Fermilab colloquium calendar archive 2018

  Appropriate for physicists     Appropriate for all lab staff and members of the public
Raw date Event date Title Speakers Host Summary Links
20180110 Jan. 10, 2018
Muon collider feasibility: new studies of a low emittance muon source using positron beam
Donatella Lucchesi, University and INFN of Padova Dmitri Denisov The idea of a muon collider is intriguing physicists because it would give the possibility to explore phenomena in the multi-TeV energy region colliding point-like particles. The study of a muon accelerator with a hadronic muon source, ie muons coming from pion and kaon decays, has been pursued showing limitations due to the broad momentum and angular spectra of the decay muons. Video
20180117 Jan. 17, 2018
Schrödinger Cats, Maxwell’s Demon and Quantum Error Correction (that works)
Steven Girvin, Yale Quantum Institute Pushpa Bhat A revolution is underway in the construction of ‘artificial atoms’ out of superconducting electrical circuits. These macroscopic ‘atoms’ have quantized energy levels and can emit and absorb quanta of light (in this case microwave photons), just like ordinary atoms. The large size of these ‘atoms’ yields remarkably strong atom-photon coupling and has given us the ability to completely control and measure the quantum state of the electromagnetic field in a cavity at the level of individual microwave photons. Video
20180131 Jan. 31, 2018
European Particle Physics Strategy
Halina Abramowicz, Tel Aviv University Dmitri Denisov European particle physics community is planning exercise of long term planning. The process is starting with proposals to consider expected late 2018 and discussions to progress in 2019. The final plan is expected to be approved by CERN Council in Spring of 2020. The colloquium will discuss the process and goals of the European strategy exercise and how various groups and individual scientists can participate in this process. Video
20180214 Feb. 14, 2018
Quantum interference in coupled cavity-qubit systems
David P. Pappas, NIST Alexander Romanenko Quantum networks will enable extraordinary capabilities for communicating and processing quantum information. These networks require a that node that receives two coherent inputs and sends a conditional output to the next cascaded node through a quantum channel. Here, we demonstrate this basic functionality by exploiting a controllable interaction between electromagnetic quanta and discrete levels in... More »
20180221 Feb. 21, 2018
Exploration of the Solar System’s Ocean Worlds
Jonathan Lunine, Cornell University Alexander Romanenko Ocean worlds is the label given to objects in the solar system that host stable, globe-girdling bodies of liquid water—“oceans”—on or beneath their surfaces. The Galileo orbiter at Jupiter and Cassini at Saturn discovered subsurface water oceans on Europa, Enceladus and Titan, and surface methane seas on the last of these. What we know of these bodies of liquid, what are the prospects for life there and how do we explore them are the topics of this talk. Video
20180307 March 7, 2018
The road ahead: Challenges for future gravitational-wave detectors
Hartmut Grote, Cardiff University Chris Stoughton The first detections of gravitational waves from coalescing black holes and neutron stars in 2015 and 2017 have only started the field of gravitational-wave astronomy. More sensitive detectors are needed if one wants to explore a larger part of the observable universe and answer questions ranging from astrophysical evolution to cosmology and fundamental physics. Going from here I will highlight the main limitations and challenges to overcome on the way to build more sensitive detectors. Newtonian noise, thermal noise, and quantum noise are three prominent noise sources to name. And of course: LARGE detectors do not hurt either (except the budget…). I will also briefly discuss other potential uses of gravitational wave detectors, and I hope we can listen to how the universe would sound, imagining a noise-free detector! Video
20180328 March 28, 2018
Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Front End Supply
Penny Quinn Mike Albrow For twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, up to 10% of the electricity generated in the United States came from uranium recycled from Soviet nuclear weapons. The “Megatons to Megawatts” program was a unique partnership in which bomb-grade uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads was downblended and used to produce fuel for American nuclear power plants. As a liaison between the United States and the former Soviet Union, my presentation will describe the “Front End” of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle. It will include a look at the various components of nuclear fuel supply and how the material makes its way to the nuclear plants - and how historical events have impacted the process and the markets over time. Video
20180404 April 4, 2018
The Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) Project: Status and Plans
Phil Burrows, Oxford University Dmitri Denisov The Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) is a proposed design for a high-energy electron-positron collider for potentially reaching multi-TeV centre-of-mass energies in lepton collisions. The first energy stage would be a Higgs-boson and top-quark factory at 380 GeV. I will review the CLIC project and present the current status of the energy-staged design. I will cover the physics motivation as well as the accelerator and detector designs. I will summarize planning and next steps for the project in the context of the update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics. Video
20180411 April 11, 2018
Expanding universe or shrinking atoms? Quantum Gravity, dark energy and the origin of the Universe
Christof Wetterich Pushpa Bhat Observation of the redshift of distant galaxies tells us that the ratio between intergalactic distances and the size of atoms increases. An expanding Universe or shrinking atoms both reflect the same reality and are equivalent. In a new view on cosmology with steadily increasing masses of elementary particles the universe can exist forever in the past and future - the big bang singularity turns out to be an artifact of an inappropriate choice of fields. Quantum gravity computations indicate that the universe could start in the infinite past near an ultraviolet fixed point with massless particles, and approach in the infinite future an infrared fixed point with spontaneously broken scale symmetry and massive particles. The cosmological constant problem is solved. The resulting model describes early inflationary cosmology and late dynamical dark energy with the same scalar field. It can be tested by observation of huge lumps in the cosmic neutrino background. Video
20180418 April 18, 2018
How are evolution and climate change being taught (or not) in schools?
Eugenie Scott, National Center for Science Education, Inc. Mike Albrow Both evolution and climate change are “controversial issues” in education, but are not controversial in the world of science. Nonetheless, every year in the United States, state legislatures contemplate bills restricting the teaching of evolution, climate change and other allegedly “controversial subjects”. Known generically as “Academic Freedom Acts”, these proposed bills direct teachers to “critically analyze” (i.e., criticize) or to present the “full range of scientific views” (i.e., include creation science and climate change skepticism) of these scientific fields. In his analysis of data collected over decades by the National Center for Science Education, Matzke traced the origin of these “Academic Freedom Acts” in his “Evolution of Antievolution Policies” in Science, showing that these bills are the current manifestations of the creationism and evolution controversy that has dogged American science education for over 100 years. As documented by surveys carried out by the NCSE and others, such legislation has a chilling effect on the willingness of teachers to present these topics in the classroom, and both evolution and climate change are under-taught or avoided at the pre-college level.
20180425 April 25, 2018
Phytoremediation at Argonne: Using plants to solve groundwater and soil contamination challenges
John J. Quinn, PhD, Argonne Chris Stoughton Green remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater involves strategies that maximize sustainability, reduce energy usage and emissions, reduce water usage, promote carbon neutrality, promote industrial materials reuse and recycling, and protect and preserve land resources. At the 317 and 319 Areas at Argonne National Laboratory, past industrial practices resulted in contamination of soil and groundwater by tritium and solvents. As a remedial action, Argonne chose a phytoremediation system, relying on plants to remediate the subsurface. This talk will cover the rationale, design, implementation, monitoring, and lessons learned from this green remediation system. Video
20180502 May 2, 2018
Grow Supermassive Black Holes in the Early Universe
Xiaohui Fan, University of Arizona Chris Stoughton Quasars are active nuclei of galaxies powered by accretion onto their central supermassive black holes. They have been discovered at a redshift up to 7.5, only 700 million years after the big bang, and provide ideal probes to the formation and evolution of the earliest supermassive black holes in the universe, and to how the universe was transformed through cosmic reionization at the end of cosmic dark ages. New generations of wide area sky surveys, including SDSS and DES, enable systematic searches of these earliest quasars. Recent discoveries of quasars with central black hole masses up to ten billion solar masses in the early universe indicate extremely rapid growth of black holes at early epoch, challenging standard model of black hole formation through collapse of young massive stars, and suggest initial seeding of supermassive black holes through direct collapse of pristine gas with >1000 solar masses. Video
20180509 May 9, 2018
Black Holes, Thermodynamics, and Information Loss
Robert Wald, University of Chicago Craig Hogan During the past 45 years---due primarily to the work of Stephen Hawking---a remarkable relationship has emerged between the theory of black holes in general relativity and the laws of thermodynamics. Due to quantum particle creation, black holes emit thermal radiation at a finite temperature. This thermal radiation causes a black hole to lose mass in such a way that a perfectly isolated black hole will completely "evaporate" in a finite time. As a result of the entanglement of quantum fields inside and outside of a black hole, when the black hole evaporates, the final quantum state should be mixed even if the initial quantum state was pure, i.e., information should be lost. This colloquium will review black hole thermodynamics and the status of the information loss issue. Video
20180516 May 16, 2018
20180523 May 23, 2018
The Archaeology of Greater Cahokia
Tamira Brennan, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Pushpa Bhat Approximately one-thousand years ago, the fertile Mississippi River floodplain adjacent to modern day St. Louis was home to the largest pre-Columbian civilization in Eastern North America: Cahokia. This vibrant and multi-ethnic city was composed of a vast network of archaeological sites that centered on the three large mound precincts of St. Louis, East St. Louis, and the Cahokia site itself. Although modern developments have erased most vestiges of prehistoric life from the surface, evidence of expansive Native American settlements continue to be discovered beneath the surface. Analysis and interpretation of the most spectacular of these recent finds have changed our understanding of Cahokia, a wildly successful city that rose and fell in less than 500 years’ time. Video
20180530 May 30, 2018
Physics and Mathematics in Music
Jason Bono, Fermilab Mike Albrow Music is nearly universal in human culture and yet it remains mysterious. In order to help answer some of music’s fundamental questions, we will briefly turn to archeology and early history before examining some of music’s salient features from a physical and mathematical perspective. Principles rooted in physics and pure mathematics will provide a link to intercultural qualities of musical tone and melody to the deep role that symmetry plays in human perception, thus shedding light on the questions that we set out to answer. To enhance clarity and familiarity, various concepts will be illustrated with animations and sound bites. Video
20180606 June 6, 2018 Open
20180613 June 13, 2018
The Centennial of Ernest Rutherford Splitting the Atom
John Campbell, University of Canterbury, New Zealand Chris Stoughton Ernest Rutherford was the first person to be awarded a Nobel Prize for research carried out in Canada (1908, Chemistry) and the first person to split the atom (1918). He was at McGill University from 1898 until 1907. It was there that he laid the foundation for his nuclear atom (1911), his splitting the atom using particles from natural radioactivity (1918), and splitting the atom by entirely artificial means through the use of the first linear particle accelerator (1932). John Campbell is the biographer of Rutherford (Rutherford – Scientist Supreme), the producer of the 3-hour Rutherford documentary, the organizer of the Rutherford Birthplace Project, the initiator of New Zealand’s Ask-A-Scientist program, and runs the website www.rutherford.org.nz He is retired from the University of Canterbury. Video
20180620 June 20, 2018 No colloquium User’s Meeting
20180627 June 27, 2018
What is a Law of Nature?
Edward Feser Chris Stoughton The idea of a law of nature is central to scientific explanation. Laws themselves are often said to be explicable in terms of more fundamental laws. But what about the most fundamental laws? Why is the world governed by those particular laws rather than by other laws or no laws at all? And what exactly is a law of nature in the first place? Are these questions that science itself can answer, or is there a role for philosophy in answering them? Video
20180704 July 4, 2018 No colloquium
20180711 July 11, 2018 Open
20180719 July 19, 2018
Quantum optics for fundamental tests and applications- Note: Change of Day (Thursday)
Christoph Simon Chris Stoughton I will describe the many facets of quantum optics research through examples from my own career. In particular, I will talk about theoretical and (in many cases) experimental work on demonstrating quantum non-locality, on bringing quantum effects such as superposition and entanglement to the macroscopic level, on implementing a global quantum network, on the possible existence of photonic communication channels in the brain, and on super-resolution imaging. Video
20180725 July 25, 2018 Cosmography with Black Hole Binaries Rana X Adhikari, Caltech Chris Stoughton Black hole binaries are a wonderful self-calibrating standard candle by which we can map the expansion of the universe...if only we could break the degeneracy between the redshift and luminosity. Three tricks will allow us to do this with gravitational wave detectors: (1) Quantum-free interferometry, (2) mirrors with no internal friction, and (3) a short baseline interferometer in space.
20180801 Aug. 1, 2018 Open
20180808 Aug. 8, 2018
NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day: Popular and Innovative Images in Modern Astrophotography
Robert Nemiroff, Michigan Technological University & NASA Yuanyuan Zhang Astrophotography is one of the most popular areas of digital imaging, and NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD: https://apod.nasa.gov/) is one of the most prominent venues for public astrophotographic display. The popularity of astrophotography spurs competition that results in innovation in imaging component areas including science, education, hardware, and software. NASA and the world's foremost astronomical observatories typically lead in science and hardware innovation, while astrophotographers and data analysts usually lead in education and software innovation. Examples of all types of astrophotography, as highlighted on APOD, will be presented and discussed, including videos and some of the best, most popular, and most innovative astronomy images yet taken. Video
20180815 Aug. 15, 2018
A Century of Noether's Theorem
Chris Quigg, Fermilab Chris Stoughton n the summer of 1918, Emmy Noether published the theorem that now bears her name, establishing a profound connection between symmetries and conservation laws. The influence of this insight is pervasive in physics; it underlies all of our theories of the fundamental interactions and gives meaning to conservation laws beyond useful empirical rules. Noether’s papers, lectures, and personal interactions with students and colleagues drove the development of abstract algebra, establishing her in the pantheon of twentieth-century mathematicians. The talk will trace her path from Erlangen through Göttingen to a brief but happy exile at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, illustrating the importance of The Theorem for the way we think today. Video
20180822 Aug. 22, 2018 Open
20180829 Aug. 29, 2018 Open
20180905 Sept. 5, 2018
Seeing Prairie
Cindy Crosby, Writer Georgia Schwender/Chris Stoughton Illinois’ landscape of home---the tallgrass prairie---has been viewed by people over time in many different ways. Historically, Native Americans saw prairie as grocery store, pharmacy, and a resource for everything from love charms to ceremonial treasures. Some early explorers saw it as a desolate, lonely place. Many early settlers saw prairie as a place to be conquered. Artists, musicians, photographers and other creatives see the prairie as a place for inspiration. Developers may see it as a potential resource. Many of today's researchers, site managers, and stewards view the tallgrass prairie as a place whose past holds keys to understanding our future. Listen to stories of how the tallgrass prairie has been viewed by people over time, as you reflect on how you and others "see" prairie today. Video
20180912 Sept. 12, 2018
Quantum Computing and the Entanglement Frontier
John Preskill, California Insititue of Technology/Caltech The quantum laws governing atoms and other tiny objects seem to defy common sense, and information encoded in quantum systems has weird properties that baffle our feeble human minds. John Preskill will explain why he loves quantum entanglement, the elusive feature making quantum information fundamentally different from information in the macroscopic world. By exploiting quantum entanglement, quantum computers should be able to solve otherwise intractable problems, with far-reaching applications to cryptology, materials, and fundamental physical science. Preskill is less weird than a quantum computer, and easier to understand. Video
20180919 Sept. 19, 2018
The present and future of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Michael Blanton, NYU Chris Stoughton The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) has been mapping the universe for about 20 years at Apache Point Observatory (APO), through four phases of operation and with an evolving and expanding suite of capabilities. I will review its legacy in mapping large scale structure in the galaxy distribution, which was one of the key goals of the project at its beginning at the time of Fermilab's leadership, and which SDSS will finish its observations of in early 2019. I will describe how SDSS will continue to study the astrophysics of stars and galaxies using a unique suite of instrumentation at both APO and at Las Campanas Observatory, where we are now also operating. These surveys are measuring the dark matter content, stellar formation history, ionized gas properties, and internal structure of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. The fifth phase of the program, SDSS-V, will greatly expand these investigations at both observatories with new capabilities allowing a more rapid and complete coverage of the entire sky. Video
20180926 Sept. 26, 2018
Spirit of the Black Hills
Jace DeCory, Black Hills State University Kurt Riesselmann Mitakuyepi- my relatives. The Black Hills of South Dakota is known as He Sapa or Paha Sapa to my ancestors, my people, the Lakota. The Lakota and other Tribal Nations have had special ties to this area for thousands of years. For the Lakota, the Black Hills are the heart of everything that is, the center of our universe, where special sites remain vital to our existence. It is the responsibility of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires, to protect and preserve these sacred places where our Lakota ceremonies are held. We hold them with reverence, where we come to pray, not play. The Black Hills remind us to be respectful of Grandmother Earth and all that is. For indeed, we are all here for a purpose. Mitakuye Oyasin – For all my relatives/We are all related. Video
20181003 Oct. 3, 2018
Fractals, Multifractals, and Lacunarity of the Fossil Record
Roy E. Plotnick, UIC Chris Stoughton Paleontology has become an increasingly analytical science. In this presentation I will discuss how fractals and related concepts can be applied to our understanding of patterns in the history of life Specifically, I will describe 1) a simple fractal model can be used to understand the amount of time represented in a sequence of rocks;... More » Video
20181010 Oct. 10, 2018
Medical Physics and the Search for Big Data
Jennifer Pursley, Harvard Chris Stoughton Medical physicists working in Radiation Oncology are involved in day-to-day clinical tasks including safety and quality assurance, accelerator maintenance, software and new treatment technique development. Historically, clinical research and development focused on making radiation delivery more precise, introducing hardware improvements, radiation intensity modulation, and image guidance during treatment. The next frontier in precision medicine is... More » Video
20181017 Oct. 17, 2018
Reconstruction of Pioneering Physics Experiments: Importance and Lessons Learned
Vladimir Shiltsev, Fermilab Dmitri Denisov Reproducibility is a growing issue in modern science - situation with high impact results in social sciences, medicine and even biology and chemistry is often described as a crisis. Physics stands out as arguably the most reproducible discipline due to very high and universally applied standards. Seminal discoveries of the past undergo critical questioning and analysis, too. Reconstruction of pioneering physics experiments of the Enlightenment helps us to understand the development of "repeatable" Nature-philosophy. I will overview several modern-day experimental replications of the early days physics and astronomy breakthroughs, present in detail recent international collaborative project of replication of the discovery of Venus' atmosphere and discuss other opportunities for replication of famous experiments. Big part of the presentation will be based on what was recently published in Physics Today: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.1894 Video
20181024 Oct. 24, 2018 Open
20181031 Oct. 31, 2018 Open
20181107 Nov. 7, 2018 Open
20181114 Nov. 14, 2018
Covariant neural network architectures for learning physics
Professor Risi Kondor, University of Chicago Pushpa Bhat Deep neural networks have proved to be extremely effective in image recognition, machine translation, and a variety of other data centered engineering tasks. However, generalizing neural networks to learning physical systems requires a careful examination of how they reflect symmetries. In this talk we give an overview of recent developments in the field of covariant/equivariant... More » Video
20181121 Nov. 21, 2018 No colloquium
20181128 Nov. 28, 2018 Open
20181205 Dec. 5, 2018
Exploring the Invisible
Professor Renata Zukanovich Funchal, University of São Paulo Pedro Machado/Chris Stoughton Invisible matter, matter that does not emit, absorb or reflect light, plays an important rôle in our understanding of the Universe. Neutrinos were the first invisible particles experimentally observed and are today the most well known. They helped us shape the Standard Model and may be a portal to what l lies beyond. In this colloquium I will explore some of their theoretical and phenomenological properties. Video
20181212 Dec. 12, 2018
Discovery at the ILC and beyond
Patrick Meade, Stony Brook Anna Grassellino I will discuss potential discovery prospects at the ILC from a personal historical perspective, emphasizing the role that theory bias has played. In particular I will point out how improving quantitative precision in certain measurements can lead to qualitative changes about our understanding of the universe. I will focus on a few examples from flavor physics, cosmology, and how we compare different collider experiments. I will also discuss the physics potential of collider experiments beyond the ILC. Video
20181219 Dec. 19, 2018 Open
20181226 Dec. 26, 2018 No colloquium