Colloquia Schedule Fall 2011

Colloquia are on Tuesdays (unless otherwise indicated) at 3:30 pm in RLM 15.216B

Aug. 30

Not your Parents' M Dwarfs: Probing the Milky Way with its Smallest Constituents (Cancelled due to Hurricane Irene: to be rescheduled)


Andrew A. West

Boston University

host: Colette Salyk

Sept. 6

Maxwell, Einstein, and Their Impossibilities


Mark G. Raizen

Center for Nonlinear Dynamics & Dept. of Physics, University of Texas at Austin

hosts: Paul Shapiro & Tanja Rindler-Daller

Sept. 13

Dark Matter, Dwarf Galaxies, and Massive Failures in the Halo of the Milky Way


James S. Bullock

University of California, Irvine

host: TBD

Sept. 20

Black Hole Scaling Relations


Kayhan Gultekin

University of Michigan

host: Karl Gebhardt

Sept. 27

The Quest for the Dynamical Signature of Close Supermassive Binary Black Holes


Michael Eracleous

Pennsylvania State University

host: Julie Comerford

Oct. 4

What is a Galaxy?


Beth Willman

Haverford College

host: TBD

Oct. 11

No talk scheduled, to avoid conflict with Frank N. Bash Symposium
(held: October 9-11, 2011).

Oct. 18

Status update on the James Webb Space Telescope project


Jane Rigby

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

host: TBD

Oct. 25

GAMA: from Little Blue Fuzzies to Massive Red Monsters and Beyond


Sarah Brough

Swinburne University

host: Karl Gebhardt

Nov. 1

Casting Shadows on the Standard Interstellar Medium Paradigm with GALFA-HI


Joshua E. G. Peek

Columbia University

host: Sarah Tuttle

Nov. 8

Beatrice M. Tinsley Visiting Scholar

The Origins of Planetary Systems - Constraints from Protoplanetary Disks


Ilaria Pascucci

University of Arizona

host: John Lacy

Nov. 15

No talk scheduled.

Nov. 22

No talk scheduled.

Nov. 29

Stellar Forensics with Explosions: Supernovae, Gamma-Ray Bursts, and their Environments


Maryam Modjaz

New York University, Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics

host: Sarah Tuttle

Dec. 13

HETDEX Special Colloquium

Astrophotonics and Space Photonics: A New Era of Instrumentation

Over the past decade or so there have been huge developments in the use of photonic concepts and devices in astronomical instruments. Much of this innovation has been driven by Australian universities and institutions such as The University of Sydney, the AAO and Macquarie University. I will give a brief overview of some of these exciting new technologies and talk about three new instruments designed and built in Sydney this year. I was also discuss some future paths the field might take.

The GNOSIS instrument is a fibre-based spectrograph which utilises fibre-Bragg gratings to suppress OH-emission lines in the H-band. This significantly increases the sensitivity of the instrument in its operational wavelength range allowing a range of previously inaccessible science problems to be tackled. For example, a search for very faint, broad emission lines from positronium. I will present the first on-sky results from the commissioning of the GNOSIS instrument.

Extensive work has also been carried out on hexabundles - fused bundles of fibres forming a 61-core bundle. These have been integrated into a new instrument called SAMI, successfully commissioned at the AAT in July. SAMI uses 2df-like plug plates to position 13 separate hexabundles as deployable IFUs over a 1-degree field of view. I will present the first commissioning and science from SAMI.

The next generation photonics instrument will be a PIMMS spectrograph. This concept builds on many innovative photonic devices integrated into one instrument. The PIMMS spectrograph is a very poweful diffration-limited device with extremely high spectral resolution. Its diffraction-limited nature makes it a very portable design, while its photonic nature keeps it compact in size and mass.

Space photonics is also a blossoming area in which many advances have been made. The University of Sydney is currently working on a micro-satellite project named i-INSPIRE (a joint effort between the School of Physics and the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering). This is a small cylindrical satellite which will contain a PIMMS-type photonic spectrograph, a small imaging camera and a radiation detector. It is both a scientific mission and a technological demonstrator.


Lisa Fogarty

University of Sydney, School of Physics

host: Sarah Tuttle

Visitors to the Department of Astronomy can find detailed information and maps on our Visiting Austin Page.

Please report omissions/corrections to: G. Orris at


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