students and professor

Past Events

4/24/2024

Department of Physics and Astronomy Seminar: Remotely Probing Electron Movements in Hybrid Perovskite Solar Cell Materials

Professor Renee Sher, Wesleyan University is presenting.

Organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite solar cells have set efficiency records at least once a year in the past decade. This material offers numerous possibilities and  presents several mysteries. Among them, the optical properties are widely tunable by mixing halide compositions, but at the same time halide segregation under illumination reversibly changes the material. In my group, we use terahertz  spectroscopy as a non-contact conductivity probe with excellent time resolution  as a tool for studying advanced solar cell materials. This talk will focus on how we  use election’s local motion to understand why the inclusion of inorganic cations helps achieve high efficiencies in solar cells and to probe the local environment in  wide-bandgap mixed-halide perovskites.


Refreshments at 3 PM.


4/17/2024

Physics and Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend the last senior honors thesis presentation of the semester:

Sylvia Greene: "Simulation of Polymerization on Surfaces: Implications for Abiogenesis."

All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

4/10/2024

Physics & Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend another senior honors thesis presentation:

Nick Cebula: "Variability in Mode Parameters of Solar Acoustic Oscillations."

All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m

4/5/2024

Physics & Astronomy Senior Capstone Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend a senior capstone presentation:

Ally Hurd: "Probing Charge Recombination in Organic Solar Cells."

All are welcome!

4/3/2024

Physics & Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend another senior honors thesis presentation:

Olivia X. Laske: "Linking the Population of Binary Black Holes with the Stochastic Gravitational-Wave Background."

All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

3/27/2024

Physics and Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend another senior honors thesis presentation:

  • Uditi Chandrashekhar: "The Hodgkin-Huxley Model for Neuron Action Potentials: A Computational Study."

All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

3/22/2024

Physics and Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend their senior honors thesis  presentation:

  • Charlie Burton: "Ammonia Emission from the Milky Way Galactic Bar Dust Lanes."

  • All are welcome! 

3/20/2024

Physics and Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend their senior honors thesis  presentation:

  • Seth Buesing: "Mapping beyond-Landau phase transitions in 1+1dimensional U(1) field theories."

All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

3/4/2024

Chemistry, Physics & Astronomy Joint Seminar

Ben Augenbraun, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Williams College will present on "Golden Opportunities: From Ultracold Molecules to Insights about Catalysis" in a joint Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy seminar. A recent triumph of physical chemistry has been to trap molecules at ultracold temperatures in “beakers” made of laser light. It is hoped that this will enable advances in quantum information science, precision measurement, and ultracold chemistry. In this talk, Augenbraun will first review recent work on molecular laser cooling. He will then discuss efforts at Williams College to identify new, complex molecules that can be cooled and trapped.

2/28/2024

Physics & Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend its upcoming senior honors thesis  presentation:

Caleb Williams: "A Survey of Pulsed Strain in NMR Based Nematic Susceptibility Measurements."

All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

2/21/2024

Physics & Astronomy Senior Capstone Presentations

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend their senior capstone presentations:

  • Max Zinman: "Carrier Mobilities in Perovskite Solar Cells;"
  • Ishan Rayen: "Effects of Annealing on Room Temperature Deposited Zinc Oxide."

All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

2/14/2024

Physics and Astronomy Senior Capstone Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend their senior capstone presentation:

  • Siri Erickson-Green: "Investigation of Tantalum Lead Borate Glass using LITOF-MS."

All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

11/15/2023

Department of Physics & Astronomy Seminar: Setting Star Formation in Motion

Dr. Elena Sabbi, Deputy Head, Science Mission Office, Space Telescope Science Institute is presenting.

Star formation is a complex, multiscale process affected both by local and global factors. Modern models of molecular cloud collapse now incorporate variables such as stellar feedback, magnetic field, gas and dust temperature, galaxy sheer, galaxy mergers, etc., enabling the formation of loose associations and rich star clusters. However, the limited observational constraints hinder our ability to validate these models. I will discuss how characterizing the internal kinematics of young star clusters in the Local Group can provide insights into the assembly process of regions undergoing massive star formation. Additionally, I will demonstrate how multiwavelength studies of resolved stellar populations in galaxies in the local universe can reveal the dissolution dynamics of regions of recent star formation within the parent galaxy’s field, suggesting potential dissolution timescales.

Refreshments at 3 PM.

11/10/2023

Physics and Environmental Studies Movie Night

Hosted jointly by the Physics and Astronomy Student Group and the Environmental Studies Department. Join us in John B. Davis Hall located in the Campus Center. We will watch the documentary 2040 directed by Damon Gameau. 

11/8/2023

Department of Physics and Astronomy Seminar: What nearby galaxies teach us about the beginning of the Universe

Dr. Alexandra Le Reste, Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Physics and Astronomy University of Minnesota, will present " What nearby galaxies teach us about the beginning of the Universe."

The Universe changed drastically during its first billion year as neutral hydrogen gas, which filled the intergalactic space, became ionized. This last major phase transition of the Universe is an important cosmological period known as the Epoch of Reionization. Simulations and new observations using powerful telescopes indicate that primordial galaxies were the main sources of the ionizing UV photons responsible for Reionization. However, many unknowns remain on the mechanisms that enabled these photons to escape the neutral interstellar medium of galaxies to ionize the space around them on much larger scales. Here, I will show how we can use observations of nearby galaxies to understand the physical processes that caused cosmological reionization. In particular, we will see what observations of the neutral gas reservoirs of rare local galaxies analogous to objects in the early universe teach us about the potential role of galaxy interactions during the Epoch of Reionization.

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

11/1/2023

Joint Physics/Astronomy and Philosophy Seminar: Kant’s Aethereal Hammer: When Everything Looks Like a Nail

Bennett McNulty, McKnight Land-Grant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota will speak on "Kant’s Aethereal Hammer: When Everything Looks Like a Nail."

Throughout Immanuel Kant’s works on natural philosophy, he utilizes an omnipresent aether to explain a wide variety of physical events: including optical, thermodynamical, chemical, and magnetic phenomena. Kant even went as far as claiming that the existence of an omnipresent physical aether can be deduced a priori (without appeal to experience, observation, or experiment), in the notorious “aether proof” of his Opus postumum. In retrospect, these commitments are widely seen as a blunder, especially after the demise of the luminiferous aether at the turn of the 20th century.

Refreshments at 3 p.m. 

10/18/2023

Department of Physics and Astronomy Seminar: LIGO and the Detection of Gravitational Waves Film

LIGO and the Detection of Gravitational Waves: A Film by Les Guthman

The thrilling, award-winning, inside story of the discovery that topped NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC's list of “The top 20 Scientific Discoveries of the Decade," the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of gravitational waves from deep space, 2015-2017.

Two discoveries two years apart, which opened a radical new era in astronomy. First, two colliding black holes and then the discovery of two crashing neutron stars and their spectacular light show opened up the 95% of the universe that had been dark to our existing observatories and space telescopes. It's the violent "warped side" of the universe predicted by Einstein -- but never seen until now.

Director Les Guthman witnessed and filmed this dramatic and emotional peak in the lives of the1,000 scientists around the world who risked their careers on a 40-year, $1 billion search for these exquisite messengers from the warped side.

Refreshments at 3 PM.

10/11/2023

Department of Physics and Astronomy Seminar: Nanoscience Research at the University of Minnesota

Dr. James Marti, Senior Scientist & Outreach Coordinator, Nano Center, University of Minnesota is speaking about Nanoscience Research at the University of Minnesota.

"Nanoscience and applied nanotechnology have attracted interest from scientists, engineers, and the general public for decades. But what is nanotechnology, and why would someone want to do research in the field of nanoscience? This presentation will offer an introduction to nanoscience and nanotechnology, present a summary of some of the current nanoscience research focus areas at Minnesota, and describe opportunities for faculty and students from other institutions to collaborate with the Nano Center."

Dr. Marti directs the Center’s Nanomaterials and Bio-Nano Labs, which focus on developing and analyzing nanoparticles and exploring their potential biomedical applications.

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

10/4/2023

Department of Physics and Astronomy Seminar: Double copy: a new look at scattering amplitudes

Professor Tonnis ter Veldhuis, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Macalester College is presenting on "Double copy: a new look at scattering amplitudes."

The calculation of scattering amplitudes is essential to the field of high energy physics, since amplitudes provide the bridge between theoretical quantum field theory models and detector results from particle accelerator experiments.  Recent advances in this area have uncovered novel color-kinematics and double-copy structures in theories ranging from gauge and gravity theories to effective field theories. I will provide an introduction to these new developments and relate my own contribution in this area made during my sabbatical leave at the University of Groningen, namely a systematic classification of scalar field theories whose amplitudes admit a double copy formulation.

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

10/4/2023

Department of Physics and Astronomy Seminar: Double copy: a new look at scattering amplitudes

Professor Tonnis ter Veldhuis, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Macalester College is presenting on "Double copy: a new look at scattering amplitudes."

The calculation of scattering amplitudes is essential to the field of high energy physics, since amplitudes provide the bridge between theoretical quantum field theory models and detector results from particle accelerator experiments.  Recent advances in this area have uncovered novel color-kinematics and double-copy structures in theories ranging from gauge and gravity theories to effective field theories. I will provide an introduction to these new developments and relate my own contribution in this area made during my sabbatical leave at the University of Groningen, namely a systematic classification of scalar field theories whose amplitudes admit a double copy formulation.

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

9/27/2023

Department of Physics and Astronomy: Physics Alumni Panel

Four Physics & Astronomy alums will give an overview of their career paths since leaving Macalester and answer your questions about their choices.

·         Emmy Curtis, '21 - Great Plains Institute

·         Nate Davies, '20 - PAR Systems

·         Jeff Rodgers, '07 - Concord USA

·         Elena Youngdale, '20 - TCC Materials

Refreshments at 3 PM. 

9/20/2023

Physics and Astronomy Seminar: Nonthermal plasma synthesis of photonic silicon nanocrystals

Professor Uwe Korsthagen, University of Minnesota, Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Ronald L. and Janet A. Christenson Chair in Renewable Energy, Mechanical Engineering is presenting.

Chemically reactive nonthermal plasmas at low pressure are an interesting medium for the growth of nanocrystals. Molecular precursors are dissociated by electron impact reactions and the resulting molecular fragments and radicals, many of them charged, nucleate to form clusters and nanocrystals. Energetic surface reactions heat these initial clusters to temperatures that exceed the gas temperature by hundreds of Kelvin. This enables plasmas to form crystalline nanoparticles even of materials with very high melting points.

In this presentation, we will discuss the plasma synthesis of silicon quantum dots with diameters on the order of ~3 nm for luminescent applications as well as the synthesis of larger silicon nanocrystals, 60-200 nm in diameter, that show interesting scattering behaviors.

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

9/13/2023

Physics and Astronomy Seminar: Summer Research Report Backs

Summer researchers presenting:

Camellia Schwartzman, "Synthesizing Nanowires from both Top-down and Bottom-up Approaches"
Lila Schisgal, "Low Mass Galaxies NGC5238 and DDO68"
Cain Rinkoski, "Galactic Magnetic Fields: Studying NGC4490/85"
Justin Potts, "Optimizing Strain Characterization of Graphene Using Raman Spectroscopy"
Rohan Lichtenberg, "Electro-optical Detection of Plasma Generated Terahertz-Radiation"

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

4/26/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Capstone Presentations

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend their final senior capstone presentations of the spring semester:

  • Ezra Wolf: "Tools for Refining the Baryonic Tuller-Fisher Relation"
  • Dengyu (Spud) Tu: "From Experiment to Theory: Time-Resolved Photoconductivity Measurements and 3D Approximation Methods to Investigate the Effect of Pump Beam Size on Photovoltaic Material Behavior"

All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

4/19/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend a senior honors thesis presentation:

  • Chloe Zheng: "Development of a Particle-in-Cell/Monte Carlo Simulation for Weakly Ionized Plasmas."

All are welcome!

4/14/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend a senior honors thesis presentation:

  • David Geeganage: "Using Models of Cloud Formation to Address the RH Effect in Low Cost PM Sensors."

All are welcome!

4/12/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend a senior honors thesis presentation:

  • Ross Ferguson: "Trinification with a Bi-Adjoint Higgs Field."

All are welcome!

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

4/5/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend a senior honors thesis presentation:

  • Jackson Codd: "Extension of the LUX-ZEPLIN NR Background to 600 phd for Dark Matter Detection."

All are welcome!

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

3/29/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend a senior honors thesis presentation:

  • Haoxuan Sun  "Machine Learning Refinements to Metallicity-Dependent Isotopic Abundance."

All are welcome!

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

3/22/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Capstone Presentations

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend their senior capstone presentations:

Ezra Kline ► "Tools for Refining the Baryonic Tuller-Fisher Relation;"

Josh Marine ► "Deriving Stellar Mass Values for 82 SHIELD Galaxies using the

Spitzer Space Telescope."

All are welcome!

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

3/8/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend a senior honors thesis presentation:

Margaret Shepherd ► " SHIELD Galaxies with Offset Neutral Gas Distributions."

All are welcome!

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

3/1/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Honors Thesis Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend a senior honors thesis presentation:

Temazulu Zulu ► "SARS-CoV-2 Quantum Sensor Using NV Centers in Nanodiamonds."

All are welcome!

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

2/24/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Capstone Presentations

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend the senior capstone presentations:

  • Ross Relic: "Measuring the Pulse Length of a Femtosecond Laser Using Intensity Autocorrelation;"
  • Lance Bartol: "Effectiveness of Different Materials as Catalysts for Alkaline Water Electrolysis."

All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m. near the pendulum.

2/15/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Capstone Presentations

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend their senior capstone presentations:

  • Erin Leary: "The Future of Solar Energy: Perovskite Solar Cell Fabrication;"
  • Bill Chen: "Adding Classical Novae abundance contribution to the Elemental Scaling Model."


All are welcome! 

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

2/8/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Capstone Presentation

The Physics & Astronomy Department invites you to attend this week's senior capstone presentation: 

  • Jon Kazor: "Solar Radio Bursts--Deployable Low-band Ionosphere and  Transients Experiment (DLITE) Arrays."

Refreshments at 3 p.m.

2/1/2023

Physics & Astronomy Senior Capstone Presentations

The Physics and Astronomy Department invites you to attend the first of the senior capstone presentations during spring semester: 

  • Paige Stevenson ► "Machine Learning Methods for Predicting 2D Material Properties;"
  • Karlee Taylor ► "Hydrosphere: Modeling the Planetary Structure of Ocean Planets and Icy Moons."
All are welcome! 


Refreshments at 3 PM.

12/8/2022

Observatory Public Night—Last of Semester

Hi, it's been a while since we've hosted an Observatory Public Night! But we're doing one last open night before the end of the semester and finals week.

Come by Thursday, December 8th 7-10 pm. We'll be in Olin Rice 404 as usual, which you can reach through the Southwest stairwell and elevator.

Be sure to dress warmly! See the observatory on the roof of Olin Rice and hear about astronomy and physics on campus. We hope to see you there!

12/7/2022

Physics & Astronomy Seminar: "Power in Numbers: Developing Pooled Screening Tools to Study Drug Delivery"

Natalie Boehnke, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Minnesota, will speak about "Power in Numbers: Developing Pooled Screening Tools to Study Drug Delivery." 

Prof. Natalie Boehnke received her B.S. in chemistry from Purdue University in 2012.  Natalie then obtained her Ph.D. in organic and polymer chemistry from UCLA in 2017, working with Prof. Heather Maynard on the synthesis and characterization of biodegradable hydrogels and nanogels. After graduation, Natalie joined Prof. Paula Hammond’s group at MIT to develop toolsets to integrate biology and engineering approaches for accelerated translation of self-assembled nanomaterials. Natalie has received a Department of Defense Horizon Award and NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award for her work. She joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in summer 2022, where her group uses high throughput screening and machine learning to understand how biological heterogeneity affects nanoparticle delivery and efficacy.

Refreshments at 3 PM.

12/1/2022

Discovering the Mysteries of the Universe-Summer Research Ops for Physics & Astronomy Students

Interested in doing physics and astronomy research in summer 2023? Join us to learn about both on-campus and off-campus summer research opportunities.  We will discuss what options are available and the application procedures.

Find your ideal research project!

Pizza provided.  

11/30/2022

Physics & Astronomy Senior Capstone Presentations

The Physics and Astronomy Department invites you to attend senior capstone presentations: 


  • Aurora Hiveley ► "Mapping the Tesseral Field of Saturn"

    • Ryan Davies ► "A High-speed Portable Ground Heat Exchanger Model for use in Framework Development"

    • All are welcome! 

      Refreshments at 3 PM.