Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

Fall 2017

10/07/17 | The Arctic and the Tropics: Worlds Apart, Both Amiplifying Climate Change -- George Kling (U-M Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) and Ivette Perfecto (U-M School for Environment and Sustainability)

Humans have rapidly changed our Earth's climate, well beyond the natural variations recorded over at least the last million years. This perturbation has reached the point where other parts of the natural system are poised to change their behavior through accelerating feedbacks. Melting of permafrost in the Arctic and deforestation of forests and agroforestry systems in the tropics are two such important examples. These feedbacks are poorly understood, but have the potential to alter the globe as we know it and critically test humanity's resolve for mitigation and ability to adapt.

10/14/17 | Beyond Our Solar System: Witnessing the Formation of Exotic Worlds -- Ilse Cleeves (Harvard-Smithsonian)

Planets form out of cool gas-rich disks of material encircling young stars. Much of our theoretical understanding for this process has been based off of our best-studied example, our own Solar System. However, the discovery of new exotic planets and orbital architectures has demonstrated nature is far more creative than we had imagined. In this talk Dr. Cleeves will highlight exciting new results regarding our understanding of planet formation, and speculate on what these results may mean for forming new, potentially habitable, worlds.

10/21/17 | Fine Tuning Our Universe -- Evan Grohs (U-M Physics)

The chemical evolution of the universe begins a second after the Big Bang and continues to the present day. The fusion of small nuclei into larger ones occurs in numerous astrophysical sites with undeniable ramifications to life on Earth. If conditions had been different across the multitude of nucleosynthesis environments, then some claim that there would be no possibility of life in this universe. In this talk, I will examine anthropic arguments particular to nuclear astrophysics, and discuss applications to habitability in potentially other universes within a multiverse framework.

10/28/17 | We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe -- Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson (UC Irvine)

'We Have No Idea' is a fun, interactive presentation about everything that we DON’T know about the Universe, from the origin of our cosmos, to the dark matter that surrounds us. It features science and live cartooning. No scientific knowledge required, just a sense of curiosity  

11/04/17 | The Machinery of Big Data Science -- Shawn McKee (U-M Physics)

Science domains are generating ever-increasing amounts of data in fields from high-energy physics to earth science to medicine. This translates into significantly increasing challenges for scientists who need to access, transform, analyze and share this data to extract new scientific insights. Dr. McKee will describe these challenges and expose the underlying "hidden" machinery that has been developed to make data-intensive science possible.

11/11/17 | Gravitational Wave Memory -- David Garfinkle (Oakland University)

Gravitational waves stretch and squeeze space as they pass by; but even after the wave has completely passed, space does not return to its old unstretched and unsqueezed state. This residual stretch and squeeze is called gravitational wave memory.

11/18/17 | In Awe of the Northern Lights -- Jose Francisco Salgado (KV 265)

Since 2012 astronomer and U-M alumnus José Francisco Salgado has been photographing the Northern Lights from Canada, Alaska, and Iceland, as part of his work of communicating science through the arts. So far, his Northern Lights films set to music have been presented with orchestras in 13 cities in four countries and have reached a combined audience of 130,000 people. In this lecture, Dr. Salgado will speak about the physical processes behind the mesmerizing auroras and the experience of photographing them from subarctic Canada twice a year.

12/02/17 | Atomic Sensors: An Emerging Quantum Technology -- David Anderson (Rydberg Technologies LLC/U-M Physics)

Advances in our ability to study and exploit the properties of atoms for measurements of physical quantities has ushered in a new age of technological possibilities in quantum sensing and measurement. Seminal developments include atomic clocks, atomic magnetometers, and inertial sensors based on atom interferometry. This lecture will introduce the advent of new quantum technologies for sensing and measurements of electric fields based on using exquisitely sensitive and versatile atoms in highly-excited Rydberg states. Dr. Anderson will describe the new atomic sensor technologies under development at Rydberg Technologies LLC, from basic measurement principles to applications in metrology, RF engineering, and plasma science.