News & Events

Events Calendar

Colloquium: Robert Socolow, Princeton

Abstract: Physics simplifies, often productively. I report on small personal and collaborative contributions to planetary thinking that have a physics style. Among the topics discussed are global stocks and flows of energy and carbon, geophysically closed carbon cycling, global distributions of individual emissions, project-level committed emissions, linkages between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and energy-efficient buildings. The goal is to persuade physicists to contribute to the creation of a sustainable world through their research and teaching.

 

Public Telescope Viewing

Presenter: Daniel Warshofsky

Topic: A Star's Life

Join us on Friday night for rooftop observing through our historic telescope in the dome of Tate Hall. There will be a presentation followed by outdoor observing (weather-permitting). You will have the chance to observe some of the same celestial objects that have inspired sky-gazers throughout history!

Misel Colloquium: Carlos Frenk

The “Lambda cold dark matter'' (LCDM) cosmological model is one of the great achievements in Physics of the past thirty years. Theoretical predictions formulated in the 1980s turned out to agree remarkably well with measurements, performed decades later, of the galaxy distribution and the temperature structure of the cosmic microwave background radiation. Yet, these successes do not inform us directly about the nature of the dark matter.  This manifests itself most clearly on subgalactic scales, including the dwarf satellite galaxies of the Milky Way and especially less massive dark matter halos, too small to have made a galaxy.  Apparent contradictions between the predictions from cosmological simulations and observations have led to the perception of a “small-scale crisis” for LCDM. I will argue that this perception stems from an inappropriate application of the simulations and that, in fact, the theory is entirely consistent with available data. I will contrast the predictions of LCDM with those of the interesting alternative of warm dark matter and show how forthcoming gravitational lensing and gamma-ray data can conclusively distinguish between the two.

 

2022 Misel Family Lecture: Carlos Frenk

Research: Professor Frenk is Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology and the Ogden Professor in the Department of Physics at Durham University. His research is focused on extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, fluid dynamics, mathematical modeling, and supercomputer simulations.

The William I. Fine Theoretical Physics Institute is proud to host the 15th Annual Misel Family Lecture. This lecture is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Questions? Please contact us at ftpi@umn.edu or 612-625-6055. We look forward to seeing you there!

Abstract: This lecture is about a future technology, quantum computing, which uses known laws of quantum physics to compute in new ways. Within this technology challenge are at least two profound questions in basic science: which problems can be sped up with a quantum computer, and how can inadvertent measurement be avoided. After a few introductory comments about the first question, this lecture will concern mostly the second question, and will explore some options and the challenges of each.

Read more about Professor Frenk on his Durham University profile and Wikipedia page.

Registration for the lecture is encouraged but not required

Public Telescope Viewing

Presenter: Chris Guo

Topic: Solar Flares

Join us on Friday night for rooftop observing through our historic telescope in the dome of Tate Hall. There will be a presentation followed by outdoor observing (weather-permitting). You will have the chance to observe some of the same celestial objects that have inspired sky-gazers throughout history!

Colloquium: Clifford Cheung, Caltech

Scattering amplitudes are fundamental observables encoding the dynamics of interacting particles. In this talk I describe how to systematically construct these objects without reference to a Lagrangian. The physics of real-world particles like gravitons, gluons, and pions are thus derived from the properties of amplitudes rather than vice versa. Remarkably, the expressions gleaned from this line of attack are marvelously simple, revealing new structures long hidden in plain sight. In particular, I describe how gravity serves as the "mother of all theories" whose amplitudes secretly unify, among others, all gluon and pion amplitudes.  This fact has far-reaching theoretical and phenomenological connections, e.g. to fluid mechanics and to new approaches to the black hole binary inspiral problem.

Colloquium: Senthil Todadri, MIT

Abstract: Electrons in a conventional metal are described by Landau's celebrated theory of Fermi liquids. In the last few decades, a growing number of metals have been discovered that defy a description in terms of Fermi liquid theory. Prominently, such `strange metals'  appear as parent phases out of which phenomena such as high temperature superconductivity develop. However, their theoretical understanding has mostly remained mysterious. In this talk, I will discuss, in great generality, some properties of  `strange metals' in an ideal clean system. I will discuss general constraints on the emergent low energy symmetries of any such strange metal. I will show how these model-independent considerations lead to concrete experimental predictions about a class of strange metals. Time permitting, I will discuss the utility of a focus on the emergent symmetries to reliably extract some physical properties of certain models of strange metals. 

 

Physics Force at the State Fair

The Physics Force will perform two public shows at the Dan Patch Park and Stage during STEM DAY at the State Fair. The shows are at 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The shows last roughly one hour and are appropriate for all ages.

Universe in the Park: Gooseberry Falls State Park

Universe in the Park is hosted by the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics and area state and local parks.

Representatives of the Institute will present a short (~20 min) outdoor public talk and slide show. Presentations cover a variety of astronomical topics such as: the history of matter, how astronomers "see," and a journey through our solar system. For the 2022 season, talks will be outdoors to ensure they are as safe as possible.

Afterwards, if weather allows, attendees have the opportunity to view the sky through multiple 8-inch reflecting telescopes, operated by the staff and provided by the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics. Additionally, free star maps (e.g., www.skymaps.com) and instructions are provided. Throughout the evening, audience members are encouraged to ask questions and discuss topics ranging from backyard astronomy to the latest scientific discoveries.

Although a vehicle permit is usually required to enter the parks, the events are free to the public. More about Gooseberry Falls State Park, here.

Universe in the Park: Tettegouche State Park

Universe in the Park is hosted by the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics and area state and local parks.

Representatives of the Institute will present a short (~20 min) outdoor public talk and slide show. Presentations cover a variety of astronomical topics such as: the history of matter, how astronomers "see," and a journey through our solar system. For the 2022 season, talks will be outdoors to ensure they are as safe as possible.

Afterwards, if weather allows, attendees have the opportunity to view the sky through multiple 8-inch reflecting telescopes, operated by the staff and provided by the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics. Additionally, free star maps (e.g., www.skymaps.com) and instructions are provided. Throughout the evening, audience members are encouraged to ask questions and discuss topics ranging from backyard astronomy to the latest scientific discoveries.

Although a vehicle permit is usually required to enter the parks, the events are free to the public. More about Tettegouche State Park, here.

School News

Ben Messerly

Messerly wins Postdoc Award

Dr. Ben Messerly, postdoctoral researcher in the School of Physics and Astronomy, won a 2022 UMN Postdoc Award for Teaching and Mentoring.
Alexander McLeod

McLeod receives Young Scientist Prize

Assistant Professor Alex McLeod of the School of Physics and Astronomy has received the 2022 International Union of Pure and Applied Sciences Young Scientist Prize.
Ali Sulaiman

Ringleader: New faculty member is expert in planetary physics

This fall, the School will welcome Ali Sulaiman to the space physics group.
Roger Stuewer

Gift establishes Roger and Helga Stuewer library

Professor Emeritus Roger Stuewer, historian of physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy and founder of the University’s Program in History of Science and Technology, and his wife Helga, have
Vlad pribiag

Pribiag leads team that receives $1.4M Keck Foundation grant to study possible breakthrough in quantum computing

A team led by School of Physics and Astronomy Associate Professor Vlad Pribiag has received an award from the W. M. Keck Foundation to study a new process that could lead to a breakthrough in quantum
Above is an illustration of an intermediate polar system, a type of two-star system that the research team thinks V1674 Hercules belongs to. A flow of gas from the large companion star impacts an accretion disk before flowing along magnetic field lines onto the white dwarf

Woodward research takes a look at the fastest nova on record

A research report, co-authored by Professor Charles Woodward of the School of Physics and Astronomy describes the unusual quirks of V1674 Hercules, the fastest nova ever on record.
Rajdeep Chatterjee

Chatterjee receives Young Researcher Prize

Rajdeep Mohan Chatterjee received the 2022 Young Researcher Prize from the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland.
Ramanakumar Sankar

School leads citizen science effort to study Jupiter's atmosphere

Ramanakumar Sankar, a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Physics and Astronomy is leading the latest Zooniverse project, Jovian Vortex Hunter.
group of theoretical physicists standing together in front of the mississippi river on a sunny day

New grant will expand FTPI programs

The William I Fine Theoretical Physics Institute (FTPI) has received a Simons Grant of over half a million dollars to help bolster the Institute's mission of being one of the regional centers
Jenna Freedburg

Freedberg Receives Student Leadership Award

Jenna Freedberg, graduate student in the School of Physics and Astronomy, received a 2022 President's Student Leadership and Service Award.

School of Physics and Astronomy Seminar Calendar