Fermilab Colloquium Calendar Archive 2020

  Appropriate for physicists     Appropriate for all lab staff and members of the public
Raw date Event date Title Speakers Host Summary Links
20200101 Jan. 1, 2020 No colloquium
20200108 Jan. 8, 2020 Open
20200115 Jan. 15, 2020
How nuclear physics can treat cancer - radiotherapy at TRIUMF
Cornelia Hoehr, TRIUMF Victor Scarpine Besides being Canada’s particle accelerator centre with emphasis on nuclear, particle and accelerator physics, TRIUMF has a long history of medical isotope production and radiotherapy. Cancer treatment with different particles has been a long-standing commitment at TRIUMF, first with pion therapy and then with proton therapy, for many years operating Canada’s only proton therapy facility.... More » Video
20200122 Jan. 22, 2020 Open
20200129 Jan. 29, 2020 Open
20200205 Feb. 5, 2020
The Quantum-Mechanical Measurement Problem and the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics
David Z. Albert, Columbia University Dan Hooper It turns out that a promising proposal for solving the Quantum-Mechanical measurement problem – which is the central problem at the foundations of quantum mechanics – may shed an important and unexpected new light on the nature and the origins of the probabilities at the foundations of Statistical Mechanics. I will begin by reviewing the measurement problem, and I will give a very brief overview of various attempts at solving it. Then I will focus in on one family of such attempts - the theories of the so-called “spontaneous localization” of the wave-function. And finally, I will show how those theories – if they turn out to be true - can explain the origin of the statistical-mechanical probabilities that we need to account for (say) the second law of thermodynamics, and (more generally) for all of the rest of the special sciences. Video
20200212 Feb. 12, 2020 Open
20200219 Feb. 19, 2020
Muon Accelerators and Results from the MICE Experiment
Professor Daniel Kaplan, Illinois Institute of Technology Chris Stoughton To date most accelerators have used beams of stable particles: electrons, positrons, protons, or ions. High-brightness muon beams could facilitate the study of lepton–antilepton collisions at extremely high energies and provide well characterized neutrino beams. Such muon beams could be realized using ionization cooling, proposed some 50 years ago to increase muon-beam brightness. Ionization cooling of muons has now been demonstrated by the MICE experiment. Passage of the MICE muon beam through an energy-absorbing medium was observed to move muons from the tail of the beam into the core, increasing its phase-space density. The consistency of the measured results with the simulated performance of the apparatus validates designs of ionization cooling channels in which the cooling process is iterated to produce a substantial cooling effect. These results are an important step towards a possible future muon collider to search for phenomena at energy scales beyond the reach of the Large Hadron Collider at a facility of equivalent or reduced footprint. Video
20200226 Feb. 26, 2020
The Trouble with Quantum Physics, and Why It Matters
Adam Becker, Author and Astrophysicist Dan Hooper Quantum physics is arguably the most successful scientific theory ever devised. It explains an enormous variety of natural phenomena to an extraordinary degree of accuracy  — everything from semiconductors to the Sun itself. Yet there is a problem: it's unclear what this immensely fruitful theory says about reality. What is going on in the world of quantum physics? Why does "measurement" play a special role in the theory? Is it really impossible to talk about what's happening to atoms and subatomic particles when we're not looking at them? For many years, the standard answer to questions like this was to "shut up and calculate," to ignore these issues and simply use quantum physics to predict the outcomes of experiments. There was also a historical myth that went along with this answer, a myth that said Einstein had once worried about these questions, but he was shown the error of his ways by the great Danish physicist Niels Bohr. Yet that myth is simply untrue, and these thorny quantum paradoxes are far more important than most physicists once believed. In this talk, I'll explain the puzzles at the heart of quantum physics, why they matter, and what really went down between Einstein and Bohr 90 years ago. Video
20200302 March 2, 2020
Special Colloquium - Darkly Charged Dark Matter
Lisa Randall, Harvard University Pushpa Bhat Generally physicists assume that dark matter is a single particle with no interactions in its own sector. We demonstrate that these assumptions are not necessarily true. In particular we show that dark matter can be charged under its own force, even if as light as the weak scale. We furthermore consider the possibility that only a fraction of the dark matter is charged, and can even form a disk inside the Milky Way. Video
20200304 March 4, 2020
Consciousness and the Collapse of the Wave Function
David Chalmers, New York University Dan Hooper Two of the hardest problems in contemporary science are the problem of quantum measurement and the problem of consciousness. There is a long history of trying to link them by arguing that consciousness plays a role in quantum measurement through the collapse of the wave function. This idea has never been made rigorous. I will explore ways of making it rigorous by combining it with mathematical theories of the brain-consciousness relation and of quantum collapse dynamics. I will also discuss possible empirical tests and philosophical consequences. Video
20200311 March 11, 2020 Canceled - no colloquium
20200318 March 18, 2020 No colloquium
20200325 March 25, 2020
Canceled - no colloquium
20200401 April 1, 2020
Zoom meeting: The Evolution of Language
Professor Frederick L. Coolidge, PhD, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Chris Stoughton Zoom meeting
While the presence of different languages throughout the world is undeniable, the origin of language and its evolution is highly contentious. In part, the problem is that, unlike fossils, languages, especially unwritten languages (before about 4000 BC), do not preserve. There is virtually no evidence of their nature: This means that we do not know what these languages sounded like: For example, did they sing to express their thoughts, did they whistle, did they use gestures while they spoke, or gestures alone? Another major problem with understanding how languages got their start is that the single most influential linguist in the last seven decades, Noam Chomsky, claims language did not evolve but appeared suddenly by one gene in one person 100,000 years ago. The purpose of the present talk is to explain why Chomsky is wrong, how language did evolve, why people speak, and why the most popular topic in all the world’s cultures is gossip.