Mar
09
Teaser:
Mar
09
Teaser:

One of the deepest and most controversial questions of our time is that of the origin of life. In this lecture a hypothesis is presented, according to which the temperature gradients existing deep in the earth (which leads to plate tectonics and the formation of undersea thermal vents), also led to the origin and evolution of life around those vents. Movies and data will be shown of experiments in which various stages of this scenario are presented: how thermal gradients led to plate tectonics, to DNA possible amplification in the thermal vents, and to huge increase of molecular...

Feb
26
Teaser:

The emergence of attosecond spectroscopy has offered researchers a new experimental tool, which provides unprecedented temporal resolution for the direct measurement and control of electronic processes. Pioneering studies have obtained unique physical insights by taking...

Feb
24
Teaser:

Dehydration and lack of fresh water are key problems for vertebrates that have secondarily invaded marine environments. However, recent investigations of 9 species representing the principal clades of sea snakes indicate these reptiles do not drink seawater but will drink fresh water at variable thresholds of dehydration, which these snakes tolerate well. Marine reptiles were previously thought to remain in water balance without consuming fresh water owing to the ability of extrarenal salt glands to excrete excess salts obtained either from prey or from drinking sea water directly. Thus, species of marine snakes which...

Feb
23
Teaser:

 


The integer quantum Hall effect (IQHE) is often described in terms of skipping orbits: 2-D electrons begin nascent cyclotron orbits, only to be interrupted by the material’s boundary, and instead reflect from the edge, beginning a partial orbit anew.  These classical skipping trajectories follow the systems boundary, and in the quantum limit connect to the...

Feb
19
Teaser:

 


Superfluidity, or flow without resistance, is a macroscopic quantum effect that is present in a multitude of systems, including liquid helium, superconductors, and ultra-cold atomic gases.  Here, I will present our work studying superfluid flow in a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) of sodium atoms....

Feb
18
Teaser:

We introduce an inverse design approach based on minimal theoretical modeling, direct numerical simulations and artificial intelligence techniques for the investigation of biolocomotion in fluids. Its application to the characterization of inertial aquatic phenomena and to the identification of optimal swimming gaits and morphologies is presented.

Feb
17
Teaser:

The collective motion of a large group of individuals has two different scales. Individuals move and interact on a local scale, while the motion of the group as a whole occurs on a global scale. All the movement of the group on the global scale is produced by the many movements of its members, and so a good model for the global behaviour should arise from local models for the individuals. We investigate the link between the two scales, and create formulae for producing a global model for any particular lattice-based local model using mean-field approximations.

Feb
16
Teaser:

Conventional methods of quantum simulation rely on kinectic energy determined by free particle dispersions or simple sinusoidal optical lattices. Solid state systems, by contrast, exhibit a plethora of band structures which differ quantitatively, qualitatively, and even topologically....

Feb
12
Teaser:

In frustrated magnetic materials, geometry and magnetic interactions combine to suppress conventional magnetic order. Instead, disordered "spin liquid" states can host exotic magnetic phenomena which persist to the lowest measurable temperatures. Neutron scattering is an ideal experimental technique to understand spin-liquid states, but the absence of conventional magnetic order means that standard data-analysis methods cannot be used. Two limitations have traditionally restricted our understanding spin liquids at the atomic scale: (i) the magnetic interactions must be anticipated, and (ii) single-crystal samples must be available.

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Feb
10
Teaser:

Biology presents an astounding diversity of discrete states or species, that coexist over time-scales much longer than the underlying degrees of freedom. This general pattern calls for a understanding on diversity, and how competition can act as its ``engine". I explore sustainability of diversity, using model systems from biology. Taking the starting point in phage-bacteria ecosystems, I will describe how standard predator-prey equations can be used to quantify how phages may boost bacterial diversity. With inspiration from Lichen growing on rocks, I subsequently introduce a simple model for speciation through self organized spatial barriers. Overall...

Feb
09
Teaser:

I will try to explain, in elementary terms, the deep connection between space-time geometry and quantum entropy, uncovered in the work of Bekenstein, Hawking, 't Hooft, Gibbons Jacobson, Fischler, Susskind and Bousso. This leads to the conclusion that many of the fundamental degrees of freedom, which describe our world, are inaccessible to direct local measurement. Indeed, local excitations are constrained low entropy states of the fundamental degrees of freedom. These insights give us clues to the nature of a fundamental theory of quantum gravity, and have implications for early universe...

Feb
05
Teaser:

Cold atoms and ions provide an interesting playground for a variety of measurements of fundamental physics.  Using RF traps, experiments become possible with both large ensembles of ions, e.g. in cold chemistry, and few/single ions, such as in quantum computations/simulations or optical clocks, where ultimate quantum control is required.  In the first part of the talk, recent results from our work on cold chemistry and cold molecular ions using a hybrid atom--ion experiment will be...

Jan
29
Teaser:

The dawn of gravitational wave astronomy is upon us as Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo begin to come on line later this year. With the first detection of gravitational waves, the cosmic cacophony of the gravitational universe will be open to us, allowing us to probe some of the densest regions in the universe as well as some of the most energetic astronomical phenomena (eg. gamma-ray bursts). In order to perform gravitational wave astronomy, one must decipher the astrophysical information encoded in the detected gravitational wave signals. This seminar will give a brief overview of the...

Jan
27
Teaser:

Microbial ecosystems in the top decimeters of sediment play an important role in determining the chemistry of the atmosphere and help support multicellular life. The metabolic rates of these microbes are strongly limited by the time it takes nutrients to diffuse from the surface. Here we combine experiments, mathematical models, and field work to understand how two microbes, the bacteria Thiovulum majus and the eukaryote Uronemella, respond collectively to overcome diffusion limitation. These microbes have independently evolved the ability attach to surfaces by means of a mucus tether. Once...

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