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Colloquium

The Fall 2020 Colloquia will be held over Zoom on Mondays at 4:45 PM, EST.

Colloquium Archives
Fall 2020 Schedule
Date
Speaker
Title
Host

August 24

Bob Dubois
UT Department of Psychology

Getting Things Done
(Missed it? Here's the recording)

Shikha Bangar

August 31

Kevin Dusling
Editorial Staff, PRL

Physical Review Letters, The Inside Story

Nadia Fomin

September 7

No Colloquium

 

 

September 14

Elizabeth Brost
Brookhaven National Laboratory

Double the Fun: Searching for Higgs Pair Production at the LHC

Tova Holmes

September 21

Alan Robock
Rutgers University Department of Environmental Sciences

Climatic and Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear War

Nadia Fomin

September 28

Meg Urry
Yale University

Physicists of the 21st Century: How to Attract and Retain Talent

Nadia Fomin

October 5

Emily Smith
Colorado School of Mines

Transforming Introductory Physics Labs to Engage Students in Experimentation

Nadia Fomin

October 12

Deirdre Shoemaker
Georgia Tech

Numerical Relativity in the Age of Gravitational Wave Observations

Andrew Steiner

October 19

TBD

 

 

October 26

John Stockton
Altamira Technologies

Careers in Data Science

Sean Lindsay

November 2

TBD

 

 

November 9

TBD

 

 

November 16

TBD

 

 

November 23

Melina Avila
Argonne National Laboratory

TBD

Miguel Madurga


Abstracts
August 24

Bob Dubois, UT Department of Psychology

Getting Things Done
(Missed it? Here's the recording)

A gorgeous planner for your year of dreams and joys. Excelling as a learner requires discipline and hard work. You can’t afford to procrastinate. Learn how you can use time management principles grounded in research to stay focused, organized, and productive.


August 31

Kevin Dusling, Editorial Staff, PRL

Physical Review Letters, The Inside Story

Physical Review Letters is the most cited journal in physics, with a Letter cited roughly every 80 seconds. Editors decide what to publish with extensive input from peer review and consultation with the PRL editorial board. This talk will provide an outline of how PRL manages the review of more than 10,000 annual submissions, less than 1/4 of which are published, while maintaining the breadth and exclusivity that is the hallmark of the journal.

We face many challenges as the publishing trends in some areas of physics shift to smaller, less comprehensive, or more interdisciplinary venues. I will discuss some of these challenges, and what PRL is doing, to maintain a competitive journal that best serves the physics community.


September 14

Elizabeth Brost, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Double the Fun: Searching for Higgs Pair Production at the LHC

Since the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012, particle physicists have been hard at work studying its properties. While some properties of the Higgs boson, such as its mass and spin, have already been measured with great precision at the LHC and agree well with the Standard Model (SM), others remain unconstrained and could be a window into new physics.

The Higgs self-coupling can be directly measured in collisions resulting in pairs of Higgs bosons, and the measurement of this coupling will give insight into the conditions of the early universe. This is a challenging measurement, due to the incredibly small rate at which pairs of Higgs bosons are produced in the SM. At the same time, a wide range of beyond-the-SM models predict enhancements to the Higgs pair production rate, which motivates searching for this process even now. In this talk, I discuss current searches for Higgs pair production at the LHC, and a roadmap towards the eventual observation of this process and measurement of the Higgs self-coupling.


September 21

Alan Robock, Rutgers University Department of Environmental Sciences

Climatic and Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear War

A nuclear war between any two nations, such as India and Pakistan, with each country using 50 Hiroshima-sized atom bombs as airbursts on urban areas, could inject 5 Tg of soot from the resulting fires into the stratosphere, so much smoke that the resulting climate change would be unprecedented in recorded human history. Our climate model simulations find that the smoke would absorb sunlight, making it dark, cold, and dry at Earth’s surface and produce global-scale ozone depletion, with enhanced ultraviolet radiation reaching the surface. The changes in temperature, precipitation, and sunlight from the climate model simulations, applied to crop models show that these perturbations would reduce global agricultural production of the major food crops for a decade. Since India and Pakistan now have more nuclear weapons with larger yields, and their cities are larger, even a war between them could produce emissions of 27 or even 47 Tg of soot.

My current research project, being conducted jointly with scientists from the University of Colorado, Columbia University, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, is examining in detail, with city firestorm and global climate models, various possible scenarios of nuclear war and their impacts on agriculture and the world food supply. Using six crop models we have simulated the global impacts on the major cereals for the 5 Tg case. The impact of the nuclear war simulated here, using much less than 1% of the global nuclear arsenal, could sentence a billion people now living marginal existences to starvation. By year 5, maize and wheat availability would decrease by 13% globally and by more than 20% in 71 countries with a cumulative population of 1.3 billion people. In view of increasing instability in South Asia, this study shows that a regional conflict using < 1% of the worldwide nuclear arsenal could have adverse consequences for global food security unmatched in modern history. The greatest nuclear threat still comes from the United States and Russia. Even the reduced arsenals that remain in 2020 due to the New START Treaty threaten the world with nuclear winter. The world as we know it could end any day as a result of an accidental nuclear war between the United States and Russia. With temperatures plunging below freezing, crops would die and massive starvation could kill most of humanity.

As a result of international negotiations pushed by civil society led by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and referencing our work, the United Nations passed a Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons on July 7, 2017. On December 10, 2017, ICAN accepted the Nobel Peace Prize “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.” Will humanity now pressure the United States and the other eight nuclear nations to sign this treaty? The Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction is working to make that happen.



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