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Visiting Day for Admitted Graduate Students

Mar 27, 2017, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Stefan Ballmer, Tomasz Skwarnicki and Patty Whitmore. Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton



The Syracuse University Physics department is excited to host our annual Visiting Day for Admitted Students on March 27th. We look forward to meeting the admitted graduate class for Fall 2017 and introducing them to some of the exciting experiences available through our department.

View the Tentative Schedule

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The LIGO Discovery and Primordial Black Hole Dark Matter by Ely Kovitz

Mar 27, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Scott Watson / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

The LIGO observatory has recently reported several detections of gravitational waves from the coalescence of binary black holes. We consider the extraordinary possibility that the detected events involving heavier masses are mergers of primordial black holes making up the dark matter in the Universe. We will describe various ways of testing this proposition once more gravitational wave data is gathered, survey some of the existing constraints and present a novel probe of massive compact dark matter in the relevant mass range based on strong gravitational lensing of fast radio bursts. We will conclude with a summary of the observational prospects to test the proposed scenario over the next decade.

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Signal-to-noise issues in entanglement entropy calculations of ultracold fermions by Joaquin Drut

Mar 27, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Simon Catterall / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Ultracold fermions continue to be a remarkably versatile playground for quantum many-body physics. Experimentalists have exquisite control of temperature, density, coupling, and shape of the trapping potential. Additionally, a wide range of properties can be measured: from simple ones like equations of state to more involved ones like the bulk viscosity and the Rényi entanglement entropy (EE). The latter is a measure of quantum information which has received much attention due to its connection to quantum phase transitions but which has proven extremely difficult to compute: non-perturbative lattice methods for the EE display exponential signal-to-noise issues of a very similar nature as those due to a sign problem. I will outline the EE formalism, present an algorithm that solves the EE problem, and show results for strongly interacting systems in three spatial dimensions that are the first of their kind.

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SPS colloquium presented by Jack Laiho

Mar 28, 2017, 3:45 PM-5:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Patrick Miles/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

I discuss my attempt to reconcile general relativity with quantum theory, i.e. to come up with a quantum theory of gravity.  I will give some background on path integrals and running couplings in quantum field theory, and I will explain how these ideas fit into my approach to solve quantum gravity numerically on the computer.  I will present numerical results suggesting that we are on the right track.

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Cooperative behaviors in living systems: from molecular motors to bacteria - by Agnese Curatolo

Mar 29, 2017, 4:00 PM-5:00 PM

Room 208

Host: Cristina Marchetti | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, taengstr@syr.edu

Biology and physics meet in a large variety of different contexts. At all scales, from DNA dynamics to ecological problems, statistical physics provides powerful tools to model and understand the mechanisms leading to collective behaviors so widespread in living systems. In the first part of my talk I will show how to construct the phase diagram of multilane systems which can be used to model molecular motors along microtubules as well as traffic flows of cars or pedestrians. In the second part I will talk about collaborative pattern formation in multi-species bacterial colonies. Our idea is that the control of the cell motilities by the local densities of the different bacterial strains can lead to a variety of patterns with segregation and aggregation between the strains, in the absence of any directional interactions.

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Very low energy particle physics at CERN: Particle nucleation, planetary albedo, and climate by Neil Donahue

Mar 30, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Matthew Rudolph / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

In the Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets (CLOUD) experiment at CERN we study the chemistry and physics leading to particle nucleation in Earth’s atmosphere.  Fine particles are important to climate because particles (haze) scatter light and because cloud droplets require water soluble particles to to form in order to overcome the surface tension barrier to droplet formation.  For this reason the number of droplets in a cloud depends on the number of particles larger than about 100 nm diameter in the air forming the cloud (the particles must have enough moles of solute to seed a cloud droplet).  Clouds with more (smaller) droplets are whiter than those with fewer (larger) droplets, and so they reflect more sunlight back to space.  Consequently, the planetary albedo depends on 100 nm diameter particles.  The number of particles in air forming clouds has almost certainly changed over the past 250 years since the industrial revolution, and so whiter clouds from pollution are probably masking some portion of potential warming associated with carbon dioxide.  At CLOUD we employ a suite of mass spectrometers, particle size spectrometers, and particle number counters to initiate new-particle formation under precisely controlled conditions.  We have recently explored the role of highly oxidized organic compounds formed via heretofore unknown chemistry in both particle formation and subsequent particle growth via condensation toward climate relevant sizes.  Both are crucial, as tiny, mobile particles must grow rapidly or die by colliding with larger particles.

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Fingers, toes and tongues: the anatomy of interfacial instabilities in viscous fluids - by Irmgard Bischofberger

Mar 31, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Joseph Paulsen | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, taengstr@syr.edu

The invasion of one fluid into another of higher viscosity is unstable and produces complex patterns in a quasi-two dimensional geometry. This viscous-fingering instability, a bedrock of our understanding of pattern formation, has been characterized by a most-unstable wavelength that sets the characteristic width of the fingers. We have shown that a second, previously overlooked, parameter governs the length of the fingers and characterizes the dominant global features of the patterns. 

Because interfacial tension suppresses short-wavelength fluctuations, its elimination would suggest an instability producing highly ramified singular structures. Our experimental investigations using miscible fluids show the opposite behavior -- the interface becomes more stable even as the stabilizing effect of interfacial tension is removed. This is accompanied by slender structures, tongues, that form in the narrow thickness of the fluid. Among the rich variety of global patterns that emerge is a regime of blunt structures, "toes", that exhibit the unusual features characteristic of proportionate growth. This type of pattern formation, while quite common in mammalian biology, was hitherto unknown in physical systems.

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TBD by Peter Lepage

Apr 6, 2017, 3:30 AM-5:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Refreshments at 3:30 pm and the talk starting at 3:45 pm

Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

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TBD - by Paul Janmey

Apr 7, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Jen Schwarz | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, taengstr@syr.edu

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Why Black Holes Matter by Prof. Paul Souder

Apr 8, 2017, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM

Aurora Inn (391 Main St., Aurora) on Cayuga Lake

To register, please call 315.685.7163



The intriguing and fascinating world of black holes is the subject of a lecture by nuclear physicist Paul Souder, benefitting the Southern Cayuga Planetarium and Observatory in Aurora, New York.  

Souder, a professor of physics at Syracuse University, will deliver a multimedia presentation titled “Why Black Holes Matter” on Saturday, April 8, at 11 a.m. at the historic Aurora Inn (391 Main St., Aurora) on Cayuga Lake. He will provide an overview of black holes, as well as share some recent findings, including the discovery of a rare, medium-weight black hole.

The event is open to the public; however, registration is required. Tickets are $45, and include the lecture, lunch and a silent auction. To register, please call 315.685.7163, or send a check, payable to “Friends of the Southern Cayuga Planetarium,” to P.O. Box 186, Aurora NY 13026. Seating is limited; tickets also are available at the door, while supplies last.

Following the lecture, attendees are entitled to a free private tour of MacKenzie-Childs, a Victorian farm that produces high-end tableware and home furnishings, and a $5 wine tasting at Bet the Farm Winery and Gourmet Market.

For an additional $250, couples may spend the night at the Aurora Inn/E.B. Morgan House or the Rowland House, partaking of wine and cheese with Souder and a continental breakfast the next morning. Space is limited; the deadline to book a room is Wednesday, March 15.

Proceeds benefit the Friends of the Southern Cayuga Planetarium, a nonprofit organization raising money to restore and reopen the 50-year-old planetarium, closed in 2014.

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Massive Gravity and Time-Dependent Black Holes by Rachel Rosen

Apr 13, 2017, 3:30 PM-5:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Refreshments at 3:30 pm and the talk starting at 3:45 pm

Host: Prof. Scott Watson / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

The predictions of General Relativity (GR) have been confirmed to a remarkable precision in a wide variety of tests.  Consistent and well-motivated modifications of GR have been notoriously difficult to obtain.  However, in recent years a compelling theory has been shown to be free of the traditional pathologies.  This is the theory of massive gravity, in which the graviton is described by a massive spin-2 particle.  In this talk I will give a brief review of recent developments in massive gravity.  I will then present new results concerning intriguing features of black holes in this theory.

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TBD - by Daniel Sussman

Apr 14, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Jen Schwarz | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, taengstr@syr.edu

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The Turbulent Vacuum by A.P. Balachandran

Apr 14, 2017, 12:00 PM-2:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Simon Catterall / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

*The following work is jointly done with M.Asorey, F.Lizzi and G.Marmo.

The vacuum state in relativistic quantum field theory is often pictured as devoid of striking properties, as vacuous. But instead the following are true :

1) Atoms or measuring apparatus inserted at space-like distances in vacuum should exhibit no correlations in the above image of the vacuum. But instead if they have localised states with orthogonal wave functions, and atom 1 is in ground state and 2 in an excited state at a space-like distance, either 1 will *never *be affected by 2 via photon emission (which is absurd) or it will be *instantaneously* affected violating causality.

2) Fields in a finite region, no matter how small, acting on the vacuum can produce *any* state in the Hilbert space.

3) Invariance of the vacuum is invariance of the world. (Coleman).

4)There are * no *localised detectors ! ( Implications for a causal quantum information theory ?)

After discussions of the above, we apply them to the Rindler wedge. There we show that photon  or graviton *cannot* be confined to the wedge : there is information leakage out of the wedge (but no unitarity violation). This happens because in qed  and gravity , infrared effects break ( asymptotic ) Lorentz invariance . The above result has potential applications to black hole information paradox. The super selection rules in the two cases are charge and momentum conservation respectively.

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TBD by Aarti Veernala

Apr 17, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Simon Catterall / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

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TBD by Mats Selen

Apr 20, 2017, 3:30 PM-5:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Refreshments at 3:30 pm and the talk starting at 3:45 pm

Host: Prof. Gianfranco Vidali / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

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TBD - by Arshad Kudrolli

Apr 21, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Joseph Paulsen | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, taengstr@syr.edu

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TBD by Prateek Agrawal

Apr 24, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Jay Hubisz / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

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TBD by Brian Nord

Apr 27, 2017, 3:30 PM-5:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Refreshments at 3:30 pm and the talk starting at 3:45 pm

Host: Prof. Scott Watson / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

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TBD - by Madhav Mani

Apr 28, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Lisa Manning | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, taengstr@syr.edu

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TBD - by Pankaj Mehta

May 5, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Lisa Manning | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, taengstr@syr.edu

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TBD by Rachel Houtz

May 8, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Jay Hubisz / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

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Cosmological Seed Magnetic Field from Inflation by Bharat Ratra

Sep 18, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Scott Watson / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

A cosmological magnetic field of nG strength on Mpc length scales could be the seed magnetic field needed
to explain observed few microG large-scale galactic magnetic fields. I first briefly review the observational
and theoretical motivations for such a seed field, two galactic magnetic field amplification models, and some
non-inflationary seed field generation scenarios. I then discuss an inflation magnetic field generation model.
I conclude by mentioning possible extensions of this model as well as potentially observable consequences.