Upcoming Events

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Solid-Solid Phase Transitions in Colloidal Matter by Chrisy Xiyu Du

May 17, 2018, 9:00 AM-10:00 AM

Room 208

Host: Lisa Manning (mmanning@syr.edu)

Phase transitions are ubiquitous in nature, and are observed throughout everyday life from the melting of ice to the magnetization of iron. In particular, solid–solid phase transitions are important in many areas such as metallurgy, geosciences, and the design of reconfigurable materials. Following the recent initiative of using nano building blocks to design next generation materials, we answer fundamental questions about solid–solid phase transitions in colloidal matter and guide the design of materials that can change phase. We construct a minimal model of solid–solid phase transitions that are induced by altering particle shape. Using the minimal model, we are able to determine the thermodynamic order of several phase transitions. Under the same construct of the minimal model, we can also design target phase transitions as desired. Our results show viable candidate particles for reconfigurable materials. Moreover, our results give insight into the fundamental of the most common, but most poorly understood phase transitions in nature, and provide new minimal models for understanding solid–solid transitions in atomic systems.

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Cosmological Perturbations in the Early Universe by Gizem Sengor

May 11, 2018, 11:30 AM-12:30 PM

Room 208 Physics Building

Advisor: Prof. Scott Watson

A key essence of capturing the history of primordial fluctuations that arise during inflation and eventually lead to formation of large scale structures in the universe on paper, relies on quantizing general relativity coupled to a scalar field. This is a system that respects diffeomorphism invariance, the freedom of choosing the coordinate system to work with without changing the physics. Hence the way to handle its quantization requires a well understanding of how to quantize diffeomorphisms. Deciding on suitable coordinate choices and making sure that this gauge fixing, which is unavoidable in any calculation, does not effect the end result is tricky. In this thesis we make full use of the effects of diffeomorphism invariance of the theory on the primordial fluctuations to pursue two different approaches that focus on treating perturbations after gauge fixing. On one line we work towards developing our understanding of how to handle quantization in terms of Dirac quantization and Becchi, Rouet, Stora, Tyutin (BRST) quantization. On another line we focus on how to generalize the allowed interactions and understand the scales they bring in the era of preheating that follows inflation, with effective field theory methods on cosmological backgrounds

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Observing black holes and neutron stars from across the universe with gravity by Dr. Josh Smith

May 3, 2018, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof.Duncan Brown/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960


Gravitational waves, ripples in space-time, provide a view of the universe complimentary, and often completely invisible, to light. In 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) debuted this new ”sense” for humanity by observing gravitational waves from coalescing binary systems of black holes. In 2017, LIGO and Virgo kicked off an era of multimessenger gravitational-wave astronomy by observing a binary neutron star merger and prompting electromagnetic observations across the electromagnetic spectrum. These discoveries have solved the mysterious origins of short gamma-ray bursts, provided new tests of relativity, measurements of the Hubble constant, and insights into black hole and neutron star physics. I will discuss these results and how advances in gravitational-wave observing technology beyond this initial breakthrough will open other frequency bands of the unexplored gravitational-wave spectrum and probe the universe’s structure and history on cosmological scales. 

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Taking the measure of neutron stars with NICER -- Simin Mahmoodifar

Apr 30, 2018, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Jack Laiho/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

The Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) is NASA's new X-ray timing instrument onboard the ISS that was launched in June 2017. With a large effective area, low background, very precise absolute timing and great low energy response, NICER has been doing a fantastic job in observing many interesting phenomena related to neutron stars and black holes. One of the main goals of the NICER mission is to constrain the equation of state of ultra-dense matter by measuring the masses and radii of several rotation-powered millisecond pulsars. This is being done by fitting pulse waveform models that incorporate all relevant relativistic effects and atmospheric radiation transfer processes to the periodic soft X-ray modulations produced by the rotation of hot spots located near the magnetic polar caps of these pulsars. Some of the other interesting topics that are being studied with NICER includes phenomena related to Type I X-ray bursts, which are thermonuclear flashes observed from the surfaces of accreting neutron stars in Low Mass X-ray Binaries, such as photospheric radius expansion and burst oscillations. NICER's large effective area and excellent low energy response enable new, detailed studies of these bursts in the soft X-ray band. In this talk I will present some of the early results from the first nine months of the NICER mission and will report on the progress being made by the NICER team in measuring the masses and radii of pulsars.

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TBA Thomas Grégoire

Apr 27, 2018, 12:00 PM-1:30 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

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

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Shape Sculpting and Shapeshifting with Soft Matter by Tim Atherton

Apr 27, 2018, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room 202/204

Host: Joey Paulsen | Contact: David Yllanes (dyllanes@syr.edu)

Soft materials are ideal candidates for advanced engineering applications including soft, biomimetic robots, self-building machines, shape-shifters, artificial muscles, and chemical delivery packages. In many of these, the material must make a dramatic change in shape with an accompanying re-ordering of the material; in others changes in the ordering can be used to drive or even interrupt shape change. To optimize the materials and structures, it is necessary to have a detailed understanding of how the microstructure and macroscopic shape co-evolve. In this talk, I will therefore discuss the interactions between order and shape evolution, as well as the role of the kinetics in determining the final state, with examples primarily drawn from my group's work on emulsions and liquid crystals. To develop the description, we draw upon differential geometry, topology, optimization theory and computer simulations, and connect our results to other work on jamming and crystallography on curved surfaces. 

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Soft-matter mechanics of biofilm infections: What is the impact on resistance to the immune system? by Vernita Gordon

Apr 26, 2018, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Lisa Manning/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Biofilms are aggregates of microbes that are bound together by a matrix of polymer and proteins.  Biofilms produce chronic, sometimes decades-long, infections that resist clearance by the immune system.  Biofilms are viscoelastic solids, with resistance to deformation that is roughly comparable to the mechanical forces exerted by phagocytosing immune cells.  We have recently shown that in vivo evolution of chronic infections promotes mechanical toughness and stiffness (2017 npj Biofilms and Microbiomes).  Now, we present ongoing work examining how the mechanics of a soft, viscoelastic target impacts the ability of immune cells to break up and clear that target - this topic has not been studied before, so we have developed new experiments to measure this, using human neutrophils.  We also are also examining approaches to disrupting biofilm mechanics, with a view toward developing treatments that make biofilm infections more amenable to clearance by the immune system.

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An effective model for light composite scalars in multiflavor gauge theory -- Yannick Meurice

Apr 24, 2018, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Judah Unmuth-Yockey/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

It is expected that when the number of light flavors of QCD-like theories is increased beyond some critical value, scalars particles with a mass much smaller than the dynamical scale appear. We describe this situation with a linear sigma model. Using lattice results, we found combinations of the masses of scalars and pseudoscalars that vary slowly with the explicit chiral symmetry breaking.  The term representing the axial anomaly plays a leading role in the mass spectrum.  We estimate the critical number of flavors for which the sigma becomes massless in the chiral limit.  We discuss the  possible relevance for composite Higgs model. Details can be found in PRD 96, 114507.  Recent progress with 2 different masses will be discussed.

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A tensorial toolkit for quantum computing in lattice gauge theory -- Yannick Meurice

Apr 23, 2018, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Judah Unmuth-Yockey/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

We introduce the tensor renormalization group method for spin and gauge lattice models.  We show that it is the ideal tool for coarse graining and  performing quantum simulations.  We discuss a concrete proposal to emulate the Abelian Higgs model with optical lattices.  We answer frequently asked questions about boundary conditions, truncations, symmetries, topology and Grassmann tensors.

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A natural generalization of the standard Randall-Sundrum framework and its phenomenological implications -- Sungwoo Hong

Apr 20, 2018, 12:00 PM-1:30 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

Host: Judah Unmuth-Yockey/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

In the first part of the talk, I will introduce a very natural extension of well-motivated extra-dimensional framework of Randall-Sundrum type. Such a generalization is motivated by (null) results from both high energy (LHC) and low energy (flavor, CP, and electroweak precision) experiments. In particular, null results from the LHC led us to consider the possibility that little hierarchy may exist. In addition to the consistency with low energy bounds, our generalization can address the question of the form of TeV scale new physics we can expect. I will argue that such new physics appearing at the TeV scale is in the form of vector-like confinement with new states interacting with SM through mostly flavor universal couplings. In the second part of the talk, I will discuss several exciting signals probable at the LHC and in future colliders.

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Towards a mechanobiological framework to simulate the life cycle of the human brain by Johannes Weickenmeier

Apr 20, 2018, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room 202/204

Host: Jen Schwarz | Contact: David Yllanes (dyllanes@syr.edu)

The brain is our most complex organ and provides tremendous scientific opportunities for engineering disciplines, and computational solid mechanics in particular; yet, despite the obvious role of mechanics in understanding traumatic injuries and the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, brain mechanics remains understudied. My research integrates experimental and computational methods to investigate the life cycle of the human brain, with a particular interest in the biophysics of traumatic brain injury and the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
 
This talk will elaborate on my brain tissue experiments and numerical simulations of the mechanical response during trauma. A series of in-vivo, in-situ, and ex-vivo measurements using indentation testing and magnetic resonance elastography demonstrated the impact of local tissue composition and metabolic brain activity on the (visco)elastic brain tissue response. On the computational side, I developed an anatomically accurate finite ele0ment model of the head to simulate traumatic and degenerative brain diseases. Through the examples of excessive brain swelling after a stroke and the propagation of toxic proteins through the brain in dementia, I will delineate brain regions exposed to critical loads and at risk of long-term neurodegeneration. These models provide a promising biophysics-based computational framework to systematically investigate the onset, progression, and treatment of brain related injuries.

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Seeking Signs of Ancient Life on Mars by Sarah M. Milkovich

Apr 19, 2018, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Steven Blusk/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

For hundreds of years, the idea of an inhabited Mars has captured our imaginations, but our first close-up view of Mars showed it to be a cold, barren desert. For decades, NASA has been exploring Mars with a fleet of spacecraft to understand the role of water in its history and look for areas that in the past could have supported life. This work has paved the way for the upcoming Mars 2020 rover – which will search for clues concerning the existence of life itself on Mars in the past.

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Self-propelled particle modeling, characterization, and imaging of superdiffusive fibroblast cells on 2D shape memory polymer substrates by Giuseppe Passucci

Apr 18, 2018, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

Room: 202 Physics Bldg.

Advisor: Prof. Mary Elizabeth Manning

Most important biological processes involve cell motion; breast carcinoma cells metastasize throughout a body, epithelial cells spread to close a wound, T-cells rushing to fill their immune response duties. The list of essential phenomena is nearly endless, as is the corresponding number of biochemical signaling pathways and other biological features that mediate cell-cell and cell-environment interactions. Understanding these phenomena through the characterization of genetics and biological signaling is a fruitful, bottom-up approach. A complementary approach uses tools from condensed matter and statistical physics to quantify and make predictions about cells and interactions between them. For example, statistical metrics such as mean-squared displacement or velocity auto-correlation functions help characterize the behavior of cell populations with no knowledge of their specific biochemical interactions. These tools were utilized to determine the mechanism behind superdiffusivity in mouse fibroblast cells. This work shows that a generalized heterogeneous self-propelled particle model captures mouse fibroblast trajectory dynamics by replacing parameters in simulations (speed, rotational diffusion, tumble frequency) with appropriate distributions. Additionally, in order to quantify the intracellular orientation of mouse fibroblast cells, I developed robust imaging software which identifies and tracks Golgi bodies. When paired with the appropriate and already tracked nucleus, this yields a definition of cell orientation. After automating this software, we characterized the mechanoresponse of mouse fibroblast cells on static and active 2D shape memory polymer substrates. While the direction of cell nuclei elongation became more aligned after the SMPs were triggered to form wrinkles, as seen previously, the orientation defined by the Golgi body-nucleus axis aligned with the future wrinkle direction even before visible wrinkles were triggered, suggesting intracellular orientation is more sensitive to the environment than previously thought. In summary, this body of work represents novel investigations into the dynamics of mouse fibroblast cells in 2D as well as software contributions for imaging irregular objects in biological data. 

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Relaxed Inflation -- Walter Tangarife

Apr 16, 2018, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

The cosmological relaxation of the electroweak scale has been proposed as a mechanism to address the hierarchy problem of the Standard Model. A field, the relaxion, rolls down its potential and, in doing so, scans the squared mass parameter of the Higgs. In the original proposal, the rolling takes place in the background of inflation, which provides constant Hubble friction. In this talk, I will present our proposal, in which we promote the relaxion to an inflaton, and in addition we couple it to Abelian gauge bosons. This introduces a new dissipation mechanism, crucial to slow down the field in the last stages, and allows for reheating at the end of inflation. I will discuss the cosmological dynamics of the model and the phenomenological constraints from CMB and other experiments.

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Measurements of Beauty Production Cross-Sections and Fragmentation Ratios using the LHCb Detector by Matthew Kelsey

Apr 13, 2018, 3:00 PM-4:00 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Advisor: Prof. Artuso

The measurements of b-quark production cross-sections in 7 and 13 TeV proton-proton collisions, and b-flavored hadron fragmentation fraction ratios in 13 TeV proton-proton collisions are presented using data taken with the LHCb detector located on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Both measurements are essential for analysis of CP-violating processes and searches for new physics beyond current theoretical models. In the former measurement, the absolute production cross-sections are found to be consistent with next-to-leading order QCD calculations as a function of the pseudorapidity of the decaying b-hadron. The overall shape and normalization of the expected 7 to 13 TeV increase is also in agreement with theoretical expectations. The latter measurement quantifies the kinematic dependence of the fragmentation ratios of the strange b-flavored meson and the b-flavored Lambda baryon with respect to the sum of the lighter b-hadrons, and is found to be consistent with previous LHCb measurements with data taken at 7 TeV. The integrated ratio of the strange b-flavored meson with respect to the sum of the lighter b-hadrons is projected to be the most precise single measurement to date. Additionally, measurements on (irradiated) prototype and production silicon micro-strip detectors for the LHCb Upstream Tracker (UT) upgrade are presented. These measurements are essential to the quality-assurance aspects of the UT project and provide a baseline measurement of irradiation properties for future radiation studies

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A link between asymptotically safe gravity and Standard Model matter -- Aaron Held

Apr 13, 2018, 12:00 PM-1:30 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

Host: Jack Laiho/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Renormalization Group flows provide a link between Planck- and electroweak-scale physics, that could allow to test implications of quantum gravity at accessible energy scales. Systematic truncations suggest the existence of a regime of asymptotic safety, in which gravity fluctuations could induce a UV-completion of the matter sector. Within this scenario, the paradigm of asymptotic safety surpasses the predictive power of the Standard Model: It could retrodict the top and bottom mass from first principles in a microscopic model including quantum gravity. Assuming no new physics below the Planck scale, we construct explicit Renormalization Group trajectories for Standard Model and gravitational couplings which link the transplanckian regime to the electroweak scale and yield a top pole mass of approximately 170 GeV. Unequal quantum numbers lead to different fixed-point values for the top and bottom Yukawa under the impact of gauge and gravity fluctuations at an interacting fixed point. In our approximation, quantitative agreement with observations points towards an electric charge ratio of bottom and top in close vicinity to the Standard-Model value of Qb/Qt=-1/2.

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Quantum optics with van der Waals heterostructures by Nick Vamivakas

Apr 12, 2018, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Matt LaHaye / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Two-dimensional, atomically-thin, materials have received enormous interest as a result of their unique mechanical, electrical and optical properties.  Particularly exciting are the transition metal dichalcogenides – atomically-thin semiconductors that possess an electronic band gap in the visible.  Although these materials have been investigated for applications in opto-electronics, not much work has focused on these systems as a platform for quantum photonics and quantum optics.  In this talk I will describe two approaches that leverage atomically thin semiconductors, and other two-dimensional materials, assembled in layered van der Waals heterostructures for applications in these areas. In the first part of the talk I will describe the unique photophysical properties of quantum emitters hosted by single layer transition metal dichalcogenides. I will describe our recent efforts to controllably charge the quantum emitters and realize a localized spin-valley-photon interface. I will also present results on realizing negative-mass trion-polaritons that are a manifestation of many body physics arising when coupling the atomically thin semiconductor to a planar optical cavity.

Bio: Nick Vamivakas studied electrical engineering at Boston University and received his PhD degree in 2008. Following his PhD, he was a post-doc from 2007-2011 in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. Nick joined the Institute of Optics in 2011 and currently is an associate professor.

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Observation of cosmic ray multiple-muon seasonal variations in the NOvA Near Detector by Stefano Tognini

Apr 11, 2018, 3:00 PM-4:00 PM

Room: 202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Mitch Soderberg/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

"The collision of a cosmic ray particle with the Earth's atmosphere produces what it is known as an extensive air shower (EAS), which is a cascade of particles produced due to a chain of interactions and decays throughout the atmosphere that may reach deep underground depths. Such events have been studied since the early twentieth century and play an important role in our understanding of the Earth's climate, chemical composition, life evolution, and aerospace travel.

Muons are a large fraction of the particles produced during an EAS, whose high penetrative power allows the study of cosmic ray physics using deep underground detectors. The dynamics of these EAS are tightly connected to the conditions of the atmosphere and, as such, the average number muons produced during an EAS suffers a yearly seasonal effect that follows atmospheric seasonal temperature changes. In 2015 the MINOS Experiment showed that said modulation trend inverts for more energetic cosmic rays, disagreeing with theoretical predictions. In this scenario, a study with the goal to verify the MINOS result and further understand the phenomenon was carried forward by the NOvA Experiment." 

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Effects of asymptotically safe gravity on matter models -- Fleur Versteegen

Apr 9, 2018, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Jack Laiho/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

We explore the impact of asymptotically safe quantum gravity on the Abelian gauge coupling in a model including a charged scalar, confirming indications that asymptotically safe quantum fluctuations of gravity could trigger a power-law running towards a free fixed point for the gauge coupling above the Planck scale. Simultaneously, quantum gravity fluctuations balance against matter fluctuations to generate an interacting fixed point, which acts as a boundary of the basin of attraction of the free fixed point. This enforces an upper bound on the infrared value of the Abelian gauge coupling. In the regime of gravity couplings which in our approximation also allows for a prediction of the top quark and Higgs mass close to the experimental value, we obtain an upper bound approximately 35% above the infrared value of the hypercharge coupling in the Standard Model.

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Swarms and plant root growth - Collective behavior in biology by David Quint

Apr 6, 2018, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room 202/204

Host: Jen Schwarz | Contact: David Yllanes (dyllanes@syr.edu)

Throughout my career, including my graduate work at Syracuse University, I've had the pleasure of working on a wide range of interesting biologically inspired physics problems. In this talk, I will present two projects that represent the range of that work. The first part of my presentation will focus on understanding how swarms or flocks deal with intrinsic disorder in their environment, such as physical obstacles, while maintaining a swarm-like state. The second part of my talk will focus on plant root growth in the model plant system Arabidopsis thaliana. It has been believed for some time that internal pressure of the cell, derived from an imbalance of osmolytes, drives cell expansion and thus tissue growth.  Using a novel microfluidic system I have shown that osmotic (turgor) pressure seems to be unimportant for the maintenance and growth of plant cells in root tissue. This result has provided clues in regards to mechanical feedback mechanisms for tissue growth in plant roots.

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Connecting Digital Computers to Quantum Processors by Prof. Britton Plourde

Apr 5, 2018, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Quantum computers make use of some of the counterintuitive properties of quantum mechanics, including superpositions of states and entanglement, to process information. A large-scale quantum processor could solve problems that are intractable on conventional computers. Superconducting circuits based on Josephson junctions are one of the leading candidates for the quantum bits, or qubits, of a quantum computer and systems with more than 50 qubits are just becoming available this year. Building significantly larger arrays of qubits and interfacing them with digital coprocessors will require new techniques for preparing and measuring the qubits without substantial hardware overhead. I will describe our ongoing efforts to integrate superconducting classical digital circuitry with superconducting qubits for coherent control and measurement.

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Two Tales of Exo-Planets: Atmospheric Evaporation and The Astrobiology of the Anthropocene by Adam Frank

Mar 29, 2018, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Peter Saulson/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

In this two-part talk I present results from our group studying exoplanets as physical systems as well as using them to consider future evolutionary pathways for human civilization on a climate-changed world.  In the first part of the talk I will report on results using Adaptive Mesh Refinement radiation hydrodynamic simulations to study exoplanet “winds” created by photoionization from the parent star.  Such mass loss can dramatically change a planet’s atmospheric evolution.  

In the second part of the talk I will introduce new work on "The Astrobiology of the Anthropocene” where we develop models showing climate change to be the likely generic outcome of an exo-civilization's co-evolution with it’s home planet.  We show how this “astrobiological perspective” might inform current debates about the long term viability of a civilization like our own.

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Low-lying scalar mesons on and off the lattice -- Joel Giedt

Mar 26, 2018, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Some scalar mesons are narrow and have been established since the 1960s, whereas others are so broad that they remain somewhat controversial.  Isoscalar mesons in particular raise various theoretical questions, especially since they can mix with glueballs.  In this talk I will review some of the experimental evidence for scalar mesons below about 1.6 GeV, especially the so-called sigma meson. I will describe some of the theoretical models that have been put forward for the internal structure, or partonic content, of these mesons.  Then I will discuss lattice studies that have been performed to investigate these issues. A description of the methods that have been employed will be given.  Finally, I will discuss our on-going research into the isoscalar scalar mesons using four-pion correlation functions, including our recently published estimate from a quenched calculation.  Since much of our computation uses graphical processing units (GPUs), I will also describe how this modern architecture enables calculations that were not previously possible due to the significant cost-performance benefits of this technology.

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Using b-fusion to investigate B-anomalies at the LHC -- Bhaskar Dutta

Mar 23, 2018, 12:00 PM-1:30 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

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

Anomalies in B-meson decays reported by the LHCb experiment imply a new  second-third generation mixing among quarks. We use b-fusions to probe and investigate a possible reach at the LHC for these scenarios utilizing  new final states. This technique can be utilized for any model with new physics associated mostly to the second and third generation SM quarks.

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Adaptive coding for sensory inference in dynamic environments by Ann Hermundstad

Mar 23, 2018, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room 202/204

Host: Lisa Manning | Contact: David Yllanes (dyllanes@syr.edu)


Making reliable inferences about the environment is crucial for survival. In order to escape a hawk, for example, a mouse might need to infer the hawk’s position and velocity from patterns of light that fall on its retina.  Such inferences require large ensembles of sensory neurons whose activity is metabolically expensive. A growing body of evidence suggests that sensory systems reduce metabolic costs by limiting the fidelity with which some stimuli are encoded in neural responses. Limited coding fidelity, however, can lead to inaccuracies in inference. Here, we derive a framework for dynamically balancing the cost of encoding with the error that encoding can induce in inference. We model a system that must use minimal metabolic resources to maintain an accurate estimate of a nonstationary environment, and we show that the optimal system should adapt the fidelity with which stimuli are encoded in neural responses based on a changing estimate of the environment. We use this framework to illustrate how a range of neuronal and behavioral phenomena can be understood as signatures of adaptive encoding for accurate inference.

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Spinning topology in ordered and amorphous metamaterials by Noah Mitchell

Mar 19, 2018, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

Room 208

Host: Joey Paulsen | Contact: David Yllanes (dyllanes@syr.edu)

Topology has emerged as a powerful tool for understanding a wide range of phenomena in condensed matter physics. Whether electronic, optical, or mechanical, materials with topological order in their excitation spectra exhibit unique behaviors at their boundaries, such as chiral edge currents that are unusually robust to disorder. In this talk, we uncover topological behavior in a simple system composed of interacting gyroscopes and use this metamaterial to explore broken symmetries and tune through topological phase transitions in real time. We then peel away a canonical ingredient for constructing topological insulators: the ordered underlying lattice. Here, we find topological physics emerging from amorphous networks of gyroscopes and establish the basic building blocks for understanding topology in amorphous systems. The results apply to a broad class of systems, from electronic and photonic materials to acoustic and mechanical structures.

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Shearing structurally disordered systems: revisiting mean-field descriptions by Elisabeth Agoritsas

Mar 16, 2018, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room 202/204

Host: Lisa Manning | Contact: David Yllanes (dyllanes@syr.edu)

Structurally disordered systems, when submitted to an external deformation such as a constant shear, are known to exhibit a nonlinear response, signature of an out-of-equilibrium phase transition. This highly nontrivial behaviour depends in fact crucially on the intensity of the external driving, which triggers randomly local plastic rearrangements throughout the system, thus constantly updating its local disordered energy landscape. Linking on the one hand the collective behaviour of these local plastic events, and on the other hand the macroscopic nonlinear response, represents a challenging issue from the statistical physics point of view of driven disordered systems.
Several mean-field `elasto-plastic' models have been developed, at a mesoscopic scale defined by the typical size of individual plastic events. These mean-field descriptions have proven to be rather successful in reproducing certain features observed in sheared disordered systems, but not all at once; moreover, a consistent picture connecting them is still missing. Here I will discuss the physical ingredients that are put in such mean-field models, in particular the assumptions underlying the effective stochastic process defining them. I will focus on the steady-state response of athermal systems, when the velocity of the deformation (i.e. shear rate) is controlled, discussing specifically the so-called `Hébraud-Lequeux’ model and its generalisations.

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Multimessenger astrophysics with numerical relativity by David Radice

Feb 26, 2018, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof.Duncan Brown/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

How are neutron stars formed and what is inside them? What is the  engine powering short gamma-ray bursts? What is the astrophysical site  of production of heavy elements? Multimessenger observations of compact binary coalescence and core-collapse supernovae might provide  us with the key to answer these and other important open questions in theoretical astrophysics. However, multimessenger astronomy also poses  new challenges to the theorists who need to develop models for the  joint interpretation of all data channels. In this talk, I will  present recent theoretical results. I will review the landmark multimessenger observation of merging neutron stars, and I will discuss its interpretation and implication in the light of results from first-principles simulations. Finally, I will discuss future challenges and prospective for this nascent field.

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Hairy Interfaces by Alice Nasto

Feb 23, 2018, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room 202/204

Host: Joey Paulsen | Contact: David Yllanes (dyllanes@syr.edu)

 Textured surfaces are known to play an important role in water-repellency and uptake for a number of creatures. While the influence of chemistry and surface roughness on the wettability of surfaces has been studied extensively, little is known about the role of larger objects such as hairs. Our work is directed towards rationalizing the benefits gained from hairy textures through a combined experimental and theoretical approach. 

First, we are motivated by semi-aquatic mammals, who rely on fur for insulation underwater. We investigate the mechanism of dynamic air entrainment for hairy surfaces plunged in liquid. Hairy surfaces that are fabricated using laser cut molds and casting samples with PDMS are plunged into a fluid bath. Modeling the hairy texture as a network of capillary tubes, the imbibition speed of water into the hairs is obtained through a balance of hydrostatic pressure and viscous stress. The maximum diving depth that can be achieved before the hairs are wetted to the roots is predicted from a comparison of the diving speed and imbibition speed. 

Second, motivated by nectar-drinking animals with hairy tongues, we investigate the reverse scenario, where a hairy surface is withdrawn from a bath of fluid, emerging with viscous liquid entrained in the hairy texture. The drainage of the liquid trapped between the texture is modeled using a Darcy-Brinkmann like approach. The amount of fluid that is entrained depends on the viscosity of the fluid, the density of the hairs, and the withdrawal speed. Both theory and experiments show that there is an optimal hair density to maximize fluid uptake. 

Finally, we investigate drop impact on hairy surfaces. By varying the speed of the drop at impact and the spacing of the hairs, we observe a variety of behaviors. For dense hairs and low impact velocity, the liquid drop sits on top of the hair, similar to a Cassie-Baxter state. For higher impact velocity, and intermediate to high density of hairs, the drops penetrate through the surface, but the hairs resist their spreading. For low hair density and high impact velocity, the drops penetrate and eject droplets upon impact. 

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The Interferometers that Detected Gravitational Waves by Jenne Driggers

Feb 22, 2018, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof.Duncan Brown/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

The Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo detectors have revolutionized the field of gravitational wave astronomy with the direct detection of gravitational waves from the mergers of compact stellar remnants. During the observation run from November 2016 - August 2017, the interferometers greatly increased the time-volume of the universe observed as compared to the first run, detected several black hole binary mergers, and saw the first coalescence of a binary neutron star. In this talk I will discuss the status of the instruments during the latest observation run, including challenges and successes in mitigating them. I will conclude with an outlook on upgrades that are currently being implemented in preparation for our next observation run.

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Neutron star mergers and the cosmic origin of the heavy elements by Daniel Siegel

Feb 19, 2018, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof.Duncan Brown/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

The recent detection of the binary neutron star merger GW170817 by LIGO and Virgo was followed by a firework of electromagnetic counterparts across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. In particular, the ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared emission is consistent with a kilonova that provided strong evidence for the formation of heavy elements in the merger ejecta by the rapid neutron capture process (r-process). In this talk, I will discuss the state of the art in modeling neutron star mergers from first principles, which represents a multi-physics challenge involving all four fundamental forces and petascale computing. I will present recent results from general-relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations and discuss possible scenarios and mass ejection mechanisms that can give rise to the observed kilonova features. In particular, I will argue that massive winds from neutrino-cooled post-merger accretion disks most likely synthesized the heavy r-process elements in GW170817. I will show how this finding (at least partially) concludes the quest for the cosmic origin of the heavy elements, which has been an enduring mystery for more than 70 years.

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Higgs self-coupling measurement & Electroweak Phase Transition

Feb 19, 2018, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

I will talk about the measurement of Higgs potential and the electroweak phase transition. Higgs portal with the singlet scalar under the Standard Model gauge group with Z2 symmetry, and effective field theory approach with higher dimensional operator will be shown as an example to show that the correlation between the Higgs trilinear coupling and the quartic coupling will be useful for differentiating various underlying New Physics scenarios and discuss its prospect for the future colliders.

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The Search for Gravitational Waves by Alex Nitz

Feb 15, 2018, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof.Duncan Brown/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

The LIGO and Virgo detectors have now observed gravitational waves from both the mergers of binary black holes and neutron stars. We’ll discuss how these discoveries were made, touch upon what we can learn from them, and look into what the future of searching for gravitational waves from binary mergers may look like.

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Modelling epithelial cell sheets as active matter by Silke Henkes

Dec 15, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Contact: David Yllanes, dyllanes@syr.edu | Host: M. Cristina Marchetti, mcmarche@syr.edu

Epithelial cell sheets are an important group of tissues that line the gut, the lungs, and cover the eye. Related tissues also form the germ layers during and after gastrulation during embryo development. Understanding their mechanics and dynamics is therefore paramount.I will give an overview of two recent approaches: First, I will discuss the results that can be obtained using extremely simple, particle based models of epithelial cell sheets. This includes the result that any amount of division fluidised a tissue at long time scales, and the existence of a universal velocity correlation function with long-range correlations. Second, SAMoS is a toolbox for active vertex model simulations, which includes the self-propelled Voronoi model, cell division and apoptosis, cell sheet boundaries, and different types of alignment. I will showcase its capabilities, but also the limitations of the approach.

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Electromechanical Quantum Simulators by Francesco Tacchino

Dec 12, 2017, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Matt LaHaye / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Quantum simulators are one of the most appealing applications of a quantum computer. In this talk, I will describe a recent theoretical proposal [1] of a universal, scalable, and integrated digital quantum simulator in which the quantum information processing is carried out by tunable nano-electromechanical qubits within a superconducting microwave circuit. Very high operationaldelity can e achieved in a minimal architecture where qubits are encoded in the anharmonic vibrational modes of mechanical nanoresonators, whose eective coupling is mediated by virtual uctuations of an intermediate superconducting art cial atom. The explicit digital quantum simulation of the spin S = 1 tunnelling Hamiltonian and of transverseeld Ising model will be described as paradigmatic examples, displaying very large theoreticaldelities with realistic model parameters. The talk is divided in three parts. In therst one, I will summarize the basic concepts about quantum simulators, describe existing and proposed platforms for quantum computing and present some simple examples. In the second part, I will discuss the properties of quantum electromechanichal devices and some of the most interesting recent achievements in theeld. Finally, the last part of the talk will be dedicated to an extensive description of the proposed quantum electromechanical simulator.


[1] F. Tacchino, A. Chiesa, M. D. LaHaye, S. Carretta and D. Gerace, Electromechanical Quantum Simulators, arXiv:1711.000511

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A Precision Test of Quantum Mechanics- Our Universe!

Dec 11, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

The most impressive, but also surprising, prediction of Inflation is that the large scale structure of our Universe arises from quantum fluctuations at extremely small scales.  In order to test the sensitivity of the relationship between the very large and the very small we considered a non-linear version of Quantum Mechanics.  Cosmological data constrain the nonlinear parameter to be less than 10^-30 eV.  This is more stringent than bounds from laboratory tests of nonlinearity in Quantum Mechanics by many orders of magnitude.

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Fermion-bag approach to interacting Hamiltonian lattice fermions

Dec 8, 2017, 12:00 PM-1:30 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

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

Hamiltonian lattice field theories provide an alternate approach for studying traditional Lagrangian lattice field theories in the strongly interacting regime. An important advantage for fermionic field theories is that they can help in reducing the fermion doubling problem while preserving more symmetries.  Recent research shows that new sign problems are also solvable within this approach. These formulations are commonly used in condensed matter physics using auxiliary field Monte Carlo methods. In this talk we show how we can extend the ideas of fermion bags to the Hamiltonian formulation and accelerate the traditional methods. Using our new approach we can compute the critical exponents of the 2+1d Gross-Neveu model with Nf=1 Dirac fermions, which was impossible so far in Lagrangian lattice field theory.  Our results are based on calculations involving some of the biggest lattices in the field so far.

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Annual Physics Department Holiday Party

Dec 7, 2017, 5:00 PM-8:00 PM

Inn Complete

Organizer: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, 315-443-5960

Join us for this year’s, Holiday Party! A night, filled with good food, friends and merriment!

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The Gauss Law : A Tale

Dec 4, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

The Gauss law plays a basic role in gauge theories, enforcing gauge invariance and creating edge states and superselection sectors.  This talk surveys these aspects of the Gauss law in QED, QCD and nonlinear G/H models.  It is argued that nonabelian superselection rules are spontaneously broken. That is the case with SU (3) of color which is spontaneously broken to U(1) x U(1).  Nonlinear G/H models are reformulated as gauge theories and the existence of edge states and superselection sectors in these models is established.

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Windows for Light Charged Particles

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

202 Physics Bldg.

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

There is a well-known bound from LEP that says charged fermions should have masses greater than 100 GeV. In this talk, I will revisit this bound in detail and describe the caveats involved. LHC constraints will be presented and shown to provide stronger limits, in some cases, than those from LEP. Despite both LEP and LHC limits, I will demonstrate that models exist with charged fermions as light as 70 GeV.

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Mechanical Properties of Beta-Solenoid Proteins Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations by Amanda Parker

Nov 17, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Contact: David Yllanes, dyllanes@syr.edu | Host: M. Cristina Marchetti, mcmarche@syr.edu

Beta-solenoid proteins show promise in bottom-up engineering applications due to their nano-scale size, functionalizability, stability in extreme environments, and ability to self-assemble into supramolecular structures. The potential uses of these structures depend on the mechanical properties of the building blocks-- the beta-solenoid monomers. Therefore, by understanding the proteins' mechanical strengths, we can more efficiently design them for specific functions. I will present a study of the mechanical properties of seven beta-solenoid proteins. In this study, I use GROMACS molecular dynamics software to produce force- and torque-displacement data, implement umbrella sampling of bending and twisting trajectories, produce potentials of mean force (PMFs), extract effective spring constants, and calculate rigidity, Young's modulus, and ultimate tensile strength (UTS), for two bending and two twisting directions for each protein. In addition to the results and analysis of the methods, I will propose attributes that might contribute to increased mechanical strength, and compare some results to those from experiment. I will also introduce my current work on the self-assembly of these beta-solenoid monomers, in which I conduct molecular dynamics simulations of aggregation using a structure-based, all-atom potential model.

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Superfluid 3He, Its time again! by Dr. Jeevak Parpia

Nov 16, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Meghan Lentz / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Superfluid 3He is unlike any other liquid. It supports no natural impurities, yet can be infused with disorder that is uniquely controllable. When confined in regular geometries or when suitable disorder is introduced, new phases can emerge. I will present an overview of the research in this area, and highlight new approaches underway at Cornell and elsewhere.

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CAE Tier I Teaching Excellence Workshop for Current and Future Astronomy and Space Science Instructors

Nov 11, 2017, 8:00 AM-5:30 PM

and Nov 12, 2017 at 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Stolkin Auditorium and Room 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Peter Saulson. Contact: 315-443-3901

“Are you a current or future instructor teaching Astronomy, Space Science, Physics, or Geoscience? Would you like your classroom to actively engage your students in discourse about the big ideas of your class; how evidence is used to understand the universe; and the role of science in society? We invite you to come to our CAE Teaching Excellence Workshop. Spend time with your colleagues and become an effective implementer of active-learning instructional strategies.”

For more information and registration: https://astronomy101.jpl.nasa.gov/workshops/detail/3/

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The physics of high-density crowds by Arianna Bottinelli

Nov 10, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room: 202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Cristina Marchetti / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

During mass events such as concerts, parades, sporting events, and pilgrimages, crowd density can become extremely high, causing the emergence of potentially deadly collective motions such as “crowd turbolence” and density waves. Additionally, conventional information
transfer and communication processes appear to break down, preventing the information about dangerous situations to spread, and counteractions to be immediately taken. Taking inspiration from the physics of jammed granular materials, we were able to identify Goldstone modes, soft spots, and stochastic resonance, as the preferential mechanisms for dangerous emergent collective motions in crowds. However, understanding the coupling between information transfer and movement in the extreme case presented by high-density crowds is still an open question, and, likely, a fundamental step in understanding the dangers arising at mass gatherings.


In my talk, I will present the main goals we achieved in understanding the physical mechanisms underlying collective motions in crowds. I will then describe our current work, which focuses on extending these techniques to real crowds to obtain predictive tools for crowd safety. Finally, I will show some preliminary result on how traditional models of information dynamics can be spatially embedded to analyze the breakdown of information transfer in high-density scenarios, and its relationship with collective motion.

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Searching for physics beyond the Standard Model at the LHCb experiment by Mike Williams

Nov 9, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, 315-443-5960

The LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN has been the world's premier laboratory for studying processes in which the quark types (or flavors) change since 2011. Such processes are highly sensitive to quantum-mechanical contributions from as-yet-unknown particles, e.g. supersymmetric particles, even those that are too massive to produce at the LHC. I will discuss the status of these searches, including some intriguing anomalies. I will also present searches for the proposed dark matter analogs of the photon and the Higgs boson. Planned future upgrades and the resulting physics prospects will also be discussed, including our plans to process the full 5 terabytes per second of LHCb data in real time in the next LHC run.

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Holographic dualities in non-perturbative 3D gravity : from spin chains to BMS characters

Nov 6, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Judah Unmuth- Yockey, Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, 315-443-3901

To deepen our understanding of holographic dualities from a non-perturbative quantum gravity perspective we will study the Ponzano Regge partition function for a twisted solid torus. Our aim is to compare the results obtained within this non-perturbative approach to three-dimensional quantum gravity with the previous perturbative calculations of this partition function.  After reviewing shortly the necessary background I will explain how choosing different boundary states leads to different holographically dual theories, that often can be mapped to statistical models —  but with a twist.  In the limit case of a large, but finely discretized, boundary we find a dependence on the Dehn twist angle characteristic for the BMS3 character.  This connection can be strengthened by choosing coherent boundary states which allow for a one—loop evaluation of the (boundary theory) partition function. This recovers (with corrections due to non-classical bulk geometries arising from additional saddle points)  the results obtained previously by Barnich et al in the continuum via perturbative quantum General Relativity, and can be related to a character of the BMS3 group.

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Cooperativity of driven probes in (un)confined colloidal baths by Vincent Démery

Nov 6, 2017, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

Room 233

Contact: David Yllanes, dyllanes@syr.edu | Host: Joseph Paulsen, jdpaulse@syr.edu

When several probes are driven through a colloidal bath, for example if charged colloids are submitted to an external field in a bath of neutral colloids, they exhibit a cooperative behavior. This means that the external driving induces non-trivial effective interactions between the particles. Here, I will present recent theoretical results on these effects in two situations. In the first, the particles are free to move along the external field but also in the transverse direction, and the driven particles form lanes when the field is applied. I will discuss the properties of these lanes. In the second situation, the particles are confined to a narrow channel so that they cannot pass each other. I will show that the driven particles may bind or unbind, with strong consequences on their mobility.

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Undergraduate Research Day 2017

Nov 4, 2017, 8:00 PM-6:00 PM

TBD

Host: Prof. Jack Laiho jwlaiho@syr.edu

We are pleased to announce the tenth annual Undergraduate Research Day (URD) at Syracuse University.  This year’s meeting will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2017. In recent years, more than 100 students from 16 colleges and universities have participated in URD. The meeting gives undergraduates a chance to present their own research (via talks or posters) and meet with other students and professors from New York area universities and beyond.  All students are encouraged to give a talk! Click here to find out more about this event.

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Swimming dynamics of a viscoelastic micro-swimmer by Kari Dalnoki-Veress

Nov 3, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room: 202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Joseph Paulsen/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Undulatory locomotion is utilized by crawlers and swimmers, such as snakes and sperm, at length scales ranging more than seven orders of magnitude. This form of locomotion is known to be effective in various media, such as in and on the surfaces of water, soil, and agar. C. elegans is a tiny nematode: a worm that serves as a model for undulatory micro-swimming. At small length scales relevant to this worm, swimming is qualitatively different from macroscopic locomotion because the swimmers can be considered to have no inertia. I will present our studies of both the material properties as well as the dynamics of swimming using the deflection of a force-calibrated micropipette and high-speed imaging.

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Soft Materials at surfaces and interfaces: Elastocapillarity by Kari Dalnoki-Veress

Nov 2, 2017, 3:30 PM-5:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg

Host: Prof. Joseph Paulsen/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

The physics of soft materials is distinct from hard matter as the weaker intermolecular bonds can result in a large response to external stresses. In recent years, there has been a significant interest in understanding the interaction between a liquid’s surface tension and a solid’s elasticity: elastocapillarity. In particular, liquids can generate significant deformations of highly compliant materials. These elastocapillary interactions are highly relevant in a wide variety of systems including capillary origami and folding, soft tissues, wetting of fibers and hair, and micropatterning of soft surfaces. In this talk I will summarize our recent work on the capillary interactions of liquid droplets with elastic surfaces.

elastocap

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Probing Dark Showers at LHCb

Oct 27, 2017, 12:00 PM-1:30 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

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

Dark shower is a generic feature of the Hidden Valley model, which produces bound states with a high multiplicity, low masses, and long lifetimes. The showering process can arise, for example, in Neutral Naturalness models, or in dark matter scenarios that explain the possible signal of gamma-ray excess. A collider search of such signals requires good vertex resolution, low energy threshold, as well as a good particle id to veto the background. I will explain why the LHCb experiment has a great potential in seeing dark showers and compare the estimated sensitivity to that of the future ATLAS/CMS searches.

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Flocking through a Quantum Analogy by Benjamín Loewe

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

Room 208

Contact: David Yllanes, dyllanes@syr.edu

Systems composed of strongly interacting self-propelled particles can form a spontaneously flowing polar active fluid. The study of the connection between the microscopic dynamics of a single such particle and the macroscopic dynamics of the fluid can yield insights into experimentally realizable active flows, but this connection is well understood in only a few select cases. We introduce a model of self-propelled particles based on an analogy with the motion of electrons that have strong spin-orbit coupling. We find that, within our model, self-propelled particles are subject to an analog of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle that relates translational and rotational noise. Furthermore, by coarse-graining this microscopic model, we establish expressions for the coefficients of the Toner-Tu equations—the ydrodynamic equations that describe an active fluid composed of these “active spins.” The connection between self-propelled particles and quantum spins may help realize exotic phases of matter using active fluids via analogies with systems composed of strongly correlated electrons

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Unveiling the first black holes by Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan

Oct 27, 2017, 10:15 AM-11:15 AM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

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

Prof Priyamvada Natarajan, this year's Wali lecturer in Science and Humanities, has generously agreed to give a additional seminar this Friday at 10:15 am in Physics (rm 202/4) Prof. Natarajan is a theoretical astrophysicist whose research interests cover black hole formation and growth, dark matter and gravitational lensing. She is also a member of the Science team for LISA - an upcoming space based gravitational wave observatory. Prof Natarajan received her PhD from the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge UK and is now a Professor at Yale.

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The Kameshwar C. Wali Lecture in the Sciences and Humanities: "Mapping the Heavens: how radical ideas have transformed our cosmic view" by Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan

Oct 26, 2017, 4:00 PM-6:00 PM

Shemin Auditorium, Shaffer Art Building

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

From time immemorial humans have been charting the night sky and trying to make sense of it and contemplating their place in the cosmos. I will recount the evolution of celestial map-making and show how maps literally track our ever evolving cosmic view. Tracing our understanding of the universe, its contents and its evolution - in this Wali lecture, I will talk about recent developments in our understanding of two invisible entities: dark matter and black holes.

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Bootstrapping the Stress-Energy Tensor

Oct 20, 2017, 12:00 PM-1:30 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

Host: Judah Unmuth-Yockey/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

I will discuss recent progress at extending the conformal bootstrap to 4-point functions containing the stress-energy tensor. This progress includes deriving analytical sum rules for the coefficients in stress-tensor 2-point and 3-point functions, and producing numerical bounds on these coefficients in 3D CFTs for various gaps in the spectrum. In the latter analysis we obtain the first determination of the stress-tensor 3-point function in the critical 3D Ising model.

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Fire! Fire! (Einstein’s) Hair on Fire! The Equivalence Principle and Quantum Mechanics; Are They Compatible? by Carl Rosenzweig

Oct 19, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, 315-443-5960

The Equivalence Principle is one of the physical foundations of General Relativity. Quantum Mechanics is the most successful and pervasive theory in physics. Black Holes are the setting for gedanken experiments exploring the relationship between these two pillars of modern physics.  In recent years Black Hole thought experiments suggested the existence of a firewall surrounding Black Holes. This ring of fire would fry to a crisp any physicist trying to validate the equivalence principle.  Unless Quantum Mechanics was wrong….. or something else ????

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Tensor formulations for spin and gauge models on the lattice

Oct 16, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

233 Physics Bldg.

Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

I will introduce tensor formulations for spin and gauge models on the lattice, using methods from usual duality transformations.  This formulation of models changes the degrees of freedom to be

integer fields on the interaction surfaces of the original model.  I will also discuss some exact blocking methods with this formulation, as well as some approximate blocking methods, and some applications where this formulation has been advantagous.

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Confining colloids: From dynamic artificial cells to luminescent nanodiamond sensors - by Viva Horowitz

Oct 13, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Lisa Manning | Contact: David Yllanes, dyllanes@syr.edu

Watching nano- and microscale particles in confined environments can reveal new physics, whether we create a dynamic system that mimics cellular motion or use the quantum spin of nanodiamonds to explore a magnetic environment. In the first part of this talk, we’ll explore the possibilities of using self-propelled particles to create a super-diffusive system that beats Brownian motion, much like the interior of cells. We’ll discuss how to investigate the motion of these particles using holography and other optical techniques, and see how these particles can be encapsulated in lipid vesicles or in droplets. The dynamics and transport processes of this artificial cytoplasm may prove necessary to sustain gene expression, growth, and reproduction in future artificial cells. In the second part, we’ll explore how nitrogen-vacancy color centers embedded in nanoparticle diamonds have electronic quantum spin states that are sensitive to magnetic fields via electron spin resonance. When we pick up these nanodiamond probes using optical tweezers, we can measure and map the magnetic environment despite the motion and random orientation of nanodiamonds levitated by the laser beam. However, challenges remain: these spin states are sensitive to impurities in the diamond crystal and surroundings. We need to find the best diamond particles for spin-based magnetic, electric, and thermal sensing in fluidic environments and biophysical systems. Toward this end, we are building a microfluidic device to sort nanodiamonds according to their optical properties.

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Eye patches: the evolution of novel soft matter by Alison Sweeney

Oct 12, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Edward Lipson / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Life on Earth constitutes the most sophisticated iterations in the known universe of what physicists classify as soft matter.  Research in my group focuses on learning the physical rules of soft matter self-assembly phenomena via the evolutionary processes by which they arose over Earth’s history.  In this view of life as soft matter, evolution, with its own formal rules and algorithms, governs the appearance and diversification of novel forms of soft matter.  The field of soft matter was until very recently restricted to analytical consideration of simpler systems like isotropically interacting colloids and cross-linked polymers such as rubber. Our approach allows us to understand soft materials in a nuanced manner that would be inaccessible from more top-down analytical approaches.  In this talk, I will present the most detailed test case of this perspective to date: the evolutionary appearance of spherical, gradient-index lenses in squids.  This complex optical material, first described in theory by Maxwell in 1854, emerges from 5-nm spheroidal proteins via patchy colloidal physics.  The lens requires stable, transparent materials throughout the span of packing fractions (from near zero to near one); accordingly, the lens proteins exploit the entire patchy colloidal phase space, and our work is the first demonstration of many of these colloidal organizations in nature.  The self-assembling squid proteins exhibit structural features that have also been predicted by self-assembly theories but not yet realized in experiments, such that the evolved system may provide helpful insight to engineers designing systems at similar lengthscales.  Conceptually related projects such as the structure and function of quasi-ordered optics for camouflage of midwater squid eyes will also be discussed.

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Loop equations and bootstrap methods in lattice gauge theory by Luis Martin Kruczenski

Oct 9, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

In principle, the loop equation allows, especially in the large-N limit, the formulation of a gauge theory purely in terms of Wilson loops. This is particularly so in lattice gauge theories where there is a countable number of loops. In this talk we argue that the loop equation does not uniquely determine the Wilson loops unless it is supplemented by a certain positivity condition. Imposing that a certain matrix built out of expectation values of Wilson loops is positive definite gives a well defined problem that can be approached using semi-definite programming, a well-developed numerical technique. Further, we discuss a certain entropy associated with this matrix and other related developments. 

Based on arXiv:1612.08140  and work in progress. 

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The Physics of Cancer Lecture by Prof. M. Lisa Manning

Oct 6, 2017, 3:00 PM-4:00 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

As part of Orange Central events, Physics professor M. Lisa Manning, Ph.D., will discuss recent work that may help explain when and why cells are able to leave tumors. This research is generating new ideas about how to use cell mechanics and cell shape to quantify tumor invasiveness, which will help patients get the best treatments for their disease.


Event Cost: No charge

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Fine-Tuning Constraints on Stellar Operations by Prof. Fred Adams

Oct 6, 2017, 12:00 PM-1:30 PM

208 Physics Bldg.

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

Motivated by the possible existence of other universes, with different values for the fundamental constants, this talk considers stars and stellar structure with different values for the fundamental constants of nature. Focusing on the fine structure and gravitational constants, we first enforce the following constraints: [A] long-lived stable nuclear burning stars exist, [B] planetary surfaces are hot enough to support chemistry, [C] stellar lifetimes are long enough to allow biological evolution, [D] planets are massive enough to maintain atmospheres, [E] planets are small enough to remain non-degenerate, [F] planets are massive enough to support complex biospheres, [G] planets are less massive than stars, and [H] stars are less massive than galaxies. The parameter space that satisfies these constraints is relatively large:

viable universes can exist when the structure constants vary by several orders of magnitude. Next we consider a number of other fine-tuning issues, including the triple alpha fine-tuning problem for carbon production, nucleosynthesis in universes without stable deuterium, and structure formation in universes with varying amplitudes for the primordial density fluctuations.

In all of these scenarios, the basic parameters of physics and cosmology can vary over wide ranges and still allow the universe to operate.

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Quantum Simulation of Quantum Chemistry by Peter Love

Oct 5, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Britton Plourde/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Quantum simulation proposes to use future quantum computers to calculate properties of quantum systems. In the context of chemistry, the target is the electronic structure problem: determination of the electronic energy given the nuclear coordinates of a molecule. Since 2006 we have been studying quantum approaches to quantum chemical problems, and such approaches must face the challenges of high, but fixed, precision requirements, and fermion antisymmetry. I will describe several algorithmic developments in this area including improvements upon the  Jordan Wigner transformation, alternatives to phase estimation, adiabatic quantum computing approaches to the electronic structure problem, methods based on sparse Hamiltonian simulation techniques and the potential for experiments realizing these algorithms in the near future.

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The QCD equation of state at finite temperature and density

Oct 2, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

Room: 202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Judah Unmuth- Yockey, Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, 315-443-3901

The low-energy phase of the theory of strong interactions, Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), features a remarkable property of confinement - the spectrum contains composite, color-neutral states, while states with non-zero color charge are not observed. At high temperatures and/or densities the strongly interacting matter undergoes a transition into the deconfined phase called Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP). The properties of QGP are being studied experimentally at the Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider (RHIC) at BNL and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. On the energy scales accessible to the experiments the theory is still strongly coupled and lattice gauge theory provides a non-perturbative approach for solving it with stochastic methods. The equation of state of QGP is an important input into phenomenological modeling of the relativistic heavy-ion collisions, required for interpretation of the experimental results. I review ab initio lattice calculations of the equation of state at finite temperature and density, the methodology and challenges involved and present some recent results.

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TBD by Chandraleckha Singh and Genaro Zavala

Sep 29, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Organizer: Samuel Sampere, 315-443-5999, smsamper@syr.edu

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6th Annual Regional AAPT Meeting

Sep 29, 2017, 7:00 AM-9:00 PM

Syracuse University Department of Physics

Organizer: Samuel Sampere, 315-443-5999, smsamper@syr.edu

NJAAPT                   
AAPT-NEW ENGLAND



FRIDAY

4:00 – 6:00 REGISTRATION
6:30 – 8:30 COCKTAILS AND DINNER IN HEROY LOBBY ($20)
PLENARY - BETH CUNNINGHAM EXECUTIVE OFFICER AAPT

8:45 – 9:45   DEMO SHOW
STOLKIN AUDITORIUM (PHYSICS BUILDING) 8:45 ~ 9:30

SATURDAY


7:30 – 8:15 REGISTRATION
8:30 – 8:50 BRAD GEARHART – SHADOWGRAMS USING YOUR IPAD
8:50 -9:10   ANNE HUNTRESS – PRINTING WITH 3D PENS
9:15 – 9:45 INVITED TALK #1 (CHANDRALEKHA SINGH OR GENARO ZAVALA)
9:50 – 10:20 INVITED TALK #2 – RYAN FISHER – THE LATEST LIGO NEWS
10:20 – 10:35 MORNING BREAK
10:40 – 11:10 INVITED TALK #3 - (CHANDRALEKHA SINGH OR GENARO ZAVALA)
11:10 – 11:30 QUESTIONS FOR MORNING SPEAKERS

11:30 – 1:00 LUNCH AND POSTERS

WORKSHOPS

1:00 – 4:00 PTRA WORKSHOP, FUN AND ENGAGING LABS – STEVE HENNING (FEE: $30)
1:00 – 3:00 BICYCLE POWER WORKSHOP – SHAWN REEVES
1:00 – 2:00 3D PRINTING USING PENS – ANNE HUNTRESS

TALKS

1:00 – 1:30 JOSEPH RIBAUDO – HOW KILLER BLACK HOLES SAVED ASTRONOMY
1:30 – 2:00 CHARLES HOLBROW – ARISTARCHUS’S DISTANCES TO THE MOON AND SUN: MYTH, MYSTERY, OR
MISTAKE?
2:00 – 2:20 SAM SAMPERE AND BRAD GEARHART – ULTRASONIC LEVITATION OF STYROFOAM BEADS AND SHADOWGRAM
IMAGING
2:20 – 2:30 CONCLUDING REMARKS (WORKSHOP ATTENDEES RETURN TO WORKSHOPS)

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Probing Fundamental Physics with the Early Universe by Will Kinney

Sep 28, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

The current revolution in high-precision cosmology is revealing amazing detail about the structure and evolution of the universe, and provides a unique laboratory to study questions in fundamental physics inaccessible to traditional particle physics methods using colliders such as LHC. For example, the physics responsible for cosmological inflation is likely to operate at an energy scale comparable to that of Grand Unification. Since inflation leaves behind observable relics, in particular primordial cosmological perturbations, the inflationary universe provides us with a "microscope'' of tremendous power. In the last decade, it has been realized that inflation may even enable us to probe physics at the very highest energies, where quantum gravity becomes important. The first observational signatures of string theory (or some other theory of quantum gravity) may well come from cosmology. In this colloquium, I introduce inflation as a probe of fundamental physics, and discuss current status and future prospects.

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Glueball masses from SU(3) Matrix Model by Sachin Vaiyda

Sep 25, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

We present variational estimates for the low-lying energies of a simple matrix model that approximates SU(3) Yang-Mills theory on a three-sphere of radius R. By fixing the ground state energy, we obtain the (integrated) renormalization group (RG) equation for the Yang-Mills coupling g as a function of R. This RG equation allows us to estimate the masses of other glueball states, which we find to be in excellent agreement with lattice simulations.

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Emerging insights into directed assemble: taking examples from nature to design synthetic processes by Juan de Pablo (BMCE Distinguished Lecture)

Sep 22, 2017, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

414 Bowne Hall

Contact: David Yllanes, dyllanes@syr.edu

There is considerable interest in controlling the assembly of polymeric material in order to create highly ordered materials for applications. Such materials are often trapped in metastable, nonequilibrium states, and the processes through which they assemble become an important aspect of the materials design strategy. An example is provided by di-block copolymer directed self-assembly, where a decade of work has shown that, through careful choice of process variables, it is possible to create ordered structures whose degree of perfection meets the constraints of commercial semiconductor manufacturing. As impactful as that work has been, it has focused on relatively simple materials – neutral polymers, consisting of two or at most three blocks. Furthermore, the samples that have been produced have been limited to relatively thin films, and the assembly has been carried out on ideal, two-dimensional substrates. The question that arises now is whether one can translate those achievements to polymeric materials having a richer sequence, to monomers that include charges, to three-dimensional substrates, or to active systems that are in a permanent non-equilibrium state. This presentation will review recent work from our group and others that explains how directed assembly of polymeric materials and liquid crystals can be used to create functional thin films for applications in separations, nanofabrication, sensors and photonic materials. Building on discoveries from the biophysics literature, I will then discuss how nature has evolved to direct the assembly of nucleic acids into intricate, fully three-dimensional macroscopic functional materials that are not only active, but also responsive to external cues. We will discuss how principles from polymer physics serve to explain those assemblies, and how one might design a new generation of synthetic systems that incorporate bio-inspired designs.

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Physics Slam

Sep 21, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Organizer: Prof. Steven Blusk, Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

   This colloquium will be devoted to presentations specifically aimed at the undergraduate level. There will be 4 speakers, with the titles presented below:

  •   “Particle Puzzles: Studying Neutrinos and Quarks at SU" by Prof. Mitch Soderberg
  •    "The Extreme Mechanics of Thin Sheets" by Prof. Joey Paulsen
  •    “Listening to the dark side of the universe” by Prof. Stefan Ballmer
  •     "Building a Quantum Computer with Superconducting Circuits” by Prof. Britton Plourde

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Soft, Structured, Living Materials by Jesse Silverberg

Sep 15, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Cristina Marchetti | Contact: David Yllanes, dyllanes@syr.edu

The central narrative of contemporary biology is that DNA encodes all relevant information for an organism’s function and form. While this genotype-to-phenotype framing is appealing for its reductionist simplicity, it has a substantial problem. Between nanometer-scale DNA and organismal-scale phenotype sits a gap of 5 to 9 orders of magnitude in length. This gap covers everything from active protein diffusion, and macromolecular self-assembly, to biopolymer networks and pattern forming mechanical instabilities. In other words, the story of how organisms get their function and form starts with genes, but rapidly transitions to the language of soft matter physics as we examine larger and longer length scales.


In this talk, I’ll address technological challenges and solutions for studying multiscale biophysics in an experimental setting. Along the way, I will discuss how cm-scale cartilage tissue achieves its remarkable mechanical properties through biopolymer self-organization, and how advances in big data and cloud computing can be leveraged for visualizing this nm-scale structure. I will continue to develop the theme of multiscale biophysics in the context of cell-cell fusion, a remarkably common yet mysterious processes in which individual cells fuse together to increase their size ~1,000-fold while decreasing metabolic costs by ~75%. I will also briefly touch on current work studying embryonic morphogenesis where gradients in cell growth lead to the geometric nonlinearities driving epidermal pattern formation. The physics of phase transitions, instabilities, and networks will become reoccurring themes that appear in surprising and unexpected ways as we work to close the genotype-to-phenotype gap.

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Lattice Quantum Gravity and Asymptotic Safety by Jack Laiho

Sep 14, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

We discuss the approach of lattice quantum gravity to formulating a quantum theory of gravity and how this fits into Weinberg's asymptotic safety scenario.  We present results that lattice gravity might provide a sensible definition of quantum gravity that resolves some of the long-standing problems with formulating such a theory.

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Physics Department Fall Picnic

Sep 10, 2017, 11:00 AM-3:00 PM

Green Lakes’ Reserve Shelter

Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960


Please join us on Sunday, September 10th, 2017 for the Physics Department Fall Picnic at Green Lakes’ Reserve Shelter. There will be food, there will be games, there will be fun!

*Please note that cleanup is starts at 3 pm. Guests are welcome to stay longer if they so wish. Note that this it is a 'carry in carry out park.'

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APS Bridge Program: Changing the Face of Physics Graduate Education by Theodore Hodapp

Sep 7, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

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

In nearly every science, math, and engineering field there is a significant falloff in participation by underrepresented minority (URM) students who fail to make the transition between undergraduate and graduate studies.  The American Physical Society (APS) has realized that a professional society can erase this gap by acting as a national recruiter of URM physics students and connecting these individuals with graduate programs that are eager to a) attract motivated students to their program, b) increase domestic student participation, and c) improve the diversity of their program.  Now in its fifth year the APS has placed enough students into graduate programs nationwide to eliminate this achievement gap.  The program has low costs, is popular among graduate programs, and has inspired other departments to adopt practices that improve graduate admissions and student retention. This presentation will review project activities, present data that demonstrate effectiveness, discuss future actions, and review related efforts that inform and support activities that increase diversity within physics.

This material is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (NSF-1143070).

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Engineering Pathways Across Biological Barriers by Shikha Nangia (BMCE Seminar)

Sep 1, 2017, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM

414 Bowne Hall

Contact: David Yllanes, dyllanes@syr.edu

The process of engineering pathways across biological barriers is entering a new era with the rapid advancement of computational resources. My research group focuses on developing multiscale simulation methods to elucidate the interfacial phenomena associated with biological barriers that play a role in life-threatening diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and chronic infections. The goal is to influence the experimentally dominated research field by providing mechanistic, structural, and molecular insights into the barrier functions that were computationally unattainable prior to our work. In past five years, we have made breakthroughs in each of three research domains—elucidated the molecular architecture of the blood-brain barrier and developed strategies to enhance the barrier’s permeability for treatment of the neurodegenerative diseases; developed telodendrimer based nanocarriers for efficient delivery of approved anticancer drugs for treatment of solid tumors; and designed an online computational platform to screen libraries of small molecules for their permeability across bacterial membranes and determine their use as antibiotics for treatment of chronic infections. All three research domains have ties with experimental groups to ensure the validity of our research findings. In my talk, I will elaborate on our computational methods, present the key results, and provide a perspective on the long-term research goals of the group.

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Physics Department Welcome Reception

Aug 31, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

a photo related to the event
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Adventure Course and Team building activity

Aug 23, 2017, 8:30 PM-12:30 PM

The Syracuse University Outdoor Education Center and Challenge Course. 600 Skytop Road, South Campus

Contact: Patty Whitmore, 315-443-5958

The Physics Department invites all new graduate students to participate on this fun, team building activity. See the Department orientation schedule for more details.

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Eclipse Party

Aug 21, 2017, 11:00 AM-3:00 PM

Stolkin Auditorium and the Quad

Host: Sam Sampere. Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, 315-443-3901

There is going to be a partial solar eclipse visible from Syracuse on Monday August 21. To accentuate this celestial event and promote greater science understanding, the Physics Department will be hosting an Eclipse Party.

We will start with live streaming of the eclipse starting at 11 am in Stolkin Auditorium (located in the Physics Building). Prof. Carl Rosenzweig will give a short talk on celestial mechanics and why eclipses are not more frequently seen. Following the talk will come the actual eclipse, and we invite all attendees to join us on the quad right outside the Physics Building. We will have two telescopes focused on the sun for up close and personal viewing of this rare occasion. We will also have a limited amount of solar viewing glasses, so you can witness the event without damaging your eyes. Never look at the sun without proper eye protection, even during a partial eclipse.

West Lot and Irving Garage at available for parking at no charge for anyone wanting to come to campus to watch the eclipse on Monday

a photo related to the event
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Annual Pancake Breakfast

Aug 21, 2017, 9:00 AM-10:00 AM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Sam Sampere. Contact: Patty Whitmore, 315-443-5958

The Physics Department is hosting the Annual Pancake Breakfast on Monday, August 21, 2017. All graduate students, faculty and staff are invited. Please come and meet our new graduate students in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. A delicious hot breakfast will be served.

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Quarknet 2017

Aug 21, 2017, 8:00 AM-4:00 PM

8/21 Room 104N, 8/22 and 8/23 Room 208 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Steven Blusk/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Ten high school teachers from local area high schools will participate in an event sponsored by the experimental high energy physics group. Teachers will be setting up a cosmic ray detector to measure and analyze the cosmic ray flux before, during and after the solar eclipse. Teachers will also engage in an activity using data from the CMS experiment at CERN, where they study decays of a massive particle called the Z0 boson. The activities will be guided by and supplemented with presentations by Profs. Blusk and Rudolph.” For details about the event, click here

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Comprehensive exam

Aug 19, 2017, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Contact: Patty Whitmore, 315-443-5958

Saturday, August 19 and Sunday, August 20;
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
ALL INCOMING STUDENTS

Comprehensive Exam

Part I - Saturday; Part II - Sunday

There are two examinations given in August. All new graduate students must take the comprehensive examination. You may choose to attempt the qualifying examination. - email pawhitmo@syr.edu if you would like to take it. Second year students take the qualifying examination. Bot examinations have two parts: one on Saturday, one on Sunday).

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Qualifying Exam

Aug 19, 2017, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room: 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Contact: Patty Whitmore, 315-443-5958

Saturday, August 19 and Sunday, August 20;
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Qualifying Exam

There are two examinations given in August. All new graduate students must take the comprehensive examination. You may choose to attempt the qualifying examination. - email pawhitmo@syr.edu if you would like to take it. Second year students take the qualifying examination. Both examinations have two parts: one on Saturday, one on Sunday).

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Thesis Defense by Kazage J Christophe Utuje

Jul 13, 2017, 1:30 PM-3:30 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Advisor: Prof. Cristina Marchetti / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

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Thesis Defense by Prashant Mishra

Jul 12, 2017, 11:30 AM-1:30 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Advisor: Prof. Cristina Marchetti / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

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Little Conformal Symmetry by Rachel Houtz

May 8, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

Room: 202 Physics Bldg.

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

Given the lack of conventional SUSY signals in the LHC data, a more complicated story may be required to explain weak scale physics. I will present a new class of natural models which ensure the one-loop divergences in the Higgs mass are cancelled. The top-partners that cancel the top loop are new gauge bosons, and the symmetry relation that ensures the cancellation arises at an infrared fixed point. Such a cancellation mechanism can, a la Little Higgs models, push the scale of the new physics that completely solves the hierarchy problem up to 5-10 TeV. When embedded in a supersymmetric model, the stop and gaugino masses provide the cutoffs for the loops, and the mechanism ensures a cancellation between the stop and gaugino mass dependence of the Higgs mass parameter.

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Information, Computation, and Thermodynamics in Cells - by Pankaj Mehta

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

Rooms 202/204

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

Cells live in complex and dynamic environments. Adapting to changing environments often requires cells to perform complex information processing, and cells have developed elaborate signaling networks to accomplish this feat. These biochemical networks are ubiquitous in biology. They range from naturally occurring biochemical networks in bacteria and higher organisms, to sophisticated synthetic cellular circuits that rewire cells to perform complex computations in response to specific inputs. The tremendous advances in our ability to understand and manipulate cellular information processing networks raise fundamental questions about the physics of information processing in living systems. I will discuss recent work in this direction trying to understand the fundamental constraints placed by (nonequilibrium) thermodynamics on the ability of cellular circuits to process information and perform computations and discuss the implications of our results for the emerging field of synthetic biology.

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Morphogenesis of the first branchial arch - by Sevan Hopyan

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

Rooms 202/204

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

The nuanced shapes of emerging organ primordia are intimately related to pattern formation and postnatal function, although the mechanisms that shape a volume of tissue in the embryo are not well understood.  The mandibular portion of the first branchial arch is composed of a volume of mesenchyme surrounded by a single cell layer epithelium.  Here we ask how this structure acquires a proximally narrow and distally bulbous shape during outgrowth.  Using the mouse embryo as a model system, we measured cell cycle times, as well as Young’s modulus and viscosity using atomic force microscopy.  Incorporating these data into a finite element model, we show that the spatial variation of cell division and physical properties is insufficient to explain mandibular arch shape.  By combining time lapse light sheet microscopy of intact mouse embryos with custom cell tracking, we observed that volumetric convergent extension due to the intercalation of mesenchymal cells in 3D likely underlies the narrow and elongate shape of the mandiublar arch mid-portion.  By knocking-in a transgenic FRET-based vinculin tension sensor into the mouse genome, we show that relatively high amplitude cortical force oscillations correlate with mesenchymal cell intercalations, and are oriented by polarised actomyosin.  Evidence from loss and gain of function studies suggest that Wnt5a acts as a directional cue to regulate both the orientation and oscillation amplitude of cell cortices.

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Our Warped Universe: Strong Lensing and Deep Machine Learning in Modern Cosmology Surveys 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

Current and future galaxy surveys will provide data sets unprecedented in size and precision with which to measure dark energy, dark matter and the early universe through probes like strong gravitational lensing. I will discuss our progress in the Dark Energy Survey (DES) to detect, spectroscopically confirm, and characterize lenses. Then, we’ll look at the oncoming era of astronomically big data. Specifically, we’ll discuss techniques, results, and the potential of deep machine learning in its application to cosmology. 

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Early universe cosmology as a probe of fundamental physics by Ogan Ozsoy

Apr 26, 2017, 2:30 PM-4:00 PM

Room: 202 Physics Bldg.

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

The features of the universe we probe today are a reflection of the underlying physics at high energies and is a powerful motivation that drives theoretical research in modern cosmology. Precision observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation and the Large Scale Structure in the universe have already taught us a great deal about what may have occurred at high energies and early times in the universe’s history. In particular, the inflationary paradigm and the existence of cold dark matter stands as the two main pillars of standard model of cosmology (LCDM) which constitutes much of our modern understanding of the world we see today from a cosmological perspective. Despite the successful reconciliation of these theoretical ideas with precision data, we are far from a complete understanding of the particle physics nature of dark matter, inflationary dynamics and how the post-inflationary evolution proceeds. In this talk, I will present several theoretical ideas motivated by bottom-up and top-down constructions in field theory and explore their observational consequences in the hope of shedding some light on these phenomena.

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Defects and Rearrangements in Disordered Solids by Sven Wijtmans

Apr 26, 2017, 9:30 AM-11:30 AM

Room: 202 Physics Bldg.

Advisor: Prof. Lisa Manning / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

In this thesis, I will investigate the properties of disordered materials under strain.  Disordered materials encompass a large variety of materials, including glasses, polymers, and gels.  There is currently no constitutive equation that describes these materials. Given the prevalence and usefulness of these materials, we derive tools to aid our understand of them.

We develop a new method to isolate localized defects from extended vibrational modes in disordered solids.  This method augments particle interactions with an artificial potential that acts as a high-pass filter: it preserves small-scale structures while pushing extended vibrational modes to higher frequencies.  The low-frequency modes that remain are ``bare" defects; they are exponentially localized without the quadrupolar tails associated with elastic interactions. We demonstrate that these localized excitations are excellent predictors of plastic rearrangements in the solid. We characterize several of the properties of these defects that appear in mesoscopic theory of plasticity, including their distribution of energy barriers, number density, and size, which is a first step in testing and revising continuum models for plasticity in disordered solids.

We study rearrangement types in disordered packings of particles with a harmonic potential at a range of packing fractions above jamming.  We develop a generalizable procedure that classifies events by stress drop, energy drop, and reversibility under two protocols.  We find a large population of contact change events that have no associated stress drop. Reversible events become more common at high pressures above a packing fraction of $\phi=0.865$, at which point line reversible events are more common than loop reversible events. At low pressures, irreversible events are associated with spatially extended events, while at high pressures reversible events are much more spatially localized.

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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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Geometry of twisted filaments - by Arshad Kudrolli

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

Rooms 202/204

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

We will discuss the fundamental interplay of geometry, elasticity, and
applied stress in determining the hierarchical shapes and mechanical
response of slender elastic materials. A ribbon under a subtle
combination of tension and twist can transform into a rich variety of
shapes including helicoids, triangular folds, tubes, plectonemes,
scrolls, and self-wrapped disordered crumpled structures. The
nucleation topological defects and the growth of wrinkles will be
analyzed with a far-far-threshold approach. We will then examine the
interaction between a set of uniform fibers which are twisted starting
from a hexagonal lattice arrangement. The non-Euclidean geometry of
twisted fiber bundles are an important motif in materials ranging from
cables to textiles and tissues. The evolution of defects as a function
of twist will be examined in light of a new model of the fiber bundle
structure.

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Reviving Creativity in Our Introductory Physics Labs 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

Approaching a question without fear; coming up with an idea; designing an experiment; understanding assumptions; interpreting data and revising the idea (or the question) accordingly. Many physicists would claim they do this for a living, and most would be delighted to observe this behavior in their students, yet for a variety of reasons this is often not what we encourage in our introductory physics labs.

We have developed a portable wireless lab system with the goal of putting simple yet powerful tools in the hands of every student, and we are currently piloting a new design-based approach to our introductory physics labs based on this tool. Our students invent experiments and acquire data, both in and out of the classroom, and share their data with each other and with instructors using an integrated cloud based repository. This new approach is allowing us to shift the focus of our introductory labs toward creativity, design, sense-making, and communication. I will describe this project and present some encouraging first results.

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The Turbulent Vacuum by A.P. Balachandran

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

208 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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The geometry and topology of granular matter - by Daniel Sussman

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

Rooms 202/204

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

The fact that granular systems are nearly always perched on the verge of mechanical instabilities lends them many surprising material properties; these properties in turn inform phenomena ranging from earthquakes to soft robotics. The jamming transition provides a useful framework for understanding granular matter as well as a wide class of soft matter systems, and computational methods are a natural candidate to study these strongly correlated many-body systems. In this talk I will discuss how the combination of computational techniques with geometrical and topological approaches – including ideas inspired by topological insulators – can teach us something new about both the jamming transition and the rich phenomena of jammed matter itself, as well as potentially lead to the creation of novel mechanical metamaterials.

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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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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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Non-linear elasticity and relaxation in polymer networks and soft tissues - by Paul Janmey

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

Rooms 202/204

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

The stiffness of tissues in which cells are embedded has effects on cell structure and function that can act independently of or override chemical stimuli. Tissues and the cells within them are subjected strains that often exceed the range of linear viscoelasticity.  Rheologic measurements of liver, brain, and adipose tissues over a range of shear, compressive, and elongational strains show that the viscoelastic response of these tissues differs from that of synthetic hydrogels that have similar elastic moduli when measured in the linear range.   The shear moduli of soft tissues generally decrease with increasing shear or elongational strain, but they strongly increase under uniaxial compression.  In contrast, networks of crosslinked collagen or fibrin soften under compression, but strongly increase shear modulus when deformed in extension.  The mechanisms leading to the unusual strain-dependent rheology of soft tissues and fibrous networks do not appear to be explained by current models of polymer mechanics, but appear to relate to local and global volume conservation within the networks and tissues.

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40 Years of Lattice QCD

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

Host: Prof. Jack Laiho / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Lattice QCD was invented in 1973-74 by Ken Wilson, who passed away in 2013. This talk will describe the evolution of lattice QCD through the past 40 years with particular emphasis on its first years, and on the past decade, when lattice QCD simulations finally came of age. Thanks to theoretical breakthroughs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, lattice QCD simulations now produce the most accurate theoretical calculations in the history of strong-interaction physics. They play an essential role in high-precision experimental studies of physics within and beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics. The talk will include a non-technical review of the conceptual ideas behind this revolutionary development in (highly) nonlinear quantum physics, together with a survey of its current impact on theoretical and experimental particle physics, and prospects for the future.

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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.

bischofberger1

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Stochastic Particle Production in the Early Universe (with help from disordered wires) by Mustafa Amin

Mar 24, 2017, 12:00 PM-2:00 PM

208 Physics Bldg

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

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What do bull sperm know about emergent behaviors? - by Chih-Kuan Tung

Mar 24, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

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

In a complex system, some patterns or orders only emerge when the objects interact with the environment or each other.  In a dynamical system, the description of how the environmental stress induces the new order can often be described by a bifurcation.  In a many-body system, the interaction between individual objects often results in a phase transition or phase separation.  These are arguably the most universal descriptions you can find in physics, covering phenomena from Higgs mechanism in high energy, superconductivity in condensed matter, to thermal convection in nonlinear dynamics.  Biology provides vast number of different complex systems, yet people only just started to explore finding universality through their emergent behaviors.  In this talk, I will focus on two emergent behaviors discovered by using microfluidics to model the physical environment of the mammalian female reproductive tract for sperm.  By modeling the outward going fluid flow in the female tract, we showed that sperm swimming against a flow can be described by a bifurcation theory, such that the upstream orientation order only emerges when the flow rate exceeds a critical level, and the emergence follows a ½ power law, which is known for a mean field theory.  By adding polymer into the sperm medium to model the viscoelasticity naturally found in the mucus, we found that sperm start to form aggregates, and the formation/dissociation of the aggregates is a dynamic process, similar to a liquid/gas phase separation.  This aggregation is primarily mediated by the elasticity of the fluid.  I will discuss the implications in both physics and biology.

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Imprinting the quantum : Measurement as a route to novel quantum behavior by Mukund Vengalattore

Mar 23, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

The act of measurement can have profound consequences on a quantum system. As such, a quantum system can be controlled and coaxed into novel behavior through the continuous measurement of its properties. I will describe our experimental studies on the measurement-induced quantum control of systems ranging from nanoKelvin atomic gases to millimeter-scale optomechanical systems. In the former case, we show that the quantum evolution of ultracold atomic gases can be controlled and even completely frozen by sporadic measurements - a manifestation of the Quantum Zeno effect. Extending such studies to regimes of dynamically and spatially controlled measurements, we show the emergence of novel phase transitions and critical behavior in the ultracold gas. I will extend these insights to macroscopic optomechanical systems and discuss continuous measurement schemes that allow the quantum state preparation, manipulation and control of macroscopic resonators for applications to quantum sensor technologies and quantum information processing. 

Professor Mukund Vengalattore is an experimentalist who works in the area of ultra-cold atomic gases and hybrid quantum systems. His talk this week will focus on quantum measurement, including his group’s work on demonstrating the quantum zeno effect with atomic gases and related efforts underway to implement measurement-induced quantum control of optomechanical systems.  His abstract and title are pasted below. (Please see the following link for a description of his research and a link to an interview in which he discusses the quantum Zeno effect http://ultracold.lassp.cornell.edu/.

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LHCb International Master class

Mar 17, 2017, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Steven Blusk/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960



Each year more than 13.000 high school students in 52 countries come to one of about 200 nearby universities or research centres for one day in order to unravel the mysteries of particle physics. Lectures from active scientists give insight in topics and methods of basic research at the fundaments of matter and forces, enabling the students to perform measurements on real data from particle physics experiments themselves. At the end of each day, like in an international research collaboration, the participants join in a video conference for discussion and combination of their results. Syracuse University is one of the hosting sites on March 17, 2017. For more information, click here

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LHCb International Master class

Mar 13, 2017, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

202/204 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Steven Blusk/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960



Each year more than 13.000 high school students in 52 countries come to one of about 200 nearby universities or research centres for one day in order to unravel the mysteries of particle physics. Lectures from active scientists give insight in topics and methods of basic research at the fundaments of matter and forces, enabling the students to perform measurements on real data from particle physics experiments themselves. At the end of each day, like in an international research collaboration, the participants join in a video conference for discussion and combination of their results. Syracuse University is one of the hosting sites on March 13, 2017. For more information, click here

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Neutrinos as the key to the universe as we know it by Yuval Grossman

Mar 9, 2017, 3:30 PM-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

There are three open questions in physics which seem unrelated: Why is there only matter around us? How neutrinos acquire their tiny masses? Why all particles in Nature have integer electric charges? It turns out that these open questions maybe related. In this talk I will explain these open questions, the connection between them, and describe the on-going theoretical and experimental efforts in understanding them.

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Imaging currents in two-dimensional quantum materials - by Katja Nowack

Feb 24, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Britton Plourde | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, taengstr@syr.edu

Magnetic imaging is uniquely suited to the non-invasive imaging of current densities, particularly in two-dimensional devices. In this talk, I will showcase this approach by discussing measurements on HgTe quantum well devices in the quantum spin Hall (QSH) regime. In a nutshell, we scan a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) to obtain maps of the magnetic field produced by the current flowing in a device. From the magnetic image we reconstruct a two-dimensional current distribution with a spatial resolution of several microns. This allows us to directly visualize that most of the current is carried by the edges of the quantum well devices when tuned into their insulating gaps - a key feature of the QSH state. I will discuss routes towards improving the spatial resolution of the current images to sub-micron length scales through a combination of improved image reconstruction and smaller sensor sizes and outline opportunities for current imaging in a range of materials including graphene and magnetically doped topological insulators.

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The Scintillating Science of Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiments by Denver Whittington

Feb 23, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Host: Prof. Mitchell Soderberg/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Neutrinos are perhaps the least understood members of the Standard Model of particle physics, but that is rapidly changing. Precision measurements from long-baseline detectors are revealing details about their interactions, masses, and mixing properties. The NOvA experiment features a 14 kiloton liquid scintillator detector to study neutrinos after an 800 kilometer journey. NOvA is poised to resolve the uncertainty in the neutrino mass hierarchy and provide new insights into neutrino mixing parameters. The planned Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), featuring 40 kilotons of liquid argon instrumented with time projection chambers and scintillation counters, will probe even further and make the definitive measurement of charge-parity symmetry violation in the lepton sector.

This colloquium will present an overview of neutrino oscillations and the physics reach afforded by these long-baseline neutrino experiments. I will discuss recent and upcoming results from NOvA, facilitated by advanced image recognition tools for event classification. I will also cover the design and prospects of DUNE, including some of the unique challenges of scintillation light detection in liquid argon.

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Searching for CP-Violation with the DUNE Experiment by Dan Cherdack

Feb 21, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Host: Prof. Mitchell Soderberg/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

The weak interaction is one of the four fundamental forces that govern our universe. While the effects of this force are more subtle than the other three, the weak force has many interesting properties that the other three forces do not. For example, the weak interaction can change particle flavor, it maximally violates parity symmetry, and it even violates charge-parity (CP) symmetry, which introduces differences between matter and antimatter. These differences may explain the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe, and in turn validate the big bang theory. 

Neutrinos only interact via the weak force which means they are hard to detect, but provide a unique test bed for studying the weak interaction. Over the past few decades it was discovered that neutrinos have mass and change flavors. Studying the way neutrinos change flavors, termed neutrino oscillations, allows us to search for a new source of CP-violation.  The next-generation Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) will usher in an era of high precision neutrino physics with the worlds most intense neutrino beam and high resolution Liquid Argon (LAr) Time Projection Chamber (TPCs) detectors. The Fermilab Short-Baseline Neutrino (SBN) Program will employ three LAr TPCs, which will provide and excellent test bed for LAr TPC R&D, and allow for many important measurements crucial to DUNE. I will discuss the theoretical framework we use to describe neutrino oscillations, and the exciting opportunities and new challenges afforded us by these experiments. 

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Lipid organization in model membranes and living cells by Jonathan Nickels

Feb 16, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Host: Prof. Lisa Manning/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

The structure and function of biological membranes has been studied for more than 100 years, but only recently has the existence and role of lipid organization been recognized. Lateral lipid organization, often called domains or lipid rafts, are hypothesized to act as scalable compartments in biological membranes, providing appropriate physical environments to their resident membrane proteins. This implies that lateral lipid organization is associated with a range of biological functions, such as protein co-localization, membrane trafficking, and cell signaling, to name just a few. Because of these connections, there exists an unrealized potential to unlock new understanding and therapies to a variety of diseases based on an improved grasp of the structure and biophysical basis of lipid raft formation and properties.

This potential is tempered by a number of observational difficulties for the experimental biophysicist. Their nanoscopic size, compositional similarity with the surrounding lipids, as well as the potentially perturbing effects of some molecular probes, all limit the amount of information that can be obtained about lipid rafts from common biophysical techniques. Neutron scattering techniques have proven to be a uniquely useful tool to get around these limitations. In this talk, I will discuss recent work using scattering and simulation approaches to study lipid domains in model membrane systems. These experimental observations and subsequent analysis are significant in the context of understanding what physical mechanisms underlay the formation and stability of nanoscopic lipid heterogeneities. This work lead into current efforts to probe the structure and organization of the cell membrane in a living organism, B. subtilis, by extending these scattering based approaches in combination with a number of innovative genetic and biochemical strategies. This approach has already yielded the first direct in vivo observations of bilayer hydrophobic thickness as well as evidence for the existence of lipid rafts in this organism. Together, these approaches are establishing a platform for systematic in vitro and in vivo investigations of cell membrane organization; setting the stage to both understand and access the potential of these enigmatic membrane structures.

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Life in Suspense: Particle dynamics in suspensions of swimming bacteria by Alison E. Patteson

Feb 14, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Host: Prof. Lisa Manning/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Cells and microorganisms move in diverse environments that range from simple pond and ocean water to complex biological fluids, such as mucus. These environments frequently contain passive particles, such as macromolecules, flexible polymers, or colloids, which can influence cell motility and function. Interactions between cells and particles underlie many aspects of medicine, biology, and engineering, including the spread of bacterial infections, the formation of biofilms, and the design of swimming micro-robots. I use particles (1-10 micron) and polymer molecules (<1 micron) to experimentally investigate particle-bacteria interactions in suspensions of swimming Escherichia coli. By varying the size of passive spherical particles, I find an anomalous diffusive regime in E. coli suspensions, in which larger particles diffuse faster than smaller particles. This feature arises due to an interplay between the particle’s Brownian diffusion and convection through bacterial interactions. When flexible polymers are added to the suspending fluid, the E. coli drastically change their swimming behavior: cells swim faster and tumble less often, drastically enhancing their translational diffusion. By varying polymer molecular weight, I find that fluid viscosity suppresses cell tumbling while fluid elasticity increases swimming speed. I demonstrate that E. coli produce elastic stresses in the fluid by visualizing fluorescently-labeled DNA polymers, which deform and stretch under the applied flows generated by a single E. coli. Together these results uncover new avenues of transport in active fluids, which can be used to control the spread of bacteria or the dispersion of particles in microbial environments. I discuss applications to particle sedimentation and explore how crawling mammalian cells move through and interact with small tissue-like pores.

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Artificial Membrane Nanopores Made from DNA: Nanostructures for Synthetic Biology, Cancer Research, and Single-Molecule Sensing - by Stefan Howorka

Feb 10, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Liviu Movileanu | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, taengstr@syr.edu

Membrane nanopores and ion channels are essential in cells and control the transport of molecular cargo across bilayers. Replicating biological channels with artificial, rationally designed nanostructures can open up new applications. I describe the generation of stable self-assembled DNA nanopores that insert into lipid bilayers to facilitate transport across the membranes. The DNA channels are composed of interlinked duplexes and carry lipid anchors to hold the negatively charged channels in the membrane(1,2,3). One DNA version mimics the function of biological ligand-gated ion channels where a DNA ligand can re-open the channel(2). The pore can also distinguish with high selectivity the transport of small-molecule cargo that differs by the presence of a positive or negative charge. The synthetic analogue may be used for controlled drug release and the building of cell-like networks. Related DNA channels show other hallmarks of the biological templates such as voltage-gating at high transmembrane potentials(2,3,4). The artificial pores can furthermore be programmed to function as cytotoxic agents by killing cancer cells via membrane-rupturing(5). The synthetic pores expand the range of other DNA nanostructures that mimic biological functions of membrane proteins to control bilayer and cell shape(6).

References:

(1) Nano Lett. 2013 13 2351; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013 52 12069.

(2) Nat. Nanotechnol. 2016 11 152.

(3) ACS Nano 2015 9 1117.

(4) ACS Nano 2015 9 11209.

(5) Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014 53 12466; Nat. Chem. 2014 7 17.

(6) Science 2016 352 890.

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Exploring ν Territory: Using LArTPC Technology by Yun-Tse Tsai

Feb 9, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Host: Prof. Mitchell Soderberg/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Neutrinos are the electrically neutral elementary particles with finite mass.  The discovery of the non-zero masses is the first instance of a conflict with the Standard Model of particle physics, which has successfully described elementary particles and interactions but leaves questions unanswered.  The fruitful results from neutrino experiments in the past two decades have opened a window to a new territory, and further measurements are required to address fundamental questions.

In this talk, I will introduce the core topics of neutrino physics, the requirements of neutrino experiments, focusing on the technology of liquid argon time projection chamber (LArTPC).  In particular, I will discuss measuring neutrinos from supernova explosions.  I will talk about the MicroBooNE experiment, the first large LArTPC in the U.S., its recent results, and the future LArTPC experiments.

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Wilson Loops and the Loop Equation by Peter Anderson

Feb 6, 2017, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Pure gauge theories can be formulated in terms of Wilson Loops correlators by
means of the loop equation. In the large-N limit this equation closes in the
expectation value of single loops. In particular, using the lattice as a
regulator, it becomes a well defined equation for a discrete set of loops.  Here
we present our development of a numerical method to calculate bounds for the
expectation values of the Wilson loops in both the weak and the strong coupling
regimes. Our method uses the loop equation and the observation that certain
matrices of Wilson Loop expectation values are positive definite. We show how in
the exactly solvable case of two dimensions this approach gives very good
results by considering just a few loops. In four dimensions it gives good
results in the weak coupling region and therefore is complementary to the strong
coupling expansion. Applications to future SUSY lattice studies are then
discussed.

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Soft matter approaches to biology: A tale of mucus hydrogel in human lung defense by Liheng Cai

Feb 2, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Host: Prof. Lisa Manning/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Biological systems are featured by their ability to defend themselves against external challenges. While these defense mechanisms are extensively studied in the context of life sciences, their physical aspects have largely been overlooked, although they are implicated in many important biological processes. Using knowledge and tools in soft matter and physical science, we can not only provide unique insights to biological questions that directly impact healthcare, but also in turn create new directions that broaden the scope of soft matter research. In this talk, I will discuss how soft matter physics can help understand a long-standing question for human lung defense: How can the human lung fight against numerous inhaled infectious particulates and maintain functional through its lifetime? Contrary to the widely accepted dogma that the epithelium of human airway is lined by a physiological liquid, I discover that it is covered by a gel-like polymer brush. This brush layer protects the epithelium from small, infectious particulates that sneak through mucus hydrogel. Moreover, the brush layer enables efficient clearance of mucus out of lung by stabilizing itself against osmotic compression from the mucus.  Furthermore, I will show that chronic osmotic stress from diseased mucus likely affects airway remodeling. It slows down the proliferation of epithelial cells, and more strikingly, directs the differentiation of epithelial cells to mucus producing cells, a hallmark of mucus obstructive lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis. These findings suggest that the osmotic pressure of mucus hydrogel provides a unified measure of pathogenesis of mucus obstructive lung diseases, and open new directions for the development of novel therapeutics to teat these diseases.

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Stationary hydrodynamics of Marangoni driven spreading of liquids at air-water interfaces by Mahesh Bandi

Jan 26, 2017, 3:30 AM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Host: Prof. Lisa Manning/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

A drop of liquid with lower surface tension than water will spread radially outwards when introduced at an air-water interface, to minimise the interfacial energy. If the liquid drop is insoluble in water (e.g. oil), the transient spreading halts once the liquid covers the surface; a phenomenon with rich theory supported by satisfactory experimental evidence. However if a mechanism exists whereby the spreading liquid can leave the interface (e.g. via dissolution or evaporation), a stationary flux is achieved — the liquid entering the interface (influx) spreads radially over some distance before steady-state flux balance is attained as it leaves the interface (outflux). Not much is known about such processes despite their relatively common occurrence in nature. Although soluble, such surfactants can spread through a phase adsorbed to the interface, requiring a distinction between two clearly different spreading possibilities. In this talk, I will explain our theoretical and experimental investigations to understand these processes. Scaling analysis helps discriminate between the spreading mechanisms, which we verify with experiments.

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Mind the gap: a new kind of fingering instability in colloidal rollers by Michelle Driscoll

Jan 24, 2017, 3:30 AM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Host: Prof. Lisa Manning/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

When colloidal particles are rotated adjacent to nearby floor, strong advective flows are generated around them, even quite far away.  When a group of these microrollers is driven, the strong hydrodynamic coupling between particles leads to formation of new, emergent  structures: an initially uniform front of microrollers evolves first into a shock, which then quickly becomes unstable, emitting fingers of a well-defined wavelength.  Our experiments and simulations confirm that this instability is very different than typical fingering instabilities, where size scale selection is a consequence of competing stresses.  In this case, the instability arises only due to hydrodynamic interactions, and it is controlled by a single geometric parameter: the particle-floor gap.  We have developed a simplified continuum model that reproduces the instability behavior.  This model confirms that instability we observe in the experiments is indeed a direct consequence of the inward flows created by the interactions between the particles and the nearby solid surface.  

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A string-like construction of scalar field theory amplitudes by Poul Henrik Damgaard

Jan 20, 2017, 12:00 PM-2:00 PM

233 Physics Bldg

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

String theory is normally associated with cubic graphs, and as such can reproduce scalar field theory amplitudes for \phi^3 theory. I show how to generalize this construction to arbitrary scalar field theories \phi^p. The resulting theory computes scalar field theory amplitudes as a simple integral rather than as a sum over Feynman diagrams.

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Think Super: Artificial Neurons made from Superconductors - by Ken Segall

Jan 20, 2017, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Britton Plourde | Contact: Tyler Engstrom, taengstr@syr.edu

Our research focuses on the design, fabrication and testing of integrated circuits which can simulate neuron spiking dynamics on very fast timescales.   These circuits are based on a low-temperature, superconducting electronics technology (Josephson junctions) that has already been successful in creating ultra-sensitive magnetometers, high-performance radiation detectors, high-speed digital processors, and the primary voltage standard in the U.S.  The short spiking times in these artificial neurons combined with analog scaling properties give this approach a potentially unprecedented ability to investigate long term dynamics of large networks.  In addition, these artificial neurons dissipate almost no power, making them a candidate for a low-power, neuromorphic computing technology. 

We have performed the first experiments on two superconducting neurons which are mutually coupled with artificial axons and synapses.  In some regions of parameter space the neurons are desynchronized.  In others, the Josephson neurons synchronize in one of two states, in-phase or anti-phase.  An experimental alteration of the delay and strength of the connecting synapses can toggle the system back and forth in a phase-flip bifurcation. Firing synchronization states are calculated >70,000 times faster than conventional digital approaches.   With their speed and low energy dissipation (10-17 Joules/spike), this set of proof-of-concept experiments establishes Josephson junction neurons as a viable approach for improvements in neuronal computation as well as applications in neuromorphic computing.     

segall1                                  segall2

A Lithographic Superconducting Circuit               Interconnected Neurons

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Discovering the Undetectable: (Sterile) Neutrino Oscillations by Joseph Zennamo

Jan 19, 2017, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Host: Prof. Mitchell Soderberg/ Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

Since their discovery in 1956 neutrinos have remained an enigma. Proposed in 1930 to explain the energy spectrum of electrons emerging from nuclear decays it was not until 1998 that they were discovered to have mass. The difficulty of studying neutrinos is driven by the fact that they rarely interact, requiring large detectors and intense sources. This colloquium will discuss the continued puzzles which neutrinos provide us and how we can search for the existence of a new neutrino with an experimental program being built at Fermilab, the Short-Baseline Neutrino Program.

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Kameshwar C. Wali Lecture in the Science and Humanities - Inside the Brain - Synapses Lost and Found in Development and Alzheimers Disease by Dr. Carla J. Shatz

Dec 8, 2016, 4:00 PM-6:00 PM

Lyman 132

Host: Cristina Marchetti and A. Alan Middleton | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Adult brain connections are precise, but precision emerges during developmental critical periods as synapses - the delicate contacts between neurons that relay and store information - are either pruned away or grow in a process driven by learning. Understanding the molecules and mechanisms of synapse pruning may lead to treatments for developmental disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. Connections in the adult brain are precise, but do not start out that way. Precision emerges during developmental critical periods as synapses - the delicate contacts between neurons that relay and store information - are either pruned away or grow in a process driven by learning. An unexpected set of molecules once thought only to function in the immune system was discovered in neurons and found to regulate pruning. Blocking the function of these molecules not only reopens a critical period for vision in adult brain, but also protects against memory loss in mice models of Alzheimer’s disease. New avenues for treating developmental disorders and AD may come from understanding the function of these molecules in the brain.

Carla Shatz research page

Carla Shatz homepage

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Active Matter on Curved Surfaces - by Yaouen Fily

Dec 2, 2016, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Cristina Marchetti | Contact: Matthias Merkel, mmerkel@syr.edu

Unlike bird flocks, whose motion in the sky cares little about boundaries, most active systems exist within confined spaces. For example, the cytoskeleton is bounded by the cell membrane, and the motion of cells within an organism in constrained by neighboring tissues. Such confinement, it turns out, can have profound effects, and those effects are very sensitive to the geometry of the boundaries. In this talk I will discuss how the response of active systems to the geometry of their confinement arises from the dynamics of their active constituents along the boundaries and how to relate the dynamics along the boundaries to the macroscopic properties of the system (e.g., density, pressure).

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Physics Department Holiday Party

Dec 1, 2016, 5:00 PM-8:00 PM

Inn Complete

Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, yssargen@syr.edu, 315-443-5960

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The Bonn Physics Show -- By Students for Kids, an Exciting Outreach and Education Project by Herbert Dreiner

Dec 1, 2016, 3:30 PM-4:45 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Jay Hubisz / For other questions: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, yssargen@syr.edu, 315-443-5960

The Bonn Physics Show -- By Students for Kids, an Exciting Outreach and Education Project

The Bonn Physics show started in Dec. 2001. The special thing about our show is that it is developed and performed by Bonn university physics students. For me as a professor the primary target group are the university students. Since 2001 we have been performing a new physics show in Bonn, every year. The show is addressed at kids aged 10 and older. With the experienced physics students we have developed many spin-offs: e.g. YouTube films, Science Slams, building new demo experiments. Importantly, we have also developed more advanced shows in particular about elementary particle physics. The most recent show on particle physics involves more than 25 live experiments and is embedded in a historical story line. With various shows we have travelled across Germany (Berlin, DESY, Heidelberg, Deutsches Museum München) and more recently also across Europe: CERN, Oxford, London, Padua, Trieste, as well as Copenhagen and Beijing, China. We show a few experiments here live, as well as films of experiments. We try to emphasize the essential features of a successful show and give some advice on how to set up your own show, involving the local physics students.

a photo related to the event
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Thesis/ Dissertation Title: High Energy Neutron Backgrounds for Underground Dark Matter Experiments by Yu Chen

Nov 29, 2016, 3:00 AM-5:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

Advisor: Prof. Richard Schnee / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

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Surprises in Non-Minimal Cosmologies by Jeffrey Kost

Nov 28, 2016, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

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

Light scalar fields such as axions and string moduli can play an important role in early-universe cosmology. However, many factors can significantly impact their late-time cosmological abundances. For example, in cases where the potentials for these fields are generated dynamically — such as during cosmological mass-generating phase transitions — the duration of the time interval required for these potentials to fully develop can have significant repercussions. Likewise, in scenarios with multiple scalars, mixing generated amongst the fields can also give rise to modifications of the resulting late-time abundances. While previous studies have focused on these effects in isolation, surprising new features arise from the interplay between them. These include large suppressions in the late-time scalar abundance --- even by many orders of magnitude --- as well as parametrically-resonant enhancements, and a ``re-overdamping'' phenomenon which causes the energy density to behave in ways that differ from pure dark matter or vacuum energy. In this talk, I shall discuss the origins and implications of these effects, and how they can appear in situations in which our scalar fields form an entire Kaluza-Klein tower.

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Active Matters: probing forces, fluctuations and self-organization in biological systems - by Nikta Fakhri

Nov 18, 2016, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Lisa Manning | Contact: Matthias Merkel, mmerkel@syr.edu

Abstract

Biological functions rely on ordered structures and intricately controlled collective dynamics. Such order in living systems is typically established and sustained by continuous dissipation of energy. The emergence of ordered patterns of motion is unique to non-equilibrium systems and is a manifestation of dynamic steady states. Many cellular processes require transitions between different steady states. Can general principles of statistical physics guide our understanding of such cellular self-organization? In this talk, I will show model actomyosin cortices, in the presence of rapid turnover, self-organize into three non-equilibrium steady states as a function of network connectivity. The different states arise from a subtle interaction between mechanical percolation of the actin network and myosin-generated stresses. I will discuss our experimental approach to identify governing principles of collective dynamics, spatiotemporal stress pattern formation and energy dissipation in such far from equilibrium biological systems.

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Title: Did LIGO Detect Dark Matter? by Dr. Simeon Bird

Nov 14, 2016, 2:00 PM-3:00 PM

202 Physics Bldg.

There is a possibility that the recent LIGO detection of gravitational waves originated from the merger of two primordial black holes, making up the dark matter. Thirty solar mass black holes, as detected by LIGO, lie within an allowed mass window for primordial black hole dark matter. Interestingly, our best estimates of the number of observable mergers fall within the range implied by current LIGO data. I will explain these estimates, discuss the (considerable!) theoretical uncertainties, and finish with prospects for testing the model.

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Undergraduate Research Day 2016

Nov 12, 2016, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Prof. John Laiho jwlaiho@syr.edu / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, 315-443-5960

We are pleased to announce the tenth annual Undergraduate Research Day (URD) at Syracuse University.  This year’s meeting will be held on Saturday, November 12, 2016. In recent years, more than 100 students from 16 colleges and universities have participated in URD. The meeting gives undergraduates a chance to present their own research (via talks or posters) and meet with other students and professors from New York area universities and beyond.  All students are encouraged to give a talk!

To find out more and register, click here

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Phonons in Confined Active Chains - by Eva Kanso

Nov 4, 2016, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Jen Schwarz | Contact: Matthias Merkel, mmerkel@syr.edu

Abstract

I will discuss two problems in fluid mechanics inspired by biological systems. The first problem concerns the emergent global patterns of active particles (swimmers) confined in microfluidic channels. I will show interesting transitions in the global patterns, including the development of density shock wakes in two-dimensional channels and phonons in one-dimensional active chains. The second problem is that of an inertial flyer hovering in an oscillatory flow. I will discuss stability and maneuverability of the flyer, and argue that these two properties need not be seen as disjoint. 

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Brightman Professorship Ceremony

Oct 20, 2016, 3:30 PM-5:00 PM

Rooms 202/204 Physics Bldg.

Hosts: Dean Karin Ruhlandt, Chancellor Kent Syverud.

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TBD by Atsuhisa Ota

Oct 17, 2016, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Rooms 202

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

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Really condensed matter: problems in the physics of neutron star crusts and white dwarf interiors - by Tyler Engstrom

Oct 14, 2016, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Jen Schwarz | Contact: Matthias Merkel, mmerkel@syr.edu

Precision measurements of a half-dozen different kinds of astrophysical phenomena can potentially probe a neutron star crust's material properties, including elastic constants, transport coefficients, and equation of state. Condensed matter theory dealing with extreme pressures and huge magnetic fields (~1012-1015 gauss) might thus be tested in this "laboratory." After giving an overview of the phenomena, I will describe two toy models of electrons and nuclei in huge magnetic fields: a nonlinear Thomas-Fermi model of the lowest Landau level, and a nearly free electron model containing magnetic commensurability effects. The former predicts a large shear modulus enhancement compared to the linearly-screened Coulomb crystal, and the latter hints at the existence of stellar layers in which transport anisotropy is reduced, i.e. heat spreading layers. Next we will turn to 3-component accreted crusts and 3-component white dwarfs (in particular, type 1a supernova progenitors). A global genetic search of composition and structure predicts several new astrophysically-relevant crystal structures; these are included in a new, self-consistent coupling of the phase stability and stellar structure problems (for white dwarfs). Equilibrium phase layering diagrams are computed.

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MSSM4G: Reviving Bino dark matter with vector-like 4th generation fermions

Oct 10, 2016, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Rooms 202

Host: Jay Hubisz / Contact: Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, yssargen@syr.edu, 315-443-5960


We show that by supplementing the MSSM with vector-like 4th generation copies of standard model fermions we can simultaneously extend the viable mass range of Bino dark matter and alleviate the fine tuning in the Higgs sector. The extra requirement of perturbative gauge coupling unification restricts such models to only two, both of which are consistent with current data in most of the parameter space. The current bounds and future prospects of direct detection, indirect detection and collider searches will be discussed.

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Quantum information processing with 4 electrons and 1 million nuclei - by John Nichol

Oct 7, 2016, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Matthew LaHaye | Contact: Matthias Merkel, mmerkel@syr.edu

Abstract

Individual spins in semiconductors can retain their quantum phase coherence for times exceeding one second. Such long coherence times makes spins a versatile platform for exploring quantum information processing and condensed matter physics. I will discuss recent work exploiting the joint spin-state of two electrons in a GaAs double quantum dot as a spin qubit. This qubit is highly sensitive to its local magnetic environment. We leverage this sensitivity to precisely measure the statistically fluctuating nuclear polarization in the semiconductor crystal. Surprisingly, we can harness the random nuclear polarization in the semiconductor to suppress electrical decoherence in the spin qubit, enabling a high-fidelity entangling gate between spin qubits.

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Asymmetric reheating and chilly dark sectors by Peter Adshead

Sep 30, 2016, 12:00 PM-2:00 PM

Rooms 233

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

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Biophysical force regulation in tumor cell invasion - by Mingming Wu

Sep 30, 2016, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Cristina Marchetti | Contact: Matthias Merkel, mmerkel@syr.edu

Abstract

In native states, animal cells of most types are surrounded by extracellular matrices (ECMs). Cells are physically linked to the ECM fibers via adhesion molecules. Indeed, mechanical interactions  between animal cells and ECM critically regulate cell functions, and   disruption of the cell-ECM crosstalk is implicated in pathologic processes including tumor progression and fibrosis. Physical forces that cells generate within a 3D ECM is a key mediator between the cell and its microenvironment. In this talk, I will describe efforts in my lab (biofluidics.bee.cornell.edu) in understanding how biophysical forces regulate cell-ECM interaction, and modulate cancer cell invasion within a three dimensional architecture. Two examples will be given. (1) Using a newly developed 3D traction force microscopy, we measure forces generated by single cells when embedded within natively derived collagen matrices.  We find that fibrous nonlinear elasticity of collagen matrix enables a positive mechanical feedback between the cell and ECM, and promotes a long range cell-cell interaction. (2) Using a microfluidic model, we demonstrate that interstitial fluid flow stress regulates tumor cell invasion within an ECM. We find that cells change motility types when subjected to fluid flows.  Our work begins to elucidate the basic governing principles of physical forces in mediating cell-ECM interactions at single cell level, and opens doors for modelling population level cell dynamics in 3D.

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Title: Part 1: A theoretical physicist in industrial R&D. Part 2: Monte Carlo correction of an estimated renormalized Hamiltonian by Robert Cordery

Sep 26, 2016, 2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Simon Catterall / contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, 315-443-5960

(1) How theoretical physics training prepares you for a career in an industrial R&D group - that is not concerned with theoretical physics.

(2) I will present an alternate Monte Carlo Renormalization Group (MCRG) approach based on a guessed renormalized Hamiltonian.  A renormalization group transformation maps a site Hamiltonian that describes a system on a small length scale to a renormalized block Hamiltonian that describes the system on a larger length scale. MCRG typically compares correlations of block and site variables rather than directly calculating the block Hamiltonian. In this alternate approach we simulate a system with both block and site variables. The simulation includes the site Hamiltonian, the coupling to the block variables, and subtracts an estimate of the block Hamiltonian. This eliminates both long distance  correlations and critical slowing down. The method uses a single transformation. The renormalized Hamiltonian is calculated directly.

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Colloquium Double-Header by Professors Steven M. Block and Robert H. Austin

Sep 22, 2016, 3:30 PM-5:30 PM

Room 202/204 Physics

Host: Prof. Liviu Movileanu. For other questions: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Steven M. Block, Ph.D.
S.W. Ascherman Professor of the Sciences
Department of Applied Physics
Department of Biology
Stanford University CA 94305

Optical Tweezers: Gene Regulation, Studied One Molecule at a Time

Advances have led to the new field of single molecule biophysics. Single-molecule techniques can record characteristics that are obscured by traditional biochemical approaches, revealing behaviors of individual biomolecules. Prominent among the techniques is the laser-based optical trap, or ‘optical tweezers,’ which uses radiation pressure. Optical traps now measure biomolecular properties with a precision down the atomic level—achieving a resolution of 1 angstrom over a bandwidth of 100 Hz—while exerting controlled forces in the piconewton range. Among the successes for optical traps have been measurements of the steps produced by motor proteins (for example, kinesin and myosin) and by processive nucleic-acid enzymes (for example, RNA polymerase), as well as determinations of the strengths of noncovalent bonds between proteins, and the kinetics of structure formation by DNA and RNA. Optical trapping instruments have been particularly useful in mapping the energy landscapes for folding macromolecules. We’re now able to follow the co-transcriptional folding of RNA in real time, as it is synthesized, revealing how such folding can regulate downstream genes, mediated by structured RNAs called ‘riboswitches.’ In recent developments, optical traps have been used in conjunction with single-molecule FRET (Förster Resonance Energy Transfer) to report on folding configurations and internal degrees of freedom in biomolecules.

Robert H. Austin
Professor of Physics
Department of Physics
Princeton University

The Collective Brain of Bacteria and Applications to Antibiotics and Cancer

No bacterium is an island. The bacterium E. coli’s motility not only responds to a number of input parameters (5 chemicals, heat, maybe pressure, maybe electric field), and it modifies these parameters by virtue of metabolism, movement and growth. The result is that bacteria interact in a collective manner. My most recent question is: do bacteria collectively compute in some sense solutions to biological and physical problems? I’ll show how we have used microfabrication techniques to probe the problem solving abilities in a collective manner. I’ll speculate that this insight can be applied (perhaps) to how antibiotic resistance arises, and how cancer cells evade chemotherapy in a tumor.

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Spontaneous and induced cell polarization and collective migration - by Alex Mogilner

Sep 16, 2016, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Rooms 202/204

Host: Jen Schwarz | Contact: Matthias Merkel, mmerkel@syr.edu

Abstract

Fish keratocyte cells served as the model system to understand biophysics of cell motility for decades. Recently, we combined experiment and modeling to understand the mechanism of polarization of these cells. We found that two essential feedbacks - positive one between myosin density and actin flow, and negative one between stick-slip adhesions and actin flow - underlie the motility initiation. Interestingly, keratocytes polarize in electric fields much faster but not stably, through different mechanism. I will also describe preliminary results on collective keratocyte migration in electric fields.

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Physics Department Fall Annual Picnic

Sep 11, 2016, 11:00 AM-6:00 PM

Green Lakes State Park-Reserve Shelter

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Physics Department Welcome Reception

Sep 1, 2016, 3:30 PM-4:30 PM

Rooms 202/204

Yudaisy Salomón Sargentón, yssargen@syr.edu, 315-443-5960

Physics Department Welcome Reception 2016

Please join us in this tradition to greet new staff, students, and faculty. This event is a great way to start the year, to catch up with people, and to grab a bite of cake. If you are new to the Department within the last year, be prepared to say hello to everyone. I do hope you can participate and meet the new members of our Department.

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Annual Pancake Breakfast

Aug 22, 2016, 9:00 AM-10:00 AM

204 Physics Bldg.

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Department Training and Orientation (Aug 22 - Aug 25)

Aug 22, 2016, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

202/204 Physics Bldg.

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Comprehensive Exam (August 20 and 21st)

Aug 20, 2016, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202/204 Physics Bldg.

Comprehensive Exams for ALL INCOMING STUDENTS (Prof. Carl Rosenzweig)

Part I-Saturday; Part II-Sunday.

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Qualifying Exam (August 20 and 21st)

Aug 20, 2016, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

202/204 Physics Bldg.

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Programming Mechanical Metamaterials

May 6, 2016, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Jennifer Schwarz | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Mechanical metamaterials have novel elastic and acoustic properties--negative Poisson's ratios and compressibilities, phononic bandgaps, bistability and acoustic lensing--which derive from their structure. Properties may be made robust by linking them to the system's topological state, in which the global structure determines and protects a particular mechanical response, equivalent to the behavior of electronic systems such as topological insulators. Topologically nontrivial states may be achieved in virtually any marginally rigid (isostatic) structure and at any scale: hinged frames, jammed packings, 3D-printed structures, origami/kirigami, self-assembled lattices and oscillator networks.

The immediate effect of topologically polarizing such a system is to create protected floppy edge modes. The ultimate goal is to manufacture systems with arbitrary programmed mechanical responses that are robust against disorder and fluctuations. I will describe two recent advances: (1) Creating materials with bulk topological modes and (2) Exploiting global mechanical instabilities to alter the topological state. In the first case, I describe lattices (the equivalent of Weyl semimetals) that possess topologically-protected bulk zero modes, leading to a sinusoidal elastic instability at incommensurate wavelength. In the second case, I consider systems with global elastic instabilities and show that the nature of such an instability determines much of the lattice's mechanical and acoustic properties, such as the structure of its edge modes. Finally, I show that extending this instability into the nonlinear regime can alter the topological polarization, hence tuning the edge stiffness by many orders of magnitude.

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The 3 Dimensional Structure of the Nucleon - Extracting Spin Dependent Parton Distributions from Deeply Virtual Scattering Processes

May 2, 2016, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Kamesh Wali, wali@phy.syr.edu | Contact: David Schaich, daschaich@gmail.com

Spin and transverse momentum dependent parton distributions - GPDs, TMDs and GTMDs - are at the interface between the non-perturbative regime of QCD hadron structure and observable quantities. The distributions appear as linear superpositions and convolutions within helicity amplitudes for parton-nucleon scattering processes, which, in turn, occur in amplitudes for leptoproduction processes. The phenomenological extraction of the amplitudes, and hence the distributions, is a challenging task. We will present relations between crucial quark-nucleon or gluon-nucleon helicity amplitudes and the rich array of angular distributions in Deeply Virtual Compton Scattering, Time-like Compton Scattering and novel Multi-hadron photon processes. These provide an important window into the 3 dimensional momentum and spin structure of the nucleons.

http://www.tufts.edu/~ggoldste

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Prototyping Extensible Quantum Computing Architectures

Apr 29, 2016, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Britton Plourde | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Quantum computing architectures with ten or more quantum bits (qubits) have been implemented using trapped ions and superconducting devices. The next milestone in the quest for a quantum computer is the realization of quantum error correction codes. Such codes will require a very large number of qubits that must be controlled and measured by means of classical electronics. One architectural aspect requiring immediate attention is the realization of a suitable interconnect between the quantum and classical hardware. In this talk, I will introduce the quantum socket, a three-dimensional wiring method for qubits with superior performance as compared to two-dimensional methods based on wire bonding. The quantum socket is based on spring-mounted micro wires – the three-dimensional wires – that connect electrically to a micro-fabricated chip by pushing directly on it. The wires have a coaxial geometry and operate well over a frequency range from DC to 10 GHz. I will present a detailed characterization of the quantum socket, with emphasis on generalized time-domain reflectometry, a new signal integrity tool developed in my lab. As a proof of concept for quantum computing applications, I will show a series of experiments where a quantum socket was used to measure superconducting resonators at a temperature of ~10 mK. I will also show preliminary results where a socket was used to characterize resonators fabricated from molecular beam epitaxy aluminum films on gallium arsenide substrates. In conclusion, I will give an outlook demonstrating how the quantum socket can be used to wire a quantum processor with a 10 × 10 qubit lattice and I will outline our present work toward the implementation of such a lattice.

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Do you tell the truth about your age? When sediments lie… A play told in three acts

Apr 28, 2016, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Scott Watson | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Considerable progress has been made in developing methods to determine the source areas of sedimentary rocks. We have moved from qualitative characterization of sandstone, to trace element chemistry of shale, to the isotope composition of clastic igneous rocks, and now to determining the age of zircon crystals smaller than the width of a hair. Detrital zircon geochronology has become so popular that there are now well over 200,000 published detrital zircon ages. However, sometimes sediments lie… The age distribution of zircon in many sandstones and much modern alluvium is dominated by ages of 1.3 – 1.0 Ga. However, this age peak is not represented by the abundance of exposed crust as in some areas it makes up only a few percent of the watershed where the alluvium was collected. This is the result of the extreme zircon fertility of ~ 1 Ga rocks – an unusually large amount of zircon, and those zircon crystals are often unusually large. Thus there is a considerable bias in the detrital zircon sedimentary record. We have been investigating the causes of the extreme fertility event as well as exploring the utility of a different mineral, a rare earth thorium phosphate called monazite, which forms quite differently from zircon. We have shown that monazite ages reflect much more accurately the actual areal extent of exposed crust. We conclude that in terms of understanding past mountain building events, monazite ‘plays in high tectonic fidelity’

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Harnessing the Conformational Dynamics of Outer Membrane Protein G for Biosensing

Apr 22, 2016, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Liviu Movileanu | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

The specific detection of proteins, such as cancer biomarkers, viral and bacterial proteins is critical for diseases diagnosis. In an era when the early or immediate detection of viral pathogens is imperative for fighting viral outbreaks, epidemics or terrorist attacks, our ability to respond to these threats depends on the capability of modern biosensors. Pore-forming proteins hold tremendous promise in biotech applications such as DNA sequencing and biosensing. The outer membrane protein G (OmpG) is a monomeric porin which may function as a nonspecific porin for the uptake of oligosaccharides in Escherichia coli. OmpG is composed of 14 β-strands connected by seven flexible loops on the extracellular side and seven short turns on the periplasmic side. The flexible loops move dynamically to create a gating pattern when ionic current passes through the pore. I will discuss our recent work to understand and control the gating of OmpG, and to create a new nanopore sensor for protein detection. Key findings include: (1) the interplay between the loops controls the gating of OmpG; (2)taking advantage of the gating characteristic of the loop’s movement, OmpG pore tethered with a high affinity ligand could distinguish between protein structural homologues. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of directly profiling proteins in real-world samples with minimal or no sample pretreatmentof OmpG, and to create a new nanopore sensor for protein detection. Key findings include: (1) the interplay between the loops controls the gating of OmpG; (2)taking advantage of the gating characteristic of the loop’s movement, OmpG pore tethered with a high affinity ligand could distinguish between protein structural homologues. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of directly profiling proteins in real-world samples with minimal or no sample pretreatment.

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Beyond Moore's Law? Seeking Quantum Speedup Through Spin Glasses

Apr 21, 2016, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Alan Middleton | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Can quantum computers indeed meet the promise of doing complex calculations faster than classical computers based on transistor technologies? While the holy grail of a programmable universal quantum computer will probably still take decades to reach, one can already begin to answer this question by testing programmable quantum annealing machines that are currently being built. These machines, such as the D-Wave 2X, use a non-mainstream method known as adiabatic quantum annealing to perform optimization tasks. Unfortunately to date, a conclusive detection of quantum speedup remains elusive. After a general introduction to optimization and its importance in science and technology, I summarize the most recent benchmarking results on quantum optimization machines. In particular, our results show that a careful design of the hardware architecture and benchmark problems is key when building quantum annealing machines.

Katzgraber Homepage

Work done in collaboration with:

  • F. Hamze (D-Wave Systems Inc),
  • S. Mandra (Harvard),
  • H. Munoz-Bauza (Texas A&M University),
  • A. Ochoa (Texas A&M University),
  • A. Perdomo-Ortiz (NASA),
  • S. Schnabel (Leipzig University),
  • W. Wang (Texas A&M University)
  • Z. Zhu (Texas A&M University)

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Superconducting Qubit Arrays for Quantum Logic Circuits

Apr 15, 2016, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Matt LaHaye | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Quantum computing holds the promise of exploiting superposition and entanglement to surpass conventional digital logic in certain classes of problems. Superconducting qubit circuits at millikelvin temperatures have recently demonstrated key advances such as robust and simple multi-qubit gates, the integration of superconducting qubits into arrays of four or more, and gate fidelities reaching 99%. [1,2,3] The technology has thus matured to the point of integrating multiple qubits to form functional quantum logic circuits. Such circuits will enable quantum error correction via the ‘surface code’ or similar algorithms. In this talk I will discuss a multi-qubit architecture under development at IBM Research, in which two-dimensional arrays of fixed-frequency transmon qubits are coupled via microwave-waveguide buses and microwave-driven two-qubit gates. To scale this architecture into a fully fault-tolerant quantum logic circuit will require advances in the basic physics, engineering and operation of these devices. [4] I will survey these challenges and focus in particular on two issues: 1) how to precisely allocate qubit frequencies in the vicinity of 5 GHz; and 2) how to rapidly read out the qubit state while minimizing losses via the Purcell effect. [5]

References

[1] J. M. Chow et al, Nature Communications 5, 4015 (2014).
[2] A. D. Corcoles et al, Nature Communications 6, 6979 (2015), 10.1038/ncomms7979.
[3] S. Sheldon et al, arXiv:1603.04821v1 [quant-ph].
[4] J. M. Gambetta et al, arXiv:1510.04375v1 [quant-ph].
[5] N. T. Bronn et al, Appl Phys Lett 107, 172601 (2015).

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Thesis Defense - Angular Trapping of a Mirror Using Radiation Pressure

Apr 14, 2016, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Advisor: Stefan Ballmer

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

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Cross Magneto-Mechanical Effects in Amorphous Solids with Magnetic Degrees of Freedom

Apr 13, 2016, 3:00 PM-5:00 PM

208 Physics

Host: Jennifer Schwarz | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Metallic glasses with magnetic components exhibit fascinating cross-effects between mechanical and magnetic responses. Magnetostriction and Barkhausen Noise are just a few of these effects. I will describe microscopic models of magnetic glasses and a theory to explain some of the interesting effects that are typical to such systems. I will also talk about glass transition and aging dynamics of such systems.

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A Phase Transition in Quantum Einstein Gravity

Apr 11, 2016, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Simon Catterall, smc@physics.syr.edu | Contact: David Schaich, daschaich@gmail.com

We study the imaginary-time path integral over geometries with spherical topology by summing over approximate Einstein spaces. At positive curvature these consist of an arbitrary number of four-spheres, glued together such that they correspond to `branched-polymer' tree graphs which specify their abundance. At negative curvature, geometries of arbitrary size are constructed by gluing hyperbolic `cups', with an assumed abundance inspired by an earlier proposed large-volume behavior of the partition function in the so-called crumpled phase of the time-space symmetric Euclidean dynamical triangulation model (SDT). Using the semi-classical effective action of the Einstein theory at one-loop order, with a finite UV-cutoff, we construct model partition functions that depend on the four-volume and the gravitational coupling, and study the transition between phases of positive and negative curvature. Qualitative features of the average curvature found in numerical simulations of SDT also appear in this continuum formulation, such as a first-order phase transition with rather strong finite-size effects.

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Thesis Defense - Development and Implementation of Efficient Noise Suppression Methods for Emission Computed Tomography

Apr 11, 2016, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM

202 Physics

Advisor: Ed Lipson | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

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Shape Memory Elastomers

Apr 8, 2016, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Mark Bowick | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Shape memory polymers (SMPs) constitute a unique class of polymers that have the ability to fix a temporary shape until they are triggered to return to their original form by an external stimulus. The shape changing mechanism is performed around a transition temperature, often a glass transition temperature (Tg), and relies on vitrification of the chains upon cooling to fix the temporary shape. As a result, SMPs in their fixed state are relatively stiff. A need exists for soft, extensible SMPs with mechanical properties that more closely match those of human tissue. Our group has previously introduced a shape memory elastomeric composite (SMEC) that is rubbery and soft, and yet, has the ability to fix a temporary shape. There, processing approach of imbibing a fiber preform with a silicone precursor was both time-consuming and compositionally restrictive. The work we will present introduces a comparatively simple strategy to prepare SMECs more efficiently and with more control over the composition, thus allowing for adjustment of material properties to meet requirements of a variety of applications. Two polymers are simultaneously electrospun, or dual-spun, forming a composite fiber mat with a controllable composition. This process is shown in the accompanying figure. The two polymers were chosen such that one assists in ‘shape fixing’ and the other in ‘shape recovery’. We will report on the quantitative physical characterization of the new materials, including shape memory properties, also shown in the figure. Finally, very recent work on a reconfigurable shape memory composite will be introduced, with reconfiguration being enabled by anhydride exchange between network chains. We envision that the versatility and simplicity of this fabrication approach will allow for large scale production of shape memory elastomeric composites (SMECs) for a wide range of applications.

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The Quest for the Robust Quantum Bit - Implementing Cat-Codes in Superconducting Circuits

Apr 7, 2016, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

Host: Britton Plourde | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Physical systems usually exhibit quantum phenomena, such as state superposition and entanglement, only when they are sufficiently decoupled from a lossy environment. Paradoxically, a specially engineered interaction with the environment can become a resource for the generation and protection of quantum states. Moreover, this notion can be generalized to a manifold of quantum states that consists of all coherent superpositions of multiple stable steady states. In particular, it has now become practically feasible to confine the state of an harmonic oscillator to the quantum manifold spanned by two coherent states of opposite phases. In a recent experiment [1], we have observed a superposition of two such coherent states, also known as a Schrodinger cat state, spontaneously squeeze out of vacuum, before decaying into a classical mixture. The dynamical protection of logical qubits built from Schrodinger cat states is based on an engineered driven-dissipative process in which photon pairs are exchanged rather than single photons. The recent class of experiments in which qubits are encoded using cat states opens a new avenue in quantum information processing with superconducting circuits.

Devoret home page

CM

Role of Mechanics in Plant Leaf Vein Morphogenesis

Mar 25, 2016, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Mark Bowick | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Plant leaves and their vascular patterns not only provide some of the most impressive examples of complexity in the nature that surrounds us, but they are also a wonderful system for studying developmental dynamics. In my talk I will focus on the development of leaf primary vein in the growing leaf primordia of Arabadopsis Thaliana, a plant model system. Leaf primary vein is the first in a successive order of branched veins, to emerge in a growing leaf primordia. The development of leaf primary vein starts with very few cells which also synthesize auxin, a growth hormone that regulates both plant and leaf vascular development. The final morphology of primary vein, consists of only a thin strand of distinctively elongated primary vein cells. I will present a cell based model, that describes the formation and morphology of leaf primary vein in early stages of growing leaf primordia. The model captures the interplay between biochemistry and cell mechanics by simulating the tissue growth driven by inter-cellular diffusion of the plant hormone auxin, from auxin synthesizing cells. In close experimental collaboration with a team of plant biologists, we show that the dynamic modulation of cell mechanical properties based on cell auxin concentration can reproduce primary vein pattern, as observed in growing leaf primordia. We further tested our model with experiments in which the wild-type primary vein pattern is affected by inhibiting inter-cellular auxin transport.

C

Tetraquarks and Pentaquarks - Quark Model Revisited

Mar 24, 2016, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

Host: A. Alan Middleton | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

A recent decade has brought new experimental discoveries related to how particles are built from quarks. Syracuse LHCb group has made several important measurements related to tetraquark candidates with hidden charm, and more recently led the data analysis which produced the first credible evidence for pentaquark states. I will present these achievements in historical context, and discuss the present status of spectroscopy of exotic hadrons with heavy quarks.

HE

Scalar Mesons, Gribov Density, and Novel Quark Propagators

Mar 21, 2016, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Simon Catterall, smc@physics.syr.edu | Contact: David Schaich, daschaich@gmail.com

Two novel methods for calculating quark propagators in lattice QCD will be presented, both of which are inspired from information theory. They aim to extract as much information as possible from the lattice simulations with minimal computational overhead. Observations on the density of Gribov ambiguities in pure Euclidean SU(3) Yang-Mills will be shown, which are in agreement with the Gribov-Zwanziger scenario. Finally, results from 4-point, hadronic (sigma meson) calculations will be presented.

C

Stevenson Biomaterials Lecture Series

Mar 4, 2016, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

500 Hall of Languages

***NOTE special time*** [Reception to follow]

Host: Cristina Marchetti | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

The Stevenson Biomaterials Lecture Series was established in 2007 thanks to the generous support of Trustee Ann McOmber Stevenson (Nursing ‘52) and the late Trustee Emeritus Milton F. Stevenson III (Chemical Engineering ’53). Each semester, the series brings pioneering biomaterials researchers to the Syracuse University campus. Presenters are selected based on their leading roles in biomaterials research, and are asked to speak on their latest endeavors. In addition, Stevenson lecturers visit with faculty and students to exchange ideas, build bridges, and become familiar with the broad range of biomaterials activities at Syracuse University.

HE

ADS Superpotential - a Round Trip to 3 Dimensions

Feb 29, 2016, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Jay Hubisz, jhubisz@syr.edu | Contact: David Schaich, daschaich@gmail.com

In this talk I will discuss calculation of ADS superpotential in 3 and 4 dimensions in SUSY QCD with F<N flavors.  In 4d an explicit instanton calculation exists when $F=N-1$, while in other cases the superpotential can be obtained by decoupling massive flavors.  In 3d a similar instanton-monopole calculation of the superpotential exist in a pure SYM theory.  I will argue that in a 4d theory compactified on a circle, one could obtain superpotential for all values of F by including multi-monopole contributions to the superpotential.  In large and small radius limits one then obtains the exact superpotentials in 3 and 4 dimensions.

HE

A Nonperturbative Regulator for Chiral Gauge Theories

Feb 22, 2016, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Jay Hubisz, jhubisz@syr.edu | Contact: David Schaich, daschaich@gmail.com

I discuss a new proposal for nonperturbatively defining chiral gauge theories, something that has resisted previous attempts. The proposal is a well defined field theoretic framework that contains mirror fermions with very soft form factors, which allows them to decouple, as well as ordinary fermions with conventional couplings. The construction makes use of an extra dimension, which localizes chiral zeromodes on the boundaries, and a four dimensional gauge field extended into the bulk via classical gradient flow. After explaining the set up, I consider open questions, such as the effects of topological gauge configurations and the viability of these theories, as well as possible exotic phenomenology in the Standard Model lurking at the low energy frontier.

C

LIGO Observation

Feb 18, 2016, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

To follow up on the public announcement last week, the LIGO faculty tomorrow will present scientific information about the observation of gravitational waves. You are all invited tomorrow, with refreshments at 3:30 and the presentation starting at 3:45, Thursday, Feb. 18, to learn more about this discovery.

HE

New Possibilities with Top Partial Compositeness

Feb 15, 2016, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Jay Hubisz, jhubisz@syr.edu | Contact: David Schaich, daschaich@gmail.com

I will review the content of 1501.03818 and 1511.05163. Top partial compositeness is a common feature of composite Higgs models. We study the case where masses for lighter quarks are generated through a different mechanism and we discuss the impact of the experimental constraints on the model, in a specific realization with a pseudo Nambu Goldstone boson Higgs. We show that there is no need for flavor symmetries is the up sector, while in the down sector a certain degree of alignment is required. We finally comment on model building aspects, introducing new physics sector with light top partners candidates, relating their lightness to 't Hooft anomaly matching condition.

CM

The Large-Scale Thermal Stiffening of Graphene Ribbons

Feb 12, 2016, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Mark Bowick | Contact: Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

We use molecular dynamics to study the vibration of a thermally fluctuating 2D elastic membrane clamped at both ends. We identify the eigenmodes from peaks in the frequency domain of the time-dependent height and track the dependence of the eigen-frequency of a given mode on the bending rigidity of the membrane. We find that the effective bending rigidity tends to a constant as the bare bending rigidity vanishes, supporting theoretical arguments that the macroscopic bending rigidity of the membrane as a whole arises from a strong renormalization of the microscopic bending rigidity. Experimental realizations include two-dimensional atomically thin membranes such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide or polymerized membrane ribbons.

HE

EFT of Large Scale Structure, Symmetries and Constraints

Feb 8, 2016, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Scott Watson, gswatson@syr.edu | Contact: David Schaich, daschaich@gmail.com

I will briefly introduce EFT of large scale structure (LSS) as a systematic perturbative approach to study structure formation. I will identify the symmetries and unique features of the system which determine the structure of EFT expansion. I will show how these symmetries can be used to make non-perturbative predictions about the baryon acoustic peak in the matter correlation function. Finally, I will show how EFT allows us to get unbiased constraints on cosmological parameters such as primordial non-Gaussianity and Neutrino masses from LSS surveys.

HE

Cosmology in Standard Einstein Gravity with Non-Standard Scalar Field Fluids

Feb 5, 2016, 12:30 PM-2:30 PM

208 Physics

Host: Scott Watson, gswatson@syr.edu, 315-443-8280

I will discuss cosmological solutions in standard Einstein gravity sourced by non-standard, non-canonical scalar field fluids. With recent experimental data from Planck, BICEP2, and the Keck Array now putting stress on the simplest inflationary models, there is a growing need for alternative early universe scenarios. Examples of such fluids include k-essence, DBI, Galileon fields, Horndeski models and the 'new oscillatory' models recently proposed by Nobel Laureate Wilczek et al. I will focus on the stability of these fluids emphasizing the common occurrence of negative kinetic energy degrees of freedom (ghosts), gradient instabilities (imaginary sound speed), superluminal propagating modes and singularities. Cosmological scenarios I will discuss include K-inflation, Galilean Genesis super-inflation, and the G-bounce model.

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Contact Information:
David Schaich, Series Director
daschaich@gmail.com
315-415-3277

C

The Fluid Boundary - Considering Cell Membranes from a Soft Matter Perspective

Feb 4, 2016, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

Host: Cristina Marchetti

The plasma membrane surrounding cells is composed of lipids and proteins, and is coupled to cytoskeletal fibers and to extracellular matrix. The mixture of lipids that makes up most cell membranes is fluid, forming a liquid film. As a consequence of this fluidity, flow near a membrane can induce a sympathetic flow of lipids and membrane proteins. I will discuss experiments demonstrating this lipid mobility in immobile membranes, and show that fluid flow can be used to advect proteins within lipid bilayers, producing a local concentration gradient.

http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/people/a.honerkamp-smith/

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Contact Information:
Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, administration questions
yssargen@syr.edu
315-443-3901

C

Elasto-capillarity - A New Toolkit for Directed Assembly of Advanced Materials

Jan 28, 2016, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

Host: Cristina Marchetti

The opportunities for guiding assembly using elastic energy stored in soft matter are wide open. The emerging scientific frontiers in this field show an exceptional promise for significant new applications. Since soft materials can be readily reconfigured, there are unplumbed opportunities to make responsive devices including smart windows for energy efficiency, and responsive optical structures. In the other hand, the trapping of colloidal objects at interfaces between immiscible fluids has proven to exhibit incredible abilities to template the arrangement of particles into rich ordered structures. These structures are controlled by lateral forces that compete with capillary forces. However, these interactions are still unexplored when particles are trapped at the interface of an ordered fluid. In this talk, I will present recent progress in understanding the mechanisms that govern interactions between particles at liquid crystal interfaces. I will report how the resulting potential induced by the interplay between elasticity and capillarity could lead to new opportunities for genuine spontaneous self-assembly and create new strategies for making new generation of advanced materials that may find relevance in many applications in the field of energy technology.

http://magharbi.wordpress.com/

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Contact Information:
Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, administration questions
yssargen@syr.edu
315-443-3901

C

Good Defects or What Confined Liquid Crystals Can Do

Jan 21, 2016, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

Room 202/204

(refreshments 3:30pm)

Host: Cristina Marchetti

Liquid crystals are best known for their use in displays, but their interest extends far beyond. This phase of matter, intermediate between liquid and solid, is composed by anisotropic rod-like molecules which spontaneously align in space. When the molecules cannot achieve a perfect order, they form topological defects, mathematical objects which can be used as physical objects for many purposes. I show two examples of how liquid crystal defects can inspire concepts for new materials. The first example is a bistable system, obtained by confining liquid crystals in a micron-sized cubic scaffold. The device can switch between bright and dark metastable states, thanks to the interaction of the defects with the scaffold. The second example is a self-assembled structure of liquid crystal defects that act as micro-lenses. The structure resembles an insect compound eye, able to focus objects at different distances and sensitive to the polarization of light.
closeup image of display pixel

Figure 1: Top panel: stable bright and dark states of a display pixel obtained by changing the topological defects. Bottom panel: self-assembled defects around a central pillar. Each defect act as a micro-lens.

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Contact Information:
Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, administration questions
yssargen@syr.edu
315-443-3901

C

Physics of Cells - Turning Protein Networks into Active Materials

Jan 19, 2016, 3:30 PM-6:00 PM

Room 202 and 204 Physics

NOTE: Tuesday Colloquium

Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, yssargen@syr.edu

Cells are densely packed collections of proteins. By regulating the organization and interaction of these proteins in both space and time, cells turn collections of molecules into networks with various material properties. Here I will discuss how these networks allow cells to generate force and change shape, and the approaches we use to measure their behavior. Finally I will discuss ways in which we can perturb the system using light to spatially control the activity of the component proteins. http://home.uchicago.edu/~poakes/ 

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Contact Information:
Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, administration questions
yssargen@syr.edu
315-443-3901

C

Photoproduction of Scalar Mesons, and Upgrade of the CLAS Electromagnetic Calorimeter at Jefferson Lab

Jan 5, 2016, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM

202 Physics

Host: Sheldon Stone

The standard quark model makes no allowance for the existence of gluons outside hadrons; however lattice QCD calculations predict bound states of two or more gluons, called glueballs. According to lattice calculations, the lightest of these experimentally unverified particles is expected to have mass in the range of 1−1.8 GeV and JPC = 0++. Themixing of glueball states with neighbouring meson states complicates their identification. The f0(1500) is one of several candidates for the lightest glueball, whose presence in the K0 sK0 s channel was investigated in photoproduction using the CEBAF Large Acceptance Spectrometer (CLAS) at Jefferson Lab. This was done by studying the reaction, γp → fJp → K0 sK0 s p → 2(π+π−)p using data from the g12 experiment. A moments analysis was performed on this data to characterize the spin properties of the resonance observed at 1.5 GeV. Results from the analysis of this data will be presented.

The g12 experiment ran with the CLAS6 detector, so named because of its capability to work with a maximum electron beam energy of 6 GeV. Jefferson Lab has since upgraded its facility to produce electron beam with double that energy. The higher beam energy means that the energy of electrons and photons impinging on the detector will be too high to be contained by the existing CLAS6 electromagnetic calorimeter (EC). Several of the experiments commissioned to be performed using CLAS12 require the accurate detection of neutral pions via their decay into two photons. At the energies of CLAS12, the calorimeter needs to have a very good position resolution in order to be able to detect these two photons and to avoid their labeling as a single photon. It was thus necessary to update the detector sub-system in order to improve its functionality at higher energies. To do this, another calorimeter, the preshower calorimeter (PCAL) is to be placed in front of the EC, the testing and construction of which will be discussed.

TD

Thesis Defense - Vortices and Quasiparticles in Superconducting Microwave Resonators

Dec 11, 2015, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

208 Physics

Advisor: Britton Plourde

HE

Neutral B and Bs Meson Mixing from Lattice QCD

Dec 11, 2015, 12:30 PM-2:30 PM

208 Physics

Host: Jack Laiho, jwlaiho@syr.edu, 315-443-0317

Neutral B(s) meson mixing occurs via flavor-changing neutral currents.  In the standard model of particle physics this requires quantum fluctuations, or loop diagrams, making the required interactions improbable --- opening the door for the possibility of discernible effects from new physics.  There are impressive experimental results in B(s) mixing, with the oscillation frequency between B(s) and anti-B(s) mesons measured with better than sub-percent precision.  To better leverage such experimental results in the search for new physics, hadronic contributions must be determined with improved precision.  We will discuss an ongoing, nearly complete, lattice QCD calculation of the hadronic matrix elements needed to describe mixing in and beyond the standard model.  This work is being carried out by the Fermilab Lattice and MILC collaborations on the MILC Nf=2+1 asqtad gauge field ensembles, including four lattice spacings and numerous light quark masses to permit controlled extrapolations to real-world values.

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Contact Information:
David Schaich, Series Director
daschaich@gmail.com
315-415-3277

C

First-Principles Determination of Hadronic Contributions to the Muon Anomalous Magnetic Moment

Dec 7, 2015, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Jack Laiho, jwlaiho@syr.edu, 315-443-0317

In order to match the increased precision of the upcoming Fermilab E989 experiment, a more precise determination of hadronic contributions to the muon anomalous magnetic moment is needed.  I will present recent progress in a first-principles determination of both the hadronic vacuum polarization and the hadronic light-by-light contribution.

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Contact Information:
David Schaich, Series Director
daschaich@gmail.com
315-415-3277

CM

DNA as a Sensor of Hg Nanoparticles

Nov 30, 2015, 11:30 AM-1:30 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Cristina Marchetti

**NOTE: MONDAY SEMINAR**

Biomolecules can be used to provide control in organizing technologically important objects into functional nano-materials.

The interaction between biomolecules and inorganic materials is fundamental to these applications. These studies are expected to play role in the design of novel hybrid materials and new sensors for biological and non-biological objects. In our study we have utilized the DNA in two folds. Firstly we useDNA to fabricate self-assembled nanostructures of Hg. Secondly we demonstrate that the DNA can be used as a sensor of Hg nanoparticles. Mercuric nanoparticles (NP) have been fabricated within the DNA scaffold by site specific interactions. The NP get embedded within double helix and exclusively interact with the nucleic acid of DNA, having no influence on the phosphate backbone of DNA. Furthermore, conjugation of Hg NP with DNA exhibits a rectifying transport behavior, with the unreacted DNA displaying the ohmic behavior.

Formation of metal-base complexes as well as the modifications in transport (electrical) properties of DNA can be utilized as sensor of mercury contamination.

Shikha Varma homepage

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

HE

Freeze-In Dark Matter with Displaced Signatures at Colliders

Nov 23, 2015, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Jay Hubisz, jhubisz@syr.edu, 315-443-2653

Freeze-in is a general and calculable mechanism for dark matter production in the early universe. Assuming a standard cosmological history, such a framework predicts metastable particles with a lifetime generically too long to observe their decays at colliders. In this talk, I will consider alternative cosmologies with an early matter dominated epoch, and I will show how the observed abundance of dark matter is reproduced only for shorter lifetimes of the metastable particles. Famous realization for such a cosmology are moduli decays in SUSY theories and inflationary reheating. Remarkably, for a large region of the parameter space the decay lengths are in the displaced vertex range and they can be observable at present and future colliders. I will conclude with an example of DFSZ SUSY theories where this framework is realized.

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Contact Information:
David Schaich, Series Director
daschaich@gmail.com
315-415-3277

HE

The Vector Portal at the LHC

Nov 20, 2015, 12:30 PM-2:30 PM

208 Physics

Host: Jay Hubisz, jhubisz@syr.edu, 315-443-2653

An emerging paradigm in particle physics is the possibility that new matter resides in its own sector — a Dark Sector (DS) — connected to the Standard Model via a portal. In this talk I will focus on a well-motivated example of such a scenario: the vector portal. I will discuss two distinct phases of the theory. In one, matter in the DS is a viable candidate for Dark Matter, giving rise to striking new signals at the LHC. In the other phase of the vector portal, matter in the DS can instead acquire a milli-charge under electromagnetism. I will then discuss a recent proposal to look for milli-charges at the LHC.

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Contact Information:
David Schaich, Series Director
daschaich@gmail.com
315-415-3277

CM

TBA

Nov 20, 2015, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Britton Plourde

Matteo Mariantoni web page

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

Inside Physical Review Letters

Nov 19, 2015, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Lisa Manning

How do its editors determine which papers to publish in PRL? What guidelines would be helpful to you as an author and a referee? Why should you submit your work to us? How are journals in general and PRL in particular reorienting amid increasing challenges in the landscape of physics publications? I plan to address these and related issues, including a few changes we're implementing, during my presentation.

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

CM

Emergence of Large-Scale Epithelial Mechanics from Cell-Scale Processes - Shaping a Fly Wing

Nov 13, 2015, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Mark Bowick

Epithelia are two-dimensional cellular sheets. They are active visco-elastic materials which gain their mechanical properties from the collective behavior of a large number of cells. Nowadays, we are able to image tissues with up to 10 000 cells in vivo where the behavior of each individual cell can be followed in detail. We want to understand how large-scale tissue deformation and stresses emerge from the behavior of individual cells.

Here, we study this question in the developing Drosophila wing epithelium. We first establish a general geometrical framework that exactly decomposes large-scale tissue deformation into contributions by different kinds of cellular processes. These processes comprise cell shape changes, cell neighbor exchanges (T1 transitions), cell divisions, and cell extrusions (T2 transitions). As the key idea, we introduce a tiling of the cellular network into triangles. This allows us to define the precise contribution of each kind of cellular process to large-scale tissue deformation. Additionally, our rigorous approach reveals subtle effects of correlated cellular motion, which constitute a novel source of tissue deformation.

Based on this geometrical framework, we describe Drosophila wing mechanics using a novel continuum mechanical model. Similar to preceding models, we describe the wing epithelium as visco-elastic. However in addition to that, our observations led us to appreciate novel effects.

We found active cell rearrangements that are oriented on large scales and have an axis orthogonal to the shear stress axis. Furthermore, cell rearrangements did not respond immediately to material stresses, but were rather delayed. These findings are further underpinned using mechanical and genetic perturbations.

With our work, we contribute to an understanding of epithelial deformation and mechanics, linking it to cellular mechanical properties and cell-scale events.

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

HE

Models and Signatures for Neutral Naturalness

Nov 9, 2015, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Jay Hubisz, jhubisz@syr.edu, 315-443-2653

In the light of the null results in searches for top partners at the 8 TeV LHC, there recently has been an increased interest in models with color neutral top partners. I will review some aspects of neutral naturalness, and discuss some opportunities for progress on the fronts of model building, collider searches and dark matter.  (1410.6808, 1411.7393 and in progress with Matt Strassler, Nathaniel Craig, Pietro Longhi, Dean J. Robinson, Yuhsin Tsai and Marat Freytsis.)

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Contact Information:
David Schaich, Series Director
daschaich@gmail.com
315-415-3277

CM

Echoes of the Glass Transition in Athermal Soft Spheres

Nov 6, 2015, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Lisa Manning

The glass transition and the athermal jamming transition are both transitions from one disordered state to another marked by a sudden increase in rigidity. Before the onset of rigidity thermal hard spheres and athermal soft spheres both share the same configuration space. Is there a signature of the glass transition in the topology of the allowed configuration space and is this same signature present for athermal spheres? In this talk, I will answer this question by introducing the concept of local rigidity and demonstrate the existence of a pre-jamming phase transition precisely at the glass transition density.

http://physics.uoregon.edu/profile/peterm/

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

CM

The Andersen-Parrinello-Rahman Method Revised into a Scale Bridging Device

Oct 28, 2015, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Matteo Paoluzzi

**NOTE: Wednesday Seminar**

Around 35 years ago, Andersen, Parrinello and Rahman had the idea of letting the molecular-dynamics (MD) cell vary its volume (Andersen) and shape (Parrinello & Rahman) with time. The particle velocity was hence decomposed into the sum of a spatially tidy entrainment velocity, parameterized by the cell deformation rate, and a disordered streaming velocity. In order to govern the collective degrees of freedom associated with the cell, the Lagrangian functional was extended in a smart ad-hoc way. Whether the extended Lagrangian could be derived from “first principles” was a question left for further study, as Parrinello & Rahman themselves stated. In reality, since MD practitioners always considered the APR method just as an expedient trick for generating the desired particle statistics, this foundational issue remained latent until recently, when somebody with a background in continuum mechanics (CM) started looking at the APR method from an antipodal point of view. Here the idea is to bring the deforming computational cell to the fore, identifying it with an element - i.e., an infinitesimally small piece - of a continuous medium. Seen in this perspective, the appealing feature of the APR method is that it establishes a natural, explicit coupling between molecular and continuum DOFs. In conventional applications, dynamical quantities work-conjugate to these latter DOFs - namely, stress - are regarded as prescribed: as a matter of fact, Andersen’s original motivation was that of devising a barostat. In the novel multiscale implementation of the method, the stress is a priori unknown: to determine it, CM PDEs have to be solved concurrently with MD ODEs.

Roughly speaking, the solution strategy goes as follows. Imagine considering a material aggregate as either a molecular system or a continuous medium, and wishing to relate the two representations. Assume that the fields entering the continuum description, such as strain and stress, are adequately sampled on an array of positions (think of Gauss points in a finite element model), whose typical spacing H is enormously larger than the average intermolecular distance d. Associate with each of these macroscopic sampling positions an APR cell, whose reference size h is large enough with respect to d in order to allow for a decent sampling of the microscopic molecular states, and still much smaller than H: H >> h >> d (in practice, it is also essential to take full advantage of the fact that, typically, H/h >> h/d). Now, let the molecules in each cell interact directly with each other (and with their h-neighboring images), while being indirectly affected by those in the H-neighboring cells via the collective degrees of freedom of the deforming APR cell, governed by the force balance and compatibility equations of CM (sampled at the H scale). In turn, the elementwise stress-strain relation characterizing the response of the medium arises as an emergent property of MD (computed on the h scale).

Antonio DiCarlo website

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

HE

What is a 6D SCFT?

Oct 26, 2015, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Scott Watson, gswatson@syr.edu, 315-443-8280

Though long thought not to exist, arguments from string theory strongly indicate the existence of non-trivial interacting conformal field theories in six dimensions.  In this talk, I review the evidence that 6D supersymmetric conformal field theories (SCFTs) exist, and then explain how to use the geometry of extra dimensions to classify all such theories.  A surprising outcome of this work is that all of these theories admit the structure of a simple generalization of quiver (i.e. moose) diagrams used in the study of lower-dimensional quantum field theories.  Time permitting, I will also discuss what we know about these interacting fixed points, and their consequences for understanding quantum field theory in diverse dimensions.

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Contact Information:
David Schaich, Series Director
daschaich@gmail.com
315-415-3277

CM

Polarization of Cells and Soft Objects Driven by Mechanical Interactions - Consequences for Migration and Chemotaxis

Oct 23, 2015, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Cristina Marchetti

We study a generic model for the polarization and motility of self-propelled soft objects, biological cells, or biomimetic systems, interacting with a viscous substrate. The active forces generated by the cell on the substrate are modeled by means of oscillating force multipoles at the cell-substrate interface. Symmetry breaking and cell polarization for a range of cell sizes naturally “emerge” from long range mechanical interactions between oscillating units, mediated both by the intracellular medium and the substrate. However, the harnessing of cell polarization for motility requires substrate-mediated interactions. Motility can be optimized by adapting the oscillation frequency to the relaxation time of the system or when the substrate and cell viscosities match. Cellular noise can destroy mechanical coordination between force-generating elements within the cell, resulting in sudden changes of polarization. The persistence of the cell’s motion is found to depend on the cell size and the substrate viscosity. Within such a model, chemotactic guidance of cell motion is obtained by directionally modulating the persistence of motion, rather than by modulating the instantaneous cell velocity, in a way that resembles the run and tumble chemotaxis of bacteria.

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

CUWiP Informational Session

Oct 22, 2015, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

HE

Galilean Creation of the Inflationary Universe

Oct 16, 2015, 12:30 PM-2:30 PM

208 Physics

Host: Scott Watson, gswatson@syr.edu, 315-443-8280

It has been pointed out that the null energy condition can be violated stably in some non-canonical scalar-field theories. This allows us to consider the Galilean Genesis scenario in which the universe starts expanding from Minkowski spacetime and hence is free from the initial singularity. We use this scenario to study the early-time completion of inflation, pushing forward the recent idea of Pirtskhalava et al. We present a generic form of the Lagrangian governing the background and perturbation dynamics in the Genesis phase, the subsequent inflationary phase, and the graceful exit from inflation, as opposed to employing the effective field theory approach. Our Lagrangian belongs to a more general class of scalar-tensor theories than the Horndeski theory and Gleyzes-Langlois-Piazza-Vernizzi generalization, but still has the same number of the propagating degrees of freedom, and thus can avoid Ostrogradski instabilities. We investigate the generation and evolution of primordial perturbations in this scenario and show that one can indeed construct a stable model of inflation preceded by (generalized) Galilean Genesis.

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Contact Information:
David Schaich, Series Director
daschaich@gmail.com
315-415-3277

CM

Microswimmer — From Swimming Bacteria to Collective Behaviours of Active Brownian Particles

Oct 16, 2015, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Cristina Marchetti

Locomotion is a major achievement of biological evolution. Microorganisms, such as bacteria, algae, and sperm cells are equipped with flagella and are able to exploit drag for their propulsion. Two prominent swimming mechanisms are rotating helical flagella, exploited by many bacteria, and snake-like or whip-like motion of eukaryotic flagella, utilized by sperm and algae. Thereby, hydrodynamic interactions play a major role in the swimming motion.

In assemblies of motile microorganisms, cooperativity plays a major role as they exhibit highly organized movements with remarkable large-scale patterns such as networks, complex vortices, or swarms. To unravel the emergent behaviors often simplified models such as active Brownian particles (ABPs) are considered. The generic approaches provide valuable insight into the non-equilibrium statistical aspects of active matter.

In the talk, theoretical and computer simulation results will be presented for the swimming behavior of E. coli bacteria, both in bulk and at surfaces. Moreover, the cooperative dynamics of ABPs will be discussed and a link will be established to the non-equilibrium pressure equation of state.

Roland Winker's webpage

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

Capillary Fracture

Oct 9, 2015, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Cristina Marchetti

I will describe the initiation and growth of fractures in gels close to their solid-liquid transition, caused by the placement of a fluid droplet on the surface. In experiments, we observe that channel fractures form at the surface of the gel, driven by fluid propagating away from the central droplet. The fractures take the form of starburst-like cracks, with their initiation governed by two processes. First, surface-tension forces exerted by the droplet deform the gel substrate and break azimuthal symmetry. We model the substrate as an incompressible, linear-elastic solid and characterize the elastic response to provide a prediction for the number of fracture arms as a function of material properties and geometric parameters. Second, a thermally-activated process initiates a starburst-shaped collection of fractures corresponding to this strain-patterning. Once initiated, the fractures grow with a universal power law L=t^3/4, with the speed limited by the transport of an inviscid fluid into the fracture tip.

Karen Daniel's webpage

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

Temperature-like Variables in Granular Materials

Oct 8, 2015, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Jen Schwarz

(refreshments 3:30pm)

Statistical mechanics has provided a powerful tool for understanding the thermodynamics of materials. Because granular materials exhibit reproducible statistical distributions which depend in simple ways on macroscopic parameters such as volume and pressure, it is tempting to create a statistical mechanics of athermal materials. I will describe a suite of experiments on two-dimensional granular materials which investigate to what extent these ideas are meaningful. For example, under agitated conditions, we measure both bulk and particle-scale dynamics, and find a number of thermal-like behaviors including diffusive dynamics, a granular Boyle's Law with a van der Waals-like equation of state, and energy equipartition for rotational and translational degrees of freedom. However, the scarcity of free volume within a granular material provides a crucial control on the dynamics, and each of the above thermal-like behaviors is accompanied by interesting caveats. In an apparatus designed to generate a large number of static configurations, we test whether or not various temperature-like variables are able to equilibrate between a subsystem and a bath. We find that while a volume-based temperature known as "compactivity" fails to equilibrate, a stress-based temperature succeeds. This points to the importance of interparticle forces in controlling the mechanics of granular materials.

Karen Daniel's webpage

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

HE

Walking and Conformal Dynamics in Many-Flavor QCD on the Lattice

Oct 5, 2015, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM

202 Physics

Host: Simon Catterall, smc@physics.syr.edu, 315-443-5978

In the search for a realistic walking technicolor model, QCD with many flavors, in particular with Nf=8, is an attractive candidate, which has been found to have a composite scalar as light as pion.  Based on lattice simulations with the HISQ action, I will present our lattice results of the scaling properties of various hadron spectra, including the (pseudo)scalar, vector, and baryon channels in comparison with Nf=12 QCD, which is most likely in the conformal phase.  Some implications for dark matter and collider phenomenology in the technicolor model will be also discussed.

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Contact Information:
David Schaich, Series Director
daschaich@gmail.com
315-415-3277

CM

The Geometry and Mechanics of Growth and Defects

Oct 2, 2015, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

202/204 Physics

Host: Mark Bowick

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

Hard Problems in Soft Matter - How We Think, Eat, and Protect Ourselves

Oct 1, 2015, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

Soft matter is the study of matter that easily deforms via thermal fluctuations and/or external and/or internal driving. Given this rather inclusive definition, a vast range of systems falls under the soft matter purview, including brain tissue, cell membranes, biopolymers, and granular materials. I will address (1) how the brain gets its folds to ultimately better understand the interplay between structure and function of the brain, (2) how cells engulf extracellular proteins, i.e. how we eat, with "we" in the collective sense of living systems, and (3) how we (cells and humans) build disordered frameworks with structural integrity (rigidity) to protect ourselves from the "elements".

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

CM

***BMCE Seminar***

Sep 25, 2015, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

105 Link Hall

Zia Group Home Page

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

Leveraging Computational Social Science to Address Grand Societal Challenges

Sep 24, 2015, 9:00 AM-11:00 AM

Strasser Room (220 Eggers Hall)

Kameshwar C. Wali Lecture in the Sciences and Humanities

The increased access to big data about social phenomena in general, and network data in particular, has been a windfall for social scientists. But these exciting opportunities must be accompanied with careful reflection on how big data can motivate new theories and methods. Using examples of his research in the area of networks, Contractor will argue that Computational Social Science serves as the foundation to unleash the intellectual insights locked in big data. More importantly, he will illustrate how these insights offer social scientists in general, and social network scholars in particular, an unprecedented opportunity to engage more actively in monitoring, anticipating and designing interventions to address grand societal challenges.

http://nosh.northwestern.edu

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

The Big Science of Little Neutrinos

Sep 22, 2015, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

Experimental studies of neutrinos are notoriously challenging due to the feebleness of their interactions with matter, so it may seem counterintuitive to suggest these “little neutral ones” could have played a central role in the development of our universe to its current matter-dominated state. This talk will provide an overview of the interesting physics questions associated with neutrinos, and will give an outlook on the global program to build bigger and better detectors to uncover the answers to these questions.

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

CM

***BMCE Seminar***

Sep 18, 2015, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

105 Link Hall

Jayaraman Homepage

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

Mechanical Quantum Systems

Sep 17, 2015, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

The field of mechanical quantum systems has made great strides in recent years developing the technology to begin eliciting and studying quantum behavior of structures that are normally well described by classical laws of physics. While the full potential of the field is yet unknown, it is thought that these mechanical systems could have important applications serving as elements in quantum computing and communication architectures, and could also enable explorations of fundamental topics in quantum mechanics like the quantum-to-classical divide. In my talk, I will first give an overview of this growing field. Then I will highlight ongoing work in my group to develop a particular type of mechanical quantum system - a quantum electromechanical system - that is composed of integrated superconducting circuity and nanomechanical elements and could prove to be an important test-bed for the study of quantum mechanics in new macroscopic limits.

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

Catching Gravitational Waves

Sep 10, 2015, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

In 1916 Einstein first predicted the existence of gravitational waves. But due to their intrinsic weakness it took almost a century of technological progress to build a receiver capable of detecting gravitational waves. This receiver, a set of laser interferometers with 4km arm length able to detect distance variations as small as one 100'000th the size of an atomic nucleus, is the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. It will start its first observation run this fall. Advanced LIGO is designed to observe gravitational waves from the merger of binary neutron stars and black holes, providing the first direct measurements of strong field gravity. I will discuss the current status and sensitivity of the Advanced LIGO detectors, and I will explore options for short and long term upgrades. In particular, I will focus on the two most limiting noise sources: quantum noise of the light and thermal noise, highlighting some of the work done in my group. For lowering the quantum noise, the use of non-classical light looks most promising, and we are focusing on integrating this technology to Advanced LIGO. For mitigating thermal noise several approaches are possible. The most far reaching one will lead us into the design of future gravitational wave detectors, capable of observing mergers of binary neutron stars at red shifts above z=7.

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

CM

***BMCE Seminar***

Sep 4, 2015, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

105 Link Hall

Velev Group

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

The State of the Universe

Sep 3, 2015, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

Room 202/204 Physics

(refreshments 3:30pm)

Cosmological observations provide overwhelming evidence that our universe is almost entirely comprised of dark energy and dark matter, both of which have no theoretical explanation within the standard model of particle physics. The former is responsible for a current period of cosmic acceleration, much like that which occurred in the earliest moments of the universe. The early period of cosmic acceleration, known as inflation, was vital in providing the primordial seeds from which galaxies and clusters formed, whereas the late time acceleration could eventually lead to the vanishing of most structure in the universe. The driving force behind cosmic acceleration, as well as dark matter, still remains elusive from the point of view of a microscopic theory. Combined with fundamental questions, such as the origin of particle mass and how electroweak symmetry is broken, these conundrums require physics beyond the standard model. In this talk I will review both the theoretical and observational status of these issues with an emphasis on the excitement surrounding current and upcoming experiments.

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

Department Welcome Reception (Tuesday)

Sep 1, 2015, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM

Room 202/204 Physics

Hosted by the Physics Department

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

TD

Thesis Defense - Measurement of the Form Factor Shape for the Semileptonic Decay Lb → LcMuNu

Aug 27, 2015, 3:30 PM-5:30 PM

Room 202 Physics

Advisor: Marina Artuso

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

TD

Thesis Defense - Modulation of Charged Biomimetic Membrane by Bivalent Ions

Aug 17, 2015, 3:00 PM-5:00 PM

Room 202 Physics

Advisor: Martin Forstner

TD

Thesis Defense - Beyond Standard Model Physics Under the Ground and in the Sky

Jul 15, 2015, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

Room 202 Physics

Advisor: Jay Hubisz

TD

Thesis Defense - Collective Phenomena in Active Systems

Jul 14, 2015, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Room 202 Physics

Advisor: M. Cristina Marchetti

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Contact Information:
Penny Davis, administration questions
shdavis@syr.edu
315-443-5960

C

How do Molecules Form in Star-forming Regions?

Jul 13, 2015, 3:00 PM-5:00 PM

208 Physics

Host: Gianfranco Vidali

More than 150 different gas phase molecules and around 20 molecular species on the grain surface have been detected in various regions of the Interstellar Medium (ISM). Many of these molecules are organic, and therefore important astro-biologically. These molecules range in complexity from diatomic H2 to a 15-atom linear nitrile, HC13N. I will discuss how these molecules are formed in a variety of astrophysical sources, with an emphasis on their formation in the star forming regions.

Numerical techniques we developed to study the formation of these molecules include the rate equation method, as well as several more detailed stochastic methods, based upon either the direct solution of the master equation or a Monte Carlo realization of the problem. In this talk, I will present results obtained for diffuse clouds and dust grain mantle compositions, and will discuss their dependence on various physical parameters associated with a star forming region.