Physics and Astronomy Colloquia

*Winter Quarter Colloquia Start at 4:00 pm*
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Mike Lubell: SCIENCE UNDER THE POPULIST GUN

April 28, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Title: SCIENCE UNDER THE POPULIST GUN

Speaker: Mike Lubell, City College of New York

Abstract: For more than half a century science and technology have been the principal drivers of economic growth in the United States. Today, by some estimates they account for as much as 85 percent of the increase in the gross domestic product (GDP). But, while the nation as a whole has prospered economically, a majority of the population has benefitted only marginally. Wage gains have not kept pace with productivity growth, and for more than 15 years manufacturing jobs have suffered from technological displacement. Once thought to be immune to such pressures, service employment has also begun to reflect the march of technology. Automation, artificial intelligence and deep learning – all stemming from science – have the potential to play extraordinarily disruptive roles in the future labor force.
The 2010 election sparked the rise of the Tea Party, and the 2014 election transformed an upstart movement into much wider spread of populism. Donald Trump’s success in the 2016 general election and the unexpected strength of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary demonstrated the rapid growth of the movement. In reaching the White House, President Trump promised to bring back manufacturing jobs by rewriting trade pacts, imposing tariffs on imported goods and deregulating industry. He has also promised to bring back coal mining by loosening environmental restrictions. He is almost certain to fail in delivering on his jobs promises because his proposed fixes will pale in the face of accelerating technological impacts.
While extensive polling has shown that Americans continue to have warm feelings for science, the survey results also show that the support is shallow. If workers continue to feel the adverse effects of technology on the job market, there is a significant potential for a backlash against technology. The science community needs to prepare itself for that possibility by engaging with the public more effectively and helping social scientists and lawmakers to develop policies that mitigate the adverse impacts of technology on the American workforce.

Host: Halperin

Speaker Schedule

Keywords: Physics, Astronomy, colloquium


Title: Quantum Nonlinear Optics: Nonlinear Optics Meets the Quantum World

Speaker: Robert Boyd

Abstract: This presentation first recalls the historical development of the field of nonlinear optics, starting from its inception in 1961. It then reviews some of its more recent developments, including especially how nonlinear optics has become a crucial tool for the developing field of quantum technologies. Fundamental quantum processes enabled by nonlinear optics, such as the creation of squeezed and entangled light states, are reviewed. These concepts are illustrated by means of specific applications, such as the development of secure communication systems based on the quantum states of light.

Host: Selim

Speaker Schedule

Keywords: Physics, Astronomy, colloquium


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Maxim Popselov: TBA

May 12, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Title: TBA

Speaker: Maxim Popselov, Perimeter

Abstract: TBA

Host: Andre

Speaker Schedule

Keywords: Physics, Astronomy, colloquium


Title: New Probes of Old Structure: Cosmology with 21cm Intensity Mapping and the Cosmic Microwave Background

Speaker: Laura Newburgh, Yale

Abstract: Current cosmological measurements have left us with deep questions about our Universe: What caused the expansion of the Universe at the earliest times? How did structure form? What is Dark Energy and does it evolve with time? New experiments like CHIME, HIRAX, and ACTPol are poised to address these questions through 3-dimensional maps of structure and measurements of the polarized Cosmic Microwave Background. In this talk, I will describe how we will use 21cm intensity measurements from CHIME and HIRAX to place sensitive constraints on Dark Energy between redshifts 0.8 -- 2.5, a poorly probed era corresponding to when Dark Energy began to impact the expansion history of the Universe. I will also discuss how we will use data from new instruments on the ACT telescope to constrain cosmological parameters like the total neutrino mass and probe structure at late times.

Host: Ulmer

Speaker Schedule

Keywords: Physics, Astronomy, colloquium


Title: Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Disease: The Human Proteome Project

Speaker: Neil Kelleher, Northwestern University

Abstract: A worldwide effort led by Northwestern, the Cell-Based Human Proteome Project seeks to define all cell types and protein molecules within the human body, allowing us to revolutionize our understanding of human wellness and disease. Representing the next generation of the Human Genome Project, the Human Proteome Project also marks a transformative next step in our ability to understand and improve human health through technology. In this session, Neil Kelleher will share Northwestern’s role in the Human Proteome Project, including the project’s links to clinical research in areas such as organ transplantation, heart disease, and cancer, and its alignment with work on the Evanston and Chicago campuses.

Host: Ulmer

Speaker Schedule

Keywords: Physics, Astronomy, colloquium


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Thomas Udem: TBA

October 6, 2017, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Title: TBA

Speaker: Thomas Udem, Max-Planck Institut fuer Quantenoptik  

Abstract: TBA

Host: Gabrielse

Speaker Schedule

Keywords: Physics, Astronomy, colloquium