Talks

CU-Prime talks occur every other week at 5pm in the Commons Room on the 11th Floor of the Gamow Tower in the Duane Physics Building. In the Fall 2018 semester, talks will be on Tuesdays.

Upcoming Talks:
 Sep. 11th   
 Zach Ulibarri - Dust accelerator research at the IMPACT lab
 Sep. 25th Julia Cline - What Do You Get When You Shoot a Laser at an Atom?

 Oct. 9     Lucas Sletten - Peering into the weird world of quantum mechanics with crazy cold electrical circuits

 Oct. 23 TBA

 Nov. 6 Quynh Nguyen

 Nov. 27   TBA


Are you a graduate student interested in giving a CU-Prime talk? Fill out our Speaker Application Form!

See below for details on upcoming talks and previous talks.

Lucas Sletten - Peering into the Weird World of Quantum Mechanics with Crazy Cold Electrical Circuits

posted Oct 7, 2018, 10:07 PM by Nicholas Johnston


Tuesday, October 9th at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

Peering into the Weird World of Quantum Mechanics with Crazy Cold Electrical Circuits

What does electricity on a few pieces of cold metal have to do with quantum mechanics?

What is a superconducting qubit and what is it good for?

Why would anyone need a refrigerator that costs more than a Lamborghini?

How cold could a super-fridge get a can of Coors?

And what’s all the hype over quantum computers anyway?

I will discuss these questions while you eat free pizza at this weeks CU-Prime talk!

Lucas Sletten

Julia Cline - What Do You Get When You Shoot a Laser at an Atom?

posted Oct 7, 2018, 10:02 PM by Nicholas Johnston   [ updated Oct 7, 2018, 10:02 PM ]


Tuesday, September 25th at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

What Do You Get When You Shoot a Laser at an Atom?

How big are atoms?

What is light made of?

What do you get when you shoot a laser at an atom?

What physics can you do with ultracold atoms?

What does the everyday life of an atomic physicist look like?

Find out at this week's CU-Prime Talk! 


Julia Cline

Zach Ulibarri - A song of Ice and Dust

posted Sep 8, 2018, 2:45 PM by Nicholas Johnston   [ updated Sep 8, 2018, 2:46 PM ]


Tuesday, September 11th at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

A song of Ice and Dust, or Why we're sending a $40 million flying trash can to Europa

What do the physicists at CU's IMPACT do all day with their shiny dust accelerator?

How on Earth can it be used to study far away icy ocean worlds like Europa? Why are LASP and CU building a $40 million flying trash can and sending it to Europa?

How can a flying trash can find signs of alien life right here in our own solar system?

What does space dust have to do with creating prebiotic chemicals necessary for life?


Zach Ulibarri

Druv Kedar - Atomic clocks: counting seconds with atoms

posted Apr 16, 2018, 11:44 AM by Nicholas Johnston   [ updated Apr 16, 2018, 11:47 AM ]


Wednesday, April 4th at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

Atomic clocks: counting seconds with atoms
Nearly every appliance and gadget that we possess has some form of timekeeping. I can tell you the time by looking at my phone, watch, or microwave display. But how good are each of these clocks, and what actually makes a good clock? This talk will addresses all of these questions, and teach you how to build a clock accurate to a second over the age of the universe. 


Druv Kedar

Karl Mayer - Why won’t my Quantum Computer work?

posted Apr 16, 2018, 11:43 AM by Nicholas Johnston


Wednesday, April 4th at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

Why won’t my Quantum Computer work?

Quantum computing has recently gone from being merely a theoretical curiosity into an emerging technology. Today dozens of companies are working on building small quantum computers and promising to solve all your problems. How do these computers work and what can they actually do? What does computation have to do with physics? In this talk I will explain the basic concepts of quantum computing and show you how you can start programming real quantum computers. I will also briefly describe my research in developing statistical tools to identify and debug errors in quantum computations.


Karl Mayer

James Greenberg - Breaking Bad Bonds: Combining Physics and Chemistry

posted Apr 16, 2018, 11:40 AM by Nicholas Johnston


Wednesday, March 14th at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

Breaking Bad Bonds: Combining Physics and Chemistry

Walter White had it backwards. He used chemistry to produce crystals that could take people to space or even further. Instead we use (coulomb) crystals to bring the conditions of space to us. This weeks speaker will delve into ion trapping and laser cooling which are used to produce coulomb crystals, and how our baby blue allows us to study chemistry in the interstellar medium.


James Greenburg

Ben Pollard - Model While You Measure: Using Science to Teach a Better Physics Lab

posted Apr 16, 2018, 11:32 AM by Nicholas Johnston


Wednesday, February 28th at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

Model While You Measure: Using Science to Teach a Better Physics Lab

The field of physics, and science in general, is rooted in experimental evidence. Understanding measurement systems, comparing measured results to models, and using data to refine those models are essential skills for physics students to learn. However, these experimental practices are sometimes not emphasized in undergraduate lab courses or taught in an authentic context. My colleagues and I research how students learn experimental science, and use our findings to improve laboratory teaching. I will describe our ongoing process to develop a research-based assessment of scientific modeling in experimental physics, and how we use insights from our research to improve laboratory courses at CU Boulder.


Ben Pollard

Kurt Hill - Ouch! This Soup Burnt My Mouth! and Other Stories about High Energy Nuclear Physics

posted Feb 11, 2018, 5:18 PM by Nicholas Johnston   [ updated Feb 11, 2018, 5:19 PM ]


Wednesday, February 14th at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

Ouch! This Soup Burnt My Mouth! and Other Stories about High Energy Nuclear Physics

What do neutron stars, the early universe, and high energy particle collisions have in common? They each involve extremely high density matter whose properties are primarily governed by the strong nuclear force. Come to this week's CU-Prime talk to hear about the exciting field of high energy nuclear physics and how we create and study a 5 trillion degree quark soup in the laboratory!


Kurt Hill

Kevin Dorney - Using Light Hammers to Crack the Nano-Quantum Egg Shell

posted Jan 29, 2018, 9:54 PM by Nicholas Johnston


Wednesday, January 31st at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

Using Light Hammers to Crack the Nano-Quantum Egg Shell
How Ultra-Intense and X-ray Lasers are Changing the Way We Observe Nature’s Smallest, Fastest, and Most Exotic Phenomena

For millennia, there has been a common ideology when it comes to observing nature in its natural state: if you want to watch and understand nature, your presence or observation method better not effect what you’re looking at. In physical sciences, this has led to a nearly uncountable amount of delicate and precise methods to peer beneath chemical, physical, and biological barriers (e.g., the egg shell) to reveal the most intricate processes in the natural world. In this overview talk, I’ll explain how an opposite, counterintuitive approach can yield even richer insights into the nano-quantum world. Instead of gently looking through or around the nano-quantum egg shell, we use ultra-intense, super-strong, and x-ray lasers (i.e., light hammers) to smash the shell to pieces! By carefully sifting through the carnage, we can put Humpty back together again, all the while gaining greater knowledge of how nature works, and how we can use nature’s methods for the betterment of society.

Kevin Dorney

Charlie Bevis - What's going on at the bottom? Visualizing the nano-scale with lensless microscopy

posted Dec 2, 2017, 8:45 PM by Nicholas Johnston   [ updated Dec 2, 2017, 8:57 PM ]


Wednesday, December 6th at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

How to Catch a Particle
Have you ever wondered what's going on when things get very small? Well, when you're talking about the nano-scale that's not such an easy question to answer, and even harder to visualize. To resolve such small objects we need to use very short wavelength light, such as X-rays. Unfortunately, we can't make lenses for this kind of light. Which leads to the interesting problem: how do you form an image without a lens? The answer is, of course, computers. Come hear about this exciting field and learn about the fundamentals of lensless nano-imaging!

Charlie Bevis

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