Spring 2015 Physics Colloquium

Thursday, January 29th
Professor David Mertens, Dickinson College
"Phase Transitions and the Physics of Synchronization"

Spontaneous collective synchronization is a topic of great interest in the life sciences.  Although it may appear to be a nontraditional topic for physicists, our expertise in phase transitions gives us a unique perspective on the phenomenon. In this talk he will explain how the physics of phase transitions sheds light on synchronization and he will provide experimental and theoretical examples from his work on the topic.

12:00 p.m.
Tome 115
Lunch provided

Tuesday, February 17th
Professor David Reed, Dickinson College
RUSH Hour Speaker - "Round pegs, square holes and graduate school: Thoughts about how to succeed as an interdisciplinary scientist""

Professor Reed will focus on how to go from a liberal arts school, through graduate training and into early career while keeping an interdisciplinary view on the world since students often get confined to just one point-of-view on the world during their graduate studies. Some of his experiences will be used to highlight what can be achieved when you jump into a brand new field and what some of the costs are. Being able to look out at the natural world, ask questions and attempt to tackle them from multiple angles has more in common with Isaac Newton's self description as a "natural philosopher" than modern definitions of what a scientist is.

12:00 p.m.
Stafford Lecture Room
Lunch provided

Thursday, February 19th
Seth Tracy '12 & James Doyle '12, Epic
"An Epic Approach to Digitizing Healthcare"

Join James Doyle '10 and Seth Tracy '12 in a discussion around how their Dickinson education and experiences helped uniquely place them at the junction of two growing fields: medicine and computer science. Learn how the complexities of electronic medical care are approached every day at Epic and what it means to impact over 180 million people with the code you write. The talk will also include an overview of career opportunities and time for open discussion.

12:00 p.m.
Tome 115
Lunch provided

Thursday, March 19th
Ritoban Basu Thakur, Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Kavli Institute at the University of Chicago
"Dark Matter, matters more"

Over 80 years ago we discovered the presence of Dark Matter in our universe. Endeavors in astronomy and cosmology strongly indicate Dark Matter as an essential 27% of our universe. The Standard Model of Particle Physics does not provide any answers to the Dark Matter problem. Alongside other important factors, Dark Matter is responsible for formation of structure in our universe. The very construct in which we sit is defined by the abundance of Dark Matter, hence it is imperative that we understand its fundamental nature. This talk will cover several topics: physics, evidence and searches for dark matter. I will further outline the notion of "Big Science" that new experiments, such as dark matter searches are a major part of, thereby explaining the role of national labs such as Fermilab.   

12:00 p.m.
Tome 115
Lunch provided

Wednesday, March 25th
Dr. Amy Lytle, Franklin & Marshall
"Controlling Second Harmonic Generation with Counterpropagating Light"

Coherent light from laser sources can be converted from one color (or frequency) to another through a process called second harmonic generation (SHG). This is a nonlinear optical process based on the interaction of very intense light with transparent crystalline materials. SHG is essential to applications such as commercial laser development, high-contrast biological microscopy, and laser fusion ignition. Efficient conversion of light to its second harmonic frequency typically requires the use of highly engineered and in some cases, very costly nonlinear crystalline media. In this talk, I will describe the physics of nonlinear optics, the engineering challenges to making SHG efficient, and present latest results from my research group at F&M. We have been developing a way to probe and control the SHG process, not by engineering the nonlinear medium, but by engineering an interfering counterpropagating light field. This all-optical technique may potentially be used as a highly flexible method for improving efficiency, using any nonlinear medium, as well as a precise method of measuring dispersion characteristics. 

3:30 p.m.
Tome 115
Refreshments provided

Friday, April 3rd
Dr. Tarun Biswas, New Paltz, State University of New York
"Black Holes and Red Herrings"

For the last several decades, black holes have been a constant source of amazement for physicists as well as others. Many features of black holes are recognized to be counterintuitive. But the history of physics has taught us that "counterintuitive" does not always mean "incorrect". However, recent developments in the theory of black holes have cast significant doubts on their existence. It is to be noted that a black hole is, after all, a product of theory. Nonetheless, it produces some serious theoretical discrepancies. Here, he will discuss some of these discrepancies.

4:00 p.m.
Tome 115
Snacks provided

Thursday, April 16th
Desika Narayanan
"Talk Title TBD"

Abstract TBD

12:00 p.m.
Tome 115
Lunch provided

Monday, April 20th
Physics Senior Talks
"Talk Titles TBD"

Abstracts TBD

4:30 p.m.
Tome 115
Refreshments provided

Tuesday, April 21st
Physics Senior Talks
"Talk Titles TBD"

Abstracts TBD

12:00 p.m.
Stafford Lecture Room
Lunch provided

Thursday, April 23th
Physics Senior Talks
"Talk Titles TBD"

Abstracts TBD

12:00 p.m.
Tome 115
Refreshments provided

Thursday, April 30th
New Physics Majors Induction Ceremony & BBQ

4:30 p.m.
Tome Hall Back Patio - Rain Location Tome 115
BBQ provided