MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2014 Activities by Sponsor - Physics

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A Short History of Spin

Richard Milner, Professor of Physics; Director of LNS

Jan/14 Tue 02:00PM-03:00PM 26-414 (Kolker Room)

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Prereq: None

This talk outlines the historical development of spin in physics from about 1920 to the present.  It aims to provide the audience with an accurate chronology of important developments, both scientific and technical.

Sponsor(s): Lab for Nuclear Science, Physics
Contact: Richard Milner, 26-505, 617-253-7800,

IAP 2014- The Feynman Films

Andy Neely, Manager of the Technical Services Group

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

The Feynman Films

Sponsor(s): Physics
Contact: Denise Wahkor, 4-315, 617 253-4855, DENISEW@MIT.EDU

The Law of Gravitation

Jan/15 Wed 12:00PM-01:30PM 6-120

The law of Gravitation

Andy Neely - Manager of the Technical Services Group

The Best Mind Since Einstein

Jan/16 Thu 12:00PM-01:30PM 6-120

The Best Mind Since Einstein

Andy Neely - Manager of the Technical Services Group

The Relation of Mathematics to Physics

Jan/17 Fri 12:00PM-01:30PM 6-120

The Relation of Mathematics to Physics

Andy Neely - Manager of the Technical Services Group

The Great Conservation Principles

Jan/21 Tue 12:00PM-01:30PM 6-120

The Great Conservation Principles

Andy Neely - Manager of the Technical Services Group

Symmetry in Physical law

Jan/22 Wed 12:00PM-01:30PM 6-120

Symmetry in Physical law

Andy Neely - Manager of the Technical Services Group

The Last Journey of a Genius

Jan/23 Thu 12:00PM-01:30PM 6-120

The Last Journey of a Genius

Andy Neely - Manager of the Technical Services Group

Take the World from Another Point of Vie

Jan/24 Fri 12:00PM-01:30PM 6-120

Take the World from Another Point of View

Andy Neely - Manager of the Technical Services Group

The Distinction of Past and Future

Jan/27 Mon 12:00PM-01:30PM 6-120

The Distinction of Past and Future

Andy Neely - Manager of the Technical Services Group

Probability and Uncertainty

Jan/29 Wed 12:00PM-01:30PM 6-120

Probability and Uncertainty

Andy Neely - Manager of the Technical Services Group

Seeking New Laws

Jan/31 Fri 12:00PM-01:30PM 6-120

Seeking New Laws

Andy Neely - Manager of the Technical Services Group

IAP Physics Lecture Series

Krishna Rajagopal, Associate Dept Head & Prof/MacVicar Faculty Fellow

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

IAP 2014 Physics Lecture Series

Sponsor(s): Physics
Contact: Denise Wahkor, 4-315, 617 253-4855, DENISEW@MIT.EDU

Quantum Information Devices

Jan/15 Wed 01:30PM-02:30PM 6-120

The development of new technologies at scales approaching the quantum regime is driving new theoretical and experimental research in engineered quantum systems.

I will show how ideas from quantum information and coherent control are driving the development of novel devices, such as sensors and computers, that surpass the performance of any classical device.

Paola Cappellaro - Professor- Department of Physics

Strongly Interacting Fermi Gases

Jan/16 Thu 01:30PM-02:30PM 6-120

Fermions, particles with half-integer spin such as electrons, protons and neutrons, are the building blocks of matter. Strong interactions among them give rise to novel states of matter whose properties are often not fully understood. I will describe our experiments on Fermi gases in and out of equilibrium, including the observation of superfluidity and the creation and observation of propagating topological excitations.

Martin Zwierlein - Professor- Department of Physics

Advanced Gravitational Waves Detectors

Jan/17 Fri 01:30PM-02:30PM 6-120

It is an exciting time in the field of gravitational wave astrophysics; new
detectors are under construction around the world and significant results are
expected in the next few years. I'll introduce the technological challenges
involved in gravitational wave detectors, talk briefly about the status of the
projects that are currently underway, and wrap up with the research that is
happening at MIT.

Matthew Evans - Professor- Department of Physics

Broken Symmetries

Jan/21 Tue 01:30PM-02:30PM 6-120

The concept of symmetry plays a vital role in modern physics. I will talk about the experiments that have forced us to accept that many presumed symmetries of nature are broken. I will also discuss how studying asymmetric processes at the LHC provides an opportunity to look for new types of forces.     



Michael Williams - Professor- Department of Physics

Quantum Computing and Quantum Algorithms

Jan/22 Wed 01:30PM-02:30PM 6-120

Quantum mechanics is not only a theory of physics, but also a theory of information.  In this talk, I'll sketch some of the implications that quantum mechanics has for information and computing.  These implications include secret messages that are immune to eavesdropping and computers that perform certain tasks exponentially faster than any previous computing device.

Aram Harrow - Professor- Department Physics

Entrepreneuring: Attempting Good Physics

Jan/23 Thu 01:30PM-02:30PM 6-120

The organization was Kimball Physics, now successful high tech company. The mission is to do good physics, and have fun. However, if mistakes are learning experiences, there were numerous learning experiences. The learning experiences will be shared.


Dr. Chuck Crawford - '59 (VI), SCD '62 (VI)

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Jan/24 Fri 01:30PM-02:30PM 6-120

A talk about cybersecurity, but it's also about a Lagrangian-like approach to finding a career path after graduation, given a special set of boundary conditions. I will talk about what to make of Edward Snowden's revelations about our current surveillance state, why it's not as bad as that sounds, what it's like to pretend to be a software engineer, why Internet freedom and strong cryptography should matter to physicists.

Yan Zhu - '12 (VIII)

New Science with Old Stars

Jan/27 Mon 01:30PM-02:30PM 6-120

The early chemical evolution of the Galaxy and the Universe is vital to our understanding of a host of astrophysical phenomena.  Since the oldest Galactic stars are relics from the high-redshift Universe, they probe the chemical and dynamical conditions of a time when large galaxies first began to assemble. I will show a few video clips about observing with the 6.5m Magellan telescope in the Atacama desert in Chile.

Anna Frebel - Professor- Department of Physics

Shedding Light on Dark Matter

Jan/29 Wed 01:30PM-02:30PM 6-120

Dark matter comprises five-sixths of the matter in the universe, and is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for new physics beyond the Standard Model. I will explore how measurements of photons can be used to probe the nature of dark matter, and discuss a potential signal of dark matter annihilation in gamma rays. 

Tracy Slatyer - Professor-Department of Physics

Make your own (relativistic) quantum san

Jan/31 Fri 01:30PM-02:30PM 6-120

During the past few years, scientists have been marveling at the amazing properties of 2-dimensional
crystals. I will introduce the properties of graphene and several other 2D crystals, which can serve as ingredients to make (relativistic) quantum sandwiches, by combining and stacking the different ingredients. 

Pablo Jarillo-Herrero - Professor- Department of Physics

Mechanics ReView

Prof. Dave Pritchard + Staff

Jan/13 Mon 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/14 Tue 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/15 Wed 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/16 Thu 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/17 Fri 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/21 Tue 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/22 Wed 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/23 Thu 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/24 Fri 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/27 Mon 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/28 Tue 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/29 Wed 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153
Jan/30 Thu 02:00PM-04:00PM 4-153

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/10
Attendance: Repeating event, particpants welcome at any session
Prereq: Contact Nancy Boyce at by 12 noon 1/10/14

Mechanics ReView– Prof. Dave Pritchard Start: Monday, Jan 13,  End: Thursday, Jan  30, 2014.  Building on Newtonian Mechanics at the 8.01 level, we will offer a unified view of how to solve real world mechanics problems that involve several concepts at once. We will emphasize several themes: modeling reality, specifying the system and interactions, making sense of the answer, approximations/estimation, how to approach problems and decompose them into simpler pieces. We will use online models that gives students a hierarchical overview of the core physical content of Mechanics. Limited enrollment – sign up by 12:00 noon Monday Jan. 10th

Sponsor(s): Physics
Contact: Nancy Boyce, 4-315, 617 253-4461, NBOYCE@MIT.EDU

Reducing the Danger of Nuclear Weapons and Proliferation

Professor A. M. Bernstein, Professor of Physics

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Students are welcome to participate in any or all of these sessions.
Prereq: There are no prerequisites.

The plan for this course is to start with the timely issue of Iran's nuclear enrichment program, it's possible development of a nuclear weapon, the efficacy of IAEA inspections, and the implications of the interim agreement and a possible agreement to curtail their program. This will be followed by a discussion of two ways that humans can change the climate. If nuclear war should occur, in addition to the immediate blast there are delayed effects of radiation and possibly "Nuclear Winter". By burning fossil fuels we are experiencing the steady, more gradual increase of Global Warming. The plan for the third lecture is to present a brief introduction to the production of nuclear weapons and how this can be detected by suitable international inspection. We anticipate that the final lecture will present an outlook for the further reduction of nuclear weapons and their deployment policy, including the administration's announced intention to reduce the role of nuclear weapons and work towards their elimination. 

Students are welcome to participate in  any or all of these sessions. There will be time for questions and discussion.

Sponsor(s): Physics, Lab for Nuclear Science
Contact: Professor A. M. Bernstein, 26-419, 617-253-2386, bernstein@MIT.EDU

Is Iran Close to Making a Nuclear Weapon

Jan/22 Wed 03:00PM-04:30PM 26-414

 Is Iran Close to Making a Nuclear Weapons?

Dr. Jim Walsh - Research Associate / Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Effects of Human Activities on Climate

Jan/23 Thu 03:00PM-04:30PM 26-414

Effects of Human activities on the Climate; Global Warming and Nuclear Winter

Kosta Tsipis - Former Director, MIT Program STIS

From Mutually Assured Destruction to . .

Jan/27 Mon 03:00PM-04:30PM 26-414

From Mutually Assured Destruction to Mutually Assured Detection

Dr. Mike Hynes

Nuclear Weapons and Non-Proliferation

Jan/28 Tue 03:00PM-04:30PM 26-414

Nuclear Weapons and Non-Proliferation Policy Outlook

Professor A. M. Bernstein - Professor of Physics