Unfortunately, due to the pandemic we have suspended all colloquia until further notice.


Physics Colloquium - March 16, 2020

Science Blogs and Talking Dogs: Reflections on 17 Years in Social Media
Dr. Chad Orzel
Physics and Astronomy Department, Union College

In this talk I will discuss lessons learned about physics and science communication in the online world, drawing on my experiences since starting a weblog to discuss physics in 2002. This will include pros and cons of various media, including blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, and a discussion of the opportunities and risks these technologies offer for physicists interested in engaging with a broad public audience.

Physics Colloquium - February 21, 2020

Making MRI More Affordable & Accessible
Dr. Merideth Frey
Physics Faculty, Sarah Lawrence College

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses physics to provide useful information for a wide variety of disciplines. Unfortunately, conventional MRI is very expensive and often only available in dedicated medical or research facilities. In this talk, I will discuss the efforts of the physics research group at Sarah Lawrence College to build a low-cost mini-MRI system that will be specialized for small samples such as zebrafish. Our group uses physics to re-design the standard MRI system to use low-cost materials, and we provide the design files, experimental results, and analysis programs online so others can use and adapt our design. Come hear the progress we have made thus far, and our plans for the future!

Physics Colloquium - February 7, 2020

Inspiring the Public to Explore the Universe
Dr. Valerie Rapson
Dudley Observatory at Siena College

Looking up at the night sky often inspires a sense of wonder and curiosity about the Universe. There are so many areas of research within astronomy where big discoveries are made on a daily basis, and it’s important that professionals share the work they are doing with the general public. For stargazers of all ages the Dudley Observatory is the place to go to learn more about these discoveries, and for young children to get hands-on experience in STEM. In this talk, Dr. Rapson will share some of the history of the Dudley Observatory, her path to a career in astronomy education, and how students at Siena can get involved in her public outreach efforts. We’ll also briefly discuss the recent dimming of Betelgeuse, and whether or not it’s going to explode soon!

Physics/Religious Studies Colloquium - November 4, 2019

Faith and Reason for an Experimental Particle Physicist
Dr. Matt Szydagis
Department of Physics, University at Albany

How does one reconcile religion and science in one's head? Prof. Matthew Szydagis of the University at Albany will discuss his own personal journey and thinking on this matter, most assuredly free of any "cognitive dissonance"! From Galileo to Darwin, pretty much no controversial topic will be left untouched, from the Big Bang in cosmology to dinosaurs and apes in biology, ending with a conversation on the end of time which is sure to make you enraptured. Much like Br. Guy Consolmagno, the American astronomer and Jesuit, Matthew is both a Roman Catholic and a real credentialed scientist. Even if you are already familiar with speakers on the topic of the intersection and compatibility of science with spirituality, rest assured that you are sure to learn something new and discover an intriguing new perspective on the world.

Physics Colloquium - October 28, 2019

15 Years as an Industrial Physicist: What helped and what I needed
Mr. Mark Cheverton
Siena College, formerly General Electric

Mark Cheverton worked in the Capital District as an Applied Physicist for 14 years. Penning multiple journal articles, conference presentations, big ticket grants and having 30+ patents awarded, Mark’s career spanned multiple areas of research including fiber optics, machine vision, harsh environment sensing and holography just to name a few. He’ll be sharing some details on a few of these topics, but more importantly, he’ll describe the skills and traits he learned in education and in the workplace that helped him develop and maintain his successful career.

Physics Colloquium - September 30, 2019

Neutrino Oscillation and the PROSPECT Experiment
Dr. Danielle Landschoot (née Berish, class of 2014)
Temple University, Department of Physics

The story of the neutrino begins with its postulation in 1930 as a “desperate remedy” to experimental discrepancies observed in beta decay. Since then experimental evidence has confirmed the existence of three neutrino flavors: electron (νe), muon (νμ), and tau (ντ ). By 2001 experiments had also confirmed the phenomenon of neutrino oscillation, in which neutrinos change flavors. Recent experiments have used neutrinos produced in nuclear reactors as a probe to measure oscillation parameters, but disagreements between measured and predicted rates can be interpreted to imply the existence of a sterile neutrino. PROSPECT is a reactor neutrino experiment installed at Oak Ridge National Lab designed to measure meter scale neutrino oscillation in search of an eV scale sterile neutrino. This talk will summarize the history of neutrinos, describe how we measure reactor neutrinos, and present the construction and recent results of the PROSPECT experiment.