Dr. Harsh Mathur Case Western Reserve University The imprint of primordial gravitational radiation on the cosmic microwave background polarization, if observed, is considered smoking gun proof of inflation. I will discuss how such an observation can not only provide information about the Universe in the epoch of inflation but also constrain theories of grand unification. In the second part of the talk I will discuss tests of gravity on scales ranging from the tabletop to the cosmological scale. Such tests may shed light on physics beyond the standard model.
Dr. Bertrand Halperin Harvard University Theory predicts the existence of some peculiar phases of quantum condensed matter systems that have multiple degrees of freedom with very low energy, when localized “defects” are introduced. I shall focus on a class of these phases where each defect has half of a conventional degree of freedom, and the defects may be considered as sites for localized zero-energy states of a “Majorana fermion”. Such defects would also exhibit the intriguing property of “non-Abelian statistics” -- i.e., if various defects can be moved around each other, or if two identical defects can be interchanged, the result is a unitary transformation on the quantum mechanical state that depends on the order in which operations are performed but is insensitive to many other details. In my talk, I will try to explain these various concepts and discuss the attempts to realize them in condensed matter systems.
While STEMCats may be one of the newest Living Learning Communities on campus, it is providing incoming students with many unique opportunities. Students are not only able to live on campus and take courses with like-minded peers, but STEMCats also allows incoming freshmen students to participate in research and connect with peers, upperclassmen, and professors. In this podcast, we talk with several Undergraduate Instructional Assistants, or UIA’s, who have been building connections with STEMCats freshmen through sharing their experiences. Learn more about the STEMCats program and UIA’s as they speak about what they enjoy about the program and their connections with younger students.