Fall 2018 Meeting of the Illinois Section of the AAPT
"Physics and Astronomy: Making Meaning from Data"
October 26-27, 2018
Illinois State University, Normal, IL

We are pleased to invite you to attend the Fall 2018 meeting of the ISAAPT. Come to learn more about physics, discover new tools and techniques for teaching physics, share your experiences via contributed presentations and Take Fives, and meet old and new friends. 

Once registration is open, if you would like to pay beforehand by credit card or PayPal, check the fees page for the amount and click here.

Campus information and parking - Hotel information Places to eat - Session chair instructions

 Invited Speakers

Gravitational waves and light? The birth of multi-messenger astronomy and the detection of the fastest bursts in the Universe
Dr. Jeffrey Cooke 

130 million years ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, two neutron stars merged and made history.  For the first time, astronomers detected both gravitational waves and light from the same event.  It was also the first time gravitational waves were detected from a binary neutron star merger and the first time the subsequent explosion, called a kilonova, was detected - in every wavelength of light.  I will describe that fateful day and our operation of 15 of the 70 telescopes that followed up the fast evolving, new type of explosion.  I will discuss what we learned (and are still learning) and our plans to detect similar and new types of gravitational wave events next year.  

I will conclude with a discussion of our Deeper, Wider, Faster program to detect and follow up the fastest bursts in the Universe (millisecond-to-hours durations).  We coordinate over 50 major observatories on every continent and in space at every wavelength (from gamma-ray to radio), as well as particle and gravitational wave detectors.  We acquire the data with a fast cadence and perform real-time supercomputer data analysis to identify fast transients within minutes after the light hits the telescopes in order to trigger follow up observations before they fade.  The large datasets generated, and the urgency of rapid analysis, has enabled us progress data visualisation and data sonification techniques, provide hands-on student research discovery projects, and to initiate an inclusive citizen science program. 

Constructing Gravity and the Standard Model
Dr. Neil Christensen

As we attempt to unravel the dynamics at the smallest scale, we run into two problems, one experimental and the other theoretical.  The experimental problem is that our current experiments can only probe down to approximately 10^-18m, which is approximately 17 orders of magnitude greater than the Planck scale.  The theoretical problem is that our understanding of those near Planckian scales is dependent on the particular form of our theories.  For example, the interactions of electrons and photons is given by the Lagrangian of QED, the interactions of particles and gravitons is given by the Lagrangian of general relativity, and so on.  But, how do we know that these are the right forms for the interactions at the smallest scales?  Perhaps there is an important modification of these theories before we reach the Planck scale.  Recently, there has been a substantial amount of work towards constructing the theories of electrons, photons, gravitons, etc. from the ground up.  That is, we only assume the Lorentz symmetry and the global part of the electromagnetic symmetry.  It turns out that, given the mass, spin and charges of the particles alone, it is possible to build the 3-point interactions of the theories without any input from QED or general relativity.  Work on the 4-point interactions, which would connect directly to the ordinary macroscopic properties of these theories, is nearing completion.  


Host - Ken Wester, Illinois Statue University, kwester@ilstu.edu
This webpage - Andrew Morrisonamorriso@jjc.edu