Colloquium

The Fermilab colloquium introduces staff, users, students and members of the public to a wide range of scientific and science-related topics presented by notable speakers from across the country and around the world. Colloquia are open to the public.

An integral part of Fermilab’s academic culture, “orange” colloquium talks are aimed at a broad scientific and technical audience, while “green” talks are of general interest to all laboratory staff, users and members of the public.

Colloquia are open to everyone. Unless otherwise advertised, the talks are held at 4 pm on Wednesday afternoons in the One West auditorium in Wilson Hall. Members of the public wishing to attend must show a photo ID at the laboratory entrance and tell the guard on duty that they are attending the colloquium.

Fermilab upcoming colloquia

Lectures begin at 4:00 p.m. in 1 West

  Appropriate for physicists     Appropriate for all lab staff and members of the public
Feb. 27, 2019, 4:00 pm
Gerald Gabrielse, Northwestern University
The standard model of particle physics is both the great triumph and the great frustration of modern physics. It can make predictions accurate to 1 part in 1012 for the electron magnetic moment, while being unable to explain basic features of the universe. The standard model predicts that the electron charge is not quite round, i.e. it has an electric dipole moment, but that this moment is far too small to measure. Most other models, like supersymmetry models, predict an electric dipole moment that is within experimental reach. The Advanced Cold Molecule EDM (ACME) Collaboration has just reported a new measurement of the electron electric dipole moment that has a sensitivity increased by an order of magnitude.
March 6, 2019, 4:00 pm
Roya Zandi, University of California
Despite the proliferation of viruses in nature, the mechanisms by which hundreds or thousands of proteins assemble to form structures with icosahedral order (IO) is completely unknown. In this talk, I will discuss the results of our simulations of a minimal model and show that the mechanical properties of building blocks including the spontaneous curvature, flexibility and bending rigidity of coat proteins are sufficient to predict the size, symmetry and shape selectivity of the assembly products. Further, using continuum elasticity theory, I prove that as a spherical cap grows, there is a deep potential well at the locations of disclinations that later in the assembly process will become the vertices of an icosahedron, explaining at least in part, the error-free assembly of protein subunits into capsids with universal IO.
March 13, 2019, 4:00 pm
Renee Hlozek, University of Toronto
he Photometric LSST Astronomical Time Series Classification Challenge (PLAsTiCC) was an open data challenge to classify simulated astronomical time-series data in preparation for observations from theLarge Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which will achieve first light in 2019 and commence its 10-year main survey in 2022. LSST will revolutionize our understanding of the changing sky, discoveringand measuring millions of time-varying objects. In this challenge, we posed the question: how well can we classify objects in the sky that vary in brightness from simulated LSST time-series data, with all itschallenges of non-representativity? I will describe the PLAsTiCC challenge from conception, validation to delivery and highlight the results of the challenge, and discuss how this rich and complex simulationcan be used to better understand the transient sky.
March 20, 2019, 4:00 pm
Michael McAlpine, Chris Stoughton
The ability to three-dimensionally interweave biological and functional materials could enable the creation of devices possessing unique and compelling geometries, properties, and functionalities. Indeed, interfacing active devices with biology in 3D could impact a variety of fields, including regenerative bioelectronics, smart prosthetics, biomedical devices, and human-machine interfaces. Our approach is to use extrusion-based multi-material 3D printing, which is an additive manufacturing technology that offers freeform, autonomous fabrication. This approach addresses the dichotomies presented above by (1) using 3D printing and imaging for personalized, multifunctional device architectures; (2) employing ‘nano-inks’ as an enabling route for introducing diverse material functionality; and (3) 3D printing a range of functional inks to enable the interweaving of a diverse palette of materials, from biological to electronic. 3D printing is a multiscale platform, allowing for the incorporation of functional nanoscale inks, the printing of microscale features, and ultimately the creation of macroscale devices. This blending of 3D printing, functional materials, and ‘living’ platforms may enable next-generation 3D printed devices, from a one-pot printer.
March 27, 2019, 4:00 pm
Kenneth Miller, Brown University
Public opinion in the world’s leading scientific nation continues to demonstrate a surprising unwillingness to embrace the scientific consensus on issues affecting the well being and prosperity of the country and the world. While it might seem logical to attribute the prevalence of anti-science attitudes to religious dogma or factual unawareness, the roots of this problem go far deeper, and relate to popular perceptions of science and scientists. I will consider multiple aspects of science denial, and suggest how the scientific enterprise and science education need to change to reclaim the cultural high ground in American society.
April 3, 2019, 4:00 pm
Jessie Christiansen, Caltech
The NASA Kepler mission has provided its final planet candidate catalogue, the K2 mission has contributed another four years’ worth of data, and the NASA TESS mission has just started producing planet candidates of its own. The demographics of the exoplanet systems probed by these transiting exoplanet missions are complemented by the demographics probed by other techniques, including radial velocity, microlensing, and direct imaging. I will walk through the progress of the Kepler occurrence rate calculations, including some of the outstanding issues that are being tackled. I will demonstrate how K2 and TESS are able to push the stellar parameter space in which we can explore occurrence rates beyond that examined by Kepler, and progress to that end. Finally, I will highlight some of the pieces of the larger demographics puzzle - occurrence rate results from the other techniques that probe different stellar and exoplanet regimes - and how we can start joining those pieces together.
April 10, 2019, 4:00 pm
Christine Middleton, Physics Today
Leon Lederman is well-known as the former director of Fermilab and for his Nobel Prize winning work in high-energy physics. However, he also had a passion for science education. Leon recognized that American students were not graduating high school with a working knowledge of scientific ideas, and he took active steps toward improving the state of science education that are still impacting students today. He was a vocal advocate for the Physics First model of science education, which is increasingly being used in schools across the country. The three-year residential school he founded for gifted students, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), is still one of the top-ranking high schools in the country. Leon’s training program for teachers, the Teachers Academy for Math and Science (TAMS), serves as a model for science education reform today. These and other programs with which he was involved make up a robust legacy that continues to contribute to the educational community.
April 17, 2019, 4:00 pm
Deborah Bekken, Field Museum
April 24, 2019, 4:00 pm
Brad Marston, Brown University