Past Events

  



Norbert Linke, University of Maryland

Thursday, April 1, 2021 - 4:00pm
Join the GW Department of Physics for a colloquium with speaker Norbert Linke from the University of Maryland.

Marco Battaglieri, Jefferson Laboratory

Thursday, February 18, 2021 - 4:00pm
Join the GW Department of Physics for a colloquium with speaker Marco Battaglieri from the Jefferson Laboratory.

Paul Demorest, National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Thursday, February 11, 2021 - 4:00pm
Join the GW Department of Physics for a colloquium with speaker Paul Demorest from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

Cornelius Bennhold Lecture: “Why traditional labs fail (and what to do about it)”

Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
When you ask physicists to reflect on their intro labs, responses include “boring”, “forgettable”, or “cookbook.” What is so wrong with the traditional lab? In this talk, we’ll discuss research that helps illuminate the problems with traditional labs and the impacts on students. We’ll then move on to solutions: how do we restructure labs to provide better learning opportunities for our students? We’ll discuss how we measure the impact of different techniques, some tactics for using labs to teach experimentation and critical thinking skills, and some examples of restructured lab courses.

The Gamow Explorer: A High Redshift Universe Gamma-Ray Burst Mission

Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) can be used to address high priority scientific questions on the formation of the Universe including: When did star formation begin and how did it evolve? When and how did the intergalactic medium become re-ionized? What processes governed its early chemical enrichment? Long GRBs signal when a massive star explodes as a supernova and, as such, they can provide an independent tracer of star formation. The GRB afterglow is a bright beacon lasting a few days that can be used out to the highest redshifts to both probe the intervening material from the host galaxy and intergalactic medium, and also trace star formation and its evolution.

The Gamow Explorer will utilize a wide field of view X-ray telescope to detect and locate GRBs with arc minute precision and a sensitivity ten times Swift to identify z > 6 GRBs. A rapidly slewing spacecraft points an Infrared telescope to obtain an arc second location and use the Lyman alpha dropout to determine which GRBs have a redshift greater than 6. An alert to the ground will enable follow-up by large telescopes for z > 6 GRBs. The Gamow Explorer will be proposed to the 2021 NASA MIDEX opportunity, for launch in 2028. It will be a key component in the multimessenger era of JWST, 30-m class telescopes and next generation gravitational wave detectors.

Choreography in Nature, in Newtonian Gravity (living in motion)

Thursday, October 24, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Astronomy is widely popular and provokes a sense of wonder. It addresses profound questions such as: who are we, how did we get here? When astronomy joins with art, it becomes a platform to explore ideas with artistic/scientific awareness which is crucial to understand our physical world. In contrast, many decisions are being made at a governmental/societal level involving scientific issues which are based on incorrect or biased information, including so-called "fake news". How, as educators, do we promote a world view based on objective facts rather than appeals to emotion? Against this backdrop, we are teaching an astroanimation class at MICA that brings together animation students and NASA scientists in collaborative teams. Unlike the direct visualizations typically produced at NASA, we use poetic metaphors and other approaches which can move an audience in different ways. Our goals include bringing scientific education to artists, encouraging scientists to interact with artists, and share their research with a broader audience. The animations are available on the internet (astroanimation.org) and are being shown at museums, scientific conferences, STEAM festivals, in classrooms, and at science fiction conventions.

AstroAnimation: Bridging Two Cultures in the Post-Truth World

Thursday, October 17, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Astronomy is widely popular and provokes a sense of wonder. It addresses profound questions such as: who are we, how did we get here? When astronomy joins with art, it becomes a platform to explore ideas with artistic/scientific awareness which is crucial to understand our physical world. In contrast, many decisions are being made at a governmental/societal level involving scientific issues which are based on incorrect or biased information, including so-called "fake news". How, as educators, do we promote a world view based on objective facts rather than appeals to emotion? Against this backdrop, we are teaching an astroanimation class at MICA that brings together animation students and NASA scientists in collaborative teams. Unlike the direct visualizations typically produced at NASA, we use poetic metaphors and other approaches which can move an audience in different ways. Our goals include bringing scientific education to artists, encouraging scientists to interact with artists, and share their research with a broader audience. The animations are available on the internet (astroanimation.org) and are being shown at museums, scientific conferences, STEAM festivals, in classrooms, and at science fiction conventions.

Breaking the Myth of the “Non-Traditional” Physicist: The Real Story About Employment for Physics Graduates

Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics degree holders are among the most employable in the world, often doing everything from managing a research lab at a multi-million dollar corporation, to developing solutions to global problems in their own small startups. Science and Technology employers know that with physics training, a potential hire has acquired a broad problem-solving skill set that translates to almost any environment, as well as an ability to be self-guided and self-motivated so that they can teach themselves whatever is needed to be successful at achieving their goals. Therefore it's no surprise that the majority of physics graduates find employment in private-sector, industrial settings. At the same time, only about 25% of graduating PhDs will take a permanent faculty position –– yet academic careers are usually the only track to which students are exposed while earning their degrees. In this talk, I will explore less familiar (but more common!) career paths for physics graduates, and I will provide information on resources to boost your career planning and job hunting skills. 

Searching for X-Ray Binaries with Large-Scale Optical Variability Surveys

Thursday, October 3, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Binary systems containing neutron stars and black holes are crucial to understanding accretion physics as well as stellar and binary evolution. However, current X-ray surveys have only identified a small fraction of the number of Galactic X-ray binaries expected from population synthesis. These systems exhibit a range of variability signatures in optical bands which can be identified with current and future optical variability surveys. I will describe ongoing searches with the Zwicky Transient Facility as well as prospects for discoveries with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Slaying the Online Hydra of Hate, Distrust and Anti-Science

Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Love may be in the air — but hate and distrust are thriving on the Internet [1]. In addition to politics, medical science and science are also under attack. Despite having access to state-of-the-art Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence tools, social media platforms such as Facebook appear unable to keep it under control. In this talk, I show why this is, and how the Physics of out-of-equilibrium networks provides a new understanding that leads to a policy matrix of novel interventions.

Accelerating Scientific Computing with GPUs

Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Graphics processing units (GPUs) aren’t just of interest to gamers and cryptocurrency miners. Increasingly, they’re being used to turbocharge academic research, too. GPUs provide massive parallelism enabling one to perform computations on a basic computer that until very recently required a supercomputer. I will describe how GPUs can be leveraged to dramatically accelerate scientific calculations. I will also give an overview of recent applications of GPUs to astrophysical simulations, with a particular focus on radiative transfer in curved spacetimes and (magneto)hydrodynamics simulations of black hole accretion.

Colloquium: Formation of Binary Neutron Stars and Implications for Heavy Element Production

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Observations of double neutron star systems in our Galaxy suggest that the formation of the second born NS in most systems involves a very weak explosion, rather than a more "traditional"

2019: Rhonda Dzakpasu

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

What can we learn from the neurochemical and cellular perturbations of in vitro neuronal networks?

2019: Thomas R. Bortfeld

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 4:00pm

Proton Therapy

Dr. Thomas R. Bortfeld, Professor — Harvard Medical School; Chief of the Radiation Biophysics Division — Massachusetts General Hospital

Colloquium: Clinical Molecular Imaging: Firmly Rooted in Nuclear Physics

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Modern Molecular Imaging owes much of its success in oncology, cardiology, neurology, and other areas of medicine to nuclear physics and physics instrumentation.

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