Physics and Astronomy Colloquium Series

Winter 2014


Talks are scheduled for Thursdays at 12:40 PM in Room N304 of the Science and Engineering Building, unless otherwise indicated. Pizza and beverages are served at 12:20PM.

All are welcome!



January 9




January 16

Summer Research Presentation - Come hear from the faculty about opportunities for summer research in the department and about REU's.


January 23


January 30

Jeff Bary

Colgate University

"The Importance of Being Duplicitous: Why Binarity Matters"

Abstract: In spite of the depiction of Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine as orbiting two suns, astronomers have long assumed that such systems would be difficult, if not impossible to form and remain stable. In recent years, the Kepler space telescope has discovered several exoplanetary systems in which the planets orbit both of the host stars. Given that more than half of mature stellar systems are binary or higher order multiple systems, the previously neglected dynamical complexity of such systems must be tackled in order for us to construct a more complete understanding of the processes that lead to the formation of planets. After a brief review of multi-stellar systems and the recent discoveries, this talk will focus on my current observational attempts to understand the evolution of young, million-year old, multi-stellar systems into the "unexpected" hosts of extrasolar planets by studying the interactions between the young stars and the reservoirs of gas and dust that swirl around them.


February 7


Ray Misiewicz

Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (Retired)


Abstract: This is the story of a man that changed the world by providing humanity with a basic new source of energy. Whether one looks approvingly or fearfully at nuclear power, Admiral Rickover transformed it from a wartime technology to a practical power source that benefitted not only the United States Navy but also spawned the world’s first civilian nuclear power station. He did this through the sheer force of his will and wit. Admiral Rickover did not invent or discover nuclear power, but he made it a reality. The story shows that as an engineer, he was uniquely effective. We’ll follow his life first as an immigrant and later as the man who developed the first nuclear submarine and other ships that make up today’s nuclear navy.

Joint Seminar with Mechanical Engineering. This colloquium will be held on Friday 2/7 at 12:55pm Olin 115.

February 13

Faculty & Student Luncheon

February 20

Kevin Schultz


“Making a Really Cheap Quantum Graph”

Abstract: I will describe a new research program in Quantum Chaos that is starting in Hartwick College’s Physics Department. Quantum Chaos is the study of quantum systems whose classical counterparts exhibits chaotic behavior. This is interesting because the linearity of quantum mechanics forbids the existence of chaotic solutions, yet we are still faced with the correspondence principle. In my talk I will describe quantum chaos and how we can measure its effects as well as describing the experimental realization of quantum graphs, which are an ideal test bed for understanding quantum chaos.


February 27



Founder's Day



March 6



March 13

Mike Gordon


"Ultra-low emissivity alpha particle detection"

Abstract: Semiconductor memory and logic elements are susceptible to "soft" errors caused by the passage of electrical charge near sensitive nodes. The charge can come from direct ionization from alpha particles in the packaging, terrestrial neutrons (which cause spallation), or thermal neutrons if any appreciable levels of 10B are near the sensitive volumes. In this talk, I will discuss the detection of very low levels of alpha particles in materials of interest in the semiconductor industry.

Schedule for Spring 2014

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Last Updated: March 11, 2014