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

WHAT PHYSICISTS DO

“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.” - Werner Heisenberg

NINETY-SECOND SERIES
Fall 2016

History of the Series

Mondays at 4:00 p.m. Darwin 103 Coffee at 3:30 p.m.
Date About
Sep 19 B-QUARK TAGGING ALGORITHM CHARACTERIZATION
SSU student Michael Dobbs will discuss his summer research conducted at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the largest physics laboratory and particle collider in the world, and describe how machine learning algorithms are a new and efficient way to capture interesting physics events in the ATLAS detector.
Sep 26 GENERATING VECTOR BEAMS WITH A PROGRAMMABLE SPATIAL LIGHT MODULATOR
SSU Alum Katie Badham of Lockheed Martin will discuss her graduate school research experience using a polarization diffraction grating (PDG) programmed onto a spatial light modulator in an optical system using lasers to simultaneously generate six different polarization states of light.
Oct 03 TAKING A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO SCIENCE EDUCATION
Dr. Carl Wieman of Stanford (Nobel Prize in Physics, 2001) will join us via video conference to present how research on how people learn in combination with advances in information technology is setting the stage for a new approach to teaching and learning that can provide relevant and effective science education for all.
Oct 10 NEUTRINO AND COSMIC RAY ASTROPHYSICS WITH THE ICECUBE NEUTRINO OBSERVATORY
Dr. Juan Carlos Diaz Velez will summarize some of the latest results in neutrino and cosmic-ray astronomy from The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a cubic-kilometer deep ice detector located at the South Pole.
Oct 17 STUDY OF THE GAMMA RAY BURST (GRB) FUNDAMENTAL PLANE
Dr. Maria Giovanna Dainotti of Jagiellonian University and visiting Marie Curie Fellow at Stanford will discuss her confirmation of a fundamental relationship among parameters of Gamma Ray Bursts, extremely energetic events believed to be related to the formation of Black Holes.
Oct 24 PROTODESI: A PATHFINDER FOR THE DARK ENERGY SPECTROSCOPIC SURVEY
Parker Fagrelius of UC Berkeley will discuss ProtoDESI, a pathfinder for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), which aims to better understand Dark Energy through the measurement of Baryon Acoustic Oscillations and Redshift Space Distortions.
Oct 31 INNOVATION IN A CHANGING CLIMATE
The growth of the world population towards 10 billion over the next 50 years will significantly increase the demand for food, water and energy, 3 competing necessities that directly impact human health.  Dr. Sue Carter of UC Santa Cruz will discuss how climate change spurs innovation and provides a pathway forward to optimally balance the food-water-energy nexus.
Nov 07 USING RESULTS FROM RESEARCH ON UNDERGRADUATE LEARNING IN COSMOLOGY TO BUILD AND TEST AN INTERACTIVE STUDENT-CENTERED CURRICULUM
Dr. Kim Coble will discuss her classification of students’ ideas about concepts important to modern cosmology. She and collaborators developed The Big Ideas in Cosmology, an immersive set of web-based learning modules that integrates text, figures, and visualizations with short and long interactive tasks and real cosmological data in an active, engaging format.
Nov 14 "GAMMA-RAY VISION"
Dr. Kai Vetter of UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will discuss his group's work towards "gamma-ray vision" and how it relates to their activities on Fukushima in Japan and here in CA (e.g. Radwatch & DoseNet).
Nov 28 SOLVING BIG PROBLEMS WITH SMALL ACCELERATORS: FROM COLLIDERS TO MEDICAL DEVICES BASED ON LASER PLASMA ACCELERATORS
Dr. Wim Leemans of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will discuss the progress on building laser powered, plasma based particle accelerators where electrons surf on waves and can reach energy levels in a few inches that would conventionally require machines multiple football fields long. Although many challenges remain, this new technology is at the brink of offering a profoundly different way to build futureparticle colliders or medical devices.

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/