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Physics Department Current Events

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Physics Colloquium
4:00 p.m., Marshak Science Building Room 418N

Prof. Luis A. Anchordoqui
Lehman College, CUNY
"Astrophysical Neutrino Pevatrons"

Abstract: The anouncement by the IceCube Collaboration of the observation of 37 cosmic neutrino candidates has been greeted with a great deal of justified excitement. The data reported so far depart by 5.7\sigma from the expected atmospheric neutrino background, which raises the obvious question: "Where in the Cosmos are these neutrinos coming from?" I will review the many possibilities which have been explored in the literature to address this question, including origins at either Galactic or extragalactic celestial objects. I will also briefly discuss new physics processes which may either explain or be constrained by IceCube data.


Friday, April 17, 2015
Herman Cummins Lecture
3:00 p.m., North Academic Center (NAC) 0-201

Dr. Steven Chu
Nobel Laureate (1997); William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Humanities &
Sciences and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford

"Microscopy 2.0 plus Energy and Climate Change"


Although the genomes of many animals, from worms to humans, have bee sequenced, much of the detailed molecular understanding of the biology of these genes and their proteins is unknown. One of the major problems is that we cannot currently see what a protein does, where it is, and how it moves. Thus, most functional conclusions about a protein are necessarily indirect.

The visualization of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick led a true understanding of the concept of genes, transcription, and translation. In recent years, the invention of new imaging technologies is having a profound impact on biological sciences. I will discuss how a revolution in optical microscopy is providing the tools that can have a profound impact on biology and medicine.

After a ~ 40 minute talk on microscopy, an additional 20 minutes will be spent on Energy, Climate Change and how to transition to a sustainable world.

Steven Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Humanities & Sciences and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University.

From 1978 -1987, while at Bell labs, Chu led the group that showed how to first cool and then trap atoms with light. The "optical tweezers" trap, first demonstrated during the course of the atom trapping work, is widely used in biology. Other contributions include the demonstration of the magneto-optic trap, the most widely used atom trap today. At Stanford (1987 - 2004), he developed the theory of laser cooling of actual, multilevel atoms (also independently by Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and Jean Dalibard), and demonstrated the first fountain atomic clock. For this work, he was the co-recipient the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997. From 2004-2009, he was the Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California Berkeley.

From January 2009 until April, 2013, Dr. Chu served as the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama. As the first scientist to hold a cabinet position and the longest serving Energy Secretary, he began several initiatives including ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy), the Energy Innovation Hubs, and the Clean Energy Ministerial meetings. During his time at the DOE, the deployment of renewable energy in the U.S. doubled and solar energy deployment increased 10-fold. Chu was personally involved in recruiting numerous outstanding scientists and engineers into the DOE, creating a more Bell-labs like culture in how the Department evaluates and awards proposals.

After his government service, Chu returned to Stanford to become Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, where he teaches and continues his research in biophysics, biomedicine, energy and energy economics.

In addition to the Nobel Prize and numerous other honors, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academia Sinica, and a foreign member of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology, Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics and Honorary Member of the Optical Society of America.

For more information:

Contact Name Joseph Birman
Contact Phone 212-650-6871

The Herman Z. Cummins Lecture is in Honor of the Work and Life of Herman Z. Cummins, 1933-2010, Distinguished Professor of Physics.

Sponsored by the Cummins Memorial Fund of The City College Fund, 160 Convent Avenue, SH166, New York, NY 10031


Luis Anchordoqui
Prof. Luis A. Anchordoqui, Lehman College, CUNY





Steven Chu
Dr. Steven Chu, Nobel Laureate (1997); William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Humanities & Sciences and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University