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All lectures begin at 7:30 pm (Click here to register for the Zoom lectures). "Worlds of Physics" is part of a lecture series that includes the Astronomy Open Night, the Living World and the Geology Open Night.

Fall 2020

September 11, 2020

Peter J Chupas: How Clean is Clean Energy Technology?

Abstract: Clean energy technologies are expanding into all aspects of our lives. Solar Energy, Batteries, Wind Energy, and LEDs are all changing the way we live, from photoelectric panels on the roofs of our house, electric vehicles, portable electronics, to lighting. Clean energy technology is evolving and new technology is constantly emerging. But what is the real environmental impact of clean energy? Where do the materials come from that make up the technology? How are they produced? How much energy does it take to extract them? What is the energy cost of manufacturing? The entire pipeline from materials extractions (mining), manufacturing, to technology deployment must be considered when evaluating technologies. Clean energy technology needs to address the entire pipeline of technology realization, recognizing both the global and local impact that new technologies bring.

Bio: Pete Chupas is trained as a Materials Chemist and currently holds an appointment as a Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the Stony Brook University and is a consultant at Associated Universities Inc. (AUI). Prior to arriving at Stony Brook University in 2018, he worked at Argonne National Laboratory for 15 years in both research and management capacities. His research interests include the development of new materials that power clean energy technology, using and developing advanced tools to understand how they function and to improve their performance, and in the application of applied science to improve the efficacy of technology. Pete obtained his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in 2003, and has over 140 scientific publications, he edited a book, and has 6 patents.

October 9,2020

Sasha Abanov: Emergence of geometry and topology in physics

Abstract: Nothing is really as it seems. We feel hot and cold but in reality, these are billions of billions of atoms jiggling with higher or lower velocities. The properties of physical systems we observe are emerging from the behavior of their tiny parts. Is it possible that the geometry of space and time as we perceive it also emerges from some microscopic gears and cogs? To see how it can be done in principle, I will consider a few examples ranging from mechanics of bodies rotating in space to quantum solids. I will show how the geometry and topology appear as a result of underlying physics laws in these examples.

Bio: Alexander (Sasha) Abanov is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Simons Center for Geometry and Physics in Stony Brook. He is known for his contributions to theoretical condensed matter physics using topological and hydrodynamic methods. He applied these methods to studies of superconductivity, quantum magnetism and quantum Hall effect. Abanov has received his Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Chicago. After a postdoc at MIT he joined Stony Brook University in 2000. He is a fellow of American Physical Society. Currently he is a deputy director of the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics in Stony Brook. Alexander enjoys teaching physics and mathematics at different levels. He has a lot of experience in teaching school students in various summer camps and math circles including teaching for over more than 30 years in Krasnoyarsk Summer School for gifted high school students.

November 13, 2020

Jan Bernauer and Ethan Cline: Movie Physics

Abstract: The telling of stories with motion pictures, on the big or small screen, is perhaps the dominant art form of our time. In the talk, we will explore the physics of movies and in movies. We will discuss the physics behind motion pictures, and how the advances in many disciplines of science has impacted the capabilities of storytelling. We will discuss how movies depict physics, bend the rules of nature, or even break them for artistic gain or detriment. What is possible, what could be possible, and what is not?

Bio:Jan C. Bernauer is an assistant professor of physics in the department of physics and astronomy at Stony Brook University in a joined position with the Riken BNL Research Center. He is mainly interested in precision measurements to study the properties of protons and neutrons, as well as to search for new physics beyond the Standard Model. He studied in Mainz and finished his Ph.D. in 2010, measuring the proton form factors and radius using the MAMI accelerator. He then joined MIT as a postdoc and later research scientist, working on the OLYMPUS experiments at DESY and the DarkLight experiment at Jefferson Lab. He joined the department in 2018.

Ethan Cline is a postdoctoral associate at Stony Brook University. He received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2019 on the MUSE experiment at PSI and subsequently joined Prof. Jan C. Bernauer’s research group. He is primarily interested in nucleon form factors and precision medium energy physics.

Both Prof. Bernauer and Dr. Cline currently work together on the MUSE experiment, the TDIS experiment at JLab, and the TPEX experiment at DESY.

December 11, 2020

Ken Dill: The origin of life: did it come from natural physical processes?

Abstract: A major question of science and religions has been how life arose on earth. Many scientists hold that biology arose from physical and chemical processes acting on simple molecules on the early earth. But if so, how do we explain the complexity, even of the simplest life, like a bacterial cell? Or, the incredible improbability of today’s DNA or protein molecules? Or, biology’s persistence: this show has been running non-stop for 3 billion years. We’ll look at conceptions and misconceptions about probabilities and complexity, about the role of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and about how small-step random processes can sometimes lead to big surprising persistent innovations.

Bio: Ken Dill is a Distinguished Professor in the Physics and Chemistry Departments and Director of the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology at Stony Brook University. He works at the interface between statistical physics and the biology of cells and molecules. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is past president of the US Biophysical Society and was awarded the 2019 American Physical Society’s Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics in 2019.

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