Article Index

This page lists all of the abstracts for the Fall 2011 colloquium series. For dates and speakers, see Colloquium Fall 2012.

"Summer Undergraduate Research Reports," September 7, 2012, 12n

Brandon Grisanti, Gabriela Serna, Heather Chilton, Cinthia Padilla, George Balch, Daniel Vander-Hyde

Short reports by some of our undergraduate reserachers on their summer research experiences. 

Time Speaker Project
8' Brandon Grisanti AMO research in Brazil
8' Gabriela Serna Astronomy/Education research in Arizona
8' Heather Chilton Research at SETI
8' Cinthia Padilla Research at SRI
8' George Balch Electron scattering research in Fullerton
8' Daniel Vander-Hyde Optical scattering research in Fullerton



"Max Born’s Legacy to Quantum Mechanics: From Entanglement to Quantum Gravity," September 21, 2012, 12n

John S. Briggs

Without doubt the ’unsung hero’ of quantum mechanics is Max Born, whose 125th anniversary was celebrated recently. He not only suggested the name ‘quantum mechanics’ but, apart from actually inventing them, made the most significant developments in both matrix and wave mechanics. To him we can ascribe the commutation relation, the statistical interpretation, the concept of entanglement, the theory of collisions, the quantum adiabatic principle and the final proof of the stability of matter. After an historical overview I will present examples, many from the research of my own group, of the implementation of Born’s ideas in diverse fields and show how they still permeate modern research in quantum mechanics, even the attempts to quantise gravity.



"Mach Effect Thruster: Theory and Experiment," October 5, 2012, 12n

Prof. Heidi Fearn and Dr. James Woodward


This is an outline of the theory underlying Mach effects and their use for propulsion. We define the basic principles of the theory and then discuss the experimental setup and results, which agree with the theory to within an order of magnitude. Beginning with the ideas of Sciama in 1953, in his paper On the Origins of Inertiawe show how gravity does indeed account for inertial reaction forces. Two conditions must be satisfied, first Φ/c2=1 must be true everywhere and second the simple vector approximation of Sciama must be applicable in cases where a more elaborate formalism of General Relativity theory (not just flat space-time) is employed (for example rotating systems, Friedmann- Walker metric). That Φ/c2=1 was shown to be true by Carl Brans in 1962. This is guaranteed by the locally measured invariance of Φ, the non-localizabilityof gravitational potential energy provision of the Einstein Equivalence principle. It also follows from the spatial flatness seen from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy probe WMAP data. As for the second condition, Nordtvedt showed in 1988 that gravitomagnetismmust be taken into account to properly account for frame dragging in rotational systems, he also found Sciama was off by a factor of 4. Sultana and Kazanas have shown that when the Friedmann-Walker metric is used along with the Sciama vector approach and realistic values of the cosmological parameters, that one obtains Φ/c2=0.23 instead of 1. However, if we take into account the multiplicative factor of 4 found by Nordvedt, then Φ/c2= 0.92 or equivalently F = 0.92ma in the paper, which is well within the errors of the cosmological parameters on a universal scale.

The transient terms we employ for the Mach Thruster are derivable from a 4- force, which gives a field strength. Taking the divergence of the field strength allows us to derive a wave equation with transient time terms. It is these transient time terms which allow for mass fluctuations in accelerating bodies which are simultaneously undergoing internal energy changes. 



"An Introduction to Imaging with Radar," November 9, 2012, 12n

George Escalante

Basic radar imaging principles will be presented and illustrated using a simple radar-target model. The objective of the briefing is to provide a high-level overview of radar imaging and to illustrate applications of undergraduate physics, mathematics, and engineering to real-world interdisciplinary problems. The presentation should be accessible to students at the sophomore level. Topics to be covered include:
·  The Radar Equation and Noise
·  Radar Coherence, Translational Motion Compensation, and Pulse Integration
·  Range Resolution, the Doppler-Effect, Doppler-Processing, and Cross-Range Resolution
·  Similarities and Differences Between Imaging at Optical and Radar Frequencies
·  Applications and Examples




"Is it time to flip your classroom?," December 7, 2012, 12n

Homeyra Sadaghiani

Many educators provide content online outside of classroom and use the class time for engaging students in activities targeted at higher levels of learning taxonomy. We have been experimenting with this inverted or flipped classroom format at Cal Poly Pomona using SmartPhysics multimedia Prelectures and checkpoints.  We have found this method better prepares student for the class activities and also allows more class time for the instructor to assist students when they are applying the concepts and practicing problem-solving skills. Our research indicates that this method creates a better classroom experience and makes each component of the course more valuable to students.