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
April 24, 2019, 10:00 am
Special Colloquium - The International Linear Collider (ILC) is an electron-positron collider with 250 GeV center-of-mass energy designed to study Higgs couplings with a much higher precision than can be achieved at hadron collider experiments. This will make it an excellent tool to probe for physics beyond the Standard Model. KEK proposed that the Japanese government host this new machine in Japan as an international project, and the proposal has been strongly supported by ICFA. The Japanese government recently released its statement about the ILC, and the project’s future direction is becoming clearer. In this colloquium, the status and possible future of the ILC in Japan will be presented.
April 24, 2019, 4:00 pm
Symmetries and topology play central roles in our understanding of physics. Topology, for instance, explains the precise quantization of the Hall effect and the protection of surface states in topological insulators against scattering from disorder or bumps. However discrete symmetries and topology have so far played little role in thinking about the fluid dynamics of oceans and atmospheres. In this talk I show that, as a consequence of the rotation of the Earth that breaks time reversal symmetry, equatorially trapped Kelvin and Yanai waves emerge as topologically protected edge modes. Thus the oceans and atmosphere of Earth naturally share basic physics with topological insulators. As equatorially trapped Kelvin waves in the Pacific Ocean are an important component of El Niño Southern Oscillation and other climate processes, these new results demonstrate that topology plays a surprising role in Earth’s climate system.
May 1, 2019, 4:00 pm
Once very common throughout the Eastern US, the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis) populations have dramatically decreased in the past few decades. Added to the US Endangered Species List, this bee has become the recipient of substantial attention. We'll discuss some of the reasons for this decline, how we can help, and how we can report information as Citizen Scientists. Our activity in our back yards and protected areas is a unique opportunity to directly help an endangered species.
May 8, 2019, 4:00 pm
Coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering (CEvNS) is a long-standing theoretical prediction of the Standard Model (SM), and the COHERENT experiment has recently achieved the first detection of it. CEvNS provides an important probe of physics beyond the SM. In addition, it can open up a new window into neutrino astrophysics, through studies of low energy neutrinos from the Sun, atmosphere, and supernovae. CEvNS is also vital for understanding and interpreting future particle dark matter searches. In this talk, I will discuss the prospects for learning about the nature of neutrinos and astrophysical sources from CEvNS detection, highlighting how astrophysical and terrestrial-based detections play important and complementary roles.
May 15, 2019, 4:00 pm
The top quark was widely anticipated but was only sighted in early 1995. I will describe the birth and early life of the top quark, together with some comments on what we should look forward to as the top matures through LHC studies and beyond.
May 22, 2019, 4:00 pm
Programming languages aren't for computers; they're for people. If a language doesn't make it easier to express your physics problem, it's not a suitable language. Some fields have specialized "Domain Specific Languages" (DSLs) that trade freedom of expression for focus on the problem at hand, and can even improve performance by limiting this scope. A prime example is SQL, widely used by data analysts outside of physics, which trades generic computation for a SELECT-WHERE-GROUPBY pattern. Interestingly, this was the design pattern of the first electromechanical computers (Hollerith machine, 1890) and it's still a major focus of big data today (Dean & Ghemawat: MapReduce, 2004). Particle physics problems don't fit SQL well; in fact, physicists became involved in computing in tandem with the invention of generic, digital computers (Von Neumann's stored-program machine, 1945). I will present some history, some general features of programming languages, what "declarative" really means, and will show some perhaps surprising examples of DSLs you're already using.
June 26, 2019, 4:00 pm
2019 has been named the International Year of the Periodic Table because it marks 150 years since Dmitrii Mendeleev (1834-1907), then a young chemistry professor in St. Petersburg, formulated his version of the system of elements. The choice of date is somewhat arbitrary. There were five other attempts at periodic tables postulated earlier in the 1860s, some of which resemble our present version slightly more than Mendeleev’s in certain respects. Also, the main achievement of Mendeleev’s table — its predictive capacity — was also a gradual process that began in 1869 but took many years to cement his international reputation. This talk will explore what Mendeleev did in 1869, how it related to what came before and after, and also discuss a few of the myths that have accumulated around his work.