Physics and Astronomy Colloquium Schedule

(If you want on the Colloquium announcements email list, please send Joe Carson a note)

SPRING 2020 Colloquium Schedule

(Usually Thursdays at 1:45 in RITA 387)


February 6th, 2020   
Daniel McNally (Nature)
Title: Inside Nature Materials: An Editor’s Perspective

Abstract: Nature Materials offers authors high visibility for their work. A team of full-time, professional editors select and commission articles that represent a substantial and arresting fundamental, mechanistic, methodological or practical advance. In this talk I will convey the editor’s perspective on the life of a manuscript after submission to Nature Materials, and provide an overview of the types of content that we publish.

Bio: Daniel McNally received a BSc in Physics and Astrophysics from University College Cork and a MSc in Physics from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. He earned his PhD in Physics at Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory focusing on strongly correlated materials, with a particular emphasis on neutron scattering. He continued to work on quantum materials using resonant inelastic x-ray scattering as a postdoctoral researcher at the Paul Scherrer Institut, Switzerland. At Nature Materials, which he joined in March 2018, Daniel handles manuscripts in correlated electron systems, topological materials and spintronics. Daniel is currently based in the New York office.
Daniel McNally


February 13th, 2020   
Nicolle Zellner
Title: Impacts in the Earth-Moon System: What, When and Why Should We Care?

Abstract: The Moon provides the most clear and complete history of impact events in the inner solar system since its formation ~4.5 billion years ago. In fact, the Moon’s impact record can be used to gain insights into how Earth has been influenced by impacting events and if these events have affected the origin and evolution of life. The timing of impacts on the Moon, however, even after decades of study, is not well understood. My research focuses on obtaining geochemical and chronological data on lunar impact glasses, pieces of melted regolith (lunar dirt) created by energetic impacting events on the Moon. These impact glasses possess the composition of the target material and can be dated by the 40Ar/39Ar (argon) method in order to determine their age of formation and thus, the timing of the impacts that formed them. Understanding the ages of impact glasses and interpreting their compositions in the context of lunar geology, allow for a more complete interpretation of the impact history of the Moon than can be obtained from orbital data or dynamical models alone. All of these data sets together allow us to piece together information about the rate of impacts and their effects on biological and geological activities on the early (and not so early) Earth. And, if interpreted correctly, this impact flux can shed light on biological activities that may have occurred on other objects in our solar system.



February 13th, 2020   
Amitabha Bose (New Jersey Institute of Technology)
Title: Towards a neural and mathematical understanding of how we generate and keep a musical beat

Abstract: While many people say they have no rhythm, most humans when listening to music can easily discern and move to a beat. On the other hand, many of us are not so adept at actually generating and maintaining a constant beat over a period of time. Demonstrating a beat is a very complicated task. Among other things, it involves the ability of our brains to estimate time intervals and to make physical movements, for example hitting a drum, in coordination with the time estimates that we make. How our brain and body solves this problem is an open and active area of research. In this talk, I will discuss a new mathematical model for a beat generator, which is defined here as a group of neurons that can learn to keep a constant beat across a range of frequencies relevant to music. The goal of the talk is not just to introduce a new way of thinking of beat generation, but also to raise a series of questions about the nature of time and the role of perception in our ability to make decisions.