Calendar, Fall 2006                        

Fall 2006


Week 1 - August 30 - September 3

Monday, August 28

First day of classes for Fall Semester.

Friday, September 1, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch.  Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Hall to join the department for stimulating conversation.  We'll have a table reserved for Physics.

Friday, September 1, 3:10PM - 4PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  No Talk

Week 2 - September 4-8

Friday, September 9, 12PM - 1PM Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Dempsey Lounge (the room behind the partition at the south end of Lower Dempsey Dining Room) to join the department for stimulating conversation with our distinguished visitor.

Friday, September 8, 3:10PM - 4PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  Frank Peiris,  Assistant Professor of Physics, Kenyon College.  Title:  "My Second Innings as a Graduate Student:  Batting on a Reactive Wicket”   Abstract:   Batting for the second time on five-day cricket games can be very precarious. The wicket (pitch) develops cracks, dries up, and often deceives the batsman because the ball gathers a lot of spin upon bouncing on such a wicket. Although difficult, batsmen are often grateful for the opportunity to face the music for the second time.

Some of the boundaries Dr. Peiris wanted to hit during his first innings as a physics grad-student, he managed to accomplish during his second innings as a chemistry grad-student during the past two years at the University of Toronto. Although not officially so, Dr. Peiris was no more than a grad-student since materials synthesis and the other chemical procedures he was attempting to work with were completely new to him. In other words, a very different wicket compared to what he had experienced before.

This talk will deal with both the chemistry and physics of two very important classes of materials: periodic mesoporous silica and photonic crystals. Periodic mesoporous silica is an exciting class of materials with potential application in microelectronics, catalysis, and chemical sensing. Photonic crystals are artificially engineered structures that have a periodic modulation of its dielectric constant (or the index of refraction) in one, two, or three dimensions. Due to this periodic modulation, photonic crystals exhibit some fascinating properties from both a fundamental as well as an applicational point of view. In addition to discussing the properties, especially their optical, of these two types of materials, Dr. Peiris will describe his recent results pertaining to a structure similar to a ham sandwich (ham=periodic mesoporous silica, bread=photonic crystals).  Reception to follow in Hayes Hall Lobby.

Week 3 - September 11 - 15

Friday, September 15, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Friday, September 15, 3:10 - 4PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  TBD


Week 4 - September 18-22

Friday, September 22, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Friday, September 22, 3:10PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  Max Lavrentovich, '08   Title:  “PDEs on Random Grids: Finding Stability in Unstable Spaces”  Abstract:  In physics, partial differential equations (PDEs) are a class of relations that involve functions of time and space variables and their partial derivatives with respect to these variables.  PDEs describe the dynamics of many systems in quantum and classical mechanics, electrodynamics, biology, and other areas. Since analytic solutions to PDEs are often difficult or impossible to find, numerical solvers are crucial tools in the study of these equations. Computational algorithms that do not require a regular partitioning of space are particularly important in practical applications, where PDEs may describe processes on irregular geometries.  Max will discuss the unique problems associated with algorithms that compute spatial derivatives using random arrangements of points. In particular, he will address the notorious instabilities that can ruin numerical solutions.  In doing so, he will present a novel method, that he, Dr. Sullivan, and Dr. Palffy-Muhoray from Kent State U. developed, of dealing with these instabilities through von Neumann stability analysis.  Max will also discuss practical ways of partitioning space without relying on regular lattices.  Finally, he will address an interesting biological application that is motivating further exploration of this method.  Reception to follow in Hayes Hall lobby.

Week 5 - September 25 - 29

Friday, September 29, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.  

Friday, September 29, 3:10PM - 4PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  David Slochower, '07, Title:  "Coded Aperture Imaging"
Abstract: 
The goal of nuclear medicine is to use radioactive materials to diagnose and treat disease.  Nuclear medicine imaging is unique because it is a non-invasive technique that provides information about both structure and function. To create nuclear images which represent the distribution of radioactivity within the body, we use a coded aperture to cast a coded image onto a nuclear detector, much like a traditional pinhole camera. The coded aperture is a thin sheet of Tungsten which contains a carefully chosen pattern of pinholes which allow gamma rays to pass. Mr. Slochower will present results from spring break when this setup was used in vivo to image mouse bones and pig sentinel lymph nodes. The reconstructed images have better resolution, sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio than traditional imaging systems.  Reception to follow in Hayes Hall lobby.

Week 6 - October 2 - 6

Friday, October 6, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund PRIVATE Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Week 7 - October 9 - 13

Monday, October 9 and Tuesday, October 10

October Reading Days! 

Friday, October 13, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Friday, October 13, 3:10PM - 4PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  Franklin Miller, Department of Physics   Title:  "Luis Alvarez:  Remembered"  You can find a brief biography of Luis Alvarez here: 

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1968/alvarez-bio.html

Reception to follow.

Week 8 - October 16 - 20

Friday, October 20, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.  

Friday, October 20, 3:10PM - 4PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  Sebastien Fournier, University of Toronto, Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering     Title:  "Nanomachines... Dreams or Reality?"   Abstract:  In a world where the prefix "NANO" has become a buzz word for most scientists (especially those who want to get their research funded) but also for the media who love to create dramas with futuristic earth filled with nanorobots (aka nanobots) overpowering the human race, it is sometimes difficult to see where the research in the field really stands.  This talk will give a brief introduction on nanomachines followed by a look at what one can find in the nanochemistry toolbox.  A tantalizing glimpse on how to transform some passive tools into active (or "living") nanomachines will be presented.  Reception to follow in Hayes Hall lobby.

Week 9 - October 23 - 27

Friday, October 27, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Friday, October 27, 3:10PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  John Hungerford, '07  Title:  "Interacting Boolean Networks:   Abstract:  Groups of discrete dynamic systems known as Random Boolean Networks have been shown to be a useful abstract model for the genetic regulatory network of biological cells. This talk will present a new kind of Boolean Network model where identical networks can interact with each other as neighbors in a manner similar to cellular automata. The dynamic activity of each network can be viewed from an internal perspective, where the interest is on the network states themselves, or it may be viewed from an external course-grained perspective, which we call the “basin of attraction” viewpoint. An examination of the Shannon entropies these systems from both perspectives reveals the degree to which order results as the level of interactivity varies. The results of this analysis may give insight into the role that Boolean dynamics, outside of any evolutionary engineering, might play in the transfer of information between cells in multi-cellular organisms. Reception to follow in Hayes Hall lobby.

Week 10 - October 30 - November 3

Friday, November 3, 12PM - 1PM 

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Friday, November 3, 3:10 - 4PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  Stephen FitzGerald,  Department of Physics, Oberlin University   Title:  "The Quantum Dynamics of Hydrogen Storage"   Abstract:  There is much talk about the “Hydrogen Economy” and the possibility that someday we will all drive around in environmentally friendly hydrogen powered cars. The biggest obstacle to this becoming reality is our inability to store sufficient hydrogen for a reasonable journey. In my talk I will show how infrared spectroscopy can be used to probe the quantum dynamics of trapped hydrogen and in particular the degree to which it is bound within a storage matrix.    To read about Professor FitzGerald's research, please visit:  http://www.oberlin.edu/faculty/sfgerald/

Week 11 - November 6 - 10

Friday, November 10, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Dempsey Lounge (the room behind the partition at the south end of Lower Dempsey Dining Room) to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Friday, November 10, 3:10 - 4PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  Dr. Andrew Resnick, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve University  Title:  "Possible Role of the Primary Cilium as a Flow Sensor"   Abstract:  A goal of this talk is to make biological research comprehensible to physical scientists. Recent experimental evidence has pointed to the primary (nonmotile) cilium as the mechanosensory organelle in epithelial cells. While most studies to date have reported cellular responses, such as elevation of intracellular Ca2+ to acute force applications, three recent studies have described angiotensin receptor expression, STAT6 translocation, and decreased transepithelial sodium current to chronic application of low forces. Chronic force sensing occurs at levels significantly lower than previously reported, and mechanosensing is abolished when the primary cilium is removed. This provides evidence that the cilium is a seat of mechanosensation in this cell system. We conclude that the cellular response occurs even when the applied force is, at an upper limit, 4.6*10-3 pN, only twice that of thermal noise (kT/L = 2*10-3 pN). Dr. Resnick will attempt to make the relevant biology comprehensible to a physicist, to show how physics makes a vital contribution to this type of research, and also to show why the above work is important to biologists.   Reception to follow in Hayes Hall Lobby.  To read about Professor Resnick, please visit:  http://physiology.case.edu/faculty.php?id=65    

Week 12 - November 13 - 17

Friday, November 17, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Friday, November 17, 3:10 - 4PM

No Physics Colloquium

Thanksgiving Break Week - November 20 - 24


Week 13 - November 27 - December 1

Friday, December 1, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Friday, December 1, 3:10PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)   Ido Braslavsky, Assistant Professor of Physics, Ohio University  Title:  Investigation of the Interactions Between Antifreeze Proteins and Ice Surfaces Using Fluorescence Microscopy and Microfluidic Techniques"  Abstract: Biomineralization, the control of crystal growth by biological systems, is a fascinating phenomenon. Our work on biomineralization focuses on the mechanism of action of antifreeze proteins (AFPs), which inhibit ice crystal growth. These naturally occurring proteins have many potential applications in areas such as food preservation, agriculture, cryobiology and dairy industry. The goal of our research is the characterization and understanding of the physical interactions between AFPs and ice. In my talk I will describe our investigation of AFPs using fluorescence microscopy in combination with microfluidic techniques that allows us to directly check the assumptions underlying the theories that describe AFPs activity. A better understanding of how AFPs control crystal growth should enable the design of AFPs for particular applications, and provide a platform for controlling crystal growth in future nanotechnology applications. To read about Professor Braslavsky, please visit:  http://www.phy.ohiou.edu/people/faculty/braslavsky.html .

Week 14 - December 4 - 8

Friday, December 8, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Friday, December 8, 3:10 - 4PM

Physics Colloquium (Franklin Miller, Jr. Lecture Hall, RBH 109)  Rob de Ruyter van Steveninck, Professor, Department of Physics, Biocomplexity Institute. Indiana University   Title:  "From Photons to Motion Perception: Signal, Noise and Optimality in Visual Information Processing"  Abstract:    Visual information processing begins in the retina, where light is converted into electrical signals. Those signals are used by the brain to extract features useful in guiding action. An example of this is the estimation of visual motion, which is very important in animal navigation. A fundamental constraint in this process comes from the physics of light. Light is absorbed in packets, called photons, which arrive at random in time. The visual input signal therefore contains an irreducible noise component, which will affect any computations performed by the brain.

In our group we are interested in how the statistics of visual signal and noise affect the computation of motion. I will present two approaches to this problem:

* Concurrent sampling of natural visual signals and motion, which allows us to derive the computational form of the optimal motion estimator.

* Recording from blowfly motion sensitive neurons. This tells us how a relatively small, but visually sophisticated, animal is affected by visual signal statistics.

The first approach leads to the somewhat surprising result that, in order to be optimal, the estimation of velocity must be biased at low contrasts. The neural recordings show that the fly exhibits a very similar bias, suggesting that its brain implements a form of optimal processing. Some of the more general implications of this result will be discussed.

Reception to follow in Hayes Hall Lobby.   If you would like to read about Professor Beggs' work, visit -- http://www.physics.indiana.edu/faculty/DeRuyter.shtml.


Week 15 - December 11 - 15

Tuesday, December 12

Last day of classes for Fall Semester!

Friday, December 15, 12PM - 1PM

Physics Lunch. Bring your lunch tray to Gund Dining Room to join the department for stimulating conversation.

Have a safe and happy break.  See you next year!


   Contact:  Connie Miller, Dept. of Physics. 
 
Created by Bethany Anderson,
Kenyon College 2005
October 25, 2003
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