Monday, 9 January 2017

Combating Cancer - the contribution of Medical Physics

CT Siemens ScannerDoes physics play a role in cancer treatment and research? Physicists have made many valuable contributions over the years to the treatment, diagnosis and imaging of cancer using X-rays, magnetic fields, protons and other subatomic particles. Many cancer researchers consider physics responsible for the indispensable images of the internal organs in tumour diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, it provides a whole arsenal of radiation with which to fight cancer. It also delivers fantastic analytical tools. These tools aid the molecular and cell biologists, biochemists, and clinicians to achieve their results and successful cures. 

This presentation will focus on cutting-edge clinical technology and also on the fundamental principles behind the technologies used to diagnose and treat cancer patients. It will look into the future role of Physics in multidisciplinary research with the ultimate goal being to devise improved treatment strategies.

Speaker: Dr Mark Foley (Medical Physics Research Group), Schol of Physics, NUI Galway.

Location: 203 Arts Science Seminar Room    
Time: 1pm

Monday, 23 January 2017

10 Years of VERITAS Observations

VERITAS Research Project at the Whipple Observatory, Arizona‌‌

VERITAS is an array of four 12-metre gamma-ray telescopes located at the Whipple Observatory in Arizona.

It detects gamma radiation at Tera-electron-Volt energies. This year it will celebrate 10 years of operations.

In this slide-show, Dr Mark Lang will give some background to the experiment and the Whipple observatory and mention three detections; one nearby, one very far away, and one in the middle.

Speaker: Dr Mark Lang, PHY151, Centre for Astronomy (CfA) & School of Physics, NUI Galway

Location: 203 Arts Science Seminar Room    
Time: 1pm

Friday, 10 February 2017

IOP Tyndall Lecture 2017

Tyndall IOP Lecture 2017The 2017 Tyndall Schools lecture will take place in NUI Galway on Friday 10th February 2017 @12pm in the Kirwan Theatre, Arts/Science Building, NUI Galway. Tours of the School of Physics will also be available on this day.

The Life and Legacy of Robert Boyle, it is a period recreation of Boyle's experiments, by Eoin Gill and Sheila Donegan from Calmast in WIT. Robert Boyle was one of the most important figures in the development of modern science. He made discoveries across a wide range of areas. Born in Ireland in 1627, he lived and worked in Oxford and London, often working closely with his sister Lady Ranelagh. The show will be performed by Eon Gill as Robert Boyle and Sheila Donegan as Lady Ranelagh.

Location: Kirwan Theatre    
Time: 12pm

Monday, 6 February 2017

Nanomaterials for Neuromorphic Devices

Nanomaterials for Neuromorphic DevicesElectronic devices made from nanomaterials often display memristive behavior, where their conductivity depends on measurement history. This stems from their high surface to volume ratio and sensitivity to environment, and make nanoscale junctions the perfect physical system for creating neuromorphic circuits. Emulating the synaptic connectivity between neurons in nanoelectronic devices can yield adaptable and fault-tolerant electronic materials and help advance our understanding of the computer inside our own head.

Speaker: Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, School of Physics, NUI Galway

Location: Room 203, Arts/Science Seminar Room    
Time: 1pm

Monday, 13 February 2017

The formation and destruction of stars and planets

The formation and destruction of stars and planetsThe origin and fate of the sun, earth and planets will be discussed. Stars form from clouds of molecules with temperatures close to absolute zero that undergo gravitational collapse. This process is studied with millimetre and microwave telescopes which reveals the growth of protoplanetary disks and even the gaps inside them where new planets are forming. At the end of a star’s life, runaway nuclear reactions overcome gravity and much of the star is ejected back into space. This can occur steadily or explosively and the fate of a close orbiting planet in this situation is precarious. In the right circumstances, the planet can help shape the ejected material and be responsible for some of the stunning appearances of nebulae observed with the current generation of optical telescopes. 

Speaker: Dr Matt Redman, Centre for Astronomy, School of Physics, NUI Galway

Location: Room 203, Arts/Science Seminar Room    
Time: 1pm

Monday, 20 February 2017

Adaptive Optics, Space Telescopes and the search for New Worlds

Adaptive Optics, Space TelescopesSince the first detection of an extrasolar planet, xx years ago, the number of established planetary systems has risen into the thousands. The vast majority of these detections have been indirect, and we only have images of a handful of these “exoplanets”. Adaptive optics  combined with image post-processing is required to maximise the chance of forming such images, and I will describe our contribution to this work. In order to extend the search to planets more similar to the Earth, it will be necessary to use space telescopes, and I will describe some proposals  for exoEarth detection missions. These include our proposal for ‘HYPATIA’,  a 4m class space telescope including active optics. This work is  funded by the European Space Agency.

Speaker: Dr Nicholas Devaney, School of Physics, NUI Galway

Location: 203 Arts/Science Seminar Room    
Time: 1pm

Monday, 27 February 2017

Aerosol Mass Spectrometer Measurements for Essential Climate and Air Pollution Variables

Aerosol Mass Spectrometer Measurements for Essential Climate and Air Pollution VariablesAerosol plays a significant role in climate, atmospheric radiation forcing, air quality and human health, which makes it one of the most important and studied component in the atmosphere, nevertheless, its effects are still poorly quantified. A significant improvement has been made in recent years with an introduction of the Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS), which proved to be a powerful tool for studying the aerosol composition. In addition to being able to quantify near real time mass concentration of major inorganic compounds and organic matter, information on the organic components and sources can be obtained by inspecting the mass spectra. Here we present major achievements in marine aerosol characterisation facilitated by the AMS as well as the relationship between the marine boundary layer aerosol composition and cloud activation. Moreover, we present a new real-time pilot air quality network comprising AMS instruments, which has recently been deployed in Ireland. This is the first such network worldwide to deliver real-time chemical speciation, and, in particular, Organic Matter (OM) mass. The first results from this unique network reveals that under cold, stagnant conditions, in Dublin City suburbs, PM1 mass concentrations can reach 260 µg m-3, predominantly from domestic fuel burning and not traffic emissions as commonly assumed before. Moreover, the highest contribution to OM was found to come from a peat burning (44%), which is actually a minor fuel burned in the city, but dominates the OM due to its poor calorific value and high PM yields. The source apportionment of organic aerosols is a critical step towards enabling the efficient control strategies underpinning air pollution policy development. Inauspiciously, however, this carbonaceous concoction is not measured in regulatory Air Quality networks

Speaker: Dr. Jurgita Ovadnevaite, Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies (C-CAPS), School of Physics, NUI Galway

Location: 203 Arts/Science Seminar Room    
Time: 1pm

Monday, 6 March 2017

Phase Transitions and Spectroscopy in Flatland

Phase Transitions and Spectroscopy in FlatlandThe investigation of two-dimensional materials beyond graphene is a fascinating and highly active area of research. Transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) are layered materials similar to graphite, with a chemical structure of MX2 where M is a transition metal atom and X is a chalcogen atom. Single monolayers of TMDCs in many cases are semiconducting and can be addressed via optical techniques. We will use optical techniques to study interactions between TMDCs and other nanomaterials such as nanocrystals, nanotubes, and other TMDCs in the hopes of advancing photovoltaic technologies

In this talk, I present the vibrational properties and structural phases of 1T’-MoTe2 and Mo1-xWxTe2 alloys. Temperature-dependent and polarization-resolved Raman spectroscopy are the primary tools in these studies, and are complimented by aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) as well as x-ray diffraction (XRD) measurements. Temperature-dependent Raman measurements provide evidence for a transition from 1T’-MoTe2 to a distorted orthorhombic phase (Td) below 250 K and facilitate identification of the anharmonic contributions to the optical phonon modes in bulk MoTe2 and Mo1-xWxTe2 alloys.4,5 At temperatures ranging from 100 K to 200 K, we find that all modes redshift linearly with temperature; however, below 100 K we observe nonlinear frequency shifts in some modes. We demonstrate that this anharmonic behavior is consistent with the decay of an optical phonon into multiple acoustic phonons. We also explore the composition-dependent optical properties of MoxW1-xTe2 alloys and identify clear signatures of the 2H, 1T’, and Td crystal structures.

Speaker: Dr. Patrick Vora, Department of Physics and Astronomy, George Mason University @HitItWithLight

Location: Room 203, Arts/Science Seminar Room    
Time: 1pm

Monday, 13 March 2017

Laser-electron-lattice interactions, regional development and scalable innovation

Laser-electron-lattice interactionsThis seminar will primarily report on the activities of the NCLA Laser group within the School of Physics at NUI Galway. The NCLA laser group has participated in the transformation of Irish manufacturing industry down through the years. These developments have centred on harnessing (and sometimes understanding!) the laser material interaction. Various physical insights on how energy from a short duration (nanosecond, picosecond and femtosecond) laser pulse is transferred to the electronic and lattice sub-systems in selected materials will be described. The impact of this deposited energy will then be considered in terms of the nanometre, micrometre and millimetre sized structures generated on materials. For the most part the presentation will centre on material removal or subtractive processes. In future the laser group at NUI Galway, will investigate the interplay between additive and subtractive processes; the underlying motivation, competitive strategy and systematic approach underpinning this future development to realise a scalable innovative impact will be outlined.

Speaker: Dr Gerard O'Connor, Director of NCLA and Head of the School of Physics, NUI Galway

Location: 203 Arts/Science Seminar Room    
Time: 1pm

Monday, 20 March 2017

Creation and Destruction in Novae

Creation and Destruction of NovaeNovae, or ‘new stars’, stand at the cross roads of stellar evolution, harbouring a middle-aged Sun-like star and an old white dwarf. They are characterized by violent explosions and are important sources of elements such as lithium. A younger companion feeds the white dwarf hydrogen-rich material until a critical pressure is reached, then a thermonuclear runaway explosion follows. The exploded material taken from the companion forms seeds for the next generation of stars. 

These nova events are observed regularly (~35 occur in our galaxy per year) and develop on timescales of hours to hundreds of days. These stellar systems repeat their explosive events anywhere from every few months to millions of years. There are several possible pathways that could lead to the formation of these systems and their futures can be found written in stone here on Earth. 

Novae produce high-energy gamma-rays right down to radio waves, with the observational ranges acting as probes for various underlying physical processes. High cadence imaging, spectroscopy, and polarimetry are all needed in conjunction with multi-wavelength observations to better understand these systems. For my seminar presentation, I will be providing an overview of classical novae and their wider relevance by concentrating on observational as well as modeling techniques developed during the course of my studies.

Speaker: Eamonn Harvey, Centre for Astronomy, School of Physics

Location: 203 Arts/Science Seminar Room    
Time: 1pm

Monday, 27 March 2017

Gender and Physics?

Juno StudentsPhysics is often seen, by Physicists not the least, as an objective Science and we believe we are surrounded by a “culture without culture”. At the same time our history, class- and board rooms are dominated by men.
This is a clear paradox that should awaken the curiosity of anyone. In this talk I will give some examples on how you can approach the question on “what does gender have to do with Physics”. There have been several
studies of Physicists and I will combine a discussion of these with some general theory and personal experiences, to paint a picture on how gender transgress Physics, like all other fields. By using the three levels of
change introduced by Schiebinger, I refer to studies of e.g. Anthropologists and Psychologists. The bias against women, due to the fact that Physics is stereotypically male, combined with the “myth of meritocracy”
could be one key to understand the lack of women in the field. The talk is intended as a translation of results from recent progress in Gender Science to an audience of non-experts in the field, especially people
within STEM-fields. The aim is to give some answers to the question in the title, but also to show that this is an extremely interesting and active research field.

Speaker: Tomas Brage, Professor and Director of Education in Physics, Lund University, Sweden; Member of Steering group for Gender in League of European Research Universities, LERU.

Location: 203 Arts/Science Seminar Room    
Time: 1pm