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Categories : IGERT
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Here’s how to listen:
The Departments of Physics and Mathematics and Brandeis are incredibly excited to announce that this year’s Eisenbud Lectures in Mathematics and Physics will be given by the world-renowned theoretical physicist Prof. Cumrun Vafa, the Donner Professor of Science Harvard University. Prof. Vafa is one of the leading figures in the fields of string theory and quantum gravity, and he has been on the forefront of the exchange between string theory and geometry that has revolutionized both fields over the last thirty years. He is known for his immense intuition, creativity, and depth of thinking in physics and mathematics.
The Eisenbud Lectures are the result of a bequest by Leonard and Ruth-Jean Eisenbud, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of Leonard Eisenbud’s birth. Leonard Eisenbud was a mathematical physicist at SUNY-Stony Brook; upon his retirement he moved to the Boston area, as his son David was a member of the Mathematics faculty at Brandeis, and was given a desk here. The bequest is for an annual lecture series by physicists and mathematicians working on the boundary between the first two fields.
The Eisenbud lectures consist of three lectures. The first is a colloquium-style lecture meant for a broad scientific audience. The following two lectures are more technical lectures meant for experts in the field. The schedule is:
Lecture 1: “String Theory and the Magic of Extra Dimensions”, Tuesday, March 11 at 4PM in Abelson 131. Tea, coffee, and refreshments will be served at 3:30 outside of the lecture hall. A reception will follow the talk.
Lecture 2: “Recent Progress in Topological Strings I”, Wednesday, March 12 at 11 AM in Abelson 333.
Lecture 3: “Recent Progress in Topological Strings II”, Wednesday March 12 at 4 PM in Abelson 229.
We hope to see you all at what promises to be a very exciting series of talks!
– Albion Lawrence, Dept. of Physics. and Bong Lian, Dept. of Mathematics
Bring your research and entrepreneurial ambitions to life!
The Brandeis University Virtual Incubator invites member of the Brandeis Community (undergrads, grad students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, staff) to submit an application for a “Sprout Grant”. These grants are intended to stimulate entrepreneurship on campus and help researchers launch their ideas and inventions from Brandeis to the marketplace.
This spring we will be awarding $50,000 to be shared amongst the most promising proposals.
Come get your questions about the Sprout grant answered at one of our upcoming information sessions.
Tuesday February 18th 1pm – 2pm
Tuesday February 25th 10am – 11am
Thursday February 27th 11am – noon
Tuesday March 4th 11am – noon
All information sessions will be held in the Shapiro science center 1st floor library, room 1-03 (the glass walled room near the elevators).
Deadlines: Preliminary applications are due on Friday, March 7th
Benefits of participation:
We would like to call attention to a new class offered this winter/spring 2014 quarter, being taught jointly by Prof. Daniel Ruberman in Mathematics and Prof. Albion Lawrence in Physics. This is being listed jointly as Physics 202a (Quantum Field Theory) and Math 221b (Topics in Topology). It is being team-taught under the auspices of the Brandeis Geometry and Dynamics IGERT program.
This course aims to introduce basic notions of fiber bundles and connections on them, and their application to basic physical examples in classical and quantum mechanics: especially the mechanics of deformable bodies, and Berry’s phase. The target audience is mathematics and physics students, and mathematically inclined students in physical chemistry, neuroscience, computer science, and economics. The essential principles here find applications to chemical and neural oscillators and control theory; there have even been suggestions that it is a useful language for describing currency trading.
The mathematics covered here typically appears in advanced courses on quantum and statistical field theory. However, it has much broader applicability, and the instructors felt that studying more elementary physics examples better highlighted the essential mathematics and lead to a broader perspective that would better prepare students to find new and creative uses for the mathematics. Furthermore, they allow us to teach a broader audience, as the essential physics background is straightforward and can be explained without the student needing two years of graduate-level physics courses.
This course is essentially a graduate course, but it is certainly appropriate for senior undergraduates with a solid mathematical background (math and physics majors especially). The modern mathematical language of manifolds and vector bundles will be introduced and used throughout, but with reference to physical and geometric notions. This will provide physics students with an appropriate vocabulary for further study, while mathematics students can try to grasp the intuition behind the formalism. Note that the course satisfies one of the IGERT course requirements; however, we strongly encourage non-IGERT students to enroll.
The course is scheduled to take place Mondays and Wednesdays from 2-3:20pm.
The course outline below is preliminary and aspirational.
1. Introduction: Physics and mathematics of manifolds and connections.
2. Line bundles and U(1) bundles, and connections on them.
3. Applications of U(1) bundles.
4. Vector bundles, tangent, and cotangent bundles.
6. Principal bundles
A minimum mathematical preparation will include multivariable calculus and linear algebra [Math 15/20 or 22ab], as well as basic notions of analysis such as continuity and differentiability [Math 40a/110a or 34a/104a]. Geometric analysis [Math 110a/140a] would be helpful but is not required. For physics students, a good undergraduate course in quantum mechanics and in advanced classical mechanics (Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics) will be helpful.
The required (and most recommended) reading will consist of online materials placed on the course LATTE page.
4.1 Required reading
Required reading will include:
4.2 Recommended background reading and reviews
We will update this list as the semester approaches. We welcome your input if you find additional nice readings on the subjects covered here.
4.3 Original research papers of interest
Also to be updated before and during the semester. Again, we welcome your input here.
by Gabe Redner
A recent article in Physics, the APS online magazine, highlights recent work done in the Hagan lab. Active particles such as swimming bacteria are of interest to physicists due to their nonequilibrium nature; since each particle is constantly burning energy as it swims, the system is driven to produce behaviors such as flocking and swarming that are not seen in traditional fluids. To understand these systems, theorists have developed highly simplified models to isolate the most fundamental active behaviors and study them in detail. This article rounds up several recent advances in the field from the Hagan lab and others.
Textbook thermodynamics treats equilibrium states of large systems, in which macroscopic variables (temperature, pressure and so on) remain static, and how small perturbations of such systems relax with time. There have been a number of exciting recent developments in studying (a) how such equilibrium states are reached in a closed quantum or classical system, and (b) generalizations of thermodynamics to small systems and to systems that are intrinsically out of equilibrium. This work spans both classical and quantum mechanics, and ties together biological systems, soft matter (such as glasses and granular systems), quantum matter, nuclear physics, quantum information, quantum gravity, and string theory.This is clearly an area of inquiry in which contact between these different fields will lead to important advances, much as contact between condensed matter and particle physics did for the study of symmetry breaking (the source of multiple Nobel prizes, including this year’s and of the renormalization group. We (Brandeis Physics faculty Aparna Baskaran, Bulbul Chakraborty, Matthew Headrick, and Albion Lawrence) felt that an ideal way to promote this was to put together an intensive series of pedagogical lectures covering recent results in the aforementioned fields. With the encouragement of the National Science Foundation (due in large part to Brandeis’s IGERT program in Geometry and Dynamics we took advantage of our deep contacts with the Indian physics community to put together an Advanced Studies Institute (ASI) on thermalization, under the auspices of the new International Center for the Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) in Bangalore, and co-organized by Chandan Dasgupta (Indian Institute of Science), Gautam Mandal (TIFR, Mumbai), Sanjib Sabhapandit (Raman Research Institute and ICTS), and Krishnendu Sengupta (IACS , Kolkata).The school was extremely successful, with beautiful lectures on cutting-edge physics from the leading experts in their respective areas. We recommend these lectures highly to those interested in these subjects. Links to the lecture notes, and to some related review articles, can be found here:and there is a YouTube channel for the lectures here:
Matthew McNeely, an electrical engineer who has worked in the Physics Department for thirty-two years, was recently presented with the Ennis Award. The Ennis Award recognizes an administrative employee who “has a history of consistent contributions to the well-being of the university” and “treats all members of the community with dignity and respect.” Matt will have his name engraved on a plaque, which remains in the Physics Department over the next year and will receive a $500 check. Matt and the other award winners were recognized for their contributions to the university at the 2013 Employee Recognition Luncheon on Nov. 22.
On Friday, November 22, 2013, the Brandeis Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) will hold an on-campus retreat. The research goal of the MRSEC is to learn how materials are incorporated in biological systems and likewise how biological structures act as materials with highly desirable properties that can be exploited in engineering.
The first part of the retreat will be a joint event with the Biochem/Biophys Friday seminar that takes place at 11:15am – 12:15pm. A lunch will be provided and in the afternoon there will be 3 talks by MRSEC students and postdocs. Wrapping up the day is a poster session/social hour.
Please RSVP if attending to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following information: NAME/DEPARTMENT/YEAR GRADUATING/TITLE IF STAFF MEMBER
MRSEC Retreat Schedule - Friday, November 22, 2013
11:15am – 12:15pm, Abelson 131 – Welcome from Dean Birren and Seth Fraden; Jane Kondev, “Materials science that we can learn from yeast”
12:15pm – 1:00pm, Pizza Lunch, Shapiro Science Center Lobby
1:15pm – 2:45pm, Abelson 131 – MRSEC talks: Steve DeCamp, Gabe Redner, Charlotte Kelley
2:45pm – 3:00pm, Poster set-up, Shapiro Science Center Lobby
3:00pm – 5:00pm, Poster Session, Shapiro Science Center Lobby, Beer Hour