Duane Physics Room G1B31

Engaging students in Modeling Instruction: developing and studying students as scientists

Physics Education Research is both about improving instruction and understanding the fundamentals of what learning is and how learning manifests in its many forms. In this talk I describe the development of Modeling Instruction (MI) for University Physics as a research endeavor into improving instruction. Modeling is built on the idea that all science proceeds through an iterative process of model development, evaluation, deployment, and revision. Accordingly, effective science instruction should promote the development of modeling skills by engaging students in the practices of modeling.

Effective Field Theories & Modifying Gravity: The View from Below

We live at a time of contradictory messages about how successfully we understand gravity. General Relativity seems to work very well in the Earth’s immediate neighbourhood, but arguments abound that it needs modification at very small and/or very large distances. This talk tries to put this discussion into the broader context of similar situations in other areas of physics, and summarizes some of the lessons which our good understanding of gravity in the solar system has for proponents for its modification over very long and very short distances.

X-ray sources from laser-plasma acceleration: development and applications for high energy density sciences

Bright sources of x-rays, such as synchrotrons and x-ray free electron lasers (XFEL) are transformational tools for many fields of science. They are used for biology, material science, medicine, or industry. Such sources rely on conventional particle accelerators, where electrons are accelerated to gigaelectronvolts (GeV) energies. The accelerating particles are also wiggled in magnetic structures to emit x-ray radiation that is commonly used for molecular crystallography, fluorescence studies, chemical analysis, medical imaging, and many other applications.

Observations and Discoveries of Our Heliosphere’s Interstellar Interaction

The solar wind and its embedded magnetic field flow outward from the sun in all directions, inflating a bubble in the local interstellar medium called the heliosphere. Prior to 2004, there were very few direct observations of the interaction of the heliosphere and local interstellar medium and our knowledge of these regions was largely theoretical. Then, 2004 and 2007 the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft crossed the heliosphere’s termination shock and in 2012 and 2018, each went on to cross the heliopause and entered interstellar space.