Dr. Tony Mezzacappa
Dr. Cristian Batista
Dr. Nadia Fomin
Dr. Sowjanya Gollapinni
Dr. Hanno Weitering
All talks begin at 10 a.m., with Q&A from 11 to 11:20 a.m.
Venue: 415 Nielsen Physics Building
Free parking from 9:30 until 11:30 a.m. in the 11th Street Garage
Courtesy of APS and phys.org
Contact the Program Director with questions:
Kranti Gunthoti: firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1905, in what has been called the Annus Mirabilis, or Miracle Year, Einstein published three papers that shook the foundations of the centuries-old “classical” physics of Galileo and Newton and ushered in the era of “modern” physics, which includes relativity and quantum physics. In particular, his theory of relativity was published over an eleven-year period, beginning with the publication of his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905 and culminating in the publication of his masterpiece, the General Theory of Relativity, in 1916. The General Theory of Relativity is among the greatest achievements of the human mind in humankind’s history. Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity dismantled our classical notions of space and time, reassembling them into a new concept: space-time. The General Theory of Relativity in turn gifted us a physical interpretation of space-time, telling us something no less profound than what space-time is, along with a revolutionary theory of gravity that turned Newton’s theory on its ear. My hope is to guide attendees through these exciting developments, giving each attendee a glimpse at Einstein’s genius and the profound implications his thought has had, and continues to have, on our view of the most fundamental aspects of our experience, and our Universe.
For many years, physicists described the world in terms of particles and waves. Particles are localized massive objects that come in different sizes, such as atoms, molecules, a grain of salt, a bullet or a soccer ball. Waves are oscillations that transfer energy through matter or space. Mechanical waves propagate through a medium made of small particles. For instance, sound waves propagate via air molecules colliding with their neighbors. Similarly, the waves that we make when we throw a stone in a quiet lake propagate via water molecules. In contrast, electromagnetic waves, such as light or microwaves, do not require a medium. In other words, they can travel through the vacuum of outer space.
The new theory of quantum mechanics, introduced at the beginning of the twentieth century, revealed that these classical notions are no longer applicable to very small particles, such as electrons or subatomic particles, or to waves with very short wave length. Through the work of giants, like Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Louis de Broglie, Arthur Compton, Niels Bohr and many others, we know now that particles can sometimes behave as waves, while waves can behave as particles. This discovery triggered a scientific gold rush that change our world in ways that nobody could have anticipated.
How did the Universe come into existence? What is this Universe made of at the most fundamental level? It is these questions that the field of particle physics ultimately aims to answer. It is surprising for many to know that the mystery behind the biggest things in the Universe, and ultimately the Universe itself, lies in understanding the behavior of nature at a scale that is a million times smaller than that of an atom. These tiniest beings of nature are called “particles”. Particle physicists study particles and how they interact with each other and everything else around them, to gain insights into some of the most sought out mysteries in the Universe. As the famous saying goes “the smaller the object you want to observe the bigger and powerful the microscope needs to be”, particle physics experiments are gigantic, unique and powerful enough to probe into the sub-atomic world and are usually built in some of the most remote places on earth. Building particle physics experiments is a scientific adventure in itself and often times requires tools that push the boundaries of technology. While particle physics is a curiosity driven science, the tools and technologies that stem from particle physics research have long lasting value in the society spanning everything from applications in other fields and in daily life to training next generation of scientists. This talk will give an overview of the particle physics research and discuss all aspects of it
We know that atoms are the building blocks of matter, and their nuclei are made of protons and neutrons. However, most of us picture a static objects with unmoving components. In reality, not only do these nucleons have structure, they are also quite dynamic, as we have learned from the last few decades of experiments. I will discuss the general subatomic features of the nucleons and focus on the short-range repulsion they experience while inside matter that can impart the nucleons with velocities that are non-negligible fractions of the speed of light!
Atoms and molecules are the Lego®-blocks of solid matter. Throughout the ages, humans have harnessed the properties of solid materials, either provided by nature and/or synthesized by humans, for instance to make tools, create art, or build machines, cars, airplanes, rockets and satellites, computer chips, or solar panels. In this presentation, I will highlight the most important materials discoveries since the mid 1900’s, including the silicon revolution and discovery of high-temperature superconductors and new forms of carbon. Twenty-first century forefront topics include so-called ‘quantum matter phases’ whose macroscopic properties emerge from the underlying quantum mechanical ‘many-body’ interactions. These quantum materials are now driving technological advances that hold enormous potential to revolutionize consumer electronics, telecommunications, energy conversion and storage, and quantum computing. Many of these applications involve a ‘bottom-up’ approach of materials synthesis, or simply put: playing Lego with atoms to create artificially structured materials that mother nature cannot provide. UT researchers are happily and successfully playing along.