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Previous Talks

  • The Science of Music

    Devin Whitten
    Tuesday December 5th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    ​We all love music. But, why? Why does music sound good? What even is sound, anyway? From the basis of sound and simple harmony, to the ways we’ve tried to understand and capture music throughout history, we’ll explore some of these questions.​


  • Does antimatter fall up?

    Prof. Adam Martin
    Tuesday November 7th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    In this talk we’ll discover that antimatter is not just a figment of science fiction. It is very real, and more familiar than you might think. We’ll talk about why antimatter must exist, how it’s different than normal matter, and how we study it.


  • Spooky Science Demo Show [Show 2]

    The ExPAND demo team
    Tuesday October 24th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    It’s that time of year again, when the air gets cooler, the sounds of werewolves and ghosts draws nearer, and the physicists crawl out from their laboratories!

    Join the ExPAND physics demo team for a packed show with spooky science demos that are sure to rattle your bones and leave you mystified.

    A FREE (but ticketed) event! Please use the form on the event page to sign up for this event.

    This event is open to all ages, and feel free to wear your favorite costume!


  • Spooky Science Demo Show [Show 1]

    The ExPAND demo team
    Tuesday October 24th 2017 - 6:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    It’s that time of year again, when the air gets cooler, the sounds of werewolves and ghosts draws nearer, and the physicists crawl out from their laboratories!
    Join the ExPAND physics demo team for a packed show with spooky science demos that are sure to rattle your bones and leave you mystified.

    A FREE (but ticketed) event! Please use the form on the event page to sign up for this event.

    This event is open to all ages, and feel free to wear your favorite costume!


  • The Great Silence: An Exploration of the Fermi Paradox

    Jared Coughlin
    Tuesday October 17th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Where is everybody? For as long as humans have looked up at the stars in the night sky, we have wondered whether or not we are alone in the Universe. With an estimated number of Earth-like planets in our galaxy in the billions, the odds seem to favor the existence of many other civilizations, and if even a small fraction of these are sending out signals or colonizing among the stars, we should have detected their presence by now. But we haven’t. This unexpected silence is known as the Fermi Paradox, and in this talk I discuss potential solutions to this problem as well as the central question: how common is intelligent life in the Universe?


  • Getting the Lead Out: Reducing South Bend’s Exposure to Environmental Lead

    Prof. Graham Peaslee
    Tuesday September 26th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Like many US cities, South Bend has a high number of children with blood lead levels above the threshold where public health intervention is recommended by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This current problem exists despite it being three decades since the removal of lead from gasoline and house paint. This leaves the outstanding question: where is this lead coming from?

    An interdisciplinary team of Notre Dame faculty and students is leading a study to understand the sources of environmental lead within homes and surrounding environments. This is an ongoing program which aims to identify sources of lead, inform and educate the wider community about this issue and help them reduce exposure to the lead for themselves and their families.

    Join us as leading members of this work present their current findings and future plans. This will be followed by a panel with local experts and community leaders to discuss how to address the issues of environmental lead in South Bend.


  • The Search for Life & Earth 2.0

    Dr. Jonathan Crass
    Tuesday September 12th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    For centuries, humans have looked up at the stars in the night sky and pondered a fundamental question about our place in the Universe:

    Are we alone?

    Twenty years ago, the first planet outside our solar system was discovered, heralding a new era in the search for life beyond Earth. Join us as we explore the techniques used to discover these planets and what their discovery means for understanding our solar system. We’ll discuss both current and future instruments, how they are answering this question and what they aim to discover in the coming decade.


  • Sub-second Tsunamis: What Wall Street can teach us about neurological disorders

    Dr. Neil Johnson (University of Miami)
    Tuesday August 22nd 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    How fast can you blink your eye, or clap your hands? Sure, one or two cups of coffee and a good night’s sleep might help speed things up — but the fact is that there are large-scale, ultrafast systems operating 24/7 on which our livelihoods and pensions depend, but in which there is no hope of real-time human intervention when things go wrong since they are limited only by the speed of light. In fact, the science of such systems is not well understood — in particular, the extreme events or ‘Black Swans’ which are like digital tsunamis. In this talk I present an explicit discussion of one such ultrafast electronic system which is closer to home than you might think. But I also describe how improving our understanding of this system can help our understanding of potentially all others. And this includes the most complex network system of them all — the human brain.


  • Solar Eclipse 2017 – DVT Show 9 – Aug 15, 8:15pm [Free Booking Required]

    Keith Davis
    Tuesday August 15th 2017 - 8:15 pm
    Digital Visualization Theater, Jordan Hall of Science

    A great event for all ages!

    Join Keith Davis, Ph.D., inside the Digital Visualization Theater to prepare for the Great American Eclipse! On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will draw a path across the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. See a simulation of the eclipse in Notre Dame’s unique 50-foot planetarium and digital theater. Learn about historically interesting eclipses and how the moon’s place in the solar system makes these events so spectacular. Discover how to view the eclipse safely, and receive free eclipse viewing glasses.The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at www.nduniverse.org/upcoming-talks/.

    We ask in consideration for others to please only book tickets for one of these events. We appreciate your understanding. 


    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other shows which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Solar Eclipse 2017 – DVT Show 8 – Aug 15, 7:00pm [Free Booking Required]

    Keith Davis
    Tuesday August 15th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    Digital Visualization Theater, Jordan Hall of Science

    A great event for all ages!

    Join Keith Davis, Ph.D., inside the Digital Visualization Theater to prepare for the Great American Eclipse! On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will draw a path across the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. See a simulation of the eclipse in Notre Dame’s unique 50-foot planetarium and digital theater. Learn about historically interesting eclipses and how the moon’s place in the solar system makes these events so spectacular. Discover how to view the eclipse safely, and receive free eclipse viewing glasses.The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at www.nduniverse.org/upcoming-talks/.

    We ask in consideration for others to please only book tickets for one of these events. We appreciate your understanding. 


    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other shows which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Solar Eclipse 2017 – DVT Show 4 – Aug 12, 4:15pm [Free Booking Required]

    Keith Davis
    Saturday August 12th 2017 - 4:15 pm
    Digital Visualization Theater, Jordan Hall of Science

    A great event for all ages!

    Join Keith Davis, Ph.D., inside the Digital Visualization Theater to prepare for the Great American Eclipse! On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will draw a path across the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. See a simulation of the eclipse in Notre Dame’s unique 50-foot planetarium and digital theater. Learn about historically interesting eclipses and how the moon’s place in the solar system makes these events so spectacular. Discover how to view the eclipse safely, and receive free eclipse viewing glasses.The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at www.nduniverse.org/upcoming-talks/.

    We ask in consideration for others to please only book tickets for one of these events. We appreciate your understanding. 


    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other shows which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Solar Eclipse 2017 – DVT Show 3 – Aug 12, 3pm [Free Booking Required]

    Keith Davis
    Saturday August 12th 2017 - 3:00 pm
    Digital Visualization Theater, Jordan Hall of Science

    A great event for all ages!

    Join Keith Davis, Ph.D., inside the Digital Visualization Theater to prepare for the Great American Eclipse! On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will draw a path across the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. See a simulation of the eclipse in Notre Dame’s unique 50-foot planetarium and digital theater. Learn about historically interesting eclipses and how the moon’s place in the solar system makes these events so spectacular. Discover how to view the eclipse safely, and receive free eclipse viewing glasses.The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at www.nduniverse.org/upcoming-talks/.

    We ask in consideration for others to please only book tickets for one of these events. We appreciate your understanding. 


    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other shows which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Solar Eclipse 2017 – DVT Show 5 – Aug 12, 1:30pm [Free Booking Required]

    Keith Davis
    Saturday August 12th 2017 - 1:30 pm
    Digital Visualization Theater, Jordan Hall of Science

    A great event for all ages!

    Join Keith Davis, Ph.D., inside the Digital Visualization Theater to prepare for the Great American Eclipse! On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will draw a path across the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. See a simulation of the eclipse in Notre Dame’s unique 50-foot planetarium and digital theater. Learn about historically interesting eclipses and how the moon’s place in the solar system makes these events so spectacular. Discover how to view the eclipse safely, and receive free eclipse viewing glasses.The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at www.nduniverse.org/upcoming-talks/.

    We ask in consideration for others to please only book tickets for one of these events. We appreciate your understanding. 


    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other shows which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Solar Eclipse 2017 – DVT Show 7 – Aug 10, 8:15pm [Free Booking Required]

    Keith Davis
    Thursday August 10th 2017 - 8:15 pm
    Digital Visualization Theater, Jordan Hall of Science

    A great event for all ages!

    Join Keith Davis, Ph.D., inside the Digital Visualization Theater to prepare for the Great American Eclipse! On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will draw a path across the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. See a simulation of the eclipse in Notre Dame’s unique 50-foot planetarium and digital theater. Learn about historically interesting eclipses and how the moon’s place in the solar system makes these events so spectacular. Discover how to view the eclipse safely, and receive free eclipse viewing glasses.The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at www.nduniverse.org/upcoming-talks/.

    We ask in consideration for others to please only book tickets for one of these events. We appreciate your understanding. 


    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other shows which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Solar Eclipse 2017 – DVT Show 6 – Aug 10, 7:00pm [Free Booking Required]

    Keith Davis
    Thursday August 10th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    Digital Visualization Theater, Jordan Hall of Science

    A great event for all ages!

    Join Keith Davis, Ph.D., inside the Digital Visualization Theater to prepare for the Great American Eclipse! On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will draw a path across the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. See a simulation of the eclipse in Notre Dame’s unique 50-foot planetarium and digital theater. Learn about historically interesting eclipses and how the moon’s place in the solar system makes these events so spectacular. Discover how to view the eclipse safely, and receive free eclipse viewing glasses.The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at www.nduniverse.org/upcoming-talks/.

    We ask in consideration for others to please only book tickets for one of these events. We appreciate your understanding. 


    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other shows which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Solar Eclipse 2017 – DVT Show 2 – Aug 9, 8:15pm [Free Booking Required]

    Keith Davis
    Wednesday August 9th 2017 - 8:15 pm
    Digital Visualization Theater, Jordan Hall of Science

    A great event for all ages!

    Join Keith Davis, Ph.D., inside the Digital Visualization Theater to prepare for the Great American Eclipse! On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will draw a path across the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. See a simulation of the eclipse in Notre Dame’s unique 50-foot planetarium and digital theater. Learn about historically interesting eclipses and how the moon’s place in the solar system makes these events so spectacular. Discover how to view the eclipse safely, and receive free eclipse viewing glasses.The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at www.nduniverse.org/upcoming-talks/.

    We ask in consideration for others to please only book tickets for one of these events. We appreciate your understanding. 


    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other shows which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Solar Eclipse 2017 – DVT Show 1 – Aug 9, 7pm [Free Booking Required]

    Keith Davis
    Wednesday August 9th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    Digital Visualization Theater, Jordan Hall of Science

    A great event for all ages!

    Join Keith Davis, Ph.D., inside the Digital Visualization Theater to prepare for the Great American Eclipse! On August 21, 2017, the shadow of the moon will draw a path across the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. See a simulation of the eclipse in Notre Dame’s unique 50-foot planetarium and digital theater. Learn about historically interesting eclipses and how the moon’s place in the solar system makes these events so spectacular. Discover how to view the eclipse safely, and receive free eclipse viewing glasses.The event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at www.nduniverse.org/upcoming-talks/.

    We ask in consideration for others to please only book tickets for one of these events. We appreciate your understanding. 


    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other shows which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Seeing the Unseen (All Ages Event)

    QuarkNet
    Tuesday May 16th 2017 - 6:00 pm
    Jordan Hall of Science

    Join us for another all-ages Our Universe Revealed, as we bring the unseen world of particles into focus through demonstrations and hands-on activities!

    A free event for all ages! No tickets required!


  • Gone Fission?

    Sabrina Strauss
    Tuesday May 2nd 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    We’ve all heard about nuclear energy, but how much do we really know about it? How much of what we see on the news is fact and fantasy? Is is safe, or dangerous? What kinds of nuclear energy are there? How, exactly does it work? Join us as we find out!


  • How You Became You – Origin of the Elements of Life

    Timothy Beers
    Tuesday April 18th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Professor Beers tells the story of how the Universe made the elements that make up your body, your planet, your Sun, your Galaxy, and everything in them. From the caldrons of the massive first stars emerged the fundamental elements required for life as we know it – Carbon, Nitrogen, and Oxygen – within the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Shortly thereafter, heavier elements that provide the “spice” of life were created in supernovae explosions and merging neutron stars. Come hear the exciting tale, details of which are being explored by researchers here at Notre Dame.


  • Space Oddities: How Eclipses, Comets, and other Celestial Events Changed Human History

    Laura Bland
    Tuesday April 4th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    This summer, Americans will get a rare treat: a spectacular view of a total solar eclipse. It will be an exciting opportunity to see a rare (by human standards) event in nature. For our ancestors, though, an eclipse was a portent of doom.
    Why were people so afraid when odd things happened in the sky? Why will most of us watching the eclipse this summer not be afraid? This talk will explore how events in space—eclipses, comets, and supernovae—have affected human history in order to answer these questions. From ancient eclipses turning the tide of battles to comets that helped overthrow kings, strange happenings in the skies changed our history in some big, and surprising, ways.


  • More Perfect Than We Imagined: A Physicist's View of Life

    William Bialek, Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar
    Tuesday March 28th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Sitting in a quiet room, we can hear sounds that cause our eardrums to vibrate by less than the diameter of an atom.  When bacteria have to decide if they are swimming in the right direction to find more food, they count every single molecule that arrives at their surface.  In these examples, and many more, evolution has selected for mechanisms that operate near the limits of what is allowed by the laws of physics.  This lecture will give a tour of these beautiful phenomena, from microscopic events inside a developing embryo to our own perception and decision making.  While there are many ways to build a biological system that might work, there are many fewer ways to build one that can approach the physical limits.  Perhaps, out of its complexity, life emerges as simpler, and more perfect, than we imagined.

    This talk is presented by Prof. William Bialek, the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics at Princeton University,  and Visiting Presidential Professor of Physics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Prof. Bialek joins us for this special Our Universe Revealed as the Notre Dame Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar.


  • A show of Fire & Ice (Show 2)

    ExPAND Demo Team
    Tuesday March 21st 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Join us for a fun filled show as we explain physics we see all around us through demonstrations using fire and ice!

    A FREE (but ticketed) event for all ages!

    Please use the form on the event page to sign up for this event.

    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other show at 6pm which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • A show of Fire & Ice (Show 1)

    ExPAND Demo Team
    Tuesday March 21st 2017 - 6:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Join us for a fun filled show as we explain physics we see all around us through demonstrations using fire and ice!

    A FREE (but ticketed) event for all ages!

    Please use the form on the event page to sign up for this event.

    If you receive a ‘no seats available’ message below, unfortunately this event is now full. There may still be seats available for other show at 7pm which can be booked here. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Future Sky: Fate of the Earth and Universe in the Near and Distant Future

    Grant Mathews
    Tuesday March 7th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Astronomy makes many predictions about the evolution of the future cosmos. This includes answers to questions like:

    • How will the Earth change and when will the Earth come to an end?
    • When will life on Earth end?
    • How will the Sun change and when will the Sun burn out.
    • When and how will the Galaxy end?
    • What will happen to the stars in the sky?
    • What is the future of the universe:  A big bounce, a big freeze, or a big rip?
    • Will time itself come to an end?

    Prof. Mathews will describe a journey backward and forward through cosmic time as a means to explore these questions and provide some surprising answers.

     


  • Dark Matter

    Antonio Delgado
    Tuesday February 28th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    What is Dark Matter? Why do we need it? What it is made off? Can we detect it? In this talk I will try to answer these and other questions about a fundamental component of our Universe.


  • Evolution and Life in a Synthetic Universe

    Dervis Can Vural
    Tuesday February 14th 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    The laws of physics can be thought of as a set of instructions on which the Universe runs. A good way to determine these instructions is to run them on a computer, essentially producing a synthetic universe, and then compare the outcome with the actual one. Unfortunately, for systems exceeding a handful of particles, the instructions become very difficult to follow, even with our best computers. For this reason, we look for “effective laws”, i.e. simplified instructions, that are a lot more easier to carry out but otherwise give the same outcome. Can we understand complex biological processes in the same way? Can the complexity of life be described by a simple instruction set? What kind of instructions lead to self-replicating and evolving systems, and what others do not? Join us to find out!


  • Dark matter vs. Dark energy: What’s the difference and why do we care?

    Adam Martin
    Tuesday January 31st 2017 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Whenever the Universe is brought up, the terms Dark Matter and Dark Energy inevitably get tossed around. But what are these, really? Are they the same thing or not? How do we know they exist? Why do we need them?

    In this talk we will tackle these questions. We’ll discuss the evidence for Dark Matter and Dark Energy, how they are the similar and how they are different, and how they fit into our current picture of the Universe.


  • Extremes of the Planets – An Event for All Ages! (Show 2)

    Jonathan Crass
    Tuesday December 6th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Join us for the return of two shows of our “explosive” all-ages Christmas spectacular, ‘Extremes of the Planets’. We bring the environments of the planets to Notre Dame allowing you to experience what it’s like on the surface of Mars and just how cold it is on Neptune. And let’s not forget about the inner planets where the sun bakes them to hotter than an oven!

    With demonstrations and discussion, join us for this FREE (but ticketed) event for all ages!

    Please use the form on the event page to sign up for this event.

    Booking for this event has now closed – we may have a number of spaces available on the door for the second (7pm) show. These are first come, first served. Thank you for your understanding.


  • Extremes of the Planets – An Event for All Ages! (Show 1)

    Jonathan Crass
    Tuesday December 6th 2016 - 6:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Join us for the return of two shows of our “explosive” all-ages Christmas spectacular, ‘Extremes of the Planets’. We bring the environments of the planets to Notre Dame allowing you to experience what it’s like on the surface of Mars and just how cold it is on Neptune. And let’s not forget about the inner planets where the sun bakes them to hotter than an oven!

    With demonstrations and discussion, join us for this FREE (but ticketed) event for all ages!

    Please use the form on the event page to sign up for this event.

    Booking for this event has now closed – we may have a number of spaces available on the door for the second (7pm) show. These are first come, first served. Thank you for your understanding.


  • The Hunt for Environmental Toxins

    Graham Peaslee
    Tuesday November 29th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    There are an alarming number of news stories about “emerging” chemicals of concern in our environment, such as the recent drinking water contamination in Hoosick Falls, NY, or Flint, MI. In this talk we will discuss a few recent events that foreshadow a future where we are surrounded by chemicals of our own making, some of which are decidedly bad for our health. Using a new tool, an application of nuclear physics known as ion beam analysis, we will show how it is possible to rapidly assess hundreds of environmental samples a day, and to use this information to learn more about the environmental fate of these chemicals and their transport from our consumer products into the water we drink and into the food we eat. The variety of toxins studied with this method includes flame retardants, fluorinated surfactants and heavy metals, all of which have made their way from our consumer products into the environment, and recently into the primetime news.  The science behind these chemicals of concern will be explained and our exciting foray into the world of environmental measurements with a particle accelerator will be described.


    Following the talk, members of the Nuclear Research Group at Notre Dame will be giving tours of the nuclear research facilities in Nieuwland Science Hall (5 minutes walk from Jordan Hall). For the tour it is necessary to wear appropriate clothing:
    1. Ankle length pants/skirt under clothing that covers the body and is easily removable.
    2. Closed-toe shoes with a substantial sole.
    If you wish to attend the tour, please adhere to the above requirements.


  • Miller Endowed Lecture: The Ugly and the Beautiful: Versatile Uses of the 14C Bomb Peak

    Walter Kutschera
    Tuesday November 15th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    Carey Auditorium, Hesburgh Library

    Nuclear weapons testing between 1952 and 1963 increased the 14C content in the atmosphere by 100 % over the natural level. After the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963, this 14C excess rapidly decreased through the CO2 cycle and has reached almost pre-nuclear levels today. During the last 50 years, the hydrosphere and biosphere, including humans, were thus ‘accidentally’ labeled with this rapidly changing 14C. The development of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS), that is the art of counting 14C atoms ‘one by one’, allows one to trace 14C in ever smaller sample sizes. This led to a variety of unique applications, among which the age determination of cells in the human brain is perhaps the most interesting one. The 14C bomb peak can also be used for forensic studies, to determine the death of a person, to discover frauds in precious pieces of art and illicit trading of ivory. Another important use is the study of the CO2 cycle itself, particularly pertaining to the sequestering of anthropogenic CO2 in ocean and soil. It is somewhat gratifying that the horror of nuclear weapons testing has also created some useful side effects after all.


  • Emergence: how order springs from complexity

    Kenjiro Gomes
    Tuesday November 1st 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    In nature, quite often the whole is smarter than the sum of its parts. Try to imagine a society of bees. Even if we understand the behavior of a single bee very well, we couldn’t predict how the society of bees actually functions on a larger scale. The term “emergence” refers to how the large scale characteristics appear as the unexpected result of the collective behavior of each unit. This phenomenon happens very often in all fields of science, whether it is physics, biology, economics or computer science. In this talk, we will examine how we understand electrons, ants and even cities.


  • Hands on Physics – An All Ages Event

    Speaker TBC
    Tuesday October 25th 2016 - 6:00 pm
    Jordan Hall of Science

    Join us for an evening of talks, demos and hands-on activities explaining physics phenomena in the Universe around us!

    Sink your hands into magnetic putty, experiment with color, light, and sound, create your very own bottled nebula and more!

    A free event for all ages!


  • The Data Tsunami: Science from Big (and Bigger) Data

    Mike Hildreth
    Tuesday October 4th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Everyone has probably heard of “Big Data”. How big is “Big”? We will explore the exponential increase in the data produced worldwide (Zetabytes, anyone?), focused on some of the largest science projects and how their data is handled. We will also discuss efforts to preserve the knowledge behind the process that generates scientific results based on all of this data.  This will lead us to a discussion of policy issues associated with Citizen Science and how ordinary people can access scientific data.


  • Plasma: From Lightning to Medical Applications

    Sylwia Ptasinska
    Tuesday September 27th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Electrical plasma, considered as the fourth state of matter, is an ionized gas composed of charged particles (ions, electrons), radicals, and neutral species (excited atoms and molecules). They come in two classifications: thermal (hot) or non-thermal (cold) plasmas.

    Hot plasmas being an abundant naturally occurring phenomena, e.g., the sun, polar aurora, lightning. At the end of the 20th century, hot plasmas were well established in industry although many customers and users are unaware of their use. Important industrial areas are light bulbs, modification of polymer materials, waste and air pollution management, microelectronics, flat panel displays, and many more.

    Cold plasmas, operate near room temperatures and can be used to treat heat-sensitive surfaces and living tissues. In the last decade, the use of such cold atmospheric plasmas for medical purposes has attracted much attention as it can be implemented in various medical devices to inactivate bacteria, fungi, viruses and spores, to coagulate blood, to sterilize wounds, to sterilize surgical instruments, to transfect cells, and to treat tissue scaffolds.


  • Through the looking glass: Our view of the Universe

    Dr. Jonathan Crass
    Tuesday September 13th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Our understanding of the Universe today is driven by tools developed by astronomers to study the night sky. From the original telescopes of Galileo through to the largest telescopes today, technology has allowed us to discover how the Universe works. The new instruments installed on telescopes today allow us to see further from Earth and with more detail than ever before.

    In this talk, we explore the tools used by astronomers to study the night sky. See how astronomers at Notre Dame use some of the largest telescopes in the world and discover how they allow us to see the night-sky in exquisite detail. Find out about the new techniques which we use to search for gravitational waves to give us a whole new view of the Universe and learn what the next generations of telescopes will tell us about the Universe around us.


  • Astroblast! – A free, family friendly event

    Speaker TBC
    Tuesday May 24th 2016 - 6:30 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Join us as Notre Dame astronomers take over Jordan Hall for an astronomy-fueled evening, including planetarium shows, live presentations, science craft projects, and hands-on demonstrations! A free event for all ages!

    Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/711650872270629/


  • A Quarter Century of the Hubble Space Telescope

    Prof. Chris Howk
    Tuesday May 10th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    The Hubble Space Telescope is one of humanity’s greatest scientific instruments. It is also one of our most beloved. This talk will describe the history of Hubble – from its inception and launch to its multiple upgrades by Shuttle astronauts – as well as its future. We will learn about how Hubble works, but we will also discuss the amazing scientific discoveries it has enabled.


  • Practical Magic: Superconductivity in the 21st Century

    Dr. Matt Smylie
    Tuesday April 26th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Superconductivity has fascinated and tantalized scientists for a century with its potential for applications, but nature’s rules of physics and man’s rules of economics have limited their usage to niche markets in the 100 years since the discovery of the effect. Recent technological and materials advancements and the rapidly growing demands for electrical energy in the economy of the 21st century, however, are changing the situation.

    In this talk, we will discuss the physics of and the applications of superconductivity, and how Notre Dame researchers are partnering with scientists at National Laboratories to create high-performance materials that can satisfy the needs of our increasingly energy-intensive society.


  • “Seeing” Particles and Interactions…

    Prof. Randy Ruchti
    Tuesday April 12th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    High Energy Physicists study and seek to discover the fundamental particles and interactions upon which our universe is built.  The Notre Dame HEP Group is actively engaged in a major experiment in Europe called CMS, that is rapidly advancing our knowledge of this physics, at the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.

    This presentation focuses on how we detect particles and interactions.   A hand-held particle detector, developed at Notre Dame, is brought into the discussion that shows three of the fundamental elements of matter: electrons, photons and muons right in the lecture hall.  This type of detector, built by students and teachers, has been placed in high energy particle beams to reveal visually the interactions of particles with matter.   It is impressive to see what high energy particles can do…!


  • The Physics of Energy (Event for ages 10 upwards)

    Prof. Abigail Mechtenberg
    Tuesday March 29th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    How can you prepare and participate in the next generation of energy
    solutions?

    Life today uses many different types of energy – whether gas to heat your home, electricity to power equipment or fuel for your car, it is a vital component of life within the 21st century. With this integration into our lives comes the opportunity for crisis: what happens when the energy sources aren’t available?

    Join us as we learn about the impact of energy crises across the world. Whether it’s diesel supplies for the US military or how a lack of reliable electricity affects health of 1.2 billion people across the world, how does a physicist engage in this global dialogue? Come and hear about the issues and solutions being implemented by US military and Ugandans to solve their own energy crises.

    Following the talk, join us in the Jordan Hall Galleria to get hands on with small scale energy education demonstrations!


  • Our eyes in the skies: How telescopes help us place ourselves in the Universe

    Prof. Vini Placco
    Tuesday March 15th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    People are always fascinated about the beauty and complexity of the night sky. However, our ability to see further, fainter, and in greater detail is limited by our own eyes, and that is one of the main motivations why instruments such as telescopes were invented.

    In this presentation we will take a journey around the world, and see where (and why) large telescopes are built, and all the implications these have in our understanding on how the Universe works.


  • In Search of Nothingness: from Higgs Bosons to Gravitational Waves

    Prof. Chris Kolda
    Tuesday March 1st 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Philosophers and physicists have long struggled with the question of what meaning to ascribe to the concept of “nothingness”. In physics, the vacuum of spacetime is as close as we get to nothingness, yet the vacuum is a dynamic and exciting arena in which the laws of nature unfold in surprising ways. In this talk I will discuss what we know, and don’t know, about empty space, including the special roles played by Higgs bosons and gravitational waves in helping us probe this mysterious nothingness.


  • From Marble to Mummies

    Prof. Michael Wiescher
    Tuesday February 16th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    In this presentation we take a step back from the fundamental question of the universe and the origins of the elements but look at the utilization of the scientific techniques that have been developed as side product of this effort. The talk will concentrate on a new range of applications in nuclear physics that became known as archaeometry, the analysis and dating of historical and archaeological materials. The range of applications from art to art forgery will be demonstrated on a number of examples in the world of modern art and archaeology.


  • What's your time? Is it warped, crunched, or relative?

    Prof. Arielle Phillips
    Tuesday February 2nd 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Join us as we look at space time, real time, and relative time. We’ll do experiments that help us understand how we live time and how this relates to the Universe.


  • Astrophysical Alchemy

    Prof. Rebecca Surman
    Tuesday January 19th 2016 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    While the origins of the light (hydrogen, helium) and intermediate mass (carbon through iron) elements found in our bodies and in our solar system are well understood, the elements heavier than iron present an intriguing mystery. We can tell from the solar system abundances of heavy elements that they were made in hot environments with lots of free neutrons. These conditions are quite strange, however, and where they can be found in the galaxy is still uncertain. Here we will discuss the candidate sites — some of which are within the galaxy’s most violent events: the deaths of massive stars in supernova explosions, and the collisions of two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole —and explain how Notre Dame nuclear physicists and astrophysicists are working to resolve this longstanding mystery.


  • Extremes of the Planets (An event for all ages!)

    Dr. Jonathan Crass
    Tuesday December 8th 2015 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Join us for our “explosive” Christmas spectacular as we bring the environments of the planets to Notre Dame! Experience what it’s like on the surface of Mars and just how cold it is on Neptune. And let’s not forget about the inner planets where the sun bakes them to hotter than an oven!

    With demonstrations and discussion, join us for this event for all ages!


  • Neutrinos from Heaven and Earth

    Prof. John LoSecco
    Tuesday December 1st 2015 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    We will explore the role the neutrino, a very light elementary particle, plays in nature.  The neutrino is a very common byproduct of energy production. Since it is far more penetrating than even xrays neutrinos can be used to probe the deep interior of objects they pass through.


  • Magic or Physics? (Younger-audience event)

    Micha Kilburn
    Tuesday November 24th 2015 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Join us for this free younger audience event as we explore the power of electricity and magnetism. Is it magic… or is it physics at work?

    Following the event, enjoy some liquid nitrogen ice cream!

    This event includes an Art 2 Science silent auction beginning at 6:30 pm in the Jordan Hall Galleria.

    No booking is necessary for this event!


  • Galactic Archaeology: Stellar fossils reveal the ancient past of our Universe

    Prof. Daniela Carollo
    Tuesday November 10th 2015 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Galactic Archaeology is a branch of astronomy that aims to explain the formation and evolution of large spiral galaxies like the Milky Way by analyzing the motion and chemical composition of ancient stars. Our Solar System has a strategic location in our galaxy, allowing us to observe and study individual stars and trace how galaxies were/are born.

    This talk will show how we use the information from stars to understand how the Milky Way formed and to interpret the chemical signature of the first stars born in the Universe.


  • The stuff we are made of: how do we determine the chemical elements in stars and the Universe?

    Prof. Vini Placco
    Tuesday October 27th 2015 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Carl Sagan once said: “We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself”. What does that mean? How can we know about the physics and chemistry of celestial bodies just by looking at the sky?

    This talk will show how astronomers decode the light coming from the sky to determine the chemical composition of stars, and how this gives us clues about our own origin and place in the Universe.


  • Discovering the Other 95% of the Universe: What's Next for the LHC

    Prof. Kevin Lannon
    Tuesday October 6th 2015 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    In 2012, the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) announced that they had discovered the last remaining building block in our theory of the subatomic world, the Higgs boson.  Is the Higgs the final chapter in the story of particle physics?  As the LHC begins a new run at an even higher energy, what kind of discoveries can we expect?  In this talk, we consider the possibilities for what might come next at the LHC.


  • Robotic Exploration and A Dash by Pluto: What we've learned in the last few months

    Keith Davis
    Tuesday September 29th 2015 - 7:00 pm
    Digital Visualization Theater, Jordan Hall of Science

    The last twelve months have been a bright year for solar system exploration. From landing on a comet to the first high resolution photos of Pluto and Charon, a lot of new information is just starting to be digested by scientists.

    Join Dr. Keith Davis as he demonstrates just how you get to a comet in the first place, reviews the first guesses at the new geology processes that formed Pluto’s mountains, and looks into just what those weird spots on Ceres are.


  • Accelerator Mass Spectrometry: From Tracing Ocean Currents to the Life and Death of Stars

    Prof. Philippe Collon
    Tuesday September 15th 2015 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    Evolving from methods and techniques developed in nuclear physics, Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) is a highly sensitive detection technique developed to search for the proverbial nuclear “needle-in-the haystack”. Using this method, we can identify specific isotopes to investigate phenomena from ocean current flows, to the age of archaeological artifacts, to the birth and death of stars.

    In this talk, we will explore the research performed in the Nuclear Science Laboratory at Notre Dame.
    In particular, we focus on tracing Atlantic Ocean circulation, galactic radioactivity, and the early formation
    of the solar system. Join us as we identify materials in the universe around us with a demonstration of
    testing everyday objects.


  • The Real Big Bang Theory: Birth of the Universe and the meaning of Space-time

    Prof. Grant Mathews
    Tuesday September 1st 2015 - 7:00 pm
    101 Jordan Hall of Science

    In this talk we will journey across the Universe and into its deep past. Learn how the Universe is a time machine and how Einstein’s theory of relativity helps us to conceptualize the meaning of space and time.

    Discover some current views and research on the formation and evolution of the universe and discover some of the most fundamental questions in Physics:

    • How did the Universe begin?
    • Why is the Universe so large?
    • Is the Universe finite or infinite?
    • Why are there only 3 large space dimensions plus time?
    • What is cosmic inflation, the multiverse, and why we believe there are parallel universes?
    • What will be the future of the Universe?


Permanent link to this article: http://universerevealed.nd.edu/upcoming-talks/previous_talks/