## Spring 2023 Physics Colloquium

**Friday, March 10th**

William Riihiluoma

"Studying Student Reasoning About the Math in Quantum Mechanics"

As physicists develop, we learn to see physical meaning within the mathematical expressions we use. Each expression encodes a relationship or interaction between physical parameters, and thus mathematics is the language we use to describe physical phenomena. But how successful are students at developing the skills required to interpret this language? In what ways do students understand these expressions, and how does this understanding come to be? This talk will describe work done to answer these questions in the context of upper-division quantum mechanics courses, where new notations with multifaceted conceptual interpretations are introduced and used heavily.

4:30pm

Tome 117

**Thursday, March 23rd**

Amanda Baylor '20

"Early Warning of Gravitational Waves from Compact Object Mergers"

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) unlocked the ability to study the universe in an entirely new way by making the first direct detection of gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of spacetime generated by accelerating massive objects, such as neutron stars or black holes. Compact object mergers involving at least one neutron star could produce electromagnetic counterparts which can be used to study the fundamental physics of gravity and measure cosmological parameters. However, if electromagnetic observatories are not pointed at the location of the source prior to merger, we miss vital information about the physics of the merger. This presents a need for early-warning alerts, which are alerts that are sent to observatories once a gravitational wave has been detected but *before* the objects collide and merge. This talk will provide an overview of gravitational-wave physics from detection to data analysis and discuss the prospects for early warning in LIGO’s next observing run, set to begin in May 2023.

4:30pm

Tome 115

**Thursday, April 27th**

New Physics Majors' Induction Ceremony & End of Year Celebration

Join us as we induct our newest majors into the department

Noon

Tome 115

Chick-fil-A lunch and cake provided