Physics

News & Events

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Molecular mechanisms of SLUG-induced Chemotherapeutic Resistance in Triple-negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)

 

Charvann BaileyVassar College


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Is Empathy Necessary for Morality?

Dr. Jean Decety | University of Chicago

Empathy, the ability to perceive and be sensitive to the emotional states of others, motivates prosocial and caregiving behaviors, plays a role in inhibiting aggression, and facilitates cooperation between members of a similar social group. This is probably why empathy is often and wrongly confused with morality. Morality refers to prescriptive norms regarding how people should treat one another, including concepts of justice, fairness, and rights. Drawing on empirical research and theory from evolutionary biology, psychology and social neuroscience, I will argue that our sensitivity to others’ needs has been selected in the context of parental care and group living. One corollary of this evolutionary model is that empathy produces social preferences that can conflict with morality. This claim is supported by a wealth of empirical findings in neuroscience and behavioral economics documenting a complex and equivocal relation between empathy, morality and justice. Empathy alone is powerless in the face of rationalization and denial. It is reason that provides the push to widen the circle of empathy from the family and the tribe to humanity as a whole.

 
Time: 4:45 pm
Location: Campus Center, Weis Cinema
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Seating Arrangements, Domino Tilings, and Graph Factorials

Amir Barghi, Mathematics Program

At a dinner party, each guest is assigned a seat along a long table, which seats 12 people. However, when all guests arrive, they decide to change things a little up by swapping seats. In order to minimize the amount of chaos, they have to follow the following three rules: a guest can keep their seat; two guests sitting next to each other or across the table can swap seats; three or more guests can swap seats in a cyclic
fashion, provided that each person is moving one seat to the left or to the right or across the table. Assuming that all guests have showed up, how many possible seating rearrangements are there? Now consider the graph on the left. We want to place dominoes along some of the edges of this graph so that each vertex is covered by exactly one domino. We call any such placement of dominoes a domino tiling. How many domino tilings of this graph exits?

In this talk, we will explore the connection between these two problems by defining what the factorial of a graph is.

Prerequisites: A familiarity with graphs and counting arguments is a plus, but not
required.
Time: 4:45 pm
Location: Hegeman 308
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Friday, April 28, 2017

Next-generation Atomic Clocks:
Harnessing Quantum Matter to Study Gravity and Search for Dark Matter

Edward MartiJoint Institute for Laboratory AstrophysicsUniversity of Colorado 

The accuracy of atomic clocks has improved a thousandfold over the last 15 years. The latest generation of atomic clocks, called "optical lattice clocks", can detect changes in general relativity's gravitational redshift over a few centimers. These clocks use extremely stable lasers to count the "ticks" of an optical-frequency transition in atoms cooled to the nanokelvin regime, reaching 18 digits of accuracy in a few hours. In this talk, I will discuss how we achieve this accuracy through exquisite control of the quantum mechanical state of these ultracold atoms, and how we are using these clocks to search for dark matter and test relativity.
Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Hegeman 107
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Collective Dynamics of Microbes in Natural Sediment

Alexander PetroffRockefeller University


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Monday, May 8, 2017

American Studies Open House

An open event for all students with an interest in American Studies

Come meet the faculty and students of the American Studies program! Enjoy some free food, hear about upcoming fall courses, and celebrate seniors who have just turned in their projects. 
Time: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: Hopson Cottage
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fragments, Fungi, and Feedbacks:
Can Fungal Pathogens Help Maintain Prairie Plant Diversity in Fragmented Landscapes?

Michelle HershSarah Lawrence College 


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Friday, May 12, 2017

Galactic Exploration with Invisible Light

Daniel Marlow, Princeton University

Radio astronomy has greatly enhanced the range of observable astronomical phenomena.  Although a wide range of wavelengths are used in radio astronomy, one of the most important is 21 cm, which corresponds to the hyperfine transition in atomic hydrogen.   Although the 21 cm signal from a small collection of hydrogen atoms is exceedingly weak, and the density of hydrogen in the Milky Way is very low, the Galaxy is a big place and contains enough hydrogen to produce a signal that can be detected with a modest terrestrial apparatus.    In this talk, I will present results obtained at 21 cm with a recently refurbished cold-war-era 60-foot dish antenna.   Data from the dish will be used to measure the Sun's velocity with respect to the average velocity of nearby stars and to infer the existence of dark matter.    Time permitting, pulsar signals will be presented and schematic plans for a kit capable of detecting indirect evidence for dark matter for costing less than $1000 will be presented.
Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Hegeman 107
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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Senior Project Poster Session

Join Science, Mathematics & Computer graduating seniors in presenting their senior projects.
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Marco Spodek senior recital


Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Blum Hall
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Past Events

  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008

    • 2012

      Senior Project Poster Session

      December 13
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Students Presenting:
      Stephanie Dunn
      
Adviser: Felicia Keesing

      Justin Gero
      
Adviser: Felicia Keesing

      Liza Miller
      
Adviser: Brooke Jude

      Keaton Morris-Stan
      
Adviser: Philip Johns

      Megan Naidoo 

      Adviser: Philip Johns

      Jonah Peterschild 

      Adviser: Felicia Keesing

      Damianos Lazaridis Giannopoul
      
Adviser: John Cullinan

      Chaos and Network Synchronization

      December 12
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by
      Lucas Illing
      Candidate for the position in Physics
      Time-delayed coupling and self-feedback occurs in many systems and is particularly important at high speeds, where the time it takes signals to propagate through device components is comparable to the time scale of the signal fluctuations. A fascinating feature of systems with delay is that even seemingly simple devices can show exceedingly complex dynamics such as chaos.  I will talk about the generation of high-speed chaos using optoelectronic time-delayed feedback oscillators and discuss a particularly intriguing form of collective behavior that arises when several such oscillators are coupled to form a network. Under certain conditions the entire network will oscillate in synchrony, in spite of the signal propagation delays in the coupling links.

      Collecting Electrons from Bacteria with Microbial Fuel Cells

      December 5
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by
      Emily Gardel
      Candidate for the position in Physics
      The energy for all forms of life comes from the flow of electrons in energetically favorable pairings of oxidation and reduction reactions. While humans can only use oxygen as an electron acceptor, bacteria have the ability to use a variety of compounds, including solid materials, such as metal oxides. This metabolic diversity makes these micron-sized organisms dominant members of our biosphere and opens possibilities for biotechnological applications, including electricity production, bioremediation, and wastewater treatment. In my research, I focus on bacteria that are capable of transferring electrons outside the bacterial cell to a solid-phase electron acceptor. I will discuss how this phenomenon can be studied by separating the locations of the oxidation and reduction reactions while providing an electrode as an electron acceptor for the bacteria. These microbial fuel cells (MFCs) produce an electrical current and there is interest in understanding the limiting factors governing overall power performance in these systems. Using an environmental MFC, I have found that current production decreases when the system is mass-transfer limited. By allowing the electrode to rest disconnected from electron flow, any necessary nutrients or electron donors diffuse to the bacteria on the electrode and allow for increased current production upon reconnecting the electrode. These findings demonstrate a method for determining an optimal way for operating MFCs used for electricity generation as well as raise additional questions about bacteria-electrode electron transfer.

      Bring Disease to Light: Medical Diagnostics for Low-Resource Settings

      November 29
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      Neil Switz
      Candidate for the position in Physics

      Quasichemical Consideration of the Effect of Osmolytes in Protein Solution Thermodynamics CANCELED

      November 6
      RKC 102

      **This lecture has been canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date**

      A lecture by
      Dilip Asthagiri
      Johns Hopkins University
       


      Bard Summer Research Poster Session

      September 27
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Students presenting:Michael Anzuoni, Tedros Balema, Amanda Benowitz, Cara Black, Sheneil Black, Max Brown, Celeste Cass, Matteo Chierchia, Nikesh Dahal, Francesca DiRienzo, Leila Duman, Jose Falla, David Goldberg, Sumedha Guha, Nabil Hossain, Linda Ibojie, Lena James, Seoyoung Kim, Thant Ko Ko, Lila Low-Beinart, Yuexi Ma, Keaton Morris-Stan, Mark Neznansky, Matthew Norman, Ian Pelse, Liana Perry, Min Kyung Shinn, Olja Simoska, William Smith, Nathan Steinauer, Xiaohan Sun, James Sunderland, Weiqing Wang, Michael Weinstein, Clare Wheeler, Sara YilmazAdvisers: Craig Anderson, Christian Bracher, John Cullinan, Swapan Jain, Philip Johns, Brooke Jude, Tanay Kesharwani, Christopher LaFratta, Barbara Luka, Emily McLaughlin, Keith O’Hara, Lauren Rose



      So You Want to Become an Engineer?

      September 14
      Hegeman 102

      Nicole Ross graduated from RPI in 2011 with a BS in chemical engineering. Her first job was with Schlumberger, “the world’s largest oilfield services company.” She’ll talk about the engineering curriculum and her work experience.

      Her talk will be illuminating to students interested in pursuing a degree any field of engineering through the joint programs with Columbia University and Dartmouth College.


      Senior Project Poster Session

      May 17
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Graduating Seniors:
      Daniela Anderson, Lilah Anderson, Nadya Artiomenco, Conor Beath, Rachel Becker, Jeannette Benham, Matthew Boisvert, Samantha Brechlin, Ke Cai, Nicole Camasso, Curtis Carmony, Deven Connelly, Shellie Ann Dick, Sara Doble, Siyao Du, Madison Fletcher, Briana Franks, Abigail Fuchsman, Kira Gilman, Erin Hannigan, Lucas Henry, Andrew Hoffman-Patalona, Maxwell Howard, Yunxia Jia, Adriana Johnson, Axel Kammerer, Nicole Kfoury, Sankalpa Khadka, Youseung Kim, Sining Leng, Emily Mayer, Stergios Mentesidis, Mariya Mitkova, Samantha Monier, Jessica Philpott, Jega Jananie Ravi, Laura Schubert, Lindsey Scoppetta, Evan Seitchik, Hannah Shapero, Abhimanyu Sheshashayee, Eli Sidman, Gabriella Spitz, Veronica Steckler, Joshua Tanner, Emma Taylor-Salmon, Isabelle Taylor, Giang Tran, Will Wisseman, Kimberly Wood, Zhiwei Wu, Dimin Xu, Jing Yang, Yongqing Yuan, Changwei Zhou

      All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Triangles

      March 15
      Hegeman 308

      Joshua Bowman
      SUNY Stony Brook
      Flat surfaces (such as a cube or tetrahedron with the vertices removed) show up in a variety of mathematical areas. Their structure can be studied using Delaunay triangles, which in most cases are uniquely determined by the surface. As a surface is deformed, its Delaunay triangles change, and the way in which they change can give us a surprising amount of information about the surface. The only prerequisites for this talk are knowing what a
      2x2 matrix is, and a certain level of comfort with abstract constructions.

      Orthogonal Maximal Abelian Subalgebras of the n x n Matrices

      March 8
      Hegeman 308

      A lecture by
      Jan Cameron
      Vassar College
      Though the terminology may be unfamiliar, you have certainly seen a maximal abelian self-adjoint subalgebra (masa) of the complex matrices in your linear algebra course: the algebra of diagonal matrices. The notion of orthogonality for a pair of masas in M_n(C) is simple to describe, but surprisingly deep and relates to many areas of mathematics. In this talk, we'll consider the fascinating and important open problem of nding complete sets of pairwise orthogonal masas in the n x n complex matrices. We'll look at a few di erent ways to think about the problem, as well as why one might be interested in a solution, and an assortment of related questions. If time permits, I'll talk a bit about how orthogonal masas have come up in current research on structure theory of nite von Neumann algebras.This talk will be accessible to anyone who has had a course in linear algebra

      Making the Most of Euler's Formula

      March 1
      Hegeman 308

      Kristin Camenga
      Department of Mathematics
      Houghton College
      Most people remember working with polyhedra in elementary and high school: cubes, prisms, tetrahedra, pyramids, etc. Euler's formula states that if V is the number of vertices, E the number of edges and F the number of faces of a polyhedron, V + F = E + 2. This is a beautiful and useful formula - but can't we do more? Can we get a similar theorem if we change some of our hypotheses? How does Euler's formula change if we allow polyhedra to be in dimension 4 or 5 or n? What if we look at angles of polyhedra instead of the number of faces? We will look at a number of examples as we generalize Euler's formula in these directions and others. We will end with a glimpse of open questions about angles in polytopes. No specific math background will be assumed, but curiosity is expected!

      Symmetries of Julia Sets

      February 23
      Hegeman 308

      James Belk
      Mathematics Program
      Bard College
      A fractal is a mathematical shape that exhibits the same structure at a range of different scales. Among the most famous fractals are the Julia sets, which arise in a simple way from polynomials and complex numbers. In this talk, I will introduce Julia sets and discuss some of their basic properties. I will then indicate a connection between Julia sets and certain groups of functions on the unit circle. This talk should be accessible to students who have taken Proofs and Fundamentals. Some familiarity with groups would be helpful, but is not necessary.


      The History and Arithmetic of Legendre Polynomials

      February 16
      Hegeman 308

      A lecture by
      John Cullinan
      Mathematics Program

      The Legendre Polynomials are orthogonal polynomials that have deep connections to mathematical physics. For example, they arise when solving the Laplace equation in spherical coordinates. It is also the case that the Legendre Polynomials are extensively studied for their number-theoretic properties. In this talk we will describe some of these properties as well as discuss some open questions surrounding the Legendre Polynomials. This talk should be accessible to students who are currently taking Proofs and Fundamentals (though some group theory will be used at the end).

      **MATH TEA**The weekly Math Tea will immediately follow the seminar.  Join us for tea and refreshments at 4:30 in the Albee 3rd floor Math Lounge.