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-FOURTH SERIES
Fall 2017

History of the Series

Mondays at 4:00 p.m. Darwin 103 Coffee at 3:30 p.m.
Date About
Sep 11 THE SCIENCE OF DISTILLING (or How Learned to Stop Worrying and Drink Thermodynamics)
Michael Griffo will give an overview of fermentation and distillation from a physicist turned distiller. We will share Griffo Distillery's finely turned scientific controls on the process and explore the results.
Sep 18 CAN YOU REALLY LEARN ROCKET SCIENCE FROM A VIDEO GAME?
The hit video game 'Kerbal Space Program' has also proven to be an exceptionally good at teaching players the physics of rockets, aerodynamics, spacefilght and orbital mechanics. Scott Manley will discuss the game, the physics and show that even professionals working in these fields can learn something new.
Sep 25 SIMULATIONS OF BLACK HOLE ACCRETION, JETS, AND OUTFLOWS
Black holes devour stars, eject relativistic jets, affect star formation and galaxy evolution, and enrich the Universe with heavy elements. Alexander Tchekhovskoy will discuss the various astrophysical manifestations of black holes and how state-of-the-art numerical simulations help us to reveal their physics.
Oct 02 WHY I'M NOT RICH
Adjunct professor Wes Farriss of SSU will describe his career and lecture style. He will outline how physics led him to teaching at a university, and provide guidance to lower division students and soon to be graduates.
Oct 09 MAKING AT SSU
Jeremy Qualls will describe rapid advances in digital fabrication and social media that have given rise to new opportunities blending science, technology, art, and entrepreneurship. Sonoma State University has embraced the do it yourself maker mindset with many new innovative programs including a campus community maker-space and a sophomore year experience. An introduction to the "If you can dream it, you can make it" movement and the future of digital fabrication will be included.
Oct 16 THE QUANTUM AND THE COSMOS: THE QUEST FOR THE ORIGIN OF ORDINARY AND DARK MATTER
Stefano Profumo will explain why modern cosmology is a scientific theory, and introduce the two key ingredients that this scientific theory is based upon: dark matter and dark energy. Stefano will argue that it is far more interesting to think about what the dark matter is, as this is the leading clue to new particle physics beyond our beloved "Standard Model", and he will explain how the search for dark matter is currently unfolding. Finally, Stefano will briefly talk about testable models for the generation of the matter-antimatter asymmetry, a second profound mystery at the interface of cosmology and particle physics.
Oct 23 HISTORY, TECHNOLOGY AND ART OF SWORDS
William Imler will discuss the history and technological development of swords from ancient times through modern days. Topics covered include a brief treatment of bronze, iron and steel metallurgy, proper heat treatment and alloying of steel for different purposes, and the development of pattern welding from the early efforts by the Celts and Vikings to make better swords to modern expressions of artistic intent. A large number of photos of unique custom blades by several master swordsmiths will be shown.
Oct 30 TBA
Michael Ray
Nov 06 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS AND MATERIALS SCIENCE
Frances Hellman will describe the developement of a series of experiments based on MEMS "lab-on-a-chip" devices utilizing a silicon nitride membrane as a thermal isolation platform which allows us to study orders of magnitude smaller sample sizes than other available thermodynamic measurements such as thin films (as thin as 20nm), nanoparticles, and tiny crystals. Experiments include heat capacity measurements, thermal conductivity and thermopower measurements.
Nov 13 DARK ENERGY AND EXOPLANETS: NASA'S WFIRST MISSION
Jason Rhodes will discuss what will happen after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launches next year, NASA’s next flagship astronomy mission will be the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST). When it launches in the mid 2020s, WFIRST will revolutionize the study of dark energy and exoplanets.
CHARACTERIZING NEW WORLDS: NASA'Z HabEX MISSION
Alina Kiesling describes that every ten years the US astronomy community conducts a ‘Decadal Survey’ to set priorities for the coming decade. NASA is preparing 4 flagship astronomy mission concepts for the 2020 Decadal Survey. One of these, the Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx) will allow us to find and characterize other ‘pale blue dots’, planets like Earth that might harbor life.

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/