Events Archive

Feb
06
2012
The development of the technology for trapping atoms in the vacuum and cooling them to ultralow temperatures has opened up the exciting new field of cold atom physics.  This field provides a new domain of applications for local quantum field theory, an approach whose previous applications have been primarily in high energy particle physics and have involved energy scales that are more than 20 orders of magnitude higher.  I will describe a systematic approximation method for quantum field theory called Effective Field Theory that has proved to be a powerful framework for addressing many important problems in ultracold atoms.
Jan
23
2012
The heart is an electro-mechanical system in which, under normal conditions, electrical waves propagate in a coordinated manner to initiate an efficient contraction. In pathologic states, propagation can destabilize and exhibit period-doubling bifurcations that can result in both quasiperiodic and spatiotemporally chaotic oscillations. In turn, these oscillations can lead to single or multiple rapidly rotating spiral or scroll waves that generate complex spatiotemporal patterns of activation that inhibit contraction and can be lethal if untreated. Despite much study, little is known about the actual mechanisms that initiate, perpetuate, and terminate...
Jan
18
2012
Embryogenesis and regeneration are among the most striking and beautiful phenomena in nature. For a physicist, this brings together many major themes—pattern formation, information processing, the mechanics of complex fluid-like materials—that are essential for our understanding of life more broadly. In my talk I will give two examples on the important role of tissue mechanics for these phenomena. First, I will discuss how a macroscopic tissue property, specifically tissue surface tension, is connected to the properties of the constituent cells, such as cortical tension and adhesion. I will directly compare theoretical...
Jan
12
2012
Departing from the context of CoGeNT and COUPP, two direct searches for WIMP dark matter, we will inspect the recent landscape of anomalies observed by these and several other detectors. The aim of this talk is to communicate an appreciation for the subtleties inherent to experimental efforts in this field, and for the considerable difficulties that await for those trying to make sense of WIMP search observations (or lack thereof).
Dec
15
2011
The detection of gravitational waves from the inspiral of a neutron star or stellar-mass black hole into an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) promises an entirely new look at strong field gravitational physics. Gravitational waves from these intermediate-mass-ratio inspirals (IMRIs), systems with mass ratios from 10:1 to 100:1, may be detectable at rates of up to a few tens per year and will encode a signature of the central body's spacetime. Direct observation of the spacetime will allow us to use the "no-hair" theorem of general relativity to determine if the IMBH is a Kerr black hole (or some more exotic object, e.g. a boson star). In this talk, I will discuss the...

Pages