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Summer Speaker Series

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Dr. James Sonne

June 12th, 6:30 PM EST

Dr. James Sonne earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky and has focused his career on neuroscience and the way the body produces movement from thought. As a scientist and educator, he is motivated to help students explore the power of scientific thinking for the benefit of future generations. He will be speaking to us about how the brain makes the body move.

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Prof. Robert Fisher

June 19th, 6:30 PM EST

The primary theme of Dr. Fisher's research is the fundamental physics of turbulent flows, and its application to the two endpoints of stellar evolution -- star formation and supernovae -- using a combination of theoretical and computational techniques. Dr. Fisher is currently a professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. 

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The Fascination of Exploding Stars

Exploding stars, or supernovae, are of tremendous historical, cultural, and scientific importance. These extremely bright stellar explosions have been seen in the Milky Way galaxy throughout human history by our ancestors using nothing more than the eye. Indeed, the discovery of two supernovae during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, before the invention of the telescope, helped to spark the scientific revolution. Supernovae are responsible for the production of heavy elements -- they are the explosive nuclear forges which produce the calcium in our bones, and the silicon of our computer technology. They continue to be at the cusp of the human understanding of the cosmos and have been used to discover a strange new kind of energy known as dark energy, the subject of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. 

 

Despite their tremendous importance, we still do not understand the nature and origin of supernovae. In this talk, Prof. Fisher will discuss recent and ongoing research conducted at UMass Dartmouth with his students which is helping to unravel this cosmic mystery. The talk will include stunning visuals illustrating the power of scientific computing.

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Prof. Matthew Headrick

June 26th, 6:30 PM EST

Prof. Headrick's research interests lie in string theory and related areas of quantum field theory, general relativity, geometry, and quantum information theory. A particular interest is the relation between quantum entanglement and the geometry of space and time.

Abstract

A big puzzle in theoretical physics for the last 100 years has been how to reconcile quantum mechanics with Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In the last few years, some surprising ideas — involving strings, black holes, holograms, quantum entanglement, and more — have come out of physicists’ attempts to solve this puzzle. Prof. Headrick will explain some of these ideas, and what theoretical physicists actually do all day long.

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