Awardees at Physics Department annual
research poster exhibit, April 24, 2019.
Prof. Rainer Weiss, MIT
2017 Physics Nobel Laureate,
featured speaker at the 22nd Annual Katzenstein Distinguished Lecture, 2018Exploration of the Universe with Gravitational Waves
Dynamic Quantum Matter Workshop, June 20-23, 2018
in Newport, RI, organized by UConn faculty
- Introductory Physics applies hands-on approach to learning
May 27-June 5 UConn Physics Department hosted an international summer school Strong interactions beyond simple factorization: collectivity at high energy from initial to final state. The school was supported by an NSF grant to Prof. Kovner and was devoted to modern approaches to the physics of high energy hadronic and heavy ion collisions.[Read More]
Amelia Henkel, graduating Double Major in Physics and Human Rights, and President of the Undergraduate Women in Physics Club, speaks on the CLAS website about her passion for physics and human rights, and how she mastered challenges in her remarkably interdisciplinary curriculum. “We really need to interact with other disciplines,” says Amelia, “because that’s […][Read More]
The University of Connecticut’s Katherine Whitaker is part of a team of astronomers who have put together the largest and most comprehensive “history book” of the universe from 16 years’ worth of observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.This image, a mosaic of nearly 7,500 separate Hubble exposures, presents a wide portrait of the distant universe and contains roughly 265,000 galaxies that stretch back through 13.3 billion years to just 500 million years after the Big Bang.[Read More]
UConn physics professor Nora Berrah has been elected to the historic and prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This year, more than 200 individuals were elected to the academy with compelling achievements in academia, business, government, and public affairs. Berrah, who was head of the physics department from 2014 to 2018, has been recognized […][Read More]
This image is the first ever taken of a black hole, captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project. The black center is a direct view of the event horizon of a supermassive black hole with a mass of 6.5 billion times the Sun, lying at the center of the Virgo cluster of galaxies. The bright ring is emission from hot gas just above the event horizon, with an asymmetric shape caused by gravitational lensing of light in the strong gravity of the black hole. The EHT collaboration captured the image using a network of 8 radio telescopes that spanned the Earth.[Read More]
Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics Seminar2:00pm
Wednesday, August 21st, 2019
02:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Storrs Campus GS-119Dr. Jan M Rost,
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems,
Sculpting electron dynamics through its environment
Interfacing an electron with a well-controlled environment can generate unusual dynamics, in particular if the electron is easily polarizable. The Rydberg Composite, a highly excited Rydberg electron whose spatial density encompasses many atoms or molecules on sites of a designed spatial lattice is one example. We will show that a 2D Composite with a two-dimensional lattice in form of an atomic monolayer has a particularly reach electron spectrum which features energy bands and exhibits regular as well as chaotic features depending on the ratio of lattice spacing and the wavelength of the Rydberg wave function. Possibilities for experimental realizations in the ultracold will be discussed.
The second part of the talk concerns noisy photo electron spectra as generated, e.g., by short and intense SASE free electron laser pulses. Learning the corresponding electron dynamics with a deep neural network by introducing synthetic Hamilton matrices, we can purify the spectrum as if it would have been created with a normal Gaussian pulse. Perspectives of this novel way to construct ultrafast electron dynamics from given noisy spectra will be discussed.
Physics Colloquium (Prof. Meredith Hughes, Wesleyan)3:30pm
Friday, November 1st, 2019
03:30 PM - 04:30 PM
Storrs Campus TBDProf. Meredith Hughes, Wesleyan
Title and abstract: TBD
Contact Information: Prof. Jon TrumpMore
Katzenstein Distinguished Lecture (Prof. Jocelyn Bell Burnell)4:00pm
Friday, November 8th, 2019
04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Storrs Campus TBD23rd Annual Katzenstein Distinguished Lecture Series
Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, University of Oxford
Title and abstract: TBD
Contact Information: Prof. Philip MannheimMore
- Nov 22 Physics Colloquium (Prof. Andrea Cavalleri)12:00pm
Prof. Keith Horne, University of St. Andrews, "Echo Tomography of Black Hole Accretion Flows in Active Galactic Nuclei", Special Astronomy Seminar2:00pm
Prof. Keith Horne, University of St. Andrews, "Echo Tomography of Black Hole Accretion Flows in Active Galactic Nuclei", Special Astronomy Seminar
Friday, July 26th, 2019
02:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Storrs Campus Gant West P121Prof. Keith Horne,
University of St. Andrews
Echo Tomography of Black Hole Accretion Flows in Active Galactic Nuclei
Echo Tomography uses light travel time delays to resolve micro-arcsecond structure of black hole accretion flows in active galactic nuclei. I will discuss methods used to map the temperature-radius profile of black hole accretion discs, and to construct velocity-delay maps that probe the geometry, kinematics and ionisation structure of the associated broad emission-line regions. In particular, I will present results from the 2014 STORM campaign using HST, Swift, and ground-based telescopes to monitor spectral variations in the Seyfert galaxy NGC 5548. I will discuss anomalous behaviour observed during the campaign, and present a determination of the inclination and temperature-radius profile of its accretion disc and velocity-delay maps exhibiting evidence for an inclined Keplerian flow extending from 2 to 20 light days. Tilting the inner disc to align with black hole spin may help to address several features we are seeing in the reverberation mapping studies.
Dissertation Defense, Niraj Ghimire- Density Matrix Renormalization Group studies of interacting dipoles in a zigzag chain- Ph. D. defense11:00am
Dissertation Defense, Niraj Ghimire- Density Matrix Renormalization Group studies of interacting dipoles in a zigzag chain- Ph. D. defense
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
11:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Storrs Campus Gant West Room 103-ADissertation Defense
University of Connecticut
"Density Matrix Renormalization Group studies of interacting dipoles in a zigzag chain"
The goal of my research is to simulate quantum mechanics, which is known to be a very challenging problem even for the most advanced supercomputers of today. The system I have chosen consists of molecular dipoles in a quasi-one-dimensional optical lattice. For the first part of the talk, I will discuss the situation where the dipoles are polarized in the plane of the lattice at half-filling and double occupancy is not allowed on any lattice sites. The dipoles can hop around between sites and the interactions between them can be attractive or repulsive, with the hopping and interaction allowed up to second neighbors. I am particularly interested in the zero-temperature quantum phases induced by geometrical frustration, a situation where not all the interactions are satisfied. By mapping the dipoles in this lattice to a spin-1/2 model and by using the numerical approximation method known as density matrix renormalization group (DMRG), I have studied this system and produced a complex phase diagram.
For the second part of the talk, I will discuss the situation where a dipole is trapped in each lattice site such that the dipole moment vector can be oriented in any direction. The dipoles interact with one another via dipole-dipole potential and also interact with the external field, but they do not hop around between lattice sites. I will talk about some results for this classical model. Then I will explain how I have mapped it to a spin-2 model (which is quantum mechanical) and explain some results obtained using DMRG.
Major Advisor: Dr. Susanne Yelin
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Gant Science Complex
Contact Information: Susanne YelinMore
Dr. Ryan C. Hickox, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College, "Black Holes Near and Far: Environments and Evolution of Active Galactic Nuclei ", Sigma Pi Sigma Colloquium4:00pm
Dr. Ryan C. Hickox, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College, "Black Holes Near and Far: Environments and Evolution of Active Galactic Nuclei ", Sigma Pi Sigma Colloquium
Friday, May 3rd, 2019
04:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Storrs Campus GW-38Dr. Ryan C. Hickox,
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College
Black Holes Near and Far: Environments and Evolution of Active Galactic Nuclei
Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) are ubiquitous in the centers of galaxies, and astronomers have now spectacularly obtained the first image of one in the nearby galaxy M87. Yet SMBHs are not just fascinating objects in their own right; they also have a key role to play in the cosmic evolution of their host galaxies and large-scale structures, as they grow and radiate energy in the form of active galactic nuclei (AGN). I will give an overview of recent breakthroughs in our understanding of AGN, exploring the smallest scales around the SMBH to the huge surrounding dark matter halos, and tracing the growth of SMBHs from the early Universe to the present epoch. I will conclude with a look forward at exciting prospects in AGN science with upcoming and proposed future observatories.
Coffee will be served prior to the talk, at 3:00 p.m., In Room GW-103
Contact Information: Prof. Tom BlumMore
Dr. Jim Zickefoose, Senior Research Scientist, Mirion Technologies, "Applying a physics degree to positions in industry", Graduate Student Seminar12:15pm
Dr. Jim Zickefoose, Senior Research Scientist, Mirion Technologies, "Applying a physics degree to positions in industry", Graduate Student Seminar
Friday, May 3rd, 2019
12:15 PM - 01:15 PM
Storrs Campus P121Dr. Jim Zickefoose,
Senior Research Scientist, Mirion Technologies
Applying a physics degree to positions in industry
I received my PhD from the University of Connecticut 9 years ago and since that time have been working in industry as a physicist for Canberra Inc. (now Mirion Technologies). There were a number of skills I gained during my studies as a PhD student that helped me obtain my job in industry as well as progress up the technical ladder. I will briefly discuss my primary PhD research topic, experimental nuclear astrophysics, identifying some of the skills obtained during my research that are vital in industry. Mirion is involved in the detection, quantification, remediation of nuclear radiation on a number of levels, most notable in the development of High Purity Germanium (HPGe) detectors. I will provide an overview of Mirion's core interests and describe how my current and previous roles there have contributed to those interests. As is true with any sector you will choose to work in, there are benefits and drawbacks to working there. I will discuss a number of aspects that are in my opinion assets of industrial work as well as number of points of frustration that I have found in industry. Finally, I have been involved in the hiring of a number of incoming physicist personnel at Mirion. I will discuss some key points to consider when searching for, applying to, interviewing for, and accepting positions in industry.
Contact Information: Prof. V. KharchenkoMore
Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics Seminar2:15pm
Thursday, May 2nd, 2019
02:15 PM - 03:15 PM
Storrs Campus Physics Building, P121Dr. Ryan Carollo,
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Bates College
Blowing Bubbles... in Space!
Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) can be used as sensitive probes or tests of delicate physics. However, gravitational sag equivalent to 100 nanokelvin per micron can adversely affect sensitive measurements or delicate potentials. NASA and JPL have solved this problem by installing a BEC machine (the Cold Atom Laboratory - CAL) on the International Space Station. We're using it to blow bubbles - fully-connected, quasi-2-dimensional shells of weakly-trapped condensate - and study them in a shape that can't be achieved on Earth.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2019
12:15 PM - 01:15 PM
Storrs Campus Gant West P121Dr. Erin Cox, UConn Counseling & Mental Health Services
Career Development Series
In this semester's "Career Development Series" we will have a special session focusing on Mental Health. We will have a presentation from Dr. Erin Cox. Dr. Erin Cox is the Assistant Director/Director of Outreach at UConn's Counseling & Mental Health Services (CMHS). With over nine years in university counseling, she has expertise in supporting students with a wide variety of mental health concerns that can impact academic performance. In this workshop, Dr. Cox will provide tips on managing stress, and an overview of services available at CMHS.
Prof. Gerald Dunne, Department of Physics, University of Connecticut, "Resurgent Extrapolation: Squeezing Non-Perturbative Information from Perturbation Theory", Particle, Astrophysics, and Nuclear Physics Seminar2:00pm
Prof. Gerald Dunne, Department of Physics, University of Connecticut, "Resurgent Extrapolation: Squeezing Non-Perturbative Information from Perturbation Theory", Particle, Astrophysics, and Nuclear Physics Seminar
Monday, April 29th, 2019
02:00 PM - 03:00 PM
Storrs Campus Gant West (Physics Building), P121Prof. Gerald Dunne, Department of Physics, University of Connecticut
Resurgent Extrapolation: Squeezing Non-Perturbative Information from Perturbation Theory
Extrapolation is an important problem in physics: how to use asymptotic data in one parametric regime to learn about the behavior of a physical function in another parametric regime. For example: extending weak coupling expansions to strong coupling, or high temperature expansions to low temperature, or vice versa. I present new methods from "resurgent asymptotics" that dramatically improve standard numerical procedures for performing such an extrapolation: Borel summation, Pad'e approximants and conformal mapping. I illustrate the method with the concrete example of one of the Painlev'e equations, a class of nonlinear equations with many applications in physics. Starting solely with a finite number of asymptotic coefficients, we obtain a high precision extrapolation of the function throughout the complex plane, even across a phase transition. The precision far exceeds that of state-of-the-art numerical integration methods.
Contact Information: Prof. L. JinMore
Prof. Tracy Webb, Department of Physics, McGill University, "The Growth of the Most Massive Galaxies in the Highest Density Regions: Evidence for In-Situ Star Formation in Brightest Cluster Galaxies", Physics Colloquium (Prof. Tracy Webb, McGill)3:30pm
Prof. Tracy Webb, Department of Physics, McGill University, "The Growth of the Most Massive Galaxies in the Highest Density Regions: Evidence for In-Situ Star Formation in Brightest Cluster Galaxies", Physics Colloquium (Prof. Tracy Webb, McGill)
Friday, April 26th, 2019
03:30 PM - 04:30 PM
Storrs Campus GW-38Prof. Tracy Webb, Department of Physics, McGill University
The Growth of the Most Massive Galaxies in the Highest Density Regions: Evidence for In-Situ Star Formation in Brightest Cluster Galaxies
The most massive galaxies in the local universe reside at the centres of galaxy clusters. These so-called Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs) exhibit, as a class, highly uniform properties and are distinct from the general galaxy population. This suggests formation processes which are themselves distinct from those which dominate in massive galaxies outside of cluster cores. The mass growth of BCGs is likely linked to the overall physics of hierarchical structure formation on galaxy cluster scales, including the fundamental processes of gas cooling, star formation, energy feedback and galaxy mergers, at the centers of giant dark matter halos. In this talk I will present new results from the largest study of high-redshift BCGs conducted to date, drawn from the SpARCS optical/NIR cluster survey. Using archival infrared data we show the star formation rate within BCGs increases to z~2, and can add as much mass to the BCG population as the previous standard model of growth by dry mergers. At low redshifts, and in X-ray/SZ selected clusters, the rare examples of star forming BCGs appear to be fed by large-scale cooling flows. However, the first of the SpARCS systems we have studied in detail, SpARCS1049, has revealed a very different phenomenon -- a train-wreck of a galaxy merger at the center of the cluster. This is the first example of such a process in high-redshift cluster cores and may represent a new phase of BCG evolution, previously unaccounted for.
Coffee and tea will be served prior to the talk, at 3:00 p.m., In Room GW-103
Contact Information: Prof. Kate WhitakerMore