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Physics SPS Seminar Series

The Sigma Pi Sigma Honors Society of the Physics Department puts on seminars throughout the school year for both students and faculty. The seminars are presented by local professionals, Loyola alumni, and professors from all across. The seminars focus on discussing trending topics related to physics and other sciences.


Upcoming SPS Seminar: Why Einstein being wrong might be good?


TIME: 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


Please join us for our next SPS Seminar, Why Einstein being wrong might be good?, presented by Dr. Arnaldo Vargas of the Physics Department. The seminar will be held Tuesday, October 3, 2017 from 12:30-1:30 in Monroe 152.

The principle of relativity is one of the most fundamental principles of physics.  This principle can be understood as the statement that the results of any experiment are independent of the absolute orientation and velocity of the experiment.   In recent years physicists have suggested that the principle of relativity might be violated. One of the motivations for this possibility is that some of theories that attempt to unify the ideas of quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of general relativity might naturally allow for deviations from the principle of relativity.  Another motivation is the unexplained asymmetry on the amount of matter and antimatter observed in the universe.  Our most successful description of how elementary particles interact with each other suggests that we can predict the behavior of antimatter by studying the behavior of matter, however this theory fails to explain why we observe significantly more matter than antimatter in the universe. This matter-antimatter asymmetry could imply that the behavior of antimatter might be quite different from what is expected from our understanding of the fundamental interactions  and theories that deviate from the principle of relativity can easily reproduce an anomalous behavior for antimatter.  In this talk we will discuss what it means to break the principle of relativity and what kind signals experimentalists need to look for if they want to test this principle. 

Pizzas & Drinks will be served. Please arrive 10 minutes early!              




Upcoming SPS Seminar: Teaching Machines to Think


TIME: 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


Please join us for our next SPS Seminar, Teaching Machines to Think, presented by Dr. Valery Rousseau of the Physics Department. The seminar will be held Thursday, April 27th from 12:30-1:30 in Monroe 152.


"It is still considered science-fiction to give a robot a simple command, such as "go get me a beer from the fridge", and have it granted. However, the field of artificial intelligence (AI) has continuously been progressing. AI units have become common nowadays without the users necessarily being aware of them. Famous examples include Facebook's face recognition system and the Google translate program. In this talk I will explain, without entering into the mathematical details, how simple attempts to imitate nature allows us to program computers and robots in such a way that they can develop their own knowledge without any input from the programmer. This results in machines that are capable of making decisions based on their own experience and history, instead of simply outputting the programmer's mind. The first part of my talk will illustrate how a crude imitation of the basic structure of a human brain allows computers and robots not only to learn from examples, but also to generalize these examples and make guesses. The second part will illustrate how a simple implementation of human feelings, such as “pain” and “happiness”, allows computers and robots to develop their own strategy in order to reach their assigned goal, such as a four-legged robot learning how to walk, or a computer beating a chess champion. Overall, my talk will present some of the ideas that will be developed in the newly created course "Neural Networks & Applications" that will be offered next fall at Loyola." -Dr. Rousseau


Previous Seminars