Our distinguished Physics Lecture Series takes place once per year during the spring semester. World Renowned Scientists speak on a variety of Physics and Space Science topics. These talks, aimed at a general audience, are appropriate for anyone from high-school students to practicing scientists. These talks are free and open to the public. Our spring seminar series exposes a general audience to ongoing research in Physics and Space Science. This seminar takes place every week during the spring semester, in conjunction with the Research Project and Seminar class (PHYS 6838) and the Modern Physics Research Seminar class (PHYS 4732). These talks are open to the public. Continuing education credits are available.
To register, visit our online registration (under Professional Development click the "Physics Seminar Series" link). For assistance,
call the Center for Educational Programs at 281-283-3530. If you are not pursuing
a credit, you are still welcome to attend at no charge. All talks take place Monday
evenings in SSCB 1100 they start at 7 p.m.
University credit is available for the series in two ways. Non-physics majors can receive class credit by signing up for PHYS 4732. Students can earn continuing education certificates through this series. The cost is $15 per individual seminar, $40 for any three seminars, or $99 for the entire series.
Use your Science/Math Degree to Start a Career in Geophysics?
Abstract: Geophysics is the study of the Earth using physics, math, computing and other aspects of science and math. There are a number of career opportunities based on geophysical research and applications. Some of these careers are in the energy industry (oil & gas), which is about to come out of a deep down cycle. Other careers lie in academia, government agencies, environment, mining, and ground water, to name a few.
This presentation will start with a brief overview of my 40-year career as a petroleum geophysicist. My intent is to give an example of a career using my own training and experiences. Then I'll speak briefly about other careers within geophysics and the outlook for jobs. Next I will tell you about the organization that is sponsoring this presentation – Incorporated Research Institutes for Seismology (IRIS). IRIS has a summer intern program for undergraduates. The bulk of the presentation will be on this program, how it works, and how to apply. There will be time at the end for questions about the intern program, geophysics careers, and other items of interest from the audience.
The Hayabusa2 Asteroid Sample Return Mission
Abstract: Hayabusa2 is an asteroid sample return mission to C-type asteroid Ryugu, operated by the Japanese space agency, JAXA, with participation from NASA and the Australian National University. It follows on from the previous Hayabusa Mission to S-type asteroid Itokawa and addresses engineering lessons learned from that mission. Hayabusa2 launched in December 2015, will arrive at the target asteroid in December 2018, and will return to earth with asteroid samples in December 2020.
Neutrino Physics with the Daya Bay and DUNE Experiments
Abstract: Experimental observations have established that neutrinos undergo flavor oscillations as they propagate due to quantum mechanical mixing between the mass states and flavor states (electron, muon, tau). The Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment has observed the disappearance of electron-type antineutrinos from nuclear reactor cores at the Daya Bay nuclear power complex located in China. DUNE is a next-generation neutrino oscillation experiment that is being designed to address the remaining questions in the three-neutrino mixing model. In this talk, I will present an overview of neutrino oscillation measurements, including the most recent results from the Daya Bay experiment, and the experimental design and physics prospects for DUNE.
Bio: Lisa Whitehead is an Assistant Professor at University of Houston. She received her Bachelor's Degree from Vanderbilt University in 2002 and her Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in 2007. She did her postdoctoral research at Brookhaven National Laboratory before coming to University of Houston in 2011. Whitehead is an experimental particle physicist, and her research has focused on studying neutrino oscillations.
Advanced Light Management For Solar Cells
Abstract: Due to the limited storage of fuel and coal, green energy is the main trend to replace the traditional mineral energy. Solar energy is considered as one of the most sustainable energy supply. What's the semiconductor solar cells' mechanism? How to achieve ultra-high conversion efficiency? Why can't solar cells reach 100% efficiency? Why can't the actual devices reach the theoretical conversion limit? Or say, what is the main energy loss? You are going to find out the answers in this talk. I will start from simple analysis, outside the devices and inside the devices on optics prospect. Outside devices means at the interface between air and device, before the photons are converted into electron-hole pairs. Inside the devices means that limited absorption coefficient required the absorber to be thick enough to utilize all the photons, but not too thick to let electron-hole pairs recombine. In the end, the experimental tools for fabricating light harvesting textures would be explained, with a full cutting edge solar cell structure.
Ion Beam Characterization and Modification of Materials
Abstract: Ion Beam Characterization of materials results from bombardment of atoms on the surface of a sample to be studied. Detection the consequences of such bombardment such as energy of the scattered projectile, or nuclear reaction induced by the bombardment, or X-ray production caused by the bombardment can reveal the composition, depth, and structure of the sample. In addition, ion beam processing of materials results from the introduction of atoms into the host materials, and modifying its solid state properties. In this talk, I will describe the principles, methods of the title subject. I will also present many examples to illustrate the utility of ion beam on material science research, and industrial applications.
CV: Wei-Kan Chu is a Cullen University Professor in Physics Department at University of Houston. His research interest is related to ion-solid interaction and on Ion Beam Characterization of Materials and Ion Beam Modification of Materials. He is also an expert on High Temperature Superconductor applications in the area of HTS-magnetic Bearing and Levitation Flywheels
Physics of the Inline Inspection of Steel Pipelines
Abstract: There are more than 2.4 million miles of pipe in the United States energy infrastructure and over 65% of them were installed before 1970. In order to maintain the health of our infrastructure, a technique called inline inspection (ILI) is used. ILI consists of inserting a tool into the pipeline that is equipped with sensors that take various measurements of the pipe to assess its integrity. Some of these modalities are magnetic flux leakage (MFL), Ultrasonics (UT), Electromagnetic Acoustic Testing (EMAT) and Eddy Current Testing (ECT). Much of these technologies have been around for decades, but new physics applications are constantly being research to identify new threats and those that have been otherwise irreducible. This presentation will be a survey of the current state of physics being used in the analysis of various pipeline threats: corrosion, cracking, mechanical damage, hard spots, low toughness welds, pipe yield strength, etc.
Bio: Adrian Belanger is a systems engineer at T. D. Williamsons' Integrity Inspection Solutions division's Data Science department. Adrian has been at T.D. Williamson for five years with a total 20 years of pipeline inspection experience. He has developed the anomaly sizing algorithms for the magnetic flux leakage (MFL) tools and was responsible for tool accuracy and specifications. He developed a hardness prediction model using high field and residual magnetization for hard spots and is involved in the continuing development of such projects as crack detection using EMAT and mechanical damage prioritization using high and low field magnetizations. At present he is working on the next generation of pipeline threat analysis using Multiple Data Set technology.
Adrian earned his Master's in Physics in 1994 from Vanderbilt University. He earned his Bachelor's in Astronomy and Physics from Boston University in 1988. He is a member of IEEE, AGA, APS and ASNT.
Seeing and Hearing the Merger of Massive Black Holes
Abstract: Black holes are ubiquitous in the Universe at many scales, but their nature makes them almost impossible to detect directly. Observational work in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum has given us only tantalizing glimpses of black holes through their interaction with their environment. Now that Advanced LIGO has made the first direct measurements of gravitational waves from the mergers of black-hole binaries, we've entered the era of Gravitational-Wave Astronomy. Still, the greatest insights will come from combining the new GW detections with more traditional EM ones. I'll present work on how we're trying to model both gravitational and electromagnetic aspects of the merger of comparable-mass black-hole binaries, with a special emphasis on the supermassive holes merging at the end-stages of galactic collisions.
Bio: Bernard Kelly is a CRESST Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, working in the Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory (Code 663) of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Bernard received his B.Sc. in Experimental Physics and Mathematical Physics in University College, Dublin in 1995, followed by a M.Sc. in Mathematical Physics at the same institution in 1996. After two years working in the financial mathematics of foreign currency trading in Dublin, he began graduate studies in gravitational physics at Penn State University. He received a Ph.D. in Physics in 2004, based on his work on the simulation of black-hole mergers with moving excision. He joined the numerical relativity group at the University of Texas at Brownsville as a Postdoctoral Scholar, before moving to Maryland and the Goddard Space Flight Center, first as a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, then as a CRESST Researcher.
Normal and Impaired Charge Transport in Biological Systems
Pre-Merger Galaxy Pairs as Star Formation Benchmarks in the Local Universe
Searching for New Physics with Coherent Neutrino Scattering
Modeling of Secondary Neutron Production in Proton Radiotherapy
From Academia to Industry: A career in Data Science
Abstract: While the hard sciences offer excellent preparation for a career in industry, one often finds that private-sector human resources departments can perceive a mismatch between a broad and rigorous hard science education and skill-specific job requirements. Though this mismatch is false, it is nevertheless an obstacle prospective job hunters must navigate. In this talk, I will share my experiences and offer advice for transitioning from academia to industry. Specifically, I will talk about my career in the television advertising industry.