Meeting of Astrophysics Students at Stanford (MASS)

Time and location TBD.

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MASS is a forum for graduate students in astronomy and astrophysics to discuss important ideas which nevertheless tend to be absent from classes, colloquia, and tea talks. It is intended to provide a crash course in the theoretical, observational, and experimental aspects of many areas of astrophysics and an informal setting in which to discuss our own work. Undergrads and non-astro types are welcome to join. Postdocs and faculty are also welcome; however, the content of the meetings will be aimed at students who are learning the methods of astronomy and astrophysics for the first time.

GRB 170817A (and GW170817): Lessons from a binary neutron star merger

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Location

Campus, PAB 232

Speaker
Ben Garber

On August 17, 2017, a LIGO/VIRGO gravitational wave event and a Fermi Gamma Ray Burst Monitor (GBM) trigger occurred two seconds apart. The near-simultaneous observation of a short gamma ray burst and gravitational waves from a binary neutron star merger place strong limits on cosmological gravity and teach us new things about gamma ray and neutron star astrophysics. In this practice qual talk, I will explain the instrumentation of Fermi-GBM, give a description of GW/EM170817, and talk about its implications.

Dark photon search

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Location

Campus, PAB 232

Speaker
Andrew Eberhardt

Dark matter is an integral and mysterious part of the universe which motivates a large set of diverse and interesting models. So here's another one: dark photons. I will discuss what is meant by the phrase dark photons and why we once thought they would be a promising dark matter candidate. I will go over the types of experiments we use to investigate this model and the existing bounds we have constructed.

Experimental Challenges to Infrared Astronomy

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Location

Campus, PAB 232

Speaker
Adam Snyder

Visible-light astronomy is by far the oldest branch of astronomy, beginning with simple star gazing and culminating with telescopes such as the Dark Energy Survey, Hubble Space Telescope and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.  However modern day astronomy is not limited to observations in only the visible light spectrum.  In this talk I will present the growing field of infrared astronomy and a number of experimental challenges that project

Turbulence

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Location

Campus, PAB 232

Speaker
Alex Madurowicz

As physicists, when we arrive at a differential equation, the hard part of the problem is essentially over. We simply look up the form of the solution and apply the boundary condit-- wait. The mathematicians haven’t figured this one out yet? It is a famous open problem in mathematics to disprove that smooth and bounded solutions to the Naiver-Stokes equation in three dimensions even exist.

Not Just Pretty Pictures: Science from Space Probes

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Location

Campus, PAB 232 *Note meeting starts at 1:30 p.m.*

Speaker
Mike Baumer

We've all seen the beautiful images of solar system objects taken by NASA space probes like Cassini, New Horizons, and the Mars rovers, but as physicists, we know that even beautiful data, on its own, does not necessarily equal knowledge. What fundamental scientific questions do space probes seek to answer, and what theoretical models do they use to extract answers from the data?

Aspects of Unitarity

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Location

Campus, PAB 232

Speaker
Jed Thompson

The term “unitarity” gets bandied about a lot in theoretical physics, but although it’s a very simple concept, its physical consequences are often less obvious.  In this talk, we’ll state concretely what we mean by unitarity, and work through how it implies the optical theorem.  We’ll then use the optical theorem to prove the narrowing of the diffraction peak at high energies and the Boltzmann H-theorem.  We will also give a heuristic derivation of the Froissart bound (which limits how quickly cross-sections can grow with energy), and if time permits give a rigorous proof.

Fluid Simulations

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Location

Campus, PAB 232

Speaker
Andrew Eberhardt

From the clouds on Jupiter, to debris disks, to dark matter halos, we are frequently interested in the evolution and behavior of fluids. For decades now simulations have been a tool to investigate the physics of these systems. There are a variety of  generally used computational techniques. I will discuss some of these methods and demonstrate their utility with a set of test problems.