From the subatomic to galactic scales! Explore fascinating science and cutting-edge research topics in physics and astronomy. JMU Physics and Astronomy presents an educational event series designed specially for high school students and teachers but one that parents will enjoy, too: Saturday Morning Physics. For the fifth year running, the Physics and Astronomy Department in collaboration with the Office of Outreach and Engagement at James Madison University cordially invite high-school students and science teachers to take part in an engaging enrichment program developed in a sequence of 6 easy-to-follow scientific exploration events.
Planet hunting is all the rage these days - so what are the techniques that astronomers use to hunt planets? Planets can be found by their effects on the star, by direct detection, and by their effect on stars along the line of sight. We will discuss the pros and cons of various "hunting" techniques as well as the science behind why some techniques work better for nearby stars, and others work better for distant stars.
Superconductivity is one of the most interesting physical discoveries of the last 100 years. The ability to reduce internal electrical resistance to zero has multiple technological and device applications. This talk will discuss the history of superconductivity (discovery to the Nobel prizes), the phenomena surrounding it (phase transitions, the Meissner effect, and London moment), and the new and exciting research that is pushing towards advancements in understanding quantum entanglement and quantum computing. We will examine the interactions of electrons within superconducting materials and how they work together to be utilized in various device applications assuming that scientists can get around specific challenges in temperature and material impurities.
Black holes, once considered to be a pure mathematical by-product of Einstein’s general theory of relativity (which is Einstein’s gravitational theory), are now one of the most scientifically profound objects to study in the astrophysics community both from observational and theoretical attempts. In this talk I will briefly explain how much we know about black holes and an extreme physical environment around them mostly in X-ray view. I will also demonstrate the power of theoretical tools to better understand those exotic objects.
Although the world we live in is varied and complex, it is actually made up of only a limited number of chemical elements. We know today that only 90 such elements exist naturally on Earth. The origin of these elements is a longstanding scientific problem that requires close collaboration between nuclear physics and astrophysics. In this lecture, we address questions like: Why does gold cost so much more than iron? Or more profoundly: Where do the chemical building blocks of humankind come from? To investigate such questions, two possible scenarios responsible for the origin of the chemical elements (the Big Bang and nucleosynthesis within stars) are discussed. We shall find out that the stars are fascinating "cooking pots" of the Universe and we are made of stardust! The iron in our blood and the calcium in our bones were all forged in stars.
If you have ever wonder about the nature of lightning or the northern lights you have probably heard about plasma, the fourth state of matter. Scientists have been studying this state of matter and learned how to produce it in controlled environment and found multiple application for plasma. Today man-made plasma are used in fluorescent lights and neon signs, in medicine to treat the infections on the surface of our skin, or to make computer chips that run our smart devices. We even use it to reproduce the process of producing the energy in fusion reaction like it's done on the surface of our Sun. So, what is plasma and how we can describe its distinctive nature and features? In this talk, we will define plasma and discuss methods like plasma tomography to take a look inside this astounding forth state of matter.
How did the Universe begin? What is the origin of all the energy and matter in our Universe? Astronomers seek the answers to these questions by observing the Universe and trying to unlock its secrets. In this session, we will trace the history of the Big Bang Theory with special emphasis on the astronomers and the important astronomical observations that gave rise to the theory. How will the Universe end? In addition to helping us understand the origin of the Universe, the Big Bang Theory also can help predict the future Fate of Universe and how the curtain will close on the universe as we know it.
The registration fee for the Saturday Morning Physics program is $50. Please follow this link to register for the program.
To be awarded a final certificate, you will need to complete at least 4 out of 6 events. Regular attendance is highly recommended!
For additional fees, high-school students (juniors/seniors) may earn a college credit and teachers may earn CEUs. For details, please contact JMU Outreach & Engagement at 540 658 4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org!
Here are the links to the previous events: