Physics Colloquium

Physics & Astronomy Department


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2018 Spring Colloquium Series

The Physics & Astronomy Department is offering a colloquium series this semester. Here are the details:

Seminars will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays (unless otherwise noted) in Solon Campus Center (SCC) 120

September 7th

Studying gender in physics education research: Beyond the binary.

Jennifer Blue, Associate Professor

Department of Physics, Miami University

Much work in physics education research, including much of my own, has examined differences in preparation, persistence, and performance between male and female students. I now believe that there are issues with the implied theoretical framework behind this work. When we look outside of physics, we see a growing, rich literature about the non-binary nature of gender, about intersectionality, and about identity formation. With other PER colleagues, I have called on our field to expand our framework and perform richer studies (Physical Review Education Research 12, 020114, 2016). We also propose short-term strategies that all physicists can employ to make our classrooms and labs more inclusive (Physics Today, March 2018).

*Location and time change*

Wednesday, October 10th, 6 PM

Location: CHEM 200

Discovering a ‘Great Freshwater Lake’ on Mars with Curiosity.

Roger Wiens, PhD

Space Remote Sensing Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of New Mexico

The 1-ton Curiosity rover has been exploring 90-mile diameter Gale crater on Mars since 2012. Previously there was no consensus on whether Mars’ climate had ever been warm, wet, and stable enough to establish long-lasting oceans, lakes, and fluvial systems—a habitable planet as we understand it. Shortly after landing we observed features characteristic of fluvial systems based on rounded pebbles and conglomerates. This was followed by evidence of a deltaic system in a closed lake experiencing fluctuating lake levels. Since then, over the last 4 years Curiosity has climbed > 300 m on fine-layered lacustrine strata, indicating that Gale Lake existed for hundreds of thousands to millions of years. Having recently analyzed samples from the drill hole “Duluth”, Curiosity will soon drive over a transition from the lacustrine environment to one that appears colder and dryer. My talk will also cover the role of the different instruments on Curiosity, and the discovery of organic molecules on Mars, and potential implications.

November 16th

Clues and Cues from QCD: Protons, Quarks, and All That.

John Hiller, Professor

Physics and Astronomy Department, University of Minnesota Duluth