Physics

News & Events

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Targeting Mitochondria for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Disease

Sara Lagalwar, Skidmore College


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

From the Ham Sandwich to the Pizza Pie:
An Introduction to Topological Combinatorics

Steve Simon, Mathematics Program

Given any 3 shapes in R3 (e.g., a piece of ham, a hunk of cheese, and a slice of bread), does there exist a single plane that simultaneously cuts each shape into two pieces of equal volume? Can any shape in R2 be dissected into four pieces of equal area by some pair of perpendicular lines? By exploiting hidden geometric symmetries, we will show how equipartition problems such as these can be solved using powerful techniques from the seemingly unrelated eld known as algebraic topology. For instance, the positive answer to the rst problem above { the so-called Ham Sandwich" Theorem { ultimately reduces to a very deep result of Borsuk and Ulam: for any continuous map from a sphere to a plane, there must exist a pair of antipodal points on the sphere whose images coincide. While fairly advanced mathematics is not too far away, this talk requires only a familiarity with the intermediate value theorem to be understood. All are welcome to attend!
Time: 4:45 pm
Location: Hegeman 308
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Protein Folding: Seeing is Deceiving

 

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. -Sherlock HolmesGeorge RoseJenkins Dept. of BiophysicsJohns Hopkins University 

We challenge the time-honored conviction that proteins realize their native folds via specific favorable interactions, proposing instead that an imprint of the fold is selected primarily by elimination of unfavorable interactions.  Two types of energetically disfavored interactions are considered here: steric clashes and polar groups lacking hydrogen-bond partners. Both types are largely excluded from the thermodynamic population, winnowing that population progressively as the protein becomes compact.  Compaction is accompanied by the entropically favored release of solvent shells around apolar groups.  Remarkably, both solvent shell release and excluding interactions are somewhat non-specific, yet together they promote highly specific chain organization.  For example, exhaustive conformational enumeration of a test hexapeptide reduces 1.5x1012 conceivable conformations to the experimentally-determined dominant population in aqueous solution – this despite deliberate neglect of attractive interactions.
 
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Canaries in the Saltmarsh:
Tidal Marsh Conservation in the Face of Sea Level Rise

Chris ElphickUniversity of Connecticut


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Healing, Service, Research, Activism:
An Introduction to the Health Professions

Helen Epstein, Professor of Human Rights and Global Public Health


Time: 5:00 pm
Location: RKC 115
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Psychosocial Adversity the Epigenetic Origins of Health Disparities

Allison Appleton, SUNY Albany 


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Early Life Adversity and the Risk of Depression in Young Adulthood

Melissa Tracy, SUNY Albany


Time: 4:45 pm
Location: RKC 111
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Ecology of West Nile Virus in the United States

 

Sarah Bowden, Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies 


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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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: RKC 111
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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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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 19, 2017

Marco Spodek senior recital


Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Blum Hall
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Monday, March 12, 2018

Getting in to Medical School…And What I Learned on the Way!

Matthew Lampeter, class of 2017


Time: 4:30 pm
Location: RKC 111
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Past Events

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

    • 2013

      Senior Project Poster Session

      December 10
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Students presenting:
      Julia Les
      Maxwell McKee
      Lydia Meyer
      Eric Reed


      Biomedical Optics: Using Light to Look Through Tissue

      November 26
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by
      Michael Durst
      Candidate for the position in Physics

      Biomedical optics uses lasers, fluorescence, and other clever tools to extract images from beneath the surface of biological tissue.  While MRI and ultrasound imaging are fully capable of providing images from deep within the body, light-based microscopy provides superior resolution, allowing one to see details on the cellular level.  This talk will describe efforts to use optics to look beneath the surface of the body without making an incision.  Nonlinear optical microscopy techniques such as two-photon absorption, temporal focusing, and photothermal imaging will be discussed.  With applications in cancer research, nanoparticle characterization, fiber optic endoscopes, and in vivo imaging, these efforts demonstrate the exciting ways in which optical physics can be employed to enhance biomedical imaging.

      Quantum Optical Engineering

      November 22
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by Joseph Kerckhoff, candidate for the position in Physics

      Researchers are rapidly improving their abilities to manipulate electromagnetism and matter at the quantum level. Applications may exploit the extreme sensitivity, information capacity and/or low energies of quantum electromagnetic systems, but to be useful these technologies will also have to be robust and flexible. Moreover, in order to engineer quantum electromagnetic systems, we will need intuitive modeling techniques capable of describing these complex systems. In short, we need quantum generalizations of electrical engineering techniques.
      I will describe some recent efforts that take a stab at developing an engineering perspective on quantum optics, both experimentally and theoretically. Questions at the center of this work include: can we design one quantum optical device to control another? And to what end? How might this approach be different from a classical system controlling a quantum one? Electrical circuits would be intractable without Kirchhoff's laws and can we analyze a quantum network in some analogous way?

      Soft Matter: From Grains to Cells

      November 21
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by
      Kerstin Nordstrom
      Candidate for the position in Physics

      I will present recent work on two systems we have studied in our lab: granular materials and epithelial cell sheets. At first blush, these systems seem completely different. But blur your eyes a bit, and you start to see the similarities: They are both dense collections of particles. The systems' discreteness and density beget the emergence of the same cooperative and frustrated dynamics, even though the particles and interactions in each system are different. For both studies, we introduce novel experimental techniques and collective motion metrics. We also compare and contrast the collective behavior of inanimate and living systems.


      Space as a Spectral Mosaic: Geometry and Quantum Gravity

      November 19
      Hegeman 204

      A lecture by
      Hal Haggard
      Candidate for the position in Physics

      At the Planck scale (10^-33 cm), a quantum behavior of the geometry of space is expected. I will discuss new evidence for the idea that this can be achieved by directly quantizing space itself. In particular, we will consider the Bohr-Sommerfeld spectrum associated to the volume of a tetrahedron and compare it with the quantization of a grain of space found in loop gravity. One of the great challenges of the 21st century will be to understand how to empirically test for the quantization of space. I will conclude with some speculations about how to tackle this problem.


      Effects of a Periodic Scatter Potential on the Landau Quantization and Ballistic Transport in Graphene

      November 14
      Hegeman 107

      A lecture by
      Dr. Paula Fekete, Assistant Professor
      Department of Physics and Nuclear Engineering
      US Military Academy at West Point, NY

      Graphene is a single atomic layer of carbon atoms bound in a hexagonal lattice. It was first produced experimentally in 2004 by a team of researchers from Manchester, UK, and Chernogolovka, Russia, through mechanical exfoliation. This event started the “graphene revolution,” which spread quickly around the world attracting the attention of scientists and engineers alike. Graphene’s discovery was awarded the Physics Nobel Prize in 2010 and the number of publications and patents related to it is still sharply increasing. This talk will give an overview of some of graphene’s surprising electrical and transport properties that arise due to its two-dimensional structure. Namely, graphene’s electrons, moving in the periodic lattice potential of the two-dimensional crystal, form energy bands. These band energies can be described by a wave equation in which the mass of electrons is effectively changed. In a strong magnetic field, the cyclotron orbits of electrons are quantized and Landau levels form. In 1976, Hofstadter showed that, for a two-dimensional electron system, the interplay between these two quantum effects can lead to a fractal-type energy spectrum known as “Hofstadter’s Butterfly.” The talk presents results that indicate that the Hofstadter Butterfly appears in graphene’s energy spectrum as well.


      Investigating Spin Frustration within Thin-Film Magnetic Oxides

      November 12
      RKC 115

      A lecture by
      Jarrett Moyer
      Candidate for the position in Physics

      Transition-metal complex oxides are ideal systems for studying condensed matter physics due the wide variety of novel phenomena that they can display, such as high temperature superconductivity, colossal magnetoresistance, and multiferroicity.  Their magnetic properties can often be tuned through small variations in chemical doping, strain, or thickness.  This makes oxides promising for use in nextgeneration device applications, in which the magnetism will be controlled by external factors other than magnetic fields.  A relatively unexplored method to induce large changes in the magnetization is to control the degree of spin frustration within a frustrated magnetic oxide.  In this talk, I will discuss recent magnetic spectroscopy measurements on the magnetic structure of iron-doped cobalt ferrite (Co1xFe2+xO4).  We observed that as the degree of iron doping increases, there is a large, non-linear increase in the magnetization that is partially caused by a decrease in the spin frustration of the divalent cations.  This change in spin frustration is a direct result of the Co2+Fe3+ exchange interactions having different strengths than the corresponding Fe2+-Fe3+ exchange interaction.  I will propose a second, reversible method of controlling this spin frustration: the application of an electric field to the spinel ferrite.  Under an applied electric field, the mobile electrons within the ferrite will rearrange themselves to screen the field, and, in effect, this will change the ordering of the magnetic cations.  This will alter the frustration within the film, thus allowing the degree of frustration and the magnetization to be controlled with an electric field.  To make this device non-volatile, the electric field can be applied with an adjacent ferroelectric layer.  I will conclude this talk by discussing recent work on the integration of Fe3O4 with perovskites, which is the first step towards achieving non-volatile, electrically driven magnetic switching in a ferroelectric perovskite/spinel ferrite heterostructure.

      Strings and Mesons: Another Look at the Particle Zoo

      November 11
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by
      Nelia Mann
      Candidate for the position in Physics

      The standard model of quarks and leptons is an extremely powerful tool in particle physics.  However, it is not the only way of thinking about the particles we study.  In my talk I will discuss some interesting patterns in the spectra and behaviors of mesons (and baryons) which can be explained by thinking of these particles as strings rather than bound states of quarks.  I will show you how string theory can be used to produce concrete models for certain processes, such as proton/proton scattering, and how these models can be directly compared with the data.  This allows string theory to become useful in understanding current particle physics experiments.

      Hunting Quantum Gravity

      November 5
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      David Mattingly
      Candidate for the position in Physics

      Quantum gravity, a theory that consistently incorporates both quantum mechanics and general relativity, has been an outstanding problem in physics for almost 80 years.  Most of the progress on quantum gravity has been theoretical and, as a result, there are a number of different models for quantum gravity and the fundamental nature of space and time.  Only in the last decade have experimental advances made it possible to test some of these models and construct a phenomenology.  In this talk we will explain, in a fairly non-technical manner, what goes into a quantum theory of gravity, why models have traditionally been so difficult to test, and aspects of the now rich phenomenology.   As an example, we will concentrate on how new ultra-high energy cosmic ray data can differentiate between models of quantum gravity.

      Bard Summer Research Institute Poster Session

      October 3
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Students presenting:
      Emin Atuk, Tedros Balema, Griffin Burke, Kathleen Burke, Desi-Rae Campbell, Kody Chen, Yan Chu, Matt Dalrymple, Tom Delaney, Georgia Doing, Leila Duman, Colyer Durovich, Matthew Greenberg, Sumedha Guha, Asad Hashmi, Emily Hoelzli, Nushrat Hoque, Seoyoung Kim, Muhsin King, Midred Kissai, Julia Les, Lei Lu, Yuexi Ma, Katherine Moccia, Gavin Myers, Van Mai Nguyen Thi, Matthew Norman, Molly North, Nathaniel Oh, Ian Pelse, Linh Pham, Christina Rapti, Joanna Regan, Diana Ruggiero, Iden Sapse, Clara Sekowski, Sabrina Shahid, Min Kyung Shinn, Anuska Shrestha, Eva Shrestha, Shailab Shrestha, Olja Simoska, Ingrid Stolt, Henry Travaglini, Shuyi Weng, Clare Wheeler, Noah Winslow

      Advisers: Craig Anderson, Sven Anderson, Paul Cadden-Zimansky, John Cullinan, Olivier Giovannoni, Swapan Jain, Brooke Jude,  Christopher LaFratta, Robert McGrail, Emily McLaughlin, Keith O’Hara, Bruce Robertson, Lauren Rose, Rebecca Thomas



      Bard Summer Research Institute

      June 3 - July 26
      Bard College Campus

      Senior Project Poster Session

      May 16
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Students presenting:
      Adenike Akapo, Raed, Al-Abbasee Ammar Al-Rubaiay, Perry Anderson, Michael Anzuoni, Jeremy Arnstein, Nina Bar-Giora, Ian Barnett, Brendan Beecher, Abhinanda Bhattarcharyya, Cara Black, Sheneil Black, Laura Bradford, Cameron Brenner, Ross Cameron, Emily Carlson, Matteo Chierchia, Diana Crow, Kierstin Daviau, Jonathan De Wolf, Ha Phuong Do Thi, Katharine Dooley, Alexia Downs, Kimara DuCasse, Amy Eisenmenger, Jose Falla, Margo Finn, Joseph Foy, Prabarna Ganguly, Nabil Hossain, Matthew Hughes, Linda Ibojie, Miles Ingram, Lena James, Blagoy Kaloferov, Sun Bin Kim, Thant Ko Ko, Ruth Lakew, Hsiao-Fang Lin, Sam Link, Amy List, Weiying Liu, Julia Lunsford, Iliana Maifeld-Carucci, Claire Martin, Andres Medina, Jose Mendez, Tiago Moura, Jonathan Naito, Anam Nasim, Rachit Neupane, Mark Neznansky, Jeffrey Pereira, Liana Perry, Anisha Ramnani, Lydia Rebehn, Nolan Reece, Jonah Richard, Loralee Ryan, Perry Scheetz, Joy Sebesta, Erin Smith, Will Smith, Frank Stortini, James Sunderland, Oliver Switzer, Jacqueline Villiers, Weiqing Wang, Jasper Weinrich-Burd, Michael Weinstein, Layla Wolfgang, Fanya Wyrick-Flax, Sara Yilmaz, Anis Zaman, Wancong Zhang, Feifan Zheng

      Transmon-phonon Coupling of Plasma Oscillations and Lattice Vibrations

      May 15
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      Andrew Skinner
      Candidate for the position in Physics

      In the transmon quantum bit, or qubit, current oscillates back and forth between two superconducting islands separated by a Josephson tunnel junction. One expects from conservation of momentum and energy that the switching of the current would cause the substrate to vibrate. These quantized lattice vibrations are known as phonons. For a representative model transmon we derive the phonon emission pattern and numerically integrate the device's corresponding decoherence and relaxation rates.

      Magentic Interactions on Iron Oxide Nanoparticles

      May 14
      RKC 115

      A lecture by
      Thelma Berquo
      Candidate for the position in Physics
      I will report on the investigation of interactions of the antiferromagnetic iron oxide ferrihydrite by comparing magnetic properties of synthetic uncoated and coated nanoparticles. Four different coating agents (sugar, alginate, lactate and ascorbate) were employed to prepare sub-samples from the same batch of ferrihydrite, and both magnetic and non-magnetic techniques were used to characterize the samples. I will present results showing that coating agent caused a dramatic change in the magnetic properties of these nanoparticles. In addition, I will show how the results obtained from studying synthetic ferrihydrite can help us to better understand the magnetic properties of Fe microbial mat deposited on hydrothermal vents at Loihi Seamount (Hawaii).



      On Square-Roots of Nothing, Supersymmetry and Error-Correcting Encryption

      April 18
      Hegeman 308

      A lecture by
      Tristan Hübsch
      Professor of Physics, Howard University
      Symmetry is recognized throughout nature and our descriptions of it. Mathematically, it requires that varying some quantity results in no observable change: rotate a well-formed clover leaf by 120 degrees, and it looks the same. Supersymmetry is such a transformation, the only one known to guarantee our Universe from decaying into another, and then another, and again, and again. Yet, this transformation maps physical quantities measured in terms of ordinary numbers into quantities measured in numbers that square to zero. The study of this supersymmetry being underway for about half a century, it is surprising that a complete (so-called off-shell) representation theory is only now emerging---and it includes certain binary encryption codes, of the kind used by your browser to insure that the downloaded page is a faithful copy of the original on a web-site! This fascinating syzygy of diverse ideas opens doors to new discoveries in physics, mathematics and encryption alike.
This talk does not assume any advanced background in mathematics or physics.
      Refreshments will be served afterwards in the Albee Math Lounge.

      Distinguished Scientist Scholarship Applications Due

      April 2 - April 12

      All current students concentrating in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics or physics are eligible to apply for a Distinguished Scientist Scholar (DSS) Award. These awards are given to exceptional students who have distinguished themselves academically in one of the above-mentioned disciplines in the division of Science, Mathematics and Computing. The exact amount of each award is determined by the Financial Aid office, on average $5000 for each academic year, and includes the opportunity to apply for a summer research stipend to participate in NSF or NIH sponsored summer research programs at other institutions, if the student is not already eligible for federal funding. Like other science students at Bard, DSS recipients are also eligible for BSRI funding for summer research at Bard. Please note that this is a very competitive process and only a few awards will be given out each year.Eligibility: To apply for a DSS award (commencing in the fall), a student must meet the following eligibility criteria:o   Concentrating in one of the following programs: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics or Physics.o   Not currently receiving a DSS scholarship or award.o   Cumulative GPA of 3.0 overall in the college.o   Cumulative GPA of 3.5 in courses in the SM&C Division. Application Procedure:o   Write a letter of request to the DSS Committee. The letter should discuss your plan of study in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and/or physics.o   Write an essay about an experience in science or math that you found particularly interesting.o   Ask two Bard faculty members to write you letters of recommendation. At least one of these faculty members must be in the SM&C Division. They should submit their letters directly to Megan Karcher.o   Submit this information as attachments via e-mail to the SM&C Division secretary, Megan Karcher (karcher@bard.edu)Selection Criteria:  Awards will be granted to students showing exceptional qualifications in their areas of study and based upon the following:o   College academic records.o   Letters of recommendations from the faculty.o   A strong interest in working in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, or physics.o   Availability of funds.Deadline: Applications must be submitted no later than Friday, April 12th, 2013.The DSS Committee will meet shortly after that, and will make recommendations to the Director of Financial Aid, who will determine the final awards. You should receive word of whether you have been selected to receive a DSS award by early May. Questions?  Contact Sven Anderson, Chair of the Division of Science, Math and Computing, sanderso@bard.edu.

      Bard Science Journal Research Submission Deadline on March 1

      February 21 - March 1
      Website

      Anyone who is interested in submitting a scientific research paper or scientific review to be peer-reviewed should send in their submissions to bardsciencejournal@gmail.com by March 1st.

      For more details on our submission guidelines, check out our tumblr at bardsciencejournal.tumblr.com or email us and ask for a pdf copy.

      Flying Boys, Defibrillated Chickens, and Death By Lightning: A Brief History of Electricity and Magnetism

      January 31
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by Paul Cadden-Zimansky, Physics Program

      The development of almost all modern technology relies on a firm understanding of the concepts of electricity and magnetism, and these concepts are at the heart of fundamental explanations of most physical phenomena. The historical evolution of these concepts traces back thousands of years and took a number of surprising, unorthodox, and occasionally tragic turns before the rules governing electricity and magnetism were codified. In this talk, intended for a general audience, I'll review some of the key experiments and insights of past centuries that led to our present theories.