CANCELLED -Rainer Weiss Public Lecture

November 1, 2018

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this lecture has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule Dr. Weiss’ visit to Spring 2019.


Dr. Rainer Weiss, Professor of Physics Emeritus at MIT and 2017 Nobel Laureate, will discuss “Probing the Universe with Gravitational Waves.” The observations of gravitational waves from the mergers of compact binary sources opens a new way to learn about the universe, as well as test General Relativity in the limit of strong gravitational interactions — the dynamics of massive bodies traveling at relativistic speeds in a highly curved space-time.

Clifford Johnson Colloquium

April 10, 2018

Holographic Heat Engines For Fun and Profit

Abstract:   New work has shown how to complete the correspondence between the physics of black holes and the laws of thermodynamics by incorporating volume and pressure into the formalism. This results in a change in the thermodynamic interpretation of the black hole’s mass, and may give a new handle on understanding aspects of theories of gravity with non-vanishing cosmological constant. The concept of the “holographic heat engine”, where a black hole acts as the working substance for a heat engine, arises naturally in this framework, and further connects ideas from traditional thermodynamics, quantum gravity, and field theory. This talk will try to motivate and explain some of these developments and show some potential applications.

April 11 at 4:00 in Chapman Hall 201

Black Holes, Space and Time – Clifford Johnson Public Lecture

August 17, 2017

Dr. Clifford Johnson, professor of physics & astronomy at the University of Southern California, will take us on a whirlwind tour of Black Holes, Space & Time while sharing his experiences as a science adviser to television and movies, including Marvel superhero movies. His graphic novel Dialogues: Conversations about the Nature of the Universe, will be available for sale with a book signing following questions and answers. The event will take place April 10 starting at 5:30 at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. This talk is part of the NC Science Festival and reservations available through the Morehead‘s site.


20th Capra Meeting on Radiation Reaction in General Relativity

March 31, 2017

The Capra meetings have brough together relativists interested in the problem of radiation reaction in general relativity and its application to extreme-mass-ratio inspirals (EMRIs) as astrophysical sources of gravitational waves. This year’s meeting will be held June 19-23, 2017 at UNC.

Daniel Kleppner Colloquium

March 31, 2017

Prof. Daniel Kleppner from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and recipient of the 2017 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research, will present a talk entitled “Three Seeds in the Flowering of Quantum Science,” April 10 at 2pm.

Has Kepler Found Aliens?

October 29, 2016

Prof. John Lattanzio, from the School of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University, Victoria, Australia, will give a colloquium about data from the Kepler spacecraft.

Has Kepler Found Aliens?

Abstract:  The Kepler spacecraft has revolutionized the search for exo-planets and provided asteroseismology data for thousands of stars. But it probably gathered more publicity from observations of one single star. This star does not look like anything predicted – with one exception: It looks very much like predictions made for the signature alien megastructures around a star. In this talk I review the Kepler data for this star and look at possible explanations.

See flyer here

A Light refreshments will be served on the 3rd floor of Chapman from 3:30pm.

Colloquium at 4pm in Chapman Hall 125.

A reception will be held at 5pm outside of Chapman Hall 125.

CoSMS Workshop on Naturalness

August 11, 2016

This 3-day CoSMS workshop centers on Theoretical and Experimental constraints on Naturalness, the main driver for physics beyond the Standard Model for many years. The next few years are expected to be especially informative.

Numerical Relativity and the Future of Gravitational-Wave Astronomy

July 14, 2016

Prof. Mark Hannam, from the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University, will give a talk on

Numerical Relativity and the Future of Gravitational-Wave Astronomy

Abstract:  Gravitational waves have been directly detected for the first time, from the collision of two black holes. Measuring the properties of the black holes (their masses and spins) required theoretical models of the signal, calculated by combining analytic approximation techniques with numerical solutions of the full Einstein equations for the last orbits and merger. I will discuss how the models were produced that were used in measuring the properties of the first black-hole-binary observed, and the challenges ahead as we enter the era of gravitational wave astronomy.

See flyer here

This talk follows a UNC Astrophysics lecture by Dr. Subinoy Das of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, “Astrophysical Small Scale Signatures of Non-WIMP Dark Matter” in 277 from 3-4pm.

A reception will be held at 5pm in Phillips 277.

AWAKE: A Novel Acceleration Technology Based on Plasmas Colloquium

March 21, 2016

Prof. Allen Caldwell will visit CoSMS from the Max-Planck Physics Institute in Munich to discuss the Advanced Wakefield Experiment (AWAKE).

Abstract:  New acceleration technology is mandatory for the future of high energy particle physics. A promising approach is to exploit the properties of plasmas. An experimental program has started at CERN, the AWAKE experiment, where proton bunches will be used for the first time ever to drive plasma wakefields. The information gained from this suite of experiments will provide the basis for designing next-generation accelerators. In the presentation, the ideas behind plasma wakefield acceleration will be explained, as well as the pros and cons of different approaches. The goals and status of the AWAKE experiment will then be described.

Please see the flyer here.