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Saturday Physics Workshop, March 30th, 2019

 

The Saturday Physics Workshop is a free workshop designed for high school Physics teachers and students. The Department of Physics sponsors this workshop to provide teachers and students with a broad perspective on topics of interest in the academic community. We hope this workshop will enrich the experience of students interested in Physics and provide resources and contacts to teachers. This event is offered every spring. Breakfast and lunch is provided. This year’s workshop will be held on Saturday, March 30, 2019 and is comprised of three lectures given by our faculty.

For more information, please contact Kelly McCoy at k.mccoy@austin.utexas.edu

This year's schedule: 

8:30-9:00AM – Breakfast 
 
9:15AM 
“Why in the World is a Physicist Studying Germs” with Dr. Vernita Gordon 
Vernita Gordon grew up in Georgia and has been faculty at the University of Texas at Austin since 2010. Her undergraduate degree is a double major in physics and math from Vanderbilt, and her PhD in physics is from Harvard. She's trying to understand how physics matters for harmful bacterial infections, and how physics could be used to prevent or treat such infections. She lives in Austin with her husband and two children, both in an AISD elementary school. She enjoys hiking, singing, knitting, and building forts and doing crafts with her kids. 

10:05AM 
“Gravitational Waves” with Dr. Aaron Zimmerman 
Dr. Aaron Zimmerman began his studies in at the University of New Mexico, continuing on at Caltech and then at the University of Toronto. He joined UT Austin this past fall as an assistant professor. Dr. Zimmerman studies black holes and other systems where gravitational forces are at their most intense. As a member of the international LIGO collaboration, he also analyzes gravitational waves, ripples in space and time which are detected on Earth by precision experiments. 

10:55AM – Break 

11:10AM 
“The Sun and its Magnetism” with Dr. Anna Tenerani 
Anna Tenerani graduated in Physics at the University of Pisa (Italy), before continuing on for her graduate studies in Astrophysics at the University of Pierre et Marie Curie (France) where she began her research work in Space Physics. After accomplishing her Ph.D. back in 2012, Anna’s work brought her to the United States, first in California at the Caltech/Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at the University of California, Los Angeles, and next at UT Austin. 

Anna’s scientific interests lie in the physics of plasmas as they occur naturally in space. Plasma is the fourth state of matter, together with solid, liquid and gas: lightning and electric sparks are examples of matter in the plasma state that we find in our everyday experience; but also stars like our sun and its atmosphere’s outer layer, the so-called “solar corona”, the interplanetary and the interstellar medium are all made of plasma. Plasma physics is a very fascinating discipline addressing how electric and magnetic fields interact with charged particles. These interactions may give rise to spectacular and unique phenomena such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections: the latter can be harmful for both astronauts and satellites in orbit, but they are also at the origin of beautiful natural phenomena such as the aurorae (like northern lights) that can be seen from Earth. There is still a lot to understand about the origin of these phenomena from solar magnetic fields. One of the mysteries that scientists try to understand is how the solar corona can exist in the first place and why its temperature suddenly rises from “only” a few thousand, to more than a million degrees! The recently launched Parker Solar Probe will fly closer to our star than any previous spacecraft to help us answer these questions. 
 
12:00-1:00PM – Lunch 
 
1:00-2:00PM – Physics Circus Demonstrations

Remembering Jim Thompson

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