LIGO, VIRGO, and February 11, 2016

The LIGO gravity wave detection experiment - Livingston, Louisiana site.

The LIGO gravity wave detection experiment – Livingston, Louisiana site.

100 years ago, Albert Einstein published what is considered the foundational work of his theory of “General Relativity,” a scientific theory of space and time. Tomorrow, two large experiments and collaborations – LIGO and VIRGO – will present the status of their searches for one of the last undiscovered predictions of General Relativity: travelling distortions in spacetime called “gravitational waves.” Rumors are flying, hopes are high, and I am just waiting for their scientific papers.

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Anti-Steve: the week in review (2/1-2/5)

My nominees for the SMU HOPE award, Christo (left) and Lucy (right).

My nominators for the SMU HOPE award, Christo (left) and Lucy (right). Photo by Mark Kerins.

Last week was a whirlwind of a week. I attended an awards banquet on Tuesday night for professors nominated for the SMU Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence awards, only to then have it revealed I had also been selected for a more significant honor. I delivered my Godbey Lecture on Thursday to celebrate 100 yeards of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. I hosted my first STEM “Facul-Tea” time on Friday. And… I caught my third cold or flu in two months. What a week.

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Anti-Steve: The Week in Review (January 25-29, 2016)

The atomic spectral lines of hydrogen (bottom) and helium (top). These elements are the most abundant in stars like our sun. This photo was taken in preparation for an exercise in Modern Physics where were build a "model star" and view the star through a diffraction grating to see what its spectrum would look like if we were at rest with respect to the star. Shifts in these spectral lines can be used to find the speed of the star, thanks to the theory of relativity.

The atomic spectral lines of hydrogen (bottom) and helium (top). These elements are the most abundant in stars like our sun. This photo was taken in preparation for an exercise in Modern Physics where were build a “model star” and view the star through a diffraction grating to see what its spectrum would look like if we were at rest with respect to the star. Shifts in these spectral lines can be used to find the speed of the star, thanks to the theory of relativity.

This week was a busy one. My introductory physics course is rolling along and so is Honors Physics, whose membership suddenly swelled. Jodi traveled to Washington D.C. for an American Physical Society leadership event, and I guest-lectured for her Modern Physics class. There were lots of meetings and a fair bit of paper writing for my physics analysis. I held my first undergraduate “Physics Tea Times.” And, in less than a week is my public Godbey Lecture celebrating the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s publication of the General Theory of Relativity.

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Anti-Steve: The Week in Review, January 18 – January 22, 2016

This was the best start to a semester that I have had in a long time. My first day of class was Tuesday, and my course has hit a major milestone this semester. My ATLAS colleagues and I are making excellent progress on analysis work and a conference note for the Moriond Conference in March. I started hosting “Tea Times” in my office this week, now that it is a comfortable space for work and interaction. Our department was proud to see another graduate student complete the qualification milestone that puts then into formal Ph.D. candidacy.

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