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

WHAT PHYSICISTS DO

“Physicists like to think that all you have to do is say, these are the conditions, now what happens next?” - Richard Feynman

EIGHTY-SEVENTH SERIES
Spring 2014

Current Series in PDF         History of the Series

Mondays at 4:00 p.m. Darwin 103 Coffee at 3:30 p.m.
JAN 27


SSU’S FIRST SATELLITE: T-LOGOQUBE
SSU physics major Kevin Zack (‘14) will discuss the design, development, operation and data analysis for T-LogoQube, SSU’s first Earth orbiting satellite, and one of the smallest satellites ever launched.
FEB 3


THE BEGINNING OF THE CLIMATE FIELD IN THE 1970S
Dr. Warren Wiscombe, now retired from NASA, will talk about the early days of climate science including: how a physicist stumbled into this new field; some false starts; some triumphs that have stood the test of time; and the joy of playing in the climate science sandbox before politics intruded.
FEB 10


STAR IN A JAR: THE PHYSICS OF SINGLE BUBBLE SONOLUMINESCENCE
Dr. Doug Clarke, now retired from Lawrence Livermore National Lab, will discuss the brilliant flashes seen in single-bubble sonoluminescence, and the role of their group’s computer simulations in studying the physics.
FEB 17


BIG INSTRUMENTS AND TINY MAGNETS - DOING SCIENCE WITH A SYNCHROTRON
Dr. Hendrik Ohldag from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will describe how electron storage rings are used as brilliant x-ray sources to help us shed new light on problems in material science and applied physics that range from energy storage to information technology.
FEB 24


THE UNIVERSE ACCORDING TO PLANCK
Dr. Charles Lawrence from the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory will discuss the scientific results from Planck, the third-generation space mission designed to measure the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background.
MAR 3


LISTENING TO THE SYMPHONY OF SPACETIME
Dr. Jocelyn Read from CSU Fullerton will introduce the new field of gravitational-wave astronomy, and talk about how gravitational waves might help us learn about the interiors of neutron stars.
MAR 10


PHYSICS SPRINGBOARD: FROM BA TO ENTREPRENEUR
Melissa Crain Geissinger (‘07) from New Skin Media will talk about how SSU and her work with the NASA E/PO group has helped launch her web design career and inspire her to start such programs as WIMP, an education-based meetup group for Internet professionals and Dreamer Connect, an e-mentoring program for students.
MAR 24

NODE-PORE SENSING--HOW A SIMPLE FOUR-TERMINAL MEASUREMENT CAN SCREEN CANCER CELLS
Dr. Lydia Sohn from UC Berkeley will explain how surface current measurements can be used to detect the markers that indicate cancerous cells.
APR 7


WHAT DID THIS PHYSICIST DO? THE MANY FACETS OF AN APPLIED PHYSICS CAREER!
Dr. Nicholas Boruta will talk about his wide ranging career starting out in the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley, his work at a large national laboratory, his invention developments for several startups, his research at a space systems company and finally his work at an aerospace defense company.
APR 14


THE SIDE EFFECTS OF RESEARCH: MAKING ROOM FOR THE UNEXPECTED
Dr. Derek Padilla from Santa Rosa Junior College will discuss some of the unintended consequences that research has on the student researcher. From developing fundamental math skills to analyzing bell hooks with a tomato farmer, this talk will focus on what you don’t realize you learned until long after you present your findings.
APR 21


THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER: OBSERVATION OF THE HIGGS BOSON
Dr. Beate Heinemann from University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab will explain how particle physics research is done at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, and in particular discuss the observation of the Higgs boson in 2012 for which the Nobel Prize was awarded in Dec. 2013.

Sonoma State University

This series is supported by private donations and Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) 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/