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Saturday Morning Physics


Physics is a fundamental science and provides the foundations for solving both cosmic mysteries and practical problems. In 1995, the University of Michigan Department of Physics began sharing some of the latest ideas in the field with the public in the Saturday Morning Physics lecture series.

Designed for general audiences, the lectures are an opportunity to hear physicists discuss their work in easy-to-understand, non-technical terms. The multimedia presentations include hands-on demonstrations of the principles discussed, along with slides, video, and computer simulations.

Saturday Morning Physics is back with in-person lectures!
Lectures are held in 170 & 182 auditoriums in Weiser Hall (low-rise)
500 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Parking is available at the Church Street Parking Structure for $6.00/car with only credit cards accepted.

We are pleased to present the
Fall 2022 Saturday Morning Physics program in a hybrid format!

Note: Talks will be in-person and aired on YouTube on the following dates at 10:30 a.m. Click below to access each lecture's specific YouTube link when available.


October 29
Kai Sun – Professor (U-M Physics)

Final Livestreamed Lecture and Q&A Link:
From Nobel Prize Research to the Breakthrough Technologies Transforming our Lives
New developments in technology have revolutionized the way we live, from smartphones and devices to the internet, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, clean energy, big data, and much more. These inventions have one thing in common: they originate from key discoveries in physics made decades earlier in research driven by curiosity. In this lecture, I will invite you to share your ranking of the most important technological developments of the new millennium, and I will explain which Nobel prize in physics made each of these innovations possible, how we continue to explore these physics questions today, and how current research may transform our lives in the future. To conclude, I will share my pick of the most important recent technology breakthrough and track its origin to the historical debate about the foundation of quantum physics: Einstein vs. the Copenhagen interpretation of whether or not God plays dice.

November 5
Mark Reynolds – Research Scientist (U-M Astronomy)

Final Livestreamed Lecture and Q&A Link:
The Heart of Darkness
In 2017, humanity, for the first time, peered into true darkness. Black holes are objects defined by their immense gravitational fields, so large that not even light can escape. In this talk, I will take you on the journey undertaken by a worldwide collaboration to image a black hole for the first time and tell you about the discoveries awaiting coming generations. 

November 12
Anna Stefanopoulou – William Clay Ford Professor of Technology (U-M Mechanical Engineering)
Final Livestreamed Lecture and Q&A Link:
Battery Management System: Engineering a Guardian Angel for Lithium-Ion Batteries
From the Rosetta-Philae spacecraft landing three billion miles away from Earth to the daily commute of an electric vehicle, the battery management system (BMS) has been critical for protecting the pack, minimizing aging, accounting for cell-to-cell variability, and monitoring battery degradation in realtime from field data. Accurate predictions of degradation and lifetime of lithium-ion batteries are essential for reliability, safety, and key to cost-effectiveness and life-cycle emissions. The ultimate BMS task is the detection of the onset of venting, the prediction of imminent thermal runaway, that helps manage the risk of explosions and fires from failing batteries.

December 10
Carolyn Kuranz – Associate Professor (U-M Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences and Applied Physics)
Livestreamed Lecture and Q&A Link:
Fluid Instabilities: Stars, Bars, and Fusion
Fluids are constantly mixing in our everyday lives. Some examples are oil and vinegar or coffee and cream. While we often don't think too much about how these fluids mix, they can have profound consequences in material ejecta in the Universe, fusion energy, and at your local pub. This talk will give a fundamental description of fluid mixing, discuss examples found in nature and engineering, and describe the effects mixing can have. 


Event Details
The Saturday Morning Physics lecture series is free to all. We are hoping that the talks will be in-person and virtual this fall. Please join our mailing list for more information.

How to Receive Information about Upcoming Programming

If you would like updates on this series, sign up to be placed on the Saturday Morning Physics mailing list. Due to monetary constraints, we would like to send you programming information via email only.


The Saturday Morning Physics program is sponsored by: 
The Dr. Mary Lois Tiffany Endowment by Dr. O. Lyle Tiffany and Dr. M. Lois Tiffany who were the first to support the Saturday Morning Physics program in May, 2000.

The Hideko Tomozawa Endowment in memory of Hideko Tomozawa in recognition of her interest and loyal participation in the Saturday Morning Physics program.

The Van Loo Family Endowment to support outstanding University students who present public lectures at Saturday Morning Physics.

Friends of the Program-Donations of all sizes are needed to keep this program alive!

How to Donate

Donations to the Saturday Morning Physics Program help fund these informative academic presentations. Show your support for the program by donating online.

U-M Staff and Faculty can donate to Saturday Morning Physics by using University Payroll Deduction on Wolverine Access. Please use designation #365045.

You may also make cash, check, or credit card donations at each Saturday Morning program. Please stop by the back greeting table to pick up a donation slip.

Remember, donations to SMP are tax-deductible in the year in which they are given.

View SMP Lectures

Learn how to view the Saturday Morning Physics talks after the lecture date

Information about previous SMP talks can be found in the Past Events section of this website.