informal education: 37 years to a doctorate!

Date:  Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Time: 4:00pm

Location:100 Willamette Hall

Speaker: Stanley J. Micklavzina, University of Oregon

Abstract:

I started working with physics demonstrations 37 years ago while pursuing my undergraduate degree in Physics. I became enamored with the approaches of displaying and teaching the poetry of Physics, with eloquent demonstrations delineating the stanzas.

This colloquium will discuss the methods of utilizing Physics Demonstrations in presentations and the background of developing shows for the public and demos for the classroom.  Included will be demonstration examples created and implemented into formal classroom physics lessons as well as informal public presentations and performances and the differences in the methods for each.

What is the role and value of Physics Demonstrations for the future? This question will be asked with current budgets, developments in physics teaching, and the highly active role of media for students in this time frame. My perspective will be interwoven within the presentation.

All attendees are invited to attend a colloquium reception in the Willamette Hall, Paul Olum atrium at 3:40pm.

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May 3, 2019

SENSEI: First results, status, and plans

Date:  Thursday, May 9th, 2019

Time: 4:00pm

Location:100 Willamette Hall

Speaker: Javier Tiffenberg, Fermilab

Abstract: I’ll present the status and prospects of the Sub-Electron Noise Skipper Experimental Instrument (SENSEI) that uses a non-destructive readout technique to achieve stable readout for thick fully depleted silicon CCD in the far sub-electron regime (∼ 0.05 e- rms/pix). This is the first instrument to achieve discrete sub-electron counting that is stable over millions of pixels on a large-area detector. This low threshold allows for unprecedented sensitivity to the largely unexplored, but theoretically well-motivated, area of sub-GeV dark matter models. We’ll discuss the reach and prospects of the SENSEI experiment currently under construction, which will use 100 grams of Skipper CCDs.  I’ll also present recent results from an engineering surface run and the lessons learned from a small scale prototype currently operating in the MINOS cavern at Fermilab.

Host: Tien-Tien Yu

All attendees are invited to attend a colloquium reception in the Willamette Hall, Paul Olum atrium at 3:40pm.

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