Physics Open House

Location: Physics Department


The Physics Department invites you to an Open House on Friday, April 27 from 1:00-6:00. Faculty will be available for drop in hours from 1:00-2:00 PM (come say “hi” to your previous professors!). From 2:00 to 3:20 we will feature a special colloquium for alumni, faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students featuring 2 physics alumni. Dr. Konstantin Batygin is a 2008 UCSC astrophysics graduate with a Ph.D. in Planetary Science at Caltech where he is now an Assistant Professor of Planetary Sciences. He is on the 2015 Forbes list of 30 scientists under 30 who are changing the world, and has been named one of the “brilliant 10” people of 2016 by Popular Science magazine. Dr. Susanne Hering is the first recipient of the PBSci Division’s Distinguished Undergraduate Alumni Award. Dr. Hering is founder and president of Aerosol Dynamics Inc.

From 3:20 to 5:00 we will be featuring lab tours for those interested in seeing some of the exciting research our faculty and graduate students are doing, including the opportunity to tour our new lab facilities at 2300 Delaware.

From 5:00 to 6:00 come join us in the ISB courtyard for some delicious refreshments, where everyone will have a chance to mingle and to catch up with friends, both new and old!

The Colloquium location will be in ISB 221.

Konstantin Batygin‘s Title and Abstract: Planet Nine from Outer Space: Status Update

Over the course of the past two decades, observational surveys have un- veiled the intricate orbital structure of the Kuiper Belt, a field of icy bodies orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune. In addition to a host of readily-predictable orbital behavior, the emerging census of trans-Neptunian objects displays dynamical phenomena that cannot be explained by interactions with the known eight-planet Solar System alone. Specifically, the observed physical clustering of orbits with semi-major axes in excess of ∼ 250 AU, the detachment of perihelia of select Kuiper belt objects from Neptune, as well as the dynamical origin of highly inclined/retrograde long-period orbits remain elusive within the context of the classical view of the Solar System. This newly outlined dynamical architecture of the distant solar system points to the existence of planet with mass M9 ∼ 10M⊕ on a moderately inclined orbit with semi-major axis a9 ∼ 400−800 AU and eccentricity e9 ∼ 0.4−0.6. In this talk, I will review the observational motivation, dynamical constraints, and prospects for detection of this proposed object known as Planet Nine.

Susanne Hering’s Title and Abstract: Cloud Chambers and Climate Change

Ask a physicist, and the words “cloud chamber” are tied to Charles Wilson, and his Nobel-prize winning work tracking subatomic particles. Ask an aerosol scientist, and this term harkens the earlier, 19th century work of John Aitken, and his measurements of the omnipresent particles suspended in the atmosphere. Aitken created a cloud chamber through the adiabatic expansion of moist air, and counted the water droplets formed under these supersaturated conditions to determine the airborne particle number concentration.  In his Nobel Lecture, Wilson acknowledges this work, and writes how “Aitken’s dust” particles had to be eliminated before enabling the yet higher super-saturations required for the detection of alpha and beta particles.

Today, Aitken’s approach has been adopted in many of the instruments used in the study atmospheric particles. These instruments continued to evolve.  The super-saturations required for condensational growth are now created in continuous flow systems.  Instruments have been extended to the detection of particles as small as a few nanometers in diameter, even large molecules.  They are used to characterize the creation and evolution of particles in the atmosphere, and to enable measurements of their chemical composition. These measurements contribute to our understanding of how airborne particles affect the formation, reflectivity, and persistence of clouds, which in turn influences global climate.

Event Topics

Physics Sciences

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