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New Horizon’s Distinguished Speaker’s Visit – Professor Christian Weinheimer

April 4, 2023

We are excited to announce that Professor Christian Weinheimer from the Institute for Nuclear Physics at the University of Münster will be visiting the UNC Department of Physics and Astronomy and the CosMS Institute. He will be delivering a colloquium on the topic of “The Dark Matter Experiment XENONnT and First WIMP Results”. The colloquium will take place on April 5th at 3:30 pm in Chapman 201, followed by a reception. We warmly invite all interested members of the academic community to attend this event and engage in an insightful discussion with Professor Weinheimer.

Discover more information about the XENONNT at 

New Horizon’s Distinguished Speaker’s Visit – Professor Edward Rocky Kolb

February 27, 2023

Professor Edward (Rocky) Kolb, the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, will visit UNC and CosMS Institute on March 27th and 28th, as the New Horizon’s Distinguished Speaker. And on the 28th he will deliver a speech to the general public. As a renowned physicist and cosmologist, Dr. Kolb’s insights and perspectives are sure to be of great interest to a wider audience of science and universe lovers. All are welcome to attend this event and share this opportunity with colleagues, friends, and networks.


About Professor Edward (Rocky) Kolb

Edward W. Kolb is a professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. He was the founding head of the NASA/Fermilab Astrophysics Group at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. In addition to more than 200 scientific papers, he is a co-author of The Early Universe, the standard textbook on particle physics and cosmology. His book for the general public, Blind Watchers of the Sky (winner of the 1996 Emme Award from the AAS), is the story of the people and ideas that shaped our view of the universe. Kolb was awarded the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers.


Speech Title and Abstract

Title – The Quantum and the Cosmos

Abstract – Quantum laws rule the microscopic world. In the Big Bang era our world was subatomic and governed by quantum phenomena which generated all the cosmic structures, from galaxies to light, around us today. This connection between the quantum and the cosmos may explain the nature of dark matter holding together our galaxy and the mysterious dark energy tearing apart our universe.

Time: 6:00 P.M., March 28th, 2023

Location: Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, 250 E Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27514



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.

CoSMS Workshop on Thermonuclear Reaction Rates

April 22, 2016

Chapel Hill, April 27, 2016; Great Room at Top of the Hill

Cosmic phenomena, including the origin of the universe, stellar explosions on the surface of white dwarfs, and the evolution of our galaxy, cannot be understood without a proper knowledge of thermonuclear reaction rates. This CoSMS workshop is designed tCoSMSworkshopo build a bridge between these phenomena (big bang, classical novae, and globular clusters) and their underlying nuclear physics processes. We will pursue two specific goals: first, to initiate a new program of computing new stellar models for novae that could impact the evolution of globular clusters; second, to build a significantly improved foundation for estimating thermonuclear reaction rates. Presentations will be given by selected faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. A poster session will accompany the scientific program.


Organizing Committee
Christian Iliadis (UNC and TUNL)
Richard Longland (NCSU and TUNL)
Jordi Jose (Barcelona)
Alain Coc (Orsay)

Classical Novae And The Physics Of Exploding Stars

April 21, 2016

Prof. Jordi José

Department of Physics, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona



Abstract: At the turn of the 21st Century, new tools and developments, at the crossroads of theoretical and computational astrophysics, observational astronomy, cosmochemistry, and nuScreen Shot 2016-04-21 at 8.03.05 PMclear physics, have revolutionized our understanding of the physics of stellar explosions. The use of space-borne observatories has opened new windows to study the cosmos through multifrequency observations. In parallel to the elemental stellar abundances inferred spectroscopically, cosmochemists are now providing isotopic abundance ratios from micron-sized presolar grains extracted from meteorites. Encapsulated in those grains is pristine information about the suite of nuclear processes that took place in their stellar progenitors. The dawn of supercomputing has also provided astrophysicists withe appropriate tools to study complex physical phenomena that require a multidimensional approach. Last but not least, nuclear physicists have developed new techniques to determine nuclear interactions close to stellar energies. In this talk, a number of breakthroughs from all these different disciplines will be presented, with emphasis on the physical mechanisms that operate during nova explosions.

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.