Talks


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

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 2020 semester, talks will be on Tuesdays and will also be live-streamed.

Upcoming Talks (Fall 2020): (all at 5pm in DUAN F1117 and live-streamed) - dates tentative
 Sep. 8
 
 Sep. 22 
 Oct. 6    
 Oct. 20 
 Nov. 3 
 Nov. 17   

Previous Semester (Spring 2020)
: (all at 5pm in DUAN F1117)
 Jan. 28
 Claire Savard: "Applying Machine Learning to Particle Physics"
 Feb. 11 Josie Meyer: "Let's Talk About Physics Culture"
 Feb. 25    Lucas Kolanz: "Unexpected Ionization with Ultrashort Laser Pulses"
 Mar. 10 Hope Whitelock: "Making the World's Most Expensive Light Bulb"
 Apr. 7 Curtis Peterson (exotic hadron physics) (POSTPONED TO FALL 2020)
 Apr. 21   Sarah Kerr (imaging through scattering media) (POSTPONED TO FALL 2020)

See below for details on upcoming talks and previous talks.

Hope Whitelock - Making the World's Most Expensive Light Bulb (3/10/20)

posted Feb 26, 2020, 9:35 AM by Tyler McMaken

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza
 Making the World's Most Expensive Light Bulb*

To watch a chemical reaction in real time, you usually need x-rays, which come from an expensive, inaccessible x-ray facility like a free electron laser or synchrotron. Most of those x-rays then get wasted and never make it to a detector. This makes x-ray experiments expensive, inconvenient, and just plain difficult. But what if we could do it on a table top? What if we could do it with just a light bulb? What if we could make detectors that caught all of the x-rays? In this talk, I’ll introduce how a fancy light bulb and a camera made of cold metal are going to change the future of ultrafast chemistry.


 Hope Whitelock


*okay there might be one or two that are more expensive.

Lucas Kolanz - Unexpected Ionization with Ultrashort Laser Pulses (2/13/20)

posted Feb 13, 2020, 4:46 PM by Tyler McMaken   [ updated Feb 13, 2020, 4:47 PM ]

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza
 Unexpected Ionization with Ultrashort Laser Pulses

The concept of ionization is not hard to grasp. If you excite an atom enough, an electron can leave, and the atom becomes an ion. But what happens when we start to see anomalies in ionization? Spoiler alert: we can simulate atoms being shot by lasers and see what happens! In this talk we will look into two of these “anomalies” and see why ionization doesn’t always behave how we think it should.


 Lucas Kolanz
 Becker Group

Josie Meyer - Let's Talk About Physics Culture (2/11/20)

posted Jan 29, 2020, 8:31 AM by Tyler McMaken   [ updated Feb 9, 2020, 7:48 PM ]

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 at 5:00pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza
 Let's Talk About Physics Culture

Physics and anthropology may seem like completely unrelated sciences, but that's what makes their intersection so fascinating. By analyzing physics as a culture, we can understand why physics has such an entrenched diversity problem, and why physics classrooms and laboratories can seem particularly inviting or uninviting to different groups of people. We are then empowered to embrace or, if necessary, change this culture to create an environment where we and others can succeed.


 Josie Meyer
 Ye Group

Claire Savard - Applying Machine Learning to Particle Physics (1/28/20)

posted Jan 14, 2020, 10:13 PM by Tyler McMaken   [ updated Jan 14, 2020, 10:15 PM ]

Image: Fermilab/CERN
Tuesday, January 28th, 2020 at 5:00pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza
 Applying Machine Learning to Particle Physics

Machine learning is used widely across many fields, including, you guessed it, physics! But what really is machine learning, and how can it be applied to different physics tasks? Can your computer be a better physicist than you? In this talk, I will introduce machine learning and the reasons why it is beneficial to use in particle physics.


 Claire Savard
 CU Boulder's CMS Group (LHC)

Tori Borish - Using Giant Atoms to Create Nature’s Best Rulers

posted Nov 22, 2019, 11:36 AM by Tyler McMaken

Thursday, December 5th, 2019 at 4:15pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza
 Using Giant Atoms to Create Nature’s Best Rulers

Is there a limit to how precisely you can measure something? In this talk, I will discuss a fundamental limit to measurements and how we can use quantum systems (focusing on the example of highly excited neutral atoms) to overcome this. I will also discuss my path through physics, including working in a physics lab abroad between undergrad and graduate school, how I ended up in my research field, and what it’s like to be the first graduate student building up a new atomic physics experiment.


 Tori Borish
 Shleier-Smith Lab, Stanford University

Ariel Shlosberg - The Many Facets of Quantum Error Correction: Cryptography, Holography, and Computation

posted Nov 14, 2019, 3:57 PM by Tyler McMaken

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza
 The Many Facets of Quantum Error Correction: Cryptography, Holography, and Computation

Information is a fundamental aspect of our daily lives and the universe that we inhabit. From cryptography to cell phone networks to spacetime, both classical and quantum information have a role to play. In order to achieve the full set of advantages afforded by quantum mechanics, we must find ways to correct errors that occur in the course of computation and communication. What computational advantages can quantum physics provide, has quantum encryption finally settled the war between code-makers and code-breakers, and what possible relation could there be between the information that you send over the internet and spacetime?


 Ariel Shlosberg
 Graeme Smith Group

Matt Mitchell - How to Simulate a Plasma

posted Nov 4, 2019, 12:15 PM by Tyler McMaken


Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

 How to Simulate a Plasma

Accurately modeling the behavior of plasmas is vitally important to many scientific pursuits, from designing fusion reactors, to improving particle accelerators, to understanding the structure of the sun. However, the large scale behavior of plasmas is incredibly complex, and plasma experiments are difficult to conduct, so it's often better to simulate them on supercomputers. But what's the best way to simulate a plasma? How can we improve our models to better reproduce physical behavior? In this talk, I'll discuss our group's work on a new approach to plasma simulation and some of the mathematical tricks we used to create it.


 Matt Mitchell
 CIPS (Center for Integrated Plasma Studies)

Jarrod Reilly - Particle Slowing Using Quantum Shortcuts

posted Oct 16, 2019, 6:53 AM by Tyler McMaken


Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019 at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

 Particle Slowing Using Quantum Shortcuts

For decades, cooling atoms and molecules to near absolute zero has been at the forefront of physics research. Physicist use the ultracold particles to test fundamental physics, create new forms of matter, and as quantum simulators. Often, a preliminary step to cooling particles is to first slow them down to speeds of about one meter per second. However, many modern slowing processes require a long time, and thus the particles travel a large distance, sometimes as much as 3 meters, before coming to a stop. To overcome this problem, I use quantum shortcuts to speed up the slowing process and thus reduce the slowing distance required to the order of centimeters. In this talk, I will teach you how quantum systems change when they interact with a laser, explain how particles are slowed with lasers traditionally, and then explain how to implement these shortcuts to create new slowing techniques.


 Jarrod Reilly
 Holland Group

Molly May - Antennas for Light: A Way to Bring Quantum Out of the Cold

posted Sep 28, 2019, 4:58 PM by Tyler McMaken   [ updated Sep 28, 2019, 5:03 PM ]


Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

 Antennas for Light: A Way to Bring Quantum Out of the Cold

What do Google, Airbus, Huawei, and at least 65 other companies have in common? They are all trying to develop new technologies, like quantum computers, that exploit the laws of quantum mechanics to enhance the speed, power, and security of existing technologies. However, most of the current approaches to quantum technologies require extremely pristine conditions, like super-cold temperatures, which limits the ability to use them in everyday products. I will teach you how to make an antenna for light and how it can be used to manipulate quantum mechanical objects like "qubits" at room temperature, right in your living room, or even in your pocket!


 Molly May

Miranda Thompson - Superconductive Sandwiches? Josephson Junctions, SQUIDs, and the Voltage Standard

posted Sep 16, 2019, 9:26 PM by Tyler McMaken   [ updated Sep 16, 2019, 9:28 PM ]


Tuesday, September 24th, 2019 at 5pm
Gamow Tower, 11th floor,
Commons Room
Free Pizza

 Superconductive Sandwiches? Josephson Junctions, SQUIDs, and the Voltage Standard

If you make certain materials extremely cold, they no longer have any resistance. This can result in strange and interesting effects. But how can we use these effects? One way is to make a Josephson junction – a superconducting sandwich consisting of a thin layer of non-superconducting material between two superconductors. We can use these junctions as circuit elements, with applications from defining a volt to measuring the strength of a magnetic field. We will cover these applications, as well as the process of fabricating the junctions themselves!


 Miranda Thompson

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