|Mondays at 4:00 p.m.||Darwin 103||Coffee at 3:30 p.m.|
STANDING THE TEST OF TIME (AND SPACE): 100 YEARS OF GENERAL RELATIVITY
For the last century, Einstein's theory has passed every experimental test; however, there are many aspects of gravity and its relationship to the other fundamental forces that remain unexplained. After reviewing/introducing the basics of General Relativity, Dr. C.D. Hoyle of Humboldt State University will discuss current gravitational experiments and what they may reveal about the nature of gravity. He will also focus on the research projects that undergraduates at Humboldt State are contributing to this field.
DIRECT FROM PLUTO
A presentation of the Science Channel video "Direct from Pluto". We will see the first results from the New Horizons probe, a NASA spacecraft sent to explore Pluto, and the fastest spacecraft ever launched. We will follow up with some additional images and findings from recent weeks.
ADAPTIVE OPTICS TOOLS FOR TESTING HUMAN VISION ON A CELLULAR SCALE
Dr. Austin Roorda of UC Berkeley has developed systems that combine high resolution retinal imaging and eye tracking. These enable him to track and deliver light with a size and positional accuracy of a single cone. These systems are being used to test human vision on a scale not previously possible. In this talk, he will describe efforts to tackle long-standing questions in vision science. Specifically: What color do you see when a single cone is stimulated? and do small, continuous eye fixational movements help or hinder vision?
||STELLAR HALOES: THE GALACTIC WILD WEST|
The stellar haloes of galaxies are of low stellar density, with slow evolution times, and filled with interacting companion dwarf galaxies. We can use these properties of stellar haloes to better understand how galaxies build up their mass via the merging of smaller galaxies. Dr. Rachael Beaton, of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science will discuss her detailed efforts applied to the Andromeda galaxy and give examples of how we use this to better understand birds-eye views of more distant galaxies.
||THE BEATING HEARTS OF GALAXIES|
Dr. Norbert Werner of Stanford University will discuss how the enormous amounts of energy released when matter falls into supermassive black holes helped to sculpt the galaxies and the surrounding large scale structure of the Universe.
||NANO-PARTICLES, STOCKS, BONDS, AND HIGH PROOF ALCOHOL, A PHYSICIST'S PERSPECTIVE ON CAREERS|
Armed with a doctorate in physics, Dr. Michael Griffo has ventured into various career paths including patent attorney, wall street quant, and most recently: gin and whiskey distiller. In this talk, he will discuss his experiences with an aim to shed some light on these careers for interested undergraduates. He will also discuss alcohol production from a physics perspective.
||CEPHEIDS AND LEAVITT’S LAW|
Dr. Vicky Scowcroft of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science, will detail a class of pulsating stars, used as "Standard Candles" to measure distances in the Universe.
Retired Sonoma State Mathematics lecturer Jim Pedgrift will survey and analyze various historical and recent criticisms of scientific methodology, focusing on the most recent efforts to "delegitimize" scientific perspectives as they pertains to different policy issues, most specifically climate change.
||A TOUR THROUGH NEUROPHYSICS|
Dr. Surya Ganguli of Stanford University will describe how Neuroscience is undergoing an experimental revolution, powered by technological advances that allow us to witness immensely complex dynamics across many scales, from molecular dynamics within synapses to global electrical activity patterns of the brain.
||ULTRASHORT PULSE LASER SCIENCE AND ITS APPLICATIONS|
Since the introduction of sub picosecond pulse generation in 1970s, the femtosecond laser science has growing into one of the main subject of modern optics. In this seminar, Dr. Sangyoun Gee, SSU lecturer, will discuss the basics of femtosecond laser science together with several research examples. Then selected applications of ultrashort pulse laser techniques in the industry will be discussed.
The talk by Dr. Wim Leemans has been cancelled due to a conflict and will be scheduled for a future semester. In its place, we will present two videos: an appearance by Brian Greene on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert; and "The Universe in a Nutshell" with Michio Kaku. A short discussion will follow.
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