Jan
12
Teaser:

Departing from the context of CoGeNT and COUPP, two direct searches for WIMP dark matter, we will inspect the recent landscape of anomalies observed by these and several other detectors. The aim of this talk is to communicate an appreciation for the subtleties inherent to experimental efforts in this field, and for the considerable difficulties that await for those trying to make sense of WIMP search observations (or lack thereof).

Dec
15
Teaser:

The detection of gravitational waves from the inspiral of a neutron star or stellar-mass black hole into an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH) promises an entirely new look at strong field gravitational physics. Gravitational waves from these intermediate-mass-ratio inspirals (IMRIs), systems with mass ratios from 10:1 to 100:1, may be detectable at rates of up to a few tens per year and will encode a signature of the central body's spacetime. Direct observation of the spacetime will allow us to use the "no-hair" theorem of general relativity to determine if the IMBH is a Kerr black hole (or some more exotic object, e.g. a boson star). In this talk, I will discuss the...

Dec
07
Teaser:

This colloquium will discuss recent theoretical predictions and experimental confirmation of two unusual classes of ultra-long-range molecules. One class involves a highly-excited Rydberg electron that manages to bind a distant ground state atom at thousands of Bohr radii. The other class involves the bizarre Efimov effect for three or four ground state atoms with resonant interactions. Implications for the behavior of ultracold quantum gases will be addressed.

Dec
07
Teaser:

Advances in microscopy have enabled measurements in living cells, but there is a wealth of biologically relevant dynamical information contained in experimental data that has not been utilized.  Existing analysis methods either coarse grain too much or cannot overcome some technical challenges inherent to in vivo measurements. The importance of more fully utilizing information “hidden” in noisy 3D in vivo measurements will be emphasized in several problems.  In this talk, I demonstrate how recent advances in time series analysis can be used to estimate stochastic differential equations (SDEs) and construct hypothesis tests checking the...

Dec
06
Teaser:

Advances in microscopy have enabled measurements in living cells, but there is a wealth of biologically relevant dynamical information contained in experimental data that has not been utilized.  Existing analysis methods either coarse grain too much or cannot overcome some technical challenges inherent to in vivo measurements. The importance of more fully utilizing information “hidden” in noisy 3D in vivo measurements will be emphasized in several problems.  In this talk, I demonstrate how recent advances in time series analysis can be used to estimate stochastic differential equations (SDEs) and construct hypothesis tests checking the consistency...

Nov
30
Teaser:

We consider the Universe to be fundamentally quantum and statistical, the many-paths/many-worlds information-theoretic story. This lecture uses Cosmic Information Theory and Analysis, CITA, as a unifying theme to explore the vast sweep  of our current ideas of the Universe and the experiments we use to probe them, ranging from the ultra-early beginnings to our far-future fate. I describe the intimate entanglement of theory with precision "first-light"  and other cosmic data, in particular from the satellite Planck and the Andes-based ACT. Such data are the BITs in IT informing us of the physics that defines the BIT of the Universe...

Nov
17
Teaser:

We present a Hamiltonian derivation of a class of reduced models in plasma physics obtained by imposing dynamical constraints on a parent Hamiltonian model. We will consider MHD equations and Maxwell-Vlasov equations as parent models. It is shown that the Poisson bracket associated with these reduced models is the Dirac bracket obtained from the Poisson bracket of the parent model.

Nov
16
Teaser:

A cell is not just a small test tube in which biochemical reactions take place, but it also has a complex and highly dynamic mechanical structure. I will discuss the underlying physical principles that govern cellular mechanics on the nanoscale, and explore how DNA mechanics, on its own and within the context of a heavily crowded, constrained and perpetually fluctuating cellular environment, affects biological function. For example, forces of less than hundred femtonewtons can mechanically switch genes on and off by preventing the formation of regulatory DNA-protein complexes. Special emphasis will be placed on the role of intracellular fluctuations and...

Nov
10
Teaser:

The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey a portion of our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover dozens of Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone and determine how many of the billions of stars in our galaxy have such planets. Results from this mission will allow us to place our solar system within the continuum of planetary systems in the Galaxy.

Nov
10
Teaser:

Superconducting Josephson Junctions are one of the most active areas of research in Condensed Matter Physics today.  One unique aspect of Josephson Junctions is the nonlinear relation between the phase of the wave function and the supercurrent flowing though the junction.  This manifests itself in a nonlinear, pendulum-like equation for the dynamics of the phase when the junction is placed in circuit.  Josephson junctions can be fabricated with adjustable parameters, measured in a straightforward fashion, and easily scaled to large network sizes.  In addition, a large Josephson junction circuit measured over a long time contains dynamics...

Nov
09
Teaser:

Most biological processes are mediated by mediated by protein association, and often are under kinetic rather than thermodynamic control. We have developed the transient-complex theory for protein association, which presents a framework for elucidating the mechanisms of protein association and for predicting the association rates. The transient complex refers to an intermediate along the association process, in which the two associating molecules have near-native separation and relative...

Nov
08
Teaser:

Ion channels play vital cellular functions.  How an external simulation (e.g., cross-membrane voltage, binding of a ligand, or decrease in external pH) triggers the opening of an ion channel is at the core of its functional mechanism.  We have used molecular dynamics simulations and other computational techniques to develop models for the functional mechanisms of several ion channels, including a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, an AMPA-subtype glutamate receptor, and the M2 proton channel of the influenza virus.  A very useful way to validate these mechanistic models is to compare changes in residue solvent...

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