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Colloquia & Seminars, Fall 2007

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The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Experiment: An Undergraduate's Experience

Speaker: Andrew K. Johnson
Date: November 9, 2007 (Friday)
Time: 4 p.m.
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Abstract
The CMS experiment is located at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and designed to probe into the unknowns of physics, such as supersymmetry and the Higgs boson. The LHC is designed to accelerate beams of protons to near light speeds and then collide these beams together at energies reaching 14 TeV. CMS implements a network of integrated detectors that will measure the momentum and energies of a diverse array of particles and associated products from the collisions. This summer, data was gathered from cosmic muons with an assembled section of the tracking system and individual muon tracks were reconstructed. Further analysis allowed for adjustments in the reconstruction algorithms and identification of specific noisy modules.

About the speaker: Andrew K. Johnson is a physics major student at the Department of Physics of the Western Illinois University. Over the 2007 summer he worked at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory on the CMS experiment. Currently, he is continuing research at WIU related to modeling the behavior of radio frequency Paul ion traps.

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Observing the origin of the Universe

Speaker: Dr. Cesar A. Terrero Escalante
Date: November 2, 2007 (Friday)
Time: 4 p.m.
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Abstract
In the last 15 years, cosmology has entered a golden age. Large optical imaging and redshift surveys, cosmic microwave background experiments and X-ray surveys are providing increasingly stringent constraints on the basic parameters of the Standard Cosmological Model. In this talk I will explain how to use these data and this model to build a bridge across time up to the moment when the size of the universe was less than 1 cm.

About the speaker: Dr. Cesar A. Terrero Escalante earned his Ph.D. in 2001 at the Center for Advanced Research and Studies, in Mexico City. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute of Physics of the National University of Mexico and at the Institute of Physics of the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Currently he is a visiting fellow at the South American Center for Physics and Mathematics in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His main research interest lies in the interface between cosmology and particle physics.

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Magnetism in Superdense Matter

Speaker: Prof. Vivian Incera
Date: October 19, 2007 (Friday)
Time: 4 p.m.
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Abstract
Baryonic matter at very high densities and relatively low temperatures may be a color superconductor. The best natural candidates for the realization of color superconductivity are the extremely dense cores of compact stars, many of which have very large magnetic fields. To reliably predict astrophysical signatures of color superconductivity, a better understanding of the role of the star's magnetic field in the color superconducting phase that realizes in the core is required. In this talk I will provide a pedagogical introduction to the phenomenon of color superconductivity and discuss the color superconducting magnetic phases that realize at different field strengths in a very dense quark system.

About the speaker: Dr. Vivian Incera is a Professor and a Chairperson at the Department of Physics. Her research interests span several areas of theoretical physics, including high energy physics, cosmology, astrophysics, condensed matter and more formal quantum field theory. Currently, Dr. Incera is involved in a cutting edge research on color superconductivity, the phenomenon that can occur in cold, superdense matter inside stars.

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Dirac-like quasiparticles in graphene

Speaker: Prof. Sergei Sharapov
Date: September 28, 2007 (Friday)
Time: 4 p.m.
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Abstract
Graphene, a new material made of the graphite films with a thickness down to a single atomic layer, is a condensed matter realization of the Dirac equation that describes relativistic particles. It happens because of the low-energy dispersion relation of electrons is conical with a Fermi-Dirac velocity of order of one hundredth of the velocity of light. It is demonstrated that due to the Dirac-like character of carriers the quantization of the Hall conductivity is unusual: it occurs at half-integer filling factors. In addition, the phases and amplitudes of the de Haas–van Alphen and Shubnikov-de Haas quantum magnetic oscillations in graphene differ drastically from the patterns observed in more conventional materials with a parabolic dispersion. The latest experimental findings on graphene will also be described in this talk.

About the speaker: Dr. Sergei Sharapov is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Physics. He has been deeply involved in the recent studies of the physics properties of graphene, a system made of a single sheet of carbon atoms tightly packed into a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice. It is predicted that in the nearest future graphene is going to become the most popular material in electronics.