speaker series FA2023

oct. 5th, PROF. mark newman

Complex Systems

Title: Epidemics, Erdos numbers, and the Internet: The Physics of Networks

Abstract: There are networks in every part of our lives: the Internet, the power grid, the road network, networks of friendship or acquaintance, ecological networks, biochemical networks, and many others.  As large-scale data on these networks have become available in the last few years, a new science of networks has grown up combining observations and theory and drawing heavily on ideas from physics, to shed light on systems ranging from bacteria to the whole of human society.  In this talk I will give an introduction to this rapidly-growing interdisciplinary field and explain some of its best known results and recent discoveries, and what they can tell us about the way the world works.

oct. 19th, PROF. keith riles

Title: From Attometers to Gigaparsecs - Gravitational Waves Define a New Astronomy

Abstract: A century ago Albert Einstein realized that his newly created General Theory of Relativity implied that gravity propagates like light. Gravitational waves are minute disturbances of space itself, which can arise from distant and massive but compact bodies, such as black holes and neutron stars. Now that these ghostly waves have been detected by the LIGO and Virgo interferometers via attometric sensitivity, physicists and astronomers are confirming Einstein's predictions (as usual), while probing some of the most exotic objects in the Universe. These remarkable instruments and some insights from their discoveries so far will be presented, along with the potential for new discoveries that will make gravitational waves critical to the next century of astronomy and cosmology.

nov. 1st, PROF. jens-christian meiners

Title: Physics of "The Bends" - or the Mechanics of Decompression Sickness

Abstract: Decompression sickness is a disease that results from a rapid drop in ambient pressure. It mostly affects scuba divers when they ascend too fast from depth, but is also a concern for high-altitude aerospace operations like space walks. . It is caused by gas bubbles that form in the blood and tissue when excess dissolved gas can no longer be removed fast enough. Professor Meiners will discuss the physics of gas bubble formation, their effects on our body with a special emphasis on the spinal cord, how we can treat them, and how physics can guide us along the way.

nov. 15th, PROF. fred adams

Title: The Degree of Fine-Tuning in our Universe -- and Others

Abstract: The fundamental constants of nature must fall within a range of values in order for the universe to develop structure and ultimately support life. The relevant parameters include the strengths of the fundamental forces, particle masses, cosmic energy densities, abundances of ordinary matter and dark matter, and the amplitude of primordial density fluctuations. This talk considers current constraints on these quantities and assesses the degree of tuning required for the universe to be viable.

nov. 30th, PROF. christine aidala and Gabriele carcassi

Title: The geometry of quantum mechanics

Abstract: In this presentation we are going to look at aspects of quantum mechanics that, though well-known and important for an understanding of the theory, are seldom taught. Quantum states are not directly represented by vectors in a complex vector space, but by points in the associated projective space. Therefore we will see what a projective space is and how it relates to the vector space. We are also going to see the difference between a real and a complex vector space, including a geometric interpretation of the complex inner product. Finally, we are going to look at superposition and time evolution in this context.