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Past Colloquia

The PTF Open Cluster Survey: Tracking the Evolution of Rotation and Activity on the Lower Main Sequence

Cody Hall

Marcel Agüeros (Columbia U)

March 23, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

A star’s age is one of its most fundamental parameters. It is also, for isolated field stars, notoriously difficult to measure. While we have known for 40 years of the existence of a relation between a star’s age, rotation, and magnetic activity, observational limitations have…

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Unifying the Many Faces of Neutron Stars: The High Magnetic Field Connection

Cody Hall

Victoria Kaspi (McGill University)

March 16, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

Neutron stars show a bewildering array of observational properties which range from mild-mannered, faint pulsations to unpredictable blasts of X-rays and gamma-rays that can occasionally but briefly outshine the entire Galaxy in these bands. From the dramatic magnetars to the generally calmer radio pulsars, from…

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Gravitational waves, promises and challenges to fulfill them

Cody Hall

Luis Lehner (Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics & University of Guelph)

March 09, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

Soon gravitational waves will provide a completely new way to understand our universe. To fully exploit this opportunity efforts –and expertise– beyond gravity are required. This talk has then two purposes: One, to review some few examples of what has been understood from the theoretical…

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The nature of cosmic explosions: recent progress

Cody Hall

Avishay Gal-Yam (Weizmann Institute of Science)

February 17, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

Cosmic explosions mark the violent deaths of stars. While the emission from the explosion itself (manifesting, e.g., as a supernova) is often very bright and can be studied in detail, understanding the nature of the progenitor systems of these events is more difficult, as these…

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Young Planets Caught at Formation

Cody Hall

Adam Kraus (U. Hawaii)

February 09, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

Young and directly-imaged exoplanets offer critical tests of planet-formation models that can’t be matched by RV and transit surveys of mature stars. However, these targets have been extremely elusive to date, with no exoplanets younger than ~10-20 Myr and only a handful of directly-imaged planets…

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The Time Domain Renaissance: From Gamma-Ray Bursts to Advanced LIGO

Cody Hall

Brad Cenko (Berkeley)

February 06, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

With convergence of both science (i.e., community interests) and technology (the advent of new facilities enabled by Moore’s Law), time-domain exploration of the sky promises to be a frontier pursuit in the coming decade.  In this talk I will review two recent results from our efforts to characterize variability…

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The Accelerating Universe: Probing Inflation & Dark Energy with the Radio/Microwave Sky

Cody Hall

Keith Vanderlinde (McGill)

February 02, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

Two of the greatest mysteries in cosmology — and indeed all of modern physics — involve the exponential growth of space: the inflationary period of the early Universe, and the present-day Dark Energy-driven expansion. Recent technological advances are fuelling the exploration of these twin phenomena,…

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Innovative Non-Dispersive Imaging Spectrometers: Technology Development and Upcoming Observational Opportunities

Cody Hall

Megan Eckart (Goddard SFC)

January 30, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

The development of a new detector technology often results in major advances in observational capabilities. Recently developed microcalorimeter detector arrays will revolutionize the study of the high-energy Universe by enabling non-dispersive spectrometers with high spectral resolution (R~1000-6000) in the soft X-ray band. These new instruments…

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The Role of Dwarf Galaxy Interactions in Shaping the Magellanic System and Implications for Magellanic Irregulars and Dwarf Spheroidals

Cody Hall

Gurtina Besla (Columbia University)

January 27, 2012
14:00 - 15:00

I will present a new numerical model of the evolution of the Milky Way’s largest satellite galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC/SMC), in which their current internal structure and kinematics and large-scale gas morphology are dictated by their mutual tidal interactions, rather than…

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Small Stars with Small Planets and Big Consequences

Cody Hall

Phil Muirhead (Caltech)

January 25, 2012
15:00 - 16:00

The field of extrasolar planets is rapidly evolving.  The quest to discover ever-more and ever-smaller exoplanets has pushed the field in two primary detections: (1) toward a comprehensive assessment of the frequency and statistics of various types of exoplanets–used as a guide for planet formation…

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