Colloquia & Current Events 2023 - 2024

Colloquia Abstracts
SUBJECT TO CHANGE! Be sure to check back often

A&P Colloquium series

To obtain the Zoom link for any online event, please email the Astronomy and Physics Department Secretary, Shannon Rhode, at  Colloquia are not recorded unless otherwise stated.


What have we learned about Galaxy Formation from the First Year with JWST?

Dr. Casey Papovich (Texas A&M University)
Date: Friday 22 September 2023
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM (ADT)
Location: via Zoom, streamed in AT101

In its first year, JWST has given us an amazing view of what galaxies looked like during the immediate period after the Big Bang. The JWST observations have led to a series of discoveries, many of which were wholly unexpected. In this talk, I will present some of this work using JWST imaging and spectroscopic from ``deep fields''. I will focus primarily on key results enable by the CEERS (the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science) Survey as well as data from JWST deep fields. These results include the discovery and characterization of the properties of galaxies at the earliest times, with redshifts of 7 and higher, during the cosmic period known as reionization. The properties of these galaxies imply they are dominated by very young, massive stars, with extremely high ionizing flux, accompanied by rapidly stochastic, variable star-formation rates. Other JWST observations have demonstrated that early galaxies host ``hidden'' active galactic nuclei (AGN), obscured by gas and dust, which implies we are seeing a rapid phase of supermassive blackhole growth in early galaxies. Understanding the relation between the star-formation and blackhole growth in these galaxies will be a challenge for future JWST observations, and I will discuss some ways to disentangle these effects. Lastly, I will use these discoveries to speculate about what we may learn in the coming years with JWST.


Friday 29 September 2023
No colloquium, Alternative day for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation


Dr. Ian Short (SMU)
Date: Friday 6 October 2023
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM (ADT)
Location: Atrium 101


Indigenous Knowledges and Western Astronomy: Indigenizing the Drake Equation

Dr. Hilding Neilson
Date: Friday 13 October 2023
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM (ADT)
Location: Atrium 101

The Drake Equation is a thought experiment whose purpose is to understand the ingredients necessary for life and advanced technological civilizations to exist on other worlds in our galaxy.  However, beyond reflecting on life on Earth we have no knowledge of many of these ingredients, such as the number of planets that have life, the number of with intelligent life, the number with advanced civilizations, and the lifetimes of these civilizations. In this talk I will review the Drake Equation and the biases that scientists have traditionally had in discussing this equation and how it has led to the current searches of biological and technological signatures. I will discuss how the Drake Equation looks different if we consider it through the lens of Indigenous methods and sciences and how these methods would lead to a dramatically different view of life in our Galaxy.


Dr. Adam Gonzalez (SMU)
Date: Friday 20 October 2023
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM (ADT)
Location: Atrium 101


Dr. Alasdair Syme (Dalhousie)
Date: 27 October 2023
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM (ADT)
Location: Atrium 101


Dr. Michelle Kuchera (Davidson College)
Date: Friday 3 November 2023
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM (ADT)
Location: Atrium 101


Friday 10 November 2023
No colloquium, Fall break


Dr. Ting Li (University of Toronto)
Date: 17 November 2023
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM (AST)
Location: Atrium 101


Dr. Kevin Hewitt (Dalhousie)
Date: Friday 24 November 2023
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM (AST)
Location: Atrium 101


Dr. Camilla Pacifici (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Date: Friday 1 December 2023
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM (AST)
Location: Atrium 101



Oppenheimer, Groves, and the Atomic Bomb: How the Manhattan Project Came to Be

Dr. Cameron Reed
: Friday 15 September 2023
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM (ADT)
Location: Atrium 101

The Manhattan Project was the United States Army’s program to develop and deploy fission weapons in World War II. After two and a half years of intense work and great expense, Project scientists succeeded in developing two very different designs for fission bombs, one of which used uranium and the other plutonium. One bomb of each type was dropped on Japan in August 1945 and helped to bring the war to an end. In this talk I will give an overview of the Manhattan Project, touching on its origins, organization, major personalities, facilities, accomplishments, challenges encountered, some of the physics of nuclear explosions, and why two different bomb designs were necessary. I will also describe the context of the war in the summer of 1945 and the effects of the bombs.



Previous Years' Abstracts


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