Talks

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

Upcoming Talks:
 Jan. 31st   
 Kevin Dorney - Using Light Hammers to Crack the Nano-Quantum Egg Shell
 Feb. 14th
 Kurt Hill -  Ouch! This Soup Burnt My Mouth! and Other Stories about High Energy Nuclear Physics
 Feb. 28th
 Ben Pollard - Model While You Measure: Using Science to Teach a Better Physics Lab
 Mar. 14th
 James Greenburg - Breaking Bad Bonds: Combining Physics and Chemistry
 Apr. 4th 
 Karl Mayer  -  Why won’t my Quantum Computer work?
 Apr. 18th Dhruv Kedar - Atomic clocks: counting seconds with atoms

See below for details on upcoming talks and previous talks.

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

Brant Rumberger - How to Catch a Particle

posted Nov 13, 2017, 12:50 PM by Nicholas Johnston


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

How to Catch a Particle
Particle physicists aim to study nature at its most fundamental level. Their laboratories are filled with high-energy protons, electrons, quarks, neutrinos, and more! But how do particle physicists track and identify those pesky particles? What types of materials are needed to make a particle detector? Can you make your own particle detector and watch subatomic particles from the safety of your home?! Find out at this week's CU prime talk! 

Brant Rumberger

Baylee Bordwell - World in a box: Exploring Jupiter-like atmospheres with supercomputers

posted Oct 29, 2017, 6:17 PM by Nicholas Johnston


Wednesday, November 1st at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

World in a box: Exploring Jupiter-like atmospheres with supercomputers
Giant planets have a lot to teach us about how other solar systems work, how chemistry functions under extreme conditions, and how weather happens. Unfortunately, you can't send people or rovers to them, and many are just too far away to study in great detail. So we turn to another laboratory: supercomputer simulations. Come learn about how we wrangle computers to learn about what's going on on worlds we'll never see or touch.

Baylee Bordwell

Peter Burns - How to build a quantum internet

posted Oct 16, 2017, 9:22 PM by Nicholas Johnston   [ updated Oct 29, 2017, 6:18 PM ]


Wednesday, October 18th at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

How to build a quantum internet
What do lasers, and microwaves have to do with trampolines? If you want to make a quantum internet it might be helpful to find out. Low temperature superconducting circuits can be used to exploit the laws on quantum mechanics, and laser technology can be used to form a quantum communication network. The problem is that hot lasers and cold superconductors don’t play nice together. Which is where the trampoline comes in. This talk will discuss state-of-the art cleanroom fabrication and how it allows us to build a device for converting quantum signals between lasers and microwaves.

Peter Burns

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