Donald R. Hamilton Colloquium Series
4:30 p.m., Thursday, September 15, 2016
John Ellis, King's College London & CERN
A very close supernova explosion could have caused a mass extinction of life in Earth. In 1996, Brian Fields, the late Dave Schramm, and the speaker proposed looking for unstable isotopes such as Iron 60 that could have been deposited by a recent nearby supernova explosion. A group from the Technical University of Munich has discovered Iron 60 in deep-ocean sediments and ferromanganese crusts due to one or more supernovae that exploded O(100) parsecs away about 2.5 million years ago. These results have recently been confirmed by a group from the Australian National University, and the Munich group has also discovered supernova Iron 60 in lunar rock samples and in microfossils of magnetotactic bacteria. This colloquium will discuss the data and their interpretation in terms of supernova models, and the possible implications for life on Earth.
4:30 p.m., Thursday, September 22, 2016
"Next questions in neutrino physics and the NOva experiment"
Ryan Patterson, Caltech
Non-zero neutrino mass brings with it new complexity in the neutrino sector, and major questions surrounding neutrino masses and mixing remain unanswered. Among the unknowns are the ordering of the neutrino masses, key details of flavor mixing, and whether neutrinos respect CP symmetry. NOvA, a long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiment sited along Fermilab’s NuMI neutrino beam, will address these questions and much more. NOvA recently began full operations with its 14-kton detector and will continue through this decade. After a review of the physics context, I will discuss NOvA’s experimental design, physics program, and the latest results.
Host: Peter Meyers, Department of Physics, Princeton University
4:30 p.m., Thursday, September 29, 2016
“The Dynamical Strong-field Regime of General Relativity"
Frans Pretorius, Princeton University
In this talk I will describe the recent detection of gravitational waves by the LIGO/Virgo collaboration. The main event heard, GW150914, is consistent with the emission of gravitational waves from the late inspiral, merger and ringdown of two heavy stellar mass black holes. Many aspects of this event are fortuitous and remarkable, and I will discuss what it has taught us about strong-field gravity, binary black hole populations in the universe, and what it implies we can further learn over the next few years once LIGO is upgraded to design sensitivity.
4:30 p.m., Thursday, October 6, 2016
"The truth behind the LIGO discvoeries"
Rana Adhikari, Caltech
After 50 years, the gravitational radiation community announced the detection of a binary black hole merger. The radiation traveled through space for a billion years and registered in the LIGO interferometers on Sep. 14. I will describe what really went on in the few years before the detection, what the prospect is for getting daily black hole signals, and what the fundamental quantum information limit for spacetime curvature estimation is.
Host: Lyman Page, Department of Physics, Princeton University
4 p.m., Thursday, October 13, 2016 (please note the colloquium start time of 4 p.m.)
“Entanglement Entropy and Quantum Thermalization in Ultracold Atom Quantum Matter”
Markus Greiner, Harvard
With quantum gas microscopy we are now able to take the control of ultracold quantum gases in an optical lattice to the next and ultimate level of high fidelity addressing, manipulation and readout of single particles. In my talk I will first give an introduction to this field of research and present an overview of recent experiments. I will then focus on experiments in which we are for the first time able to directly measure entanglement entropy in a quantum many-body system, and use such measurements to explore quantum thermalization. These experiments shed light onto the amazing role of entanglement in quantum statistical mechanics.
4 p.m., Thursday, October 20, 2016 (please note the colloquium start time of 4 p.m.)
“Quantum gravity and quantum chaos"
Stephen Shenker, Stanford University
One hallmark of chaos is sensitive dependence to initial conditions, the “butterfly effect.” We will discuss recent advances in our understanding of the quantum butterfly effect and its connection to the quantum physics of black holes. We will discuss a universal bound on the rate of development of quantum chaos motivated by these developments. Then we will briefly describe recent work on a connection between the late time behavior of black holes and the dynamics of random matrices.
David Vanderbilt, Rutgers University
In this talk I will introduce the essential physics of the QAH effect, provide a tutorial on its mathematical description in terms of Berry phases, and briefly describe recent successes in finding low-temperature realizations. I will then review some of our own recent work in which we propose the deposition of atoms with strong spin-orbit interactions onto the surfaces of magnetic insulators as a promising route toward the synthesis of higher-temperature QAH systems.
Host: N. Phuan Ong, Department of Physics, Princeton University
Title & Abstract: TBA
4 p.m., Thursday, December 15, 2016
Speaker: Christopher Monroe, University of Maryland
Title & Abstract: TBA