To help you grow as a physicist, astronomer, or engineer, we have a colloquium series each semester.

The series gives you a chance to get away from the classroom setting, hear from people in the business, and see what’s been done elsewhere. We usually bring in about a dozen speakers per semester, including professors from other universities and scientists from business and government .

The colloquium is required, and you do get credit for it. Graduate students have to attend three series, undergraduates, one or two.

To make sure you've soaked it all in, we require that you give a presentation at the end of each semester about what you learned: an oral presentation in the fall and a poster presentation in the spring. These exercises will develop your presentation skills, which is essential in this discipline.

Spring 2019 Colloquium Series

Please join us for our physics and astronomy related seminars. All seminars take place in Cooper Physical Science Building (CP), room 144, and begin at 3:30 p.m. (unless noted otherwise). Refreshments are served at 3:15 p.m. in CP 108. Please call 765-285-8860 for further information.

Abstract: Ball State University joined the South Eastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) in 2005. Since then our faculty and students have benefitted from access to professional research grade facilities at some of the best astronomical observing sites in the world. This talk will review the history of the SARA/BSU membership and examples of new and surprising research projects and discoveries. These include the detection of near-Earth asteroids and an explosive stellar outburst.
Abstract: Where does the mass in the universe come from? The first portion of the talk will summarize our present best answer to this question within the Standard Model of particle physics. The second part of the talk will describe some recent experimental and theoretical efforts to advance our understanding beyond the Standard Model.
Image of William Jay at January 31 Colloquium
Abstract: As the fuel for new star, atomic hydrogen (HI) is strongly tied to the formation of stars in galaxies. But are there galaxies where this tie breaks down - galaxies with HI, but very few or no stars? The Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) blind extragalactic HI survey uses Arecibo Observatory, one of the largest radio telescopes in the world, to search for radio waves from atomic hydrogen in (nearly) starless galaxies. This talk will present results from this search - including a faint population of gas-rich "ultra-diffuse" galaxies with large radii like the Milky Way, but very few stars, like dwarf galaxies - and will explore what these sources teach us about how galaxies form.
Abstract: Near Space Launch, Inc is a company dedicated to research, innovation and delivery of small satellites for space and earth-space boundary exploration, headquartered in Upland, IN. In this talk I will discuss some of the recent projects I've been working on at NSL, such as the world's smallest independent satellite, the ThinSat, which also has the distinction of being the first satellite designed in Indiana. Time permitting I will discuss some of the physics we use in satellite design and deployment.
Matt Orvis
Abstract: The Quark Gluon Plasma is new state of Nuclear Matter created in high energy nuclear collisions, also called Relativistic Heavy Ion collisions. I will review the unique properties of the QGP, which turns out to have unique liquid-like properties like hydrodynamic flow, the lowest viscosity ever observed, and the largest vorticity ever observed. As well, I will motivate why understanding the QGP is important for understanding the theory of the strong nuclear force, Quantum Chromo-Dynamics (QCD). A recent development in the study of these collisions has been the observation of hydrodynamic flow in the collisions of "small" species, where at least one of the projectiles has only one, or just a few, nucleons. This flow and other observables show many of the same properties and QGP signals previously found in A+A collisions. I will also discuss how the QGP quenches fast quarks and gluons which pass through the medium before becoming QCD jets. I will show that the modification of these jets is important for addressing all of the above, and how a new experiment, currently in early phases at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Lab called sPHENIX, will aid in our quest for further understanding the QGP.
Abstract: The modern digital planetarium is a flexible immersive visualization facility, and a powerful tool for science communication and research. As datasets grow both in size and complexity immersive visualization will play an increasingly important role in data exploration and understanding. This presentation will focus on how data visualization in immersive environments (such as the planetarium) can be used to convey complex topics in contemporary science and how networking technology can be used to link experts to audiences across the globe. 
Photo of Michael Cushing
Abstract: The study of brown dwarfs with effective temperatures less than 500 K can offer important insights into the complex physics of ultracool atmospheres, the shape of the initial mass function, and the low-mass limit of star formation. We have been using the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) to search for just such a population of brown dwarfs and have identified roughly twenty cool browns dwarfs that populate a new spectral class, dubbed 'Y'. In this talk, I will present the discovery of the Y dwarfs, summarize our current understanding of their basic physical properties, discuss how HST photometry has improved our understanding of the coolest (Teff ~ 250 K) brown dwarf known, WISE 0855-0714, and discuss our initial attempts to understand condensate clouds in Y dwarf atmospheres using joint HST+Spitzer observations.
Michael Cushing