This page lists all of the abstracts for the Fall 2014 colloquium series. For dates and speakers, see Colloquium.

"The Best of Both Worlds," Wednesday, September 10, 12:00pm, MH 606

Brigit Lohmann, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

The Best of Both Worlds” is the tagline for University of the Sunshine Coast, a relatively new public university in Queensland, Australia.
In this presentation Professor Lohmann will provide an overview of USC, intertwine that with a bit of physics, in terms of her personal research in atomic physics, and introduce some new initiatives that USC is exploring in building cutting-edge visualization facilities for teaching.

"Undergraduate Summer Research Seminar I," Friday, September 12, 12:00pm, MH 606

  1. Adrian (Italy IREU)
  2. Alyssa (CAMPARE)
  3. Sean & Eric (Read)

"Undergraduate Summer Research Seminar II," Friday, September 19, 12:00pm, MH 606

  1. Jackie (University of Iowa)
  2. Dustin & Erik (Cheng)
  3. Phillipe & Michael (Read)
  4. Erik & Daniel (Smith)
  5. Sarah (STEM^2)
  6. Paul
  7. Kevin K (Lovelace)

"Undergraduate Summer Research Seminar III," Friday, October 3, 12:00pm, MH 606

  1. Haroon Khan
  2. Erik Muniz
  3. Sarah Wood
  4. Daniel Vander-Hyde


"Important Effects of Solar Radiations in the Near-Earth Space Region," Friday, October 17, 12:00pm, MH 606

Prof. G.G. Sivjee, California State University

Interactions of the Solar Electro-Magnetic and Particulate Radiations with the Geomagnetic field, as well as with the Near-Earth Space Region, lead to various changes in the Composition, Thermodynamics, Electrodynamics and Dynamics of the region where all satellites and the International Space Station orbit the earth. The many sources (e.g. geomagnetic field flux transfer, Joule Heating of the Ionosphere-Thermosphere, etc.) that affect this will be reviewed with emphases on current research thrusts in the field of Space Physics.

"Solar Energy," Friday, October 24, 12:00pm, MH 606

George King, Manchester University

The amount of solar energy that falls on the earth in one hour is as much energy as the whole of civilization uses in a year. Our job is to harvest a portion of this energy as effectively as possible. The nature of solar radiation and its journey from its birth at the center of the sun to its arrival on earth will be described and ways in which solar energy can be harvested and also stored will be presented.

"Phase Transitions in Economic Models: Hot and Cold Market Equilibria in Bounded-Rational Potential Games," November 7, 12:00pm, MH 606

Mike Campbell, CSUF

In economic “games” for which there exists a potential (Lloyd Shapley & Dev Monderer), a dynamical model for which each agent’s strategy adjustment follows the gradient of the potential (perfectly rational part that wants to maximize payoff) along with a normally distributed random perturbation (part that considers errors in judgment, miscalculations, emotional bias, etc), is shown to equilibrate to a Gibbs measure for a finite number of agents.  There is a variable in front of the random perturbation that allows us to give more or less influence to the “irrational” part of the decision.
For a finite number of agents, there is always a unique Gibbs equilibrium.  When an infinite number of agents is considered, more than one equilibrium measure may occur, which is the analogy of a phase transition in statistical mechanics (similar to water changing to ice or steam).  Here, the variable that allows us to adjust the influence of the “non-rational” element of decisions is related to “temperature” in statistical mechanics.
The standard Cournot model of an oligopoly is shown not to have a phase transition, as it is equivalent to a continuum version of the Curie-Weiss model. However, when there is increased local competition among agents, a phase transition will likely occur. In the case of a simple discrete model (where an agent either buys or sells a good), if the oligopolistic competition has power-law falloff and there is increased local competition among agents, then the model has a rich phase diagram with an "antiferromagnetic" checkerboard state, striped states and maze-like states with varying widths, and finally a "paramagnetic" unordered state.
Such phases have economic implications as to how agents compete given various restrictions on how goods are distributed. The standard Cournot model corresponds to a uniform distribution of goods, whereas the power-law variations correspond to goods for which the distribution is more localized.


"Technologically-relevant electron-molecule interactions: From bio-molecules to bio-fuels," Friday, November 14, 12:00pm, MH 606

Dr. Darryl Jones, Flinders University, Australia

Since the identification that low-energy electrons, produced when ionizing radiation strikes living tissue, can induce both single- and double-strand breaks in DNA,1 there has been a community-wide effort to understand how free electrons can interact with key molecular components found in biological systems.   Here we will present an overview of some of the electron scattering techniques and the results we have obtained relating to electron-interactions with biologically relevant molecules.2,3  Here the fundamental electron scattering data with key molecular building blocks bridges our understanding to what may be happening in more complex systems, like living tissue.   We have now started applying this same strategy as a method for improving biofuel production. Here we are investigating how free electrons, formed in electron beams or non-thermal atmospheric plasmas, may assist in the breakdown of complex biomass to yield high-value chemicals. Achieving improvements in the cost-effectiveness of biofuel production is a key component in realizing renewable and sustainable bio-refineries.
1. B. Boudaiffa, P. Cloutier, D. Hunting, M. A. Huels and L. Sanche, Science 287, 1658 (2000).
2. Z. Masin, J. D. Gorfinkiel, D. B. Jones, S. M. Bellm and M. J. Brunger, J. Chem. Phys. 136, 144310 (2012).
3. D. B. Jones, et al., Chem. Phys. Lett. 572, 32 (2013).
4. A. J. Ragauskas, et al., Science 311, 484 (2006).