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Journal Club Seminars From 2015 - 2016


FALL 2015

October 9, 2015

NOTE: All-Hands CASS Meeting

 Abstract: The first Journal Club of the quarter will be an All-Hands CASS Meeting this Friday, October 9, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm in SERF 383. This meeting will be an opportunity for new members of CASS to introduce themselves and present a quick overview of their research. It will also give established members of CASS a chance to summarize their recent work. New graduate students are especially encouraged to attend. Pizza and drinks will be provided.Journal Club is an informal environment in which graduate students can give short talks on any subject of interest to them, be it a recent paper, their own research, or any other topic. Talks will resume next week. All are welcome to attend.

October 16, 2015

Luke's Title: "Neutrino flavor evolution through the matter-neutrino resonance"
Luke Johns (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

OPEN TIME SLOT (12:30-1:00)

October 23, 2015

Dr. Armstrong's Title: "Predictive power: the test of a model's value,
and how to run that test"
Eve Armstrong (12:00-1:00)

Postdoc, BioCircuits Institute

October 30, 2015

Christopher's Title: "The Occurrence of Warm Dust around Cool Stars"
Christopher Theissen (12:00-12:30)

Visiting Graduate Student @ UCSD-CASS
Boston University

Christopher's Abstract: Abstract: In recent years there have been a handful of stars observed to have large amounts of excess infrared flux, indicative of copious amounts of orbiting dust. It is believed that these large dust populations are the aftermath of planetary collisions, similar to the Moon-forming event in our own Solar System. One candidate star, BD +20 307, is older ($\sim$1 Gyr) than the expected timescale for such an event ($\lesssim$100 Myr), and may indicate that planetary collisions can occur over a longer timescale. With the ubiquity of low-mass stars in the Galaxy, and their penchant for building numerous, close-in terrestrial planets, I investigate the occurrence of giant impacts in the local Galaxy. Using initial results from SDSS and \textit{WISE}, I present 175 low-mass field stars exhibiting large infrared excesses. These results suggest the occurrence of large amounts of warm dust is more common around low-mass stars than higher mass stars ($\sim$0.1\% versus $\sim$0.001\%). This high frequency of giant impacts may also provide an explanation for the so called "\textit{Kepler} Dichotomy." With an increasing interest to search for Earth-like planets around low-mass stars, giant impacts have serious implications on the habitability of these planetary systems.

OPEN TIME SLOT (12:30-1:00)

November 6, 2015

NOTE: Joint Plasma Physics/Journal Club Seminar
Prof. Hughes's Title: "Rapidly Rotating Convection: Large-Scale Vortices
and their Dynamo Action"
David Hughes (12:00-1:00)

Professor of Applied Mathematics
University of Leeds

Prof. Hughes's Abstract: Abstract: Motivated by the problem of the scale of the motions driving the geodynamo, I shall revisit the classical problem of rapidly rotating Boussinesq convection. For the purely hydrodynamic case, convection at onset takes the form of narrow cells. However, on a long time scale there can be the emergence of large-scale, cyclonic vortices. Although similar findings have resulted from studies of decaying rotating turbulence, the problem has not been addressed in depth for convectively unstable layers. I shall then go on to look at the nature of the magnetic field that can be generated by such convective flows, highlighting the possibility of small- and large-scale dynamo action.

November 13, 2015

Jiacong's Title: "Dynamics of intrinsic axial flow in a cylindrical experimental
Dr. Kapala's Title: "The Energy Balance of the ISM in M31. [CII] emission as
a SFR tracer"
Jiacong Li (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

Jiacong's Abstract: Abstract: Plasma rotation is important in reducing turbulent transport, suppressing macroscopic instabilities, and is beneficial to confinement. Intrinsic rotation without an external momentum input is of interest for its plausible application on ITER. Spectral asymmetry is required for residual Reynolds stress that drives the intrinsic rotation. Conventional wisdom for symmetry breaking tied to magnetic field configuration does not apply to linear cylindrical devices with zero magnetic shear where intrinsic axial flows are suggested by experiments. A dynamical symmetry breaking mechanism is proposed. Rather than an intrinsic torque, the new mechanism introduces a negative viscosity increment. The modified total viscosity will then set the flow profile. Implications for tokamaks are also proposed.

Maria Kapala (12:30-1:00)

Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Cape Town

November 20, 2015

NOTE: No Journal Club Seminar Today

December 4, 2015

Pengfei's Title: "The photoheating of IGM in synthesis models
of the UV background"
Pengfei Chen (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

OPEN TIME SLOT (12:30-1:00)


January 8, 2016

NOTE: Special Astro-Plasma-CER Seminar Today in lieu of Journal Club
(@ Noon in SERF 383 - Pizza provided)
Alexander Tchekhovskoy

Einstein Postdoc Fellow, Department of Astronomy
UC Berkeley

January 15, 2016

Petia's Title: "Dust extinction in Andromeda and the Small Magellanic Cloud"
Xiang's Title: "2D Spinodal Decomposition in Forced Turbulence: Structure
Formation in a Challenging Analogue of 2D MHD Turbulence"
Petia Yanchulova Merica-Jones (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

Xiang Fan (12:30-1:00)

Physics Graduate Student

January 22, 2016

NOTE: Special Astro Seminar Today in lieu of Journal Club
(@ Noon in SERF 383 - Pizza provided)
Kate Rubin

Clay Postdoc Fellow
Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

January 29, 2016

Seb's Title: "Neutron star mergers and the r-process"
Seb Tawa (12:00-1:00)

Physics Graduate Student

February 5, 2016

Dr. Johnson's Title: "If I Did It: thoughts on earthly vocations"
Nathan Johnson (12:00-1:00)

Bioinformatics Scientist

February 12, 2016

JT's Title: "Halo properties of resonantly produced sterile neutrino dark matter"
Nathan's Title: "Mass transfer between debris discs during close stellar encounters"
Jung-Tsung "JT" Li (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

Nathan Butcher (12:30-1:00)

Physics Graduate Student

February 19, 2016

Prof. Murphy's Title: "CASS-wide discussion of LIGO results and their implications
for astronomy and astrophysics"
Tom Murphy (12:00-1:00)

Professor of Physics

February 26, 2016

Nick's Title: "Bad Behavior - Calibrating the APOLLO Apparatus"
TK's Title: "Universal relations in compact stars"
Nick Colmenares (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

Tsang Keung "TK" Chan (12:30-1:00)

Physics Graduate Student

March 4, 2016

NOTE: Special Astro Seminar Today in lieu of Journal Club
(@ Noon in SERF 383 - Pizza provided)
Prof. Vilenkin's Title: "Black holes and the multiverse"
Alex Vilenkin (12:00-1:00)

Director, Institute of Cosmology, and L. and J. Bernstein Professor of Evolutionary Science
Tufts University

Prof. Vilenkin's Abstract: Abstract: Spherical domain walls and vacuum bubbles can spontaneously nucleate and expand during the inflationary epoch in the early universe. After inflation ends, the walls and/or bubbles form black holes with a wide spectrum of masses. For some parameter values, the black holes can serve as dark matter or as seeds for supermassive black holes at galactic centers. This mechanism of black hole formation is very generic and has important implications for the global structure of the universe. Black holes with mass greater than certain critical value contain inflating universes inside. The resulting multiverse has a very nontrivial spacetime structure, with a multitude of eternally inflating regions connected by wormholes.

March 11, 2016

NOTE: Special Astro Seminar Today in lieu of Journal Club
(@ Noon in SERF 383 - Pizza provided)
 "Investigating the Possibility of Engineering Bionic Plants"
Eddie C. Red (12:00-1:00)

Assistant Professor, Department of Physics
Morehouse College

 Abstract: Research conducted in the Research Experience with Diversity (R.E.D.) Laboratory at Morehouse College is focused on three broad categories: Atomic, Molecular, & Optical (AMO) Physics – both computational and experimental; Materials Science Physics; and Nuclear Physics. AMO research projects are centered on studying the dynamics governing electronic processes associated with low kinetic energy photo-ionized charged particles. Research projects include an experimental component that is married with a computational calculation for verification of results. Projects in Materials Science Physics are focused on the growth and characterization of pure- and doped- metal oxide nanotube arrays, which have applications in solar cell technology, batteries, and sensors. Lastly, projects pursued in the area of Nuclear Physics are geared towards developing techniques & materials that will aid in nuclear nonproliferation and remote detection. In addition, projects also include the characterization of materials suitable for use in Light Water Reactors (LWR).

March 18, 2016

NOTE: Special Astro Seminar Today in lieu of Journal Club
(@ Noon in SERF 383 - Pizza provided)
Michel Mayor, recipient of Kyoto Prize 2015

Professor Emeritus of Astronomy
University of Geneva

 Abstract: World-renowned astrophysicist Michel Mayor, Ph.D., will also speak at UCSD on March 16 at 3:30 p.m., as part of the annual Kyoto Prize Symposium. To attend that free talk, which is open to the public, please click here. Read UCSD News story here.

April 1, 2016

Angela's Title: "Galactic Conformity at Intermediate Redshift: Sample Size Matters"
Dr. Simmons's Title: "New Online Research Tools for Citizen Science
& Visual Analysis"
Angela Berti (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

Angela's Abstract: Abstract: Galactic conformity is a correlation between the colors and star formation rates of massive central galaxies and their satellites. The effect was first observed in SDSS, and has since been found to extend beyond the scale of a single dark matter halo (so-called "2-halo" conformity). Explanations of the cause of especially 2-halo conformity were initially illusive, but theories have emerged within the past few years. I will discuss our measurement of galactic conformity from z=0.2 to 1.0 to a projected distance of 5 Mpc using spectroscopic redshifts from the PRism MUlti-object Survey (PRIMUS), as well as recent ideas about the origin of galactic conformity, and how the magnitude of the effect is predicted to scale with redshift and halo mass. We test these predictions with a sample of ~60,000 galaxies in five separate fields covering 5.5 square degrees, which allows us to account for the effects of cosmic variance. We detect a significant conformity signal (>3 sigma) of ~5% on scales of 0-1 Mpc and a 2.5-sigma signal of ~1% on scales of 1-3 Mpc.

Brooke Simmons (12:30-1:00)

Einstein Postdoc Fellow

Angela's Abstract: Abstract: The Zooniverse has been facilitating scientific research since 2009 by connecting scientists whose research requires large-scale human pattern detection with members of the public who are keen to contribute to real research. With a community of over 1.3 million and growing, Zooniverse projects such as Galaxy Zoo, Planet Hunters, Penguin Watch and Snapshot Serengeti are leading a new generation of online citizen science; collectively the projects have over 100 publications with over 2,500 citations. The newest feature of the Zooniverse is an online Project Builder that allows anyone to create a citizen research project without needing to know how (or have funding) to build a website or maintain a database. Paired with a scalable, open-source back-end software platform that allows those with some coding knowledge to create fully custom projects, the Project Builder is a tool designed both for researchers who need millions of clicks and for those who just need an easy, reliable interface for an internal team project.

The purpose of this informal talk is to give a brief overview of the Zooniverse followed by a project creation tutorial. If you already have a project in mind and a bit of sample data in hand, bring it along: you can create your own working classification project in under an hour. Really.

April 8, 2016

Amol's Title: "Primordial Black Hole mergers and LIGO"
Amol Patwardhan (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

OPEN TIME SLOT (12:30-1:00)

April 15, 2016

Marty's Title: "Using Cosmology to Establish the Quantization of Gravity"
Dr. Cai's Title: "Cosmic Mammoth - Map the Most Massive Large-scale
Structures in early Universe"
Marty Navaroli (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

Zheng Cai (12:30-1:00)

UC Santa Cruz

April 21, 2016

NOTE: This week's Journal Club is on Thursday @ Noon in SERF 329
(Pizza provided)
 "Morphologically dependent galaxy quenching and the connection with AGN"
Becky Smethurst (12:00-1:00)

PhD Student
Oxford University

 Abstract: I shall present the results of a new analysis of the green valley galaxy population, which shows that - contrary to previous work - a diverse range of morphologically dependent star formation histories are required to create this population. Using classifications from Galaxy Zoo - an online citizen science project which asks the public to classify images of galaxies - I shall show that a range of quenching rates are possible for all morphological types. I will discuss the nature of the mechanisms that could cause such quenching rates, including secular evolution, galaxy interactions and mergers with and without AGN.

I will particularly explore the relationship between these quenched star formation histories and the presence of a type 2 AGN with evidence showing that a population of these AGN host galaxies have recently undergone a rapid drop in their star formation rate. This result provides strong observational support for AGN feedback in these systems, but this work also shows that feedback cannot be responsible for all of the quenching across the AGN host population. I shall discuss these results in the context of the co-evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes.

May 6, 2016

Lucio Mayer (12:00-1:00)

University of Zurich

 Abstract: The existence of bright QSOs at redshifts as high as 6-7 poses stringest constraints on the time available to grow the first supermassive black holes (SMBHs). Models based on rapid accretion from ~ 100 Mo black holes resulting from the collapse of an early generation of Pop III stars require very low radiative effiencies and sustained growth at Eddington rate for more than half a billion year, which seems unlikely. Alternative, much bigger seed BHs, weighing 10^5 Mo or more, could form from direct gas collapse in massive halos at z ~ 10-20. There could be more than one flavour of direct collapse, requiring, or not, an intermediate stage with a supermassive and/or quasi star. The mechanism of angular momentum loss triggered at galactic scales is also subject to debate. While the dominant scenario of direct collapse studied in the literature requires metal-free gas to avoid fragmentation into normal stars in gas-rich protogalactic disks, we present an alternative scenario in which a supermassive nuclear disky cloud of less than a pc in size can form in massive protogalaxies at z ~ 10 as a result of their first major merger with another similarly massive galaxy. Here gas is metal-enriched at solar values, consistent with the behaviour of a high-sigma peak associated with high-z QSOs. This scenario provides naturally an efficient way to lose angular momentum and produce a SMBH precursor in <~ 10^5 yr. The optically thick cloud produced by the accumulation of gas infalling at near free-fall velocity due to the merger dynamics naturally avoids fragmentation leading to a stage similar to first core formation in protostars. During infall fragmentation is also limited due to heating by high Mach number shocks. The disky cloud reaches formidable densities at our resolution limit of 0.1 pc. It is unstable to bar-like modes, which would continue to transport angular momentum and bring mass inwards, possibly reaching the critical limit for the general relativistic radial instability. If this happens , a SMBH would form in a dynamical time, with no stellar precuorsor. This "dark collapse" could produce a gravitational wave signal detectable with the future eLISA interferometer. Prospects to study this with general relativistic codes are also briefly discussed.

May 12, 2016

NOTE: Special Astro Seminar Thursday @ Noon in SERF 329
(Pizza provided)
 "What N-PDFs tell us about the processes of molecular cloud
and star formation"
Nicola Schneider (12:00-1:00)

I. Physik. Institut,University of Cologne, Germany

 Abstract: Hydrogen column density maps of molecular clouds are one of the most important observables in the context of molecular cloud- and star-formation studies. They reflect the structure of the ISM and constitute the gas reservoir out of which stars form. The Herschel photometric maps (70-500 micron) allow now to determine column density maps over a very large dynamic range.

Our group of observers and theorists specialized in the last years on the interpretation of probability distribution functions (N-PDFs) of column density. N-PDFs are used to evaluate the relative importance of gravity, turbulence, magnetic fields, geometry, and radiative feedback governing the cloud's density structure and star-formation activity. I will present a selection of our most important results:

1. For a proper interpretation of N-PDFs, line-of-sight contamination, completeness limits, and resolution effects need to be considered.

2. We found clear indications that the power-law tail commonly found in N-PDFs is caused by self-gravity of filaments and clumps, and free-fall collapse of cores.

3. Infrared dark clouds reveal a power-law tail and are thus dominated by gravity, and not turbulence, even at an early evolutionary state.

4. The most massive giant molecular clouds show an additional power-law tail with flatter slope at the highest column densities, indicating a slowed-down collapse.

5. N-PDFs combined with PDFs from HI observations allow to trace precisely the HI/H2 transition in the ISM.

6. The N-PDFs of high-density molecular line tracers such as N2H+ and CS show a power-law tail that corresponds to the one from dust. However, abundance variations and different regimes of excitation limit the functionality of molecular line PDFs.

May 13, 2016

NOTE: Special Astro Seminar Today in lieu of Journal Club
(@ Noon in SERF 383 - Pizza provided)
 "Planck, BICEP, and the Early Universe"
Raphael Flauger (12:00-1:00)

Assistant Professor, Department of Physics
University of Texas at Austin

 Abstract: The cosmic microwave background contains a wealth of information about cosmology as well as high energy physics. It tells us about the composition and geometry of the universe, the properties of neutrinos, dark matter, and even the conditions in our universe long before the cosmic microwave background was emitted. After a brief introduction, I will discuss various aspects of the recently released Planck full mission data before turning to a discussion of string inspired models and the search for their signatures. Finally, I will turn to the search for primordial B-modes.

May 20, 2016

Logan's Title: "Cosmic Birefringence Estimation from CMB Data"
Gene's Title: "The MOSDEF survey: AGN outflows at z~2"
Logan Howe (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

Gene Leung (12:30-1:00)

Physics Graduate Student

May 27, 2016

Bili's Title: "Circumgalactic Medium in Observations and Simulations"
Kelsey's Title: "On the Astrophysical Origin of Heavy Elements"
Bili Dong (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

Kelsey Lund (12:30-1:00)

Physics Undergraduate Student

June 3, 2016

Lindsay's Title: "Planck 2016 Intermediate Results and the Reionization
Optical Depth"
Mojegan's Title: "AGN identification and host galaxies properties at z~2"
Lindsay Lowry (12:00-12:30)

Physics Graduate Student

Mojegan Azadi (12:30-1:00)

Physics Graduate Student