Overview

The Saturday Physics Series consists of five to seven scheduled talks oriented toward adults and high school students. Lectures occur on specific Saturdays afternoons throughout the school year, typically in Duane G1B30. Unless otherwise noted, lectures begin at 1:30 p.m., and usually last about one hour. Material is aimed at the level of high school juniors and seniors. The series is free, open to the public, and no reservations are required. Simply show up and enjoy the show! 

To join our mailing list, please contact Alysia Marino.

2020-2021 Season

For Spring 2021, the talks will be remote webinars.  Connection details will be posted soon.

 Saturday February 13 — "Can you Count to One Quadrillion in a Second?"

  • Presented by: Professor Scott Diddams, NIST and Department of Physics, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Webinar at 1:30 PM
  • Abstract: Metrology is the framework behind modern science and technology. For most of us, our first experience with metrology might have been counting fingers and toes. But how do you measure the oscillations of a beam of light—the fastest thing in the universe? This talk will tell you about new metrology tools that are used to count the cycles of a wave of light and how that is being used to build ultraprecise optical atomic clocks. Interestingly, the same light measurement tools are also being applied to quantify the composition of the air we breathe and find exoplanets around nearby stars.

Saturday March 13 — "The Field of Medical Physics: A Primer"

  • Presented by: Professor Moyed Miften, Professor and Chief Physicist, Deptartment of Radiation Oncology, University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Webinar at 1:30 PM
  • Abstract: Medical Physics is a professional and academic field that specializes in the application of concepts and methods of physics to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease.  The role of a medical physicist is to bridge physics and medicine and work as a part of the medical team.  Medical Physics has three major disciplines: Radiation Oncology Physics, Diagnostic Imaging Physics, and Medical Nuclear Physics.  Working in these three fields are rewarding as the medical physicist applies the principles of physics to medicine in order to solve challenging problems, develops new technologies for medical applications and patient care advancements, and actively contributes to the care of patients in the clinic.  In this presentation, we will review the medical physics disciplines in medicine and their role in patient care, discuss the medical physicist areas of responsibility, present medical physics career pathways (including medical physics graduate program requirements), and discuss medical physics professional credentialing.

Saturday April 17 — "Atomic Clocks: The Greatest Rulers of Time"

  • Presented by: Professor Ana Maria Rey, JILA, NIST, and Department of Physics, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Webinar at 1:30 PM
  • Abstract: The best clock in the world has no hands, no pendulum, no face or digital display. It is made of ultra-cold Strontium atoms trapped in crystals of light. The clock is so precise that, had it begun ticking when Earth formed billions of years ago, it would not yet have gained or lost a second. These ultraprecise atomic clocks not only can serve as the state-of-the-art timekeepers, but also they could help us unveil the mysteries of the quantum world, which is ruled by the bizarre concept of entanglement or “spooky action at a distance”. In fact, the new generation of atomic clocks are paving the ground for the construction of quantum computers with computational powers beyond that of any imaginable classical machine. A quantum computer should be able solve otherwise intractable problems, with far-reaching applications to cryptology, material design and fundamental physical sciences. Can we make the clock even better? Regardless of their impressive precision and accuracy, current atomic clocks still operate with independent atoms which are fundamentally fuzzy. Interestingly, this fuzziness could be reduced if we entangle them. So atomic clocks are a win-win business, not only the current generation of clocks will help us to better understand the quantum world, but the gained understanding will in turn allow us to build the most incredible quantum rulers of time in the future.

    Getting to Campus

    The University provides a Campus Map.

    For more information please contact Veronica Lingo.