Science Night Live
Science Night Live public lectures offer a casual social and educational event in downtown Salt Lake. All events are held at Keys on Main (242 South Main Street), beginning with a social at 5:30 and a lecture at 6:00 p.m. Free and open to the public! Must be 21 years of age or older. Right across the street from the Gallivan TRAX station.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Title: Watching Molecules Dance On Your Laptop
Featuring: Assistant Professor Michael Gruenwald – Chemistry
What does it take to teach a computer the laws of chemistry? In this edition of Science Night Live we will explore how the same algorithms used in video games and space exploration can also help us understand the ways that molecules assemble to form useful materials. These materials can be used to store carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas, or even harvest solar energy.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Title: Chasing Demonic Ants In Mayan Ruins, And Other Stories
Featuring: Professor Jack Longino – Biology
Ants are a dominant component of tropical ecosystems, but like most tropical life the diversity is threatened by massive habitat conversion. My research has focused on documenting ant diversity in Central America, taking students up and down mountains and through the mud to sample ants in the last fragments of conserved forest. Back in the lab, DNA analysis is clarifying the fundamental nature of species diversity, both the how and the when of diversification across the MesoAmerican landscape.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Title: The Spin Behind Modern Electronics
Featuring: Professor Christoph Boehme – Physics & Astronomy
For more than half a century, the development of new and better semiconductor materials has driven the continuous innovation in electronic devices like computers and cell phones. “Better semiconductors” are materials with fewer impurities (“nanodirt”), missing atoms, or defects (“nanocracks”) which slow down or even destroy electric current, limiting performance.
The way defects affect materials frequently involves a property of electrons that physicists call “spin”. Spin makes electrons act like tiny magnets with a north and a south pole. This talk is about using spin and magnetism to find out which culprits make an electronic material worse, how exactly they do this, and how to fix this.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Title: Symmetry And The Primes
Featuring: Assistant Professor Stefan Patrikis – Mathematics
First we learn to count; next we learn to multiply. From the interaction of these two elementary operations emerge the prime numbers, the building blocks of the integers.
The patterning of the primes continually reveals itself to be richer than mathematicians could ever have expected. A well-placed application of 18th century number theory exploits the richness of this patterning to build the public-key cryptography algorithms that secure many of our electronic communications. Number theory in the 21st century, while still grounded in the study of the primes, takes form through surprising connections with geometry, topology, algebra, and analysis, and even suggests bizarre and tantalizing analogies with fundamental physics.
These astonishing connections express previously hidden symmetries in the prime numbers, which we are only in the very first stages of understanding. In this talk we will explore how elementary questions of arithmetic lead us to this strange mathematical landscape.