Past Events

  • Department Colloquium: "The Pope of Physics: Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age"

    David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A8

    Gino Segre (University of Pennsylvania) and Bettina Hoerlin

    Enrico Fermi was unique in a number of ways, including the staggering breadth of his research, from relativity theory and magnetohydrodynamics to instrument development. He was the only 20th century physicist to have attained the very heights of the profession as a theorist and experimentalist as well as the only one to be essentially self-taught. His 1938 Nobel Prize was picked up en route in his flight from fascist Italy with his Jewish wife and children to find a new life in America.

  • Department Colloquium: "The New Era of Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astrophysics"

    David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A8

    Alessandra Buonanno (MPI Munich) hosted by Justin Khoury

    The detection by LIGO of gravitational waves emitted by coalescing binary black holes heralded a new era in physics and astrophysics. I will review the theoretical work aimed at solving the two-body problem in General Relativity that has paved the way to observe such gravitational-wave signals and highlight the main implications of the discovery focusing on its astrophysical and fundamental physics aspects. I will also discuss the unique science that lies ahead of us with upcoming gravitational-wave observations.

  • Department Colloquium:"The Maps Inside Your Head"

    David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A8

    Vijay Balasubramanian (UPenn) hosted by: Joe Kroll

    How do our brains make sense of a complex and unpredictable world? In this talk, I will discuss a physicist's approach to the neural topography of information processing in the brain. First I will review the brain's architecture, and how neural circuits map out the sensory and cognitive worlds. Then I will describe how highly complex sensory and cognitive tasks are carried out by the cooperative action of many specialized neurons and circuits, each of which has a simple function. I will illustrate my remarks with one sensory example and one cognitive example.

  • Primakoff Lecture: From (Astro)particle Physics to Applications: The Role of Scientific Institutes for the Development of Society

    David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A8

    Rolf Heuer (CERN) Hosted by Joe Kroll

    With the start of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, particle physics entered a new era. The LHC project will provide a deeper understanding of the universe and the insights gained could change our view of the world.

  • Department Colloquium: "Perturbation and Control of Human Brain Network Dynamics"

    David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A8

    Danielle Bassett (UPenn), Hosted by: Andrea Liu

    The human brain is a complex organ characterized by heterogeneous patterns of interconnections. New non-invasive imaging techniques now allow for these patterns to be carefully and comprehensively mapped in individual humans, paving the way for a better understanding of how wiring supports our thought processes.

  • Department Colloquium: "Wave Piloting in the Marshall Islands"

    David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A8

    Professor John Huth (Harvard) Hosted by: Professor Joe Kroll

    Of all the Pacific Island navigation cultures, the practice of wave piloting in the Marshall Islands is perhaps the most curious. Navigators observed the patterns of ocean swells to find their way among atolls and islands in outrigger canoes.  Over a century of colonial occupation stretched this tradition to near extinction. Captain Korent Joel is the only living Marshall Islander with the traditional credential of rimeto (navigator).

  • Department Colloquium: "The Universe as a Lab for Fundamental Physics: Results from Spider and Future Suborbital Missions"

    David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A8

    William Jones (Princeton) Hosted by James Aguirre

    I will describe our recent results from observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background, including a status report on the recent flight of the Spider experiment, a balloon borne CMB polarimeter.  I will also discuss a convergence of observational needs and technological capabilities that provide intriguing opportunities for improving our understanding of both the late- and early-time evolution of the Universe.


    *Refreshments served @ 3:30pm, DRL 2nd Floor Faculty Lounge*

  • Department Colloquium: "Physics Opportunities at Future Circular Colliders"

    DRL A8

    Liantao Wang (U of Chicago) Hosted by Joe Kroll

    Following the discovery of the Higgs boson, there has been a lot discussion about the next step in high energy physics. Among different options, a couple of newly proposed next generation circular colliders, including FCC at CERN and CEPC/SPPC in China, have attracted a lot of attention. Through preliminary studies in the past couple of years, an exciting picture of their physics capabilities has emerged. In this talk, I will give an overview on this topic, focusing on some of the most important questions in high energy physics they can help addressing. 

  • Department Colloquium: "The Event Horizon Telescope: Imaging and Time-Resolving a Black Hole"

    David Rittenhouse Laboratory, A8

    Shep Doeleman (MIT) Hosted by James Aguirre

    A convergence of high bandwidth radio instrumentation and Global mm and submm wavelength facilities are enabling assembly of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT): a short-wavelength Very Long Baseline Interferometry

  • Department Colloquium: "Spotting the Elusive Majorana Under the Microscope"

    DRL A8

    Ali Yazdani (Princeton University) Hosted by Eleni Katifori

    Topological superconductors are a distinct form of matter that is predicted to host boundary Majorana fermions. The search for Majorana quasi-particles in condensed matter systems is motivated in part by their potential use as topological qubits to perform fault-tolerant computation aided by their non-Abelian characteristics. Recently, we have proposed a new patform for the realization of Majorana fermions in condensed matter, based on chains of magnetic atoms on the surface of a superconductor.