THE DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY PRESENTS
A SERIES OF LECTURES, DEMONSTRATIONS, AND FILMS

WHAT PHYSICISTS DO

“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” - Carl Sagan

NINETY-SEVENTH SERIES
Spring 2019

History of the Series

Mondays at 4:00 p.m. Darwin 103 Coffee at 3:30 p.m.
Date About
11 Feb 2019 THE KEYS TO INNOVATION: PRIMING YOUR BRAIN TO PERCOLATE BRILLIANT IDEAS
Dr. Ransom Stephens will describe the neural processes that percolate insights into consciousness: the physics of lateral thought, the power of perspective, the value of novelty, and how your brain selects and rejects ideas before you’re even aware of them. Dr. Stephen is a scientist and technologist that collaborated on major discoveries at international labs before joining the private sector. He has written hundreds of articles and several books, including his most recent, The Left Brain Speaks but the Right Brain Laughs.
18 Feb 2019 APOLLO'S DARING MISSION
A President's Day treat. The story of Apollo 8, the first crewed mission to the Moon.
25 Feb 2019 RADIATIVE DRIVERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE: KNOWN KNOWNS AND KNOWN UNKNOWNS
What do we know for sure regarding the greenhouse gases and their effects on our climate, and what remains to be settled? Are there still grounds for reserving scientific judgment on the causes of global warming? Dr. William Collins' talk highlights the latest observational and theoretical advances in our understanding of these critical questions.
4 Mar 2019 HOW DO YOU IMAGE EXTRASOLAR PLANETS HIDDEN CLOSE TO BRIGHT STARS?
Directly imaging planets around nearby stars is one of the most technically challenging endeavors in astronomy. Dr. Kalas of UC Berkeley will review the scientific discoveries and surprises delivered by a new generation of advanced observatories and instruments.
11 Mar 2019 SCIENCE OF WAR AND PEACE
Prof. Cominsky, Chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, will review the basic science of nuclear weapons and their effects. She will also discuss the nuclear situation in North Korea.
25 Mar 2019 FASTER THAN LIGHT
Dr. Robert Nemiroff, Michigan Tech. U. Is there anything that can move faster than light? The surprising answer is yes, and a common example is a shadow. However, no physical object has ever been seen moving faster than light, no communication has ever been found to move faster than light, and Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity says that nothing with mass can be accelerated to faster than light. Nevertheless the visual world around you is replete with shadows, reflections, illumination fronts, and interference patterns that all move faster than light -- but you can't see them because they are too fast for your eye. This lecture will take you into surprising world of the superluminal, where fast things can disappear, single things can appear twice, and time can appear to go backward.
8 Apr 2019 THE PATH FROM PHYSICS TO DATA SCIENCE
Dr. Stephen Martin recently completed his Ph.D. in Physics from UC Santa Cruz and now works as a data scientist at Grand Rounds, Inc. He will discuss his research in computational biophysics, the transition from academia to industry, and his new role in the emerging field of data-driven healthcare.
15 Apr 2019 THE ECLIPSE MEGAMOVIE PROJECT
Dr. Juan Carlos Oliveros Martinez, UC Berkeley. The Eclipse Megamovie Project is a scientific and educational program that uses images of total solar eclipses taken by the public. For the 2017 total solar eclipse the megamovie was created using the public’s photographs of the Sun’s corona as frames in a movie illuminating dynamic changes in the chromosphere and corona. On August 21st, 2017 during and shortly after the total solar eclipse, our team collected photographs from thousands of volunteers with telescopes, DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras, and mobile device cameras setup across the path of totality. As a result we now have a scientifically valuable dataset of the eclipse that can be used to study different coronal structures and the propagation of magneto-acoustic waves in the solar corona.
22 Apr 2019 LARGE-SCALE STRUCTURE
Dr. Tesla Jeltema, UC Santa Cruz, investigates the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy by studying clusters of galaxies. In this talk she will describe her work and the large international collaboration to measure the effects of dark matter and dark energy on the expansion of the universe, the Dark Energy Survey.
29 Apr 2019 UNDERSTANDING PARTICLE THEORY
Dr. Sebastian Ellis, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. As the LHC pushes the scale of possible new physics higher and we prepare to enter an era of high intensity and precision measurements, the benefits of improving our theoretical framework for searching for new physics are clear. Dr. Ellis works on extending the Standard Model through the ideas known as Supersymmetry and Effective Field Theory.

Sonoma State University

This series is supported by private donations and Instructionally Related Activities funds.

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609. (707) 664-2119
phys.astro@sonoma.edu       http://phys-astro.sonoma.edu/wpd/