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Spring 2011

Schedule Spring 2011

Tuesday January 11, 2011

"Recent Radiocarbon results and Biblical History or The tale of the city that King Solomon did not build and the cities that Pharaoh Shishak did not destroy"

Dr. Eli Piasetzky

School of Physics and Astronomy

Tel Aviv University

Using four dating tools in combination _ radiocarbon measurements, field stratigraphy, pottery typology and ancient Near Eastern historical records _ Let's us solve chronological problems that are far beyond the resolving power of 14 C results alone. Use of this method may settle disputed issues related to biblical and ancient Near Eastern history.

Tuesday January 18, 2011

"Neutrino Oscillations: Recent Triumphs and Future Challenges"

Dr. Bob McKeown


Recent studies of neutrino oscillations have established the existence of finite neutrino masses and mixing between generations of neutrinos. The combined results from studies of atmospheric neutrinos, solar neutrinos, reactor antineutrinos and neutrinos produced at accelerators paint an intriguing picture that clearly requires modification of the standard model of particle physics. These results also provide clear motivation for future neutrino oscillation experiments as well as searches for direct neutrino mass and nuclear double-beta decay. I will summarize the status of experimental and theoretical work in this field and discuss the future opportunities that have emerged in light of recent discoveries.

Tuesday January 25, 2011

"Evidence for Deconfined Nuclear Matter from High Energy Collisions of Heavy Nuclei"

Dr. Glenn Young

Jefferson Lab

A long-standing conjecture that quarks can be de-confined from their parent nucleons, given a system that is sufficiently energy-dense, has been the subject of intensive study over the past decade using the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Lab. RHIC can collide nuclei as heavy as gold with kinetic energies one hundred times their rest mass, leading to unusual final states in which several thousand particles are produced together. The evidence from high-energy particle emission and relative emission patterns of the particles does suggest a very dense medium with an extraordinarily large stopping power is created, The medium is surprisingly dense, with a density over 20 times that of the center of a nucleus, behaves in some respects like a fluid, yet has a shear vicosity to entropy ratio lower than any other known substance, approaching the conjectured quantum lower bound.

Tuesday February 8, 2011

"Disorderly Conduct in Ultracold Atomic Physics"

Dr. Mark Havey

Old Dominion University

Ultracold atomic gases are presently being used to study a wide range of phenomena previously observed only in condensed matter systems. These developments are based on the capability, in ultracold gases, to finely control many aspects of the physics, including interparticle interactions and disorder. Recent experiments and theoretical results on Anderson localization of light in condensed samples show that diffusive transport is strongly suppressed and that a regime of anomalous diffusion develops dynamically. Proximity of the light localization threshold can be detected through time evolution of either forward or diffusely scattered light. In this presentation I give an overview of the general subject and the current interest in it, including the attractive features of studying both matter wave localization and light localization in ultracold atomic gases. This research is supported by the National Science Foundation

Tuesday March 15, 2011

"Efficient Collaborative Learning Centers for Student Success in STEM Disciplines"

Dr. Ronald Bieniek

Physics Department, Missouri University of Science


Technology and College of Arts and Sciences,

University of Missouri-St. Louis

Courses in math, science and engineering are notoriously difficult for many students. Faculty-run learning centers have proved to be very effective and efficient venues that empower students to learn collaboratively in STEM. By using guided-learning techniques during “office” hours in open environments, faculty guide students to increased understanding, improved skills, and validated mastery of course material. For learning centers to be successful as de-facto learning communities with high student participation, faculty and undergraduate peer learning assistants need to implement elements of Bandura’s concept of self-efficacy and Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. At Missouri S&T, 45+ faculty run 35+ course-based learning centers in 13 departments â€" from college algebra, introductory physics, and physical geology to circuit analysis, quantum chemistry, and electromechanics (see schedules at http://lead.mst.edu). This approach has been successfully transported to other institutions. The presentation will discuss important characteristics of effective learning centers and their promotion.

Tuesday March 22, 2011

"Squeezed Light, Generation and Applications"

Dr. Eugeniy Mikhailov

Physics Department, College of William and Mary

Optical measurements are intrinsically limited by the quantum shot noise, which is the manifestation of the optical equivalent of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. I will talk about "squeezed" quantum states of light which allow performing measurements beyond standard quantum limit. I will introduce several methods for squeezed light generation and outline several applications of the squeezed light, such as optical measurements without photons and enhancement of the sensitivity for the gravitational wave antenna such as LIGO.

Tuesday March 29, 2011

"Cellphones, Body Scanners, and Cancer"

Dr. Eric Swanson

University of Pittsburgh

The interactions of the human body with electricity and magnetism have fascinated people for centuries. I briefly review this fascination before moving on to modern concerns over possible carcinogenic effects of electromagnetic radiation. Specifically, a critical examination of recent claims that airport body scanners can cause cancer will be made.

Tuesday April 5, 2011

"Beam Experiments in Accelerators: motivation, organization, results"

Dr. Fulvia Pilat

Jefferson Laboratory

Beam experiments in operating accelerators are essential to improve machine performance and to explore new ideas and techniques in beam dynamics and manipulation. I will discuss the motivation of beam experiments and the organization, experience, and plans at several accelerator complexes, including RHIC at BNL, the Tevatron at FNAL and CEBAF at Jefferson Lab. I will then discuss a few specific beam experiments in more detail by presenting preparation, data, and the resulting operational performance improvement.

April 19

Dr. Patrick McQuillan

April 26

Senior Thesis Presentations