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 2020 Colloquium Series

Due to the University’s response to COVID-19, the remainder of our Spring 2020 Colloquium Series will either be cancelled or moved to an online setting. Those decisions will be made closer to the date of the actual presentation. Please check back here for further details as they become available. You may also call 765-285-8860 for further information.

Abstract: A major theme of galaxy evolution is understanding how today’s Hubble sequence was established — what makes some galaxies red spheroidals and others blue disks, and what drives their relative numbers and their spatial distributions. One way of addressing these questions is that galaxies themselves hold clues to their formation in their internal structures. Recent observations of early-type galaxies in particular (ellipticals and lenticulars) have shown that their seemingly placid, nearly featureless optical images can be deceptive. Kinematic data show that the early-type galaxies have a wide variety of internal kinematic structures that are the relics of dramatic merging and accretion events. A surprising number of the early-type galaxies also contain cold atomic and molecular gas, which is significant because their transitions to the red sequence must involve removing most of their cold gas (the raw material for star formation). We can now also read clues to the evolution of early-type galaxies in the kinematics and rare isotope abundance patterns in the cold gas. Numerical simulations are beginning to work on reproducing these cold gas properties, so that we can place the early-type galaxies into their broader context.

*This presentation will begin at 4:00 P.M.

Abstract: For more than a century, the source of cosmic rays - the highest-energy particles that impact Earth from, seemingly, all parts of the Cosmos - has been one of the greatest mysteries of modern Astrophysics. The best models have suggested that they originate from two broad regions: the lower-energy particles accelerated from within our own galaxy, and the higher-energy particles from beyond. Recent observations of Supernova Remnants by Gamma-ray instruments, such as the Fermi Space Telescope and its ground-based companion, VERITAS, have shed new light on the source of galactic cosmic rays. This talk will focus on these experiments, and the exciting results that are shaping our understanding of the cosmic-ray puzzle.
Abstract: Cosmological simulations, such as Illustris, are at the point where they can accurately reproduce most of the galaxies that we see in the local universe. In this presentation, I will introduce galaxy morphology and talk about the overall structure of galaxies in the local universe. I will relate this to their physical dynamics, gas content, and star formation rates, and relate this to our ideas of cosmology. These same cosmological simulations, however, have a hard time reproducing rare types of galaxies. I will introduce a particularly rare type of galaxy, that of the non-barred ringed galaxy (or Hoag's-type objects). I will then discuss a new non-barred ringed galaxy that we discovered, PGC 1000714. On the surface, PGC 1000714 looks like most non-barred ringed galaxies, but our detailed analysis revealed some even more unusual structures that are difficult to explain using current models of galaxy formation and probably make this galaxy one of a kind.
Abstract: Kick starting your career isn't always easy. You've heard that you need to meet people and build experience to get ahead, but how do you start? What tools and resources are available to you? In this session, we'll be covering a number of number of tools and strategies that you can start using right now to help expand your network and find an internship or research experience to build your resume. We'll also discuss how you can market that experience and professional development for success in the future, be it on LinkedIn, your job search documents, or in conversations and interviews.
Dillon Waggoner
Abstract: “Astronomers have an outsize passion for outreach” was the title of a news article published in Nature in November of 2018. The vast majority of professional astronomers and students engage with the public about their chosen field of study. Depending on our interests, fields of study, and access to technology this takes on many different forms. I will be talking about the outreach programs I am involved as a participant or director. I will also discuss the role planetariums play in fulfilling this mission and the unique role we play in school and public programming and how interdisciplinary partnerships breakdown historical assumptions about the planetarium experience.
Wayne Schlingman
Abstract: Quantum band engineering allows us to design materials with optical properties not readily found in nature. We pursue novel semiconductor nanostructures with potential applications in infrared light emission and detection. These materials employ optical transitions between energy levels brought about by quantum confinement in the conduction band of host semiconductors. Research on these transitions has resulted in fundamental discoveries that eventually triggered practical device applications. I will describe our work to understand, model, and control the fundamental mechanisms of light absorption and electrical transport in nitride nanostructures. Special attention is given to our recent studies of the relationship between growth, structure, and optical properties in lattice-matched c-plane AlInN/GaN and nonpolar AlGaN/GaN superlattices.
Abstract will be posted closer to colloquium date.
This presentation will be at the normal time via WebEx. If you would like to attend, but have not yet received an invite, please e-mail Antonio Cancio.

Abstract: The 2015 Nobel prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of neutrino oscillations and mass in 1998. That discovery spawned a world-wide effort to better understand neutrino properties using oscillations of neutrinos produced in the Sun, in the atmosphere, at reactors, and by accelerators. While much has been learned since then, several important questions remain: Which neutrino is heaviest? Do neutrino properties follow a pattern or respect any symmetries? Is the framework we use to understand neutrinos complete or is there more? Do neutrinos break the symmetry between matter and antimatter? The NOvA experiment was designed to address each of these remaining questions by sending a beam of neutrinos 810 km to a 14,000 ton detector located in northern Minnesota. In my talk, I will introduce neutrinos and the questions surrounding them, discuss the important factors that led to the design of the NOvA experiment and summarize the most recent neutrino and antineutrino measurements from the experiment.