Colloquium CANCELLED: Constraints on our Universe as a Numerical Simulation

Colloquium on Thursday, 5 March, at 15:45 in the Lehman Hall of the SEH by

Dr. Martin Savage
University of Washington

Cancelled due to projected Snow Event

(Curse you, simulation creator!)

Bostrom has argued that unless we are living in a simulation,our descendants will almost certainly never run an ancestor simulation.While we are at the very earliest stages of performing simulations of simple systems with the fundamental laws of nature, the constraint of finite computational resources in a simulation of the universe would manifest itself as deviations of basic observables from naive expectations. Guided by how present day simulations of the strong and electromagnetic interactions,performed with lattice gauge theories, we discuss observables, such as the distribution of the highest energy cosmic rays and the magnetic moment of the muon, that could reveal an underlying discretization of space-time – consistent with a numerical simulation.matrix

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Nuclear Seminar

Next Nuclear Seminar on Tuesday, Feb 24 at 3:30 pm in Corcoran 209:

Prof. John Annand (U. of Glasgow)

Experiments in Hall-A of JLab using the Super BigBite Spectrometer

Jefferson Lab is currently returning online after an upgrade to the CEBAF electron accelerator from 6 to 12 GeV. In Hall-A the major focus will be on the Super BigBite (SBS) programme of experiments, which is the subject of this talk. Initially these concentrate on proton and neutron elastic form factors, from which a flavor decomposition of u,d quark spatial distributions can be made. This offers the possibility of direct observation of di-quark configurations in the nucleon. The SBS/Hall-A detector system is very flexible and extension of the system for new proposals such as pion structure function measurement is discussed.

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Colloquium: Lessons Learned Implementing Online Physics Education

Colloquium on Thursday, 26 Februar, at 15:45 (NEW START TIME!) in the Lehman Hall of the SEH by

Dr. John Stewart
West Virginia University

The calculus-based physics sequence at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville was revised to feature inquiry-based methods as part of the PhysTEC project in 2001. Since this time, the sequence has been a key component to the exceptional growth of the undergraduate physics program and its production of physics teachers. In line with the university system’s strategic goals for online education, online lecture sections were added to the sequence in the Spring 2013 semester. Measurement of a mid-semester introduction of the lecture option in Fall 2012 showed that the change to online lecture was educationally neutral, but that lower performing students elected higher levels of the replacement of face-to-face (f2f) lecture with video. While educationally equivalent, the online lecture sections suffered significantly higher withdrawal rates than f2f sections. This effect is not yet fully understood, but 50% of the anomalous withdrawal rate results from students repeating the class electing online sections, and then withdrawing at very high rates. To improve ease of transfer between university campuses, the university began offering its first-semester, calculus-based physics class online to other campuses of the University of Arkansas during the Fall 2013 semester. This required the production of online laboratories. These laboratories used a mix of simulations and video recording of experiments to replace f2f laboratories. Our experiences with taking a very well understood and highly successful course sequence online have been mixed. Some experiences suggest that online options can be an effective replacement of f2f options; some experiences suggest that caution is appropriate when considering replacing f2f experiences with online options.learn

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Colloquium: Physics and Hard Disk Drives — An Industrial Career Perspective

Colloquium on Thursday, 12 Februar, at 15:45 (NEW START TIME!) in the Lehman Hall of the SEH by

Dr. Steven Lambert
American Physical Society, Industrial Physics Fellow

Hard disk drives are marvels of technology. Each drive shipping today includes magnetic tunnel junctions to read data, thermal expansion actuators to precisely adjust head-disk spacing to ~1nm, and data tracks only 70nm wide. Next generation technology could include laser heating of the disk surface to facilitate the writing process. An army of physicists, engineers, and materials scientists are responsible for a continuing stream of innovations that have made hard drives the key enabler for data storage in “the cloud”. Hard disk drive companies are just one of the numerous industries where physicists make essential contributions. This talk will use aspects of my 27-year career in magnetic recording to illustrate what it’s like for a physicist to work in industry. Employment statistics, salary trends, and career opportunities for those who earn physics degrees will also be discussed.


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Congratulations to our Society of Physics Students chapter

Kudos to our Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapter whose project

The “Phun”-damentals of Physics

has been selected as a

2014-15 Marsh White Awardee.

The awards committee was extremely impressed with the proposal for its promotion of physics among students and the general public. Marsh W. White Awards are made to SPS chapters to support projects designed to promote interest in physics among students and the general public. The Marsh W. White Award dates back to 1975 and is named in honor of Dr. Marsh W. White for his long years of service to Sigma Pi Sigma.

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