• Celebrating Black History Month

    Meet Dr. Jami Valentine Miller!

    Photo courtesy of Jami Valentine Miller.

    From her website:

    “Dr. Jami was the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics from Johns Hopkins University. She engages in many outreach activities, including speaking to young physicists, future scientists and engineers and those interested in non-academic physics careers, especially intellectual property.

    Dr. Jami founded a website dedicated to  African-American women in physics, AAWiP.com. The goal of the website is to honor the women who paved the way, to inspire future physicists, and to connect with all people interested in promoting diversity in Physics and other STEM fields.”

    Best of all, Jami will be one of our five speakers featured in our Spring term PHYS 123 series!  This course is open to any student who has taken at least PHYS 151.

  • Summer research information “office hours” with faculty

    Students!  If you are interested in trying to do research on campus this summer with one of our department faculty, or work with a staff member on a project, you should come to this event!  (Did you respond to the interest survey that Trenne sent out?)

    We’ll be set up on zoom tomorrow (Tuesday the 23rd) during common time at 12:25 pm.  This will happen instead of Physics Table!  Various faculty and staff will be present to talk to you about doing research in general, and about specific projects they may have coming up.   Come with your questions!

    Tom Baraniak – coding for the weather tower project                                                                                               Marty Baylor – optics                                                                                                                                               Cindy Blaha – YASE (maybe not this year) and galactic surveys                                                                     Barry Costanzi  – mesoscale magnetic structures                                                                                                      Valerie Fox – history of water in the solar system (esp Mars)                                                                                   Aaron Heidgerken-Greene – Makerspace and shop                                                                                                    Helen Minsky – soft matter and adhesives                                                                                                                    Jay Tasson – tests of general relativity, LIGO and Lorentz violations                                                                   Ryan Terrien – exoplanetary systems                                                                                                                         Chris West – stellar and galactic evolution

  • Panel for PUGs (People of Underrepresented Genders)

    Join your other female, femme, and enby students talking to PHAS faculty and staff women! Hear about others’ interests, paths taken, and advice.  Wednesday, Feb 24th, from 3 – 4:00 pm.  Email Marty for the zoom link.

  • Upcoming Comps Presentations

    Ivan Gunther                                                                                                                                                      Wednesday, February 24 2021                                                                                                                         4:20 pm on Zoom

    Photonic Lorentz Violation Theory 

    It seems as if the laws of physics are invariant under Lorentz transformations, but experimental data on this principle leaves open the possibility of minute violations. Motivated by spontaneous Lorentz violations as indications of new fundamental Planck-scale physics, this paper outlines the theoretical investigations of Lorentz violations by the Standard Model Extension (SME) and other frameworks, focusing on the photon sector. We show the reasoning and constraints that produce the most striking feature of the SME, vacuum birefringence. We use this phenomenon to generate a series of observables in different physical environments, by which experiments do and shall constrain the magnitudes of Lorentz violating perturbations. Current experimental data shows a minuscule and shrinking window for spontaneous photonic Lorentz violations, and further tests will continue to probe for birefringence. Eventually, either a conclusive positive result will emerge, or more promising hints of quantum gravity will render Lorentz violations theoretically irrelevant, leaving us with a universe that is, for all intents and purposes, Lorentz invariant.

    Fred Cunningham                                                                                                                                                 Friday, February 26 2021                                                                                                                                   4:20 pm on Zoom

    The Raptor Engine

    The Raptor engine is a converging-diverging chemical combustion liquid oxygen and methane full-flow staged combustion rocket engine. If you understand what each of these words means individually, but would like to understand what they mean when put in that particular sequence, then this paper is definitely for you. To bring meaning to these words, a few mathematical models from dynamics and thermodynamics are used to motivate key rocket engine parameters. Also, some of the engineering needed to manipulate these parameters is introduced. When possible, the notation is kept to an undergraduate physics level or explicitly defined to demystify some engineering concepts that are otherwise expressed with arcane jargon. Finally, this discussion will provide insight into the challenges of space travel in general.

    Lucas Mueller                                                                                                                                                         Monday, March 1 2021                                                                                                                                         8:30 am on Zoom

    The Strong Nuclear Force

  • PHAS folk doing non-PHAS comps!

    Tuesday, February 23
    Time:  4:30-4:50 pm
    Title:  Dedekind Domains, Prime Factorization and Elliptic Class Groups
    Students:  Jack Heinzel, Daniel Kleber, Matthew Mendiola
    Thursday, February 25

    Time: 4:30-4:50 pm
    Title: Northcott’s Theorem: An Adventure in Preperiodic Points of Rational Functions
    Students: Evan David, Ian Klein, Ben Richardson, Sameer Swarup

  • Game Night!

    Hello physics friends!
    If you’re anything like us and could use a break from the stress of eighth week, then we have just the thing for you! Join us for a PHAS Department Game Night this Friday (2/26) at 8pm in Gather, hosted by your favorite SDAs. Meet us in the Gather game room, which can be accessed from the main dashboard. We will have trivia and a selection of games we can play together online. Come say hi to your friends and get to know more of the physics department at Carleton!  Email Gregor or Freja for the Gather link!
    Gregor and Freja
  • APS news

    This Week in Physics Magazine — February 22, 2021


    Ion Microscopy Goes Quantum

    Arturo Camacho-Guardian – February 22, 2021

    Researchers have developed an ion-optics-based quantum microscope that has sufficient resolution to image individual atoms.


    A Superconducting Qubit that Protects Itself

    Anja Metelmann – February 17, 2021

    A newly proposed superconducting circuit architecture employs a synthetic magnetic field to create a qubit that is intrinsically protected from noise.


    An Atom Pushed to Its Speed Limit

    February 19, 2021

    Researchers have transported an atom between two locations in the shortest possible time, an achievement that has implications for quantum technologies.


    Distorting Nuclear Mirror

    February 18, 2021

    Two “mirror” nuclei, in which the numbers of neutrons and protons are interchanged, have markedly different shapes—a finding that defies current nuclear theories.


    Elongated Cells May Unjam Cancers

    February 17, 2021

    In tightly packed tissues, a cancer cell’s motility is linked to the shape of the cell and of its nucleus.


    Unexpected Universality in Superconductor Behavior

    February 16, 2021

    In contrast with predictions, researchers find no variation in a thermoelectric signal (known as the Nernst signal) for different types of superconductor.