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Future Professoriate Program Kickoff with guest speaker Kiernan Mathews

Glenn Wright will provide an overview of the Future Professoriate Program, answer FPP-related questions, and introduce featured speaker Kiernan Mathews. Dr. Mathews is Executive Director and PI with the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Drawing from 15 years of faculty survey and interview data and from scholarship on the professoriate, he will pose questions that faculty—future and current—should be asking themselves, their departments, and their institutions at important milestones in their careers. Participants will leave with insights about mentors, hiring, workloads, tenure, the “counteroffer culture” and other glimpses into the arc of the faculty experience. Everyone is welcome, not just FPP participants or affiliated faculty.

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Military Coup in Mali: African Initiative Fall 2020

Join the Department of African American Studies for an online discussion on the 2020 Military Coup in Mali. Speaker will be Dr. Yacine Badian Kouyate, along with two discussants. Dr. Kouyate is an accomplished musician, as well as scientist, whose compositions have been used in various documentaries. He is  a consultant for the Timbuktu Educational Foundation. He holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from UC Davis and a Master of Science in genetics from Moscow State University. Dr Kouyate has conducted and published scientific research in academia and the biotechnology industry in the areas of plant virus interaction, genetics and immune diagnostics including a patented method and device for HIV analysis and detection. He is a faculty member at the World Indigenous Science Network. On August 18, 2020, elements of the Malian military carried out an intervention that removed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. For two months prior to this military intervention, there had been popular mobilization and demonstrations calling for the resignation of the government.  This massive mobilization was opposed to the military incompetence in dealing with the insurgents who occupied the North, the substantial international military presence under the MINUSMA, along with the massive corruption of the politics and the society. Tanks and armored vehicles went from Soundiata military base in Kati  to the capital, Bamako, as the military intervention ended up with one group proclaiming that they had seized state power. The soldiers detained several government officials including President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta who resigned and dissolved the government. It has been mooted that some of the soldiers who carried out this intervention had been trained by the U.S. Was this coup carried out to preempt the popular rebellion from spreading and establishing new networks? Was this a coup within a coup? For how long will the military remain in power? Will ECOWAS  and the African  Union be able to speed the transition to civilian rule? Dr. Kouyate is presently based in Bamako. He is a student of cultural history and he ‘stewards the wisdom and traditions of thousands of years of the Bambara and Dogon peoples.’  

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Characterization of “HST-Dark” Dusty Star-Forming Galaxies in the MORA Survey

The Department of Physics welcomes Graduate Research Assistant and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow Sinclaire Manning  to present their weekly virtual colloquia. Sinclaire studies the formation and evolution of dusty star-forming galaxies. Abstract: Our current understanding of star formation and galaxy evolution within the first two billion years of the Big Bang is severely biased toward unobscured star formation tracers and thus limited due to sample incompleteness. Detecting dusty star-forming galaxies (DSFGs) at high redshifts require observations at far-infrared, submillimeter, and millimeter wavelengths, which trace the dust re-processed UV/optical emission from young stars. Within the last year, massive, but optically-invisible DSFGs (called HST-dark as they are undetected in the deepest Hubble Space Telescope images) have been discovered by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) posing new questions for the field such as: 1) How ubiquitous are HST-dark DSFGs in the early Universe? and 2) What do the evolutionary tracks of these HST-dark DSFGs look like; for example, do they evolve into the massive quiescent galaxies which have recently been discovered at z~2-4? The Mapping Obscuration to Reionization ALMA (MORA) Survey is the first program to map a large area at 2mm with ALMA. In this talk I will discuss our 2mm ALMA data, the multiwavelength characterization of two HST-dark sources found in the MORA survey, and the implications this newfound population may have on our understanding of galaxy evolution in the early Universe.

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Social Media and Social Justice: A Colloquium

Digital African American history, #hashtag activism, and social justice. Featuring guest speaker, Charlton Mcilwain. In partnership with the Department of African American Studies and the Lender Center for Social Justice, the 2019-2021 Faculty Fellow, Professor Casarae Abdul-Ghani, is hosting a colloquium within the intersection of Social Media and Social Justice. New York University Professor Charlton Mcilwain, will give a virtual talk featuring his latest book, Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter. Join us for an engaging discussion about digital African American history, #hashtag activism, and social justice. Zoom Link    

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Pixelation: Bringing liquid noble element detectors into focus

The Department of Physics welcomes Dr. Jonathan Asaadi to present their weekly colloquia. Dr. Asaadi is currently an assistant professor in the physics department at the University of Texas Arlington. Before this, he was a postdoctoral researcher with Syracuse University from 2012 – 2015 working with professor. Mitch Soderberg.  He received his Ph.D. in 2012 from Texas A&M University under professor David Toback. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2004 with a B.S in physics. His current research interests focus on understanding the most abundant massive particle in the universe, the neutrino. Abstract: Future long baseline neutrino experiments such as the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) call for the deployment of multiple multi-kiloton scale liquid argon time projection chambers (LArTPCs). To date, two detector readout technologies are being studied in large-scale prototype detectors: the single phase (SP) and dual phase (DP) detectors using projective charge readout wire based anode planes. These projective readout technologies come with a set of challenges in the construction of the anode planes, the continuous readout of the system required to accomplish the physics goals of proton decay searches and supernova neutrino sensitivity, and the 2D projective reconstruction of complex neutrino topologies. This talk will go over the unorthodox solutions in both charge and light readout currently being pursued to overcome the challenges of projective readout and bring forward a true 3d pixel based readout for LArPTC’s.

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Why I Stopped Waiting for Someone Else to Map the Warm-hot Circumgalactic Medium

The Department of Physics welcomes Dr. Carlos J. Vargas to present during their virtual colloquium. Dr. Vargas earned his Ph.D. in 2018 from New Mexico State University, where he led and contributed to large observing programs in the radio and optical to study the link between gaseous galaxy halos and star formation. He has since been a postdoc at the University of Arizona in Professor Erika Hamden’s ultraviolet/optical instrumentation development group. His most current work focuses on NASA space mission design and development to study the circumgalactic medium and star formation. Abstract: For over half a century, observational astrophysics has been eager to successfully detect and map the most massive baryonic component of galaxies: warm-hot phase coronal gas extending into the circumgalactic medium (CGM). Despite its importance to galaxy evolution, this phase of gas is entirely unmapped in the nearby universe. Morphological characteristics, such as the presence, size, and extent of filamentary or cloud-like structures, are impossible to determine through pencil-beam absorption line studies. The evolution of galaxies relies heavily gaseous halos, indicating an urgent need to map and measure these understudied regions. In the last decade, high-efficiency reflective coatings for UV optics have undergone a renaissance with transformative improvements in reflectivity per bounce and overall coating stability in the extreme UV (EUV). Detector technology sensitive to EUV wavelengths has seen steady development of MicroChannel Plate (MCP) detector technology. In parallel with these advances in UV technology, SmallSat missions with serious science objectives—which did not exist a decade ago—have emerged as a promising platform for high-impact science, an opportunity for more adventurous experiments and investigations. In this talk, I present Aspera (PI C. Vargas): an EUV SmallSat mission concept to detect and map warm-hot phase gas emission in nearby galaxies for the first time. The Aspera mission was designed to target the O VI emission line doublet from highly ionized oxygen, located at ll (lambda) =1032, 1038 Å rest frame. Aspera combines a simple spectroscopic optical design using recent advances in highly-reflective EUV-coated optics with an advanced UV MCP detector to optimize throughput and sensitivity. Aspera will build multiple days of exposure time on each individual target to ensure spectroscopic detection of O VI emission and produce 2D morphological maps and direct measurements of physical conditions such as kinematics. The Aspera concept is being developed for submission to the inaugural 2020 NASA Astrophysics Pioneers call on  October 1, 2020.

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Cosmic Extremes: Time-Domain Astrophysics in a Multi-Messenger World

The Department of Physics welcomes Kate Alexander (Northwestern University) to present during their virtual colloquium. Dr. Kate D. Alexander is currently a NASA Einstein Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. She completed her undergraduate degree in physics at Brown University in 2012 and received her PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics from Harvard University in 2018, where she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Her research focuses on extreme events in the cosmos, including stellar explosions, neutron star mergers, and tidal disruptions of stars by supermassive black holes. Abstract: Time-domain astrophysics provides a unique opportunity to study the most extreme physical processes in the Universe, including the deaths of massive stars, the creation and merger of compact objects like neutron stars and black holes, and the tidal disruption of stars by supermassive black holes. Dr. Alexander will discuss her recent and ongoing work to reveal the formation and structure of relativistic jets and outflows in the most extreme classes of astrophysical transients, including gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and tidal disruption events (TDEs). In particular, she will show that radio observations of these transients can reveal the total energy contained in outflowing material, the magnetic field strength and geometry, and the density of the surrounding environment, which can provide clues to the progenitors of stellar explosions (GRBs) and probe models of black hole growth and accretion (TDEs). With the pioneering detections of gravitational waves, astronomers and physicists have gained a new, complementary tool to study compact object mergers and their associated GRBs, with implications for fields as wide-ranging as general relativity, nuclear physics, cosmology, and shock physics.

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New Vision for LIGO: Coating Thermal Noise and the New Observables for Gravitational Wave Astronomy

The Department of Physics welcomes Professor Steven Penn to present their virtual colloquia. Steve is an associate professor of physics at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. He received his doctorate in Nuclear Physics from MIT, where he was awarded the Karl Taylor Compton award for overall excellence.  His first postdoc was at the University of Washington with Eric Adelberger, Blayne Heckel, and Jens Gundlach, current winners of the Breakthrough Prize. While a postdoc at Syracuse, Steve began working on thermal noise issues in LIGO.  He determined how to minimize thermal noise in fused silica, used in LIGO substrates and suspensions.  He isolated the source of coating thermal noise and helped develop the coating currently used in Advanced LIGO.  For the past few years he has been collaborating with Prof. Stefan Ballmer on thermal noise experiments at SU. Steve is currently Chair of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration Council.  He has in the past chaired the LSC Coating Working Group and  the LSC Bylaws Committee.  He has also served on the LSC Presentations and Publications Committee and the Executive Committee of the APS Topical Group on Gravity (now the Division of Gravitational Physics). Abstract:  For the past 20 years, gravitational wave scientists have been working to understand and minimize thermal noise in the test mass mirror coatings, which was first measured at Syracuse.  This challenging problem, at the intersection of materials and precision physics, has proven to be particularly intractable because of the complexity of the materials.  But recently we have found a breakthrough new coating that could potentially solve this problem for current and future detectors.  We will discuss how a dramatic lowering of  the coating thermal noise should reveal a wealth of new observations for GW detectors.”  

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Exotic Particles – 56 Years and Counting

The Department of Physics welcomes Dr. Jonathan L. Rosner from the University of Chicago, for their weekly virtual colloquium.  Jonathan L. Rosner’s theoretical work has concentrated on precision tests of electroweak theory and the physics of charm and bottom quarks. He has also worked on several experiments, including the search for the radio signal of extensive cosmic ray air showers, electron-positron collisions at Cornell, and proton-antiproton collisions at Fermilab. Abstract: In 1964 Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig proposed that all the strongly interacting particles could be made of fractionally-charged subunits which Gell-Mann called quarks (after a line in Finnegans Wake). At that time, all the known mesons could be understood as quark-antiquark bound states, while all the known baryons could be understood as made of three quarks. But the quark model predicted “exotic” particles, such as mesons made of two quarks and two antiquarks (“tetraquarks”), or baryons made of four quarks and an antiquark (“pentaquarks”). This talk describes the hunt for these exotics, how they started to be discovered, and how they illuminate the theory of the strong interactions.

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Anbar Lecture with John Corvino

The Department of Philosophy welcomes Professor John Corvino from Wayne State University for a virtual talk as part of our annual Anbar Lecture Series. *Date is tentative.

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