The University Record, October 1, 1996

Check out what's new in physics on Saturday mornings at U-M

Back by popular demand, the Department of Physics has organized a second series of its Saturday morning multi-media physics lectures for general audiences. Beginning Oct. 12, the lectures are an opportunity to hear physicists explain their work in easy-to-understand, non-technical terms.

The free, public lectures will take place 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays in Room 170 Dennison Bldg., 501 E. University, on Central Campus. Coffee and refreshments will be available. High school students are especially encouraged to attend.

"Our goal is to share the excitement and demonstrate the importance of contemporary research in physics with people who appreciate the thrill of discovery," says Timothy A. McKay, assistant professor of physics and co-organizer of the series.

"Research fellows live day and night in their labs and have a particularly personal, intimate relationship with their work, which makes for a great presentation," says Dante Amidei, associate professor of physics. "The response last year was very positive, and we are excited about returning this fall with three completely new topics."

The series is sponsored by the Department of Physics and M. Lois Tiffany of Ann Arbor, who received her master's degree in physics in 1946 and a Ph.D. in biophysics in 1971, both from the U-M. Lectures, speakers and topics scheduled for fall term include:

 

The Physical Cell---Oct. 12, 19 & 26

Fred Gittes, Physics Research Fellow

 

The biological cell is a complex system of tiny physical machines with properties that confound modern science. Gittes will describe the laser systems and micromechanical tools of biophysics and what they reveal about the astonishing molecular machines that make up all life.

 

Quarks: Pieces of Everything---Nov. 2, 9 & 16

Steve Vejcik, Physics Research Fellow

 

Vejcik will explain the current understanding of quarks and leptons---the fundamental building blocks of everything in the universe. He will show how giant machines and detectors were used to probe the smallest of distances and find a top quark, and why our current theories leave us still wondering about the nature of matter, space and time.

 

The Laser---Nov. 23, Dec. 7 & 14

Marc Nantel, physics research fellow

 

Whether at the cutting edge of modern physics or in your own home, lasers are redefining science and our lives. Nantel works with some of the fastest and brightest lasers in the world. In his laser show, Nantel will explain what they are, how they work and how they can be used to transmit voices, produce X-rays and create a photon torpedo.


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