Physics Hour, 4:30 Sept 26

A week from today, the Otterbein Physics Hour proudly presents….

summer-reasearch-flyerwherein Tyler will explain how to “apply group theory to better understand the dynamics of quantum systems, then usie this improved understanding to better models of opto-mechanical systems”, based on his summer work in Utah.

Come learn what that means! All are welcome. Refreshments will be served. Come and hang out and listen to the dumb questions professors ask when they don’t understand something.

P.S. Department chairs, please forward to your respective departments!

Neutrinos and Egg Sandwiches

Because people have been asking about it after Brad Goff’s talk on Monday, here’s a little monograph I wrote as graduate student on the estimation.  Please forgive some typos and grammatical mistakes – I was still wet behind the ears….

It’s also worth noting I only calculated the neutrino-electron cross-section, and only for CC interactions with solar neutrinos.  There is also a substantial electron-nucleus cross section, but it’s probably not a huge correction… I stand by this estimate. Douglas Adams was prescient.

PDF: eggsandwich

Physics Hour, Sept 12

MONDAY, Sept 12, 4:30 PM, SCIENCE 205

Bradley Goff (Summer Student Research Series)

Neutrinos and the MicroBoone detector

There are trillions of neutrinos coming from sun and passing through the entire Earth every second, but even with so many of them we still don’t know everything about them.  Although they rarely interact with matter, we have ways of detecting them with the MicroBoone detector, and we are continuously improving how we detect them.  Even now, while the MicroBoone detector is taking data, there are people adding addition hardware and software to it.

Physics Hour, Sept 2

A series of talks on our research, other people’s research, or stuff we just think is fun. Refreshments provided.

This week:

Friday, Sept 2, 4:30 PM, SCIENCE 205

Michael Highman – Implementation and Characterization of a Magneto-Optical Trap

This talk will cover the theory and methods of implementing a MOT. The talk will then describe the process of absorption imaging, which is used to extract useful properties about the MOT. 

Gravity Waves Detected!

Computer simulation of gravitational waves produced by black holes spiraling together.
Computer simulation of gravitational waves produced by black holes spiraling together.

LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) has just announced the first ever direct detection of gravitational waves.  These are ripples in spacetime itself, propagating at the speed of light, and are a prediction of Einstein’s 1915 General Theory of Relativity.  They should be produced copiously in many astrophysical processes, but they are so difficult to detect that only waves produced in extremely energetic processes are detectable.  The signal seen by LIGO, for example, is from the collision of two black holes, of mass 29 and 36 times the mass of our sun, and resulting in about 3 solar masses being converted into gravity wave energy in a fraction of a second.  The peak power was about 50 times that of the entire visible universe!

This is a major discovery, not only for the confirmation of a long-standing prediction of general relativity, but because it opens a new window on the structure of the universe.  The era of gravity wave astronomy has dawned!

Nobel Winner Comes to Otterbein

This year’s Science Lecture Series at Otterbein features William Phillips of NIST, co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics for his pioneering work on laser trapping and cooling of atoms.  Phillips will give a public lecture entitled Time, Einstein, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe, at 7pm On February 18, 2016, in Riley Auditorium (BFAC). The talk is free and open to the public.

On Friday, Feb 19, he will also give a more technical talk entitled The Coming Revolution in the Metric System, at 10:50am in Riley.

Operation Physics funded for 2016-17

The Ohio Department of Education has approved funding for a seventh year of OP2: Operation Physics for Middle Grades Science Teachers. This program brings to Otterbein a group of 30 (mainly) middle school physical science teachers for an intensive course in basic physics principles with lots of hands-on activities.

Static electricity supermodel Philip Kellogg '15 demonstrates the Van de Graaf generator in OP2.
Static electricity supermodel Philip Kellogg ’15 demonstrates the Van de Graaff generator in OP2.