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Past Physics Colloquia

Click here for colloquia within your future light cone.

2024 Spring Semester

Senior thesis presentations


Padmini Rangamini, UCSD
The role of cortical linkers and the glycocalyx in outward building: insights from biophysical modeling
Mikkel Herholdt Jensen, California State University, Sacramento
Probing the role of tissue mechanics in the gut-brain axis and neuronal development
Indara Suarez, Boston University
Searching for New Physics at the Large Hadron Collider
Mark Stevens, Sandia National Labs
Modeling and Simulation of Microtubule Polymerization and Depolymerization
Dustin Kleckner, UC Merced
The Shape of Soft Matter and Fluid Flows
Eric Mjolsness, UC Irvine
Physics (and Mathematics) for Machine Learning for Physics (and Biology)
Benjamin Idini, UC Santa Cruz
From Icy Moons to Giant Planets: Exploring the Deep Structure of Solar System Worlds with Tidal Observations
Inna Vishik, UC Davis
A ‘surface level’ view of Weyl semimetal materials
Bin Liu, UC Merced
Shape, wobble, and roll: manipulation of microscale transport through geometries and symmetries
David Strubbe, UC Merced
Doped two-dimensional materials: simulations of Raman spectroscopy, friction, and distorted phases


2023 Fall Semester

Tapomoy Bhattacharjee, National Center of Biological Sciences, India
Growth and motility in three-dimensional disordered media
Tim Atherton, Tufts University
Shape Sculpting and Shapeshifting with Soft Matter
Daniel Gilman, University of Chicago
A guided tour of dark matter physics with strong gravitational lensing
Bin Chen, Northwestern University
Surface and interface passivation for perovskite devices
Mariano Trigo, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Electronic dissipative forces in structural phase transitions
Aaron Romanowsky, San José State University
New Insights on Extreme Stellar Systems
Hendrik Utzat, UC Berkeley
Genuine Quantum Interference of Single-Photons Emitted from Colloidal Lead-Halide Perovskite Quantum Dots
Monika Sanoria, UC Merced
Collective motion of Active Brownian particles
Anna Grosberg, UC Irvine
From Structure to Function: Cardiac and Immune Cells
Arianna Gleason-Holbrook, Stanford/SLAC
New Lens on the Frontier Matter in Extreme Conditions
Vivek Shenoy, University of Pennsylvania
How do forces trasmitted from a cell's environment affect DNA organization?
Arvind Murugan, University of Chicago
Learning without neurons
Oleg Yazyev, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
In silico discovery of novel topological materials

2023 Spring Semester

Senior thesis presentations

Tomas Rube, University of California Merced 
Prediction of protein-ligand binding affinity from sequencing data with interpretable machine learning
[Flyer] [Video]

Andrea Liu, UPenn
Learning about Function
[Flyer] [Video]

Beth Nowadnick, UC Merced
Ferroelectric oxides: from fundamental physics to next-generation electronics
[Flyer] [Video]

Tobias Zier, University of California, Merced
Ultrafast light and Matter: The two get along!
[Flyer] [Video]

Uroš Seljak, UC Berkeley
Machine Learning for Physics, Physics for Machine Learning
[Flyer] [Video]

Jon Arenberg, Northrup Grumman 
The Ongoing Adventures of an Industrial Physicist
[Flyer] [Video]

Sebastian Streichan, University of California Santa Barbara
Physics of living matter: from molecule to embryo
[Flyer] [Video]

Carol Hood, California State University, San Bernardino
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! – A discussion on professional development in STEM
[Flyer] [Video]

2022 Fall Semester

Alex Pettitt, California State University Sacramento
The Morphology and Structure of Spiral Galaxies
[Flyer] [Video]

Alexander Weber- Bargioni, LBNL
Engineering heterostructures in 2 – D solids to define new localized quantum states with quantum coherent properties
[Flyer] [Video]

Nigel Goldenfeld, UCSD
The Life and Death of Turbulence
[Flyer] [Video]

Joey Paulsen, Syracuse University 
The Wrinkle-to-Crumple Transition in Thin Elastic Solids
[Flyer] [Video]

Vik Dakal, Iowa State University
Stability of Perovskite Materials and Solar Cells
[Flyer] [Video]

Hilary Hurst, San José State University
Building a Robust Quantum Ecosystem in the Lab and the Classroom
[Flyer] [Video]

Michelle Driscoll, Northwestern University
Drop impact of complex fluids: shear jamming with free surfaces
[Flyer] [Video]

Simon Birrer, Stanford University
Measuring The Expansion Rate Of The Universe With Gravitationally Lensed Multiply Imaged Flickers
[Flyer] [Video]

2022 Spring Semester

Senior thesis presentations

Senior thesis presentations

Raymond Hall, California State University, Fresno
The use of Social Media as a Museum of Science and Math

Ruqian Wu, UC Irvine
Theoretical Studies of Magnetic and Topological Materials

Paul Chaikin, New York University
Random Close Packing as a Dynamical Phase Transition: Jamming, Hyperuniformity and Photonics

Yuriy Pershin, University of South Carolina
Probabilistic modeling of ReRAM networks

Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan, Harvard University

Karen Masters, Haverford College
Spiral Arms in Galaxies
[Flyer] [Video]

Ahmed Farag Ali, UC merced
Quantum Gravity on Tabletop
[Flyer] [Video]

Doug Cleaver, Sheffield Hallam University
Simulations of Soft Materials - Identifying and Accessing the Key Length-Scales
[Flyer] [Video]

Ana Bonaca, Carnegie Observatories
Weaving the Milky Way Tapestry
[Flyer] [Video]

Zia Mian, Princeton University
Dismantling the Nuclear Doomsday Machine: Scientists, the Bomb, and the Challenges of Nuclear Disarmament
[Flyer] [Video]

Alexander Rudolph, California State Polytechnic University
Cal-Bridge: Overcoming Barriers to Engagement of Underrepresented Students in STEM PhD Programs
[Flyer] [Video]

2021 Fall Semester

Kimberly Weirich, Clemson University
Self-organization and Shape Change in Anisotropic Biopolymer Assemblies

Anna Nierenberg, UC Merced
Testing the Nature of Dark Matter with Strong Gravitational Lensing

Margaret Gardel, University of Chicago
Physics of Morphogenetic Matter
[Flyer] [Video]

Mohamed Amine Gharbi, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Reconfigurable Assembly of Nanoparticles in Smectic Films Confined at Curved Surfaces
[Flyer] [Video]

Frank van den Bosch, Yale University
New Insight into Cosmology and the Galaxy-Halo Connection from Non-Linear Scales
[Flyer] [Video]

Abhay Pasupathy, Columbia University
New Quantum Materials by Twisting and Stretching
[Flyer] [Video]

Xufeng Wu, NHLBI (NIH)
Principles and Applications of Super Resolution Imaging to Studies of Cytoskeletal Dynamics in Living Cells

Janice C. Lee, Gemini Observatories (NOIRLab)
The PHANGS HST & JWST Surveys: A Census of Star Clusters and Multi-Scale Stellar Associations in Nearby Spiral Galaxies
[Flyer] [Video]

Dong Yu, UC Davis
Exciton Transport in Halide Perovskites and Topological Insulators
[Flyer] [Video]

Gia-Wei Chern, University of Virginia
Quantum Molecular Dynamics of Metal-Insulator Transition In Correlated Electron Systems Theory

Kristina Callaghan, UC Merced
Strategies for Increasing the Effectiveness of Active Learning in the Classroom

2021 Spring Semester

Sarah Loebman, UC Merced
Connecting Across Scales: Simulating and Understanding the Evolving Milky Way

Hui Cai, UC Merced
Tailoring the Properties of 2D Materials from Controlled Synthesis

Francesca Serra, Johns Hopkins University
Liquid crystal topological defects across phases and materials
[Flyer] [Video]

John Perdew, Temple University
Predictive Power of the Exact Contraints and Appropriate Norms in Density Functional Theory, with Interpretations of Ground-State Symmetry Breaking and Strong Correlation
[Flyer] [Video]

Charlie Conroy, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Mapping the Galaxy with the H3 Survey
[Flyer] [Video]

Marla Geha, Yale University
The SAGA Survey: Exploring Satellite Galaxies Around Milky Way Analogs
[Flyer] [Video]

Linda Hung, Toyota Research Institute
Machine Learning to Accelerate the Discovery of Energy Materials

TeYu Chien, University of Wyoming
Electronic Properties of Novel Materials – Photovoltaic, 2D Magnetic, and Topological Materials
[Flyer] [Video]

Alison Patteson, Syracuse University
How Cells Cope with Stress and Handle COVID-19
[Flyer] [Video]


2020 Fall Semester

Brian Utter, UC Merced
Jamming, clogging, and confinement in dense granular and suspension flows
[Flyer] [Video]

Gurtina Besla, University of Arizona
The Milky Way In Motion
[Flyer] [Video]

Oskar Hallatschek, UC Berkeley
The Role of Chance in the Survival of the Fittest

Aristotle Socrates, TextNow and UCSC
From Black Holes to Big Data
[Flyer] [Video]

Kelle Cruz, CUNY Hunter College
Software Development, Collaboration, and Removing Barriers to Access in Astronomy
[Flyer] [Video]

Félicie Albert, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Laser-Plasma Accelerators: Next Generation X-Ray Light Sources
[Flyer] [Video]

Nicola Spaldin, ETH Zürich
From Materials to Cosmology: Studying the Early Universe Under the Microscope
[Flyer] [Video]

Nathaniel Stern, Northwestern University
Playing with Photons in Flatland: Controlling Light and Matter in Two-Dimensional Materials
[Flyer] [Video]

David Hogg, New York University
Seeing Orbits and Seeing the Dark Matter
[Flyer] [Video]

Keir Neuman, National Institutes of Health
Cracking and buckling: Defect driven mechanics of collagen and DNA
[Flyer] [Video]

Moumita Das, Rochester Institute of Technology
Collective Behavior Underlying the Mechanobiology of Tissues
[Flyer] [Video]

Julia Yeomans, University of Oxford
Self-Propelled Topological Defects
[Flyer] [Video]

David Grier, New York University
Holography and the Pandemic: Using holographic video microscopy for rapid immunoassays
[Flyer] [Video]

Sharon Gerbode, Harvey Mudd College
Shape Matters — How Wavy Crystal Grains Shrink Faster
[Flyer] [Video]


2020 Spring Semester

Loren Hough, University of Colorado, Boulder
Disorder as a Driver of Biological Filtration
Biophysics Experiment
Jing Xu
Video Link

Jeffrey Neaton, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Novel Materials for Energy Applications from First Principles
Condensed Matter Theory
David Strubbe (student invited)
Video Link

Brian Nord, Fermi lab/UChicago
AI In the Sky: The Promise and Peril for the use of Artificial Intelligence in Cosmology and Society
Sarah Loebman
Video Link

Rena Zieve, UC Davis
Cyclone of a Cell: Single Vortex Studies
Condensed Matter Experiment
Dustin Kleckner
Video Link

Graduate visits  day

Adrian Lupascu, University of Waterloo
Design of High-Order and Long-Range Interactions for Quantum Annealers
Condensed Matter/AMO Theory
Lin Tian

UC Merced APS March Meeting sessions

Nir Gov, Weizmann Institute
The Physics of Cooperative Transport in Groups of Ants
Soft/Bio Theory
Kinjal Dasbiswas
Video Link

The remaining colloquia for the semester are cancelled until further notice because of the COVID-19 situation.


Sharon Gerbode, Harvey Mudd College
Soft/Bio Experiment
Kinjal Dasbiswas

Spring Recess/César Chávez day

Oskar Hallatschek, UC Berkeley
Biophysics Experiment/Theory
Daniel Beller

Steven Louie, UC Berkeley
Condensed Matter Theory
David Strubbe

Ari Socrates, Juvo and UCSC
Ajay Gopinathan


L Mahadevan, Harvard University
Soft/Bio Theory
Ajay Gopinathan

Undergraduate Thesis presentations


2019 Fall Semester
Location: COB2 140

Jorge G. Moreno Soto (Pomona College)
Galaxy Encounters: From the Interstellar Medium to the Cosmic Web
(Astrophysics simulation)
Host: Kinjal Dasbiswas
[Video Link]

Samuel Safran (Weizmann Institute)
Nonlinear Dynamics of Spontaneously Beating Heart Cells
(Soft/Bio theory)
Host: Kinjal Dasbiswas

Tzu-Ming Lu (Sandia National Lab)
SiGe-based Quantum Electronic Devices
(Condensed Matter experiment)
Host: Michael Scheibner
[Video Link]

Mehran Kardar (MIT)
Force From Non-Equilibrium Fluctuations in QED and Active Matter
(Soft/Statistical Physics Theory)
Host: Daniel Beller
[Video Link]

Ettore Vitali (CSU Fresno)
Computational Physics: Computers as Virtual Laboratories to Study Quantum Systems
(Condensed Matter Theory)
Host: David Strubbe
[Video Link]

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz (UCSC)
Cosmic Alchemy in the Era of Gravitational Wave Astronomy
(Astrophysics Theory)
Host: Ajay Gopinathan
[Audio Link]

Chih-Chun Chien (UC Merced)
Surprises in Transport of Particles and Energy
(Condensed Matter Theory)
Host: Kinjal Dasbiswas
[Audio Link]

Tugrul Senger (İzmir Institute of Technology)
Thermoelectric Performance of Two-Dimensional Materials
(Condensed Matter Theory)
Host: Mehmet Baykara
[Video Link]

Alexander Petersen (UC Merced)
Cross-Disciplinary Adventures in Complex Systems: From Physics to Management Science
(Complexity research)
Host: Kinjal Dasbiswas
[Video Link]

Mark O. Robbins (Johns Hopkins University)
A "Rough" View on Friction and Adhesion
(Condensed Matter Theory)
Host: Mehmet Baykara
[Video Link]

Julio Barreiro (UC San Diego)
Ultracold Strontium for Condensed-Matter Simulations and Quantum Sensing
(AMO/Condensed Matter Experiment)
Host: Chih-Chun Chien

Srividya Iyer-Biswas (Purdue University)
From Frozen to Flowing Time
(Biophysics Experiment)
Host: Kinjal Dasbiswas


Meng Shen (McGill University)
(Soft matter theory)
The Understanding and Design of Composite Soft Materials
Host: Daniel Beller

Alexander Levine (UCLA)
(Soft/Bio Theory)
Host: Kinjal Dasbiswas
Exploring Soft Low-Dimensional Structures in the Cell: Fluctuations, Mechanics, and Geometry


2019 Spring Semester
Location: COB2 170

January 25
Kinjal Dasbiswas (UC Merced)
         [Video Recording]
Ned Wingreen (Princeton University)  
QSB seminar that maybe of interest to physicists:
“Magic Numbers in Protein Phase Transitions”
1:30 - 2:45pm, Student Service Building (SSB), Room 130
February 1
Vernita Gordon (UT Austin)
 Host: Kinjal Dasbiswas
February 8
Daniel Beller (UC Merced, soft matter theory)
February 15
Eva Silverstein (Stanford, string theory/cosmology)
           Host: Ajay Gopinathan
February 22
No colloquium (Grad Visits)
March 1
Anna Mercedes-Nirenberg (JPL, astrophysics)
           Host: Ajay Gopinathan
March 8
No colloquium (APS March meeting)
March 15
Jun Allard (UC Irvine, biophysics theory/math)
           Host: Jing Xu
March 22
Udo Schwarz (Yale, materials science) 
April 5
Jessica Kirkpatrick (KoBold Metals, data science in industry)
Astrophysicist to Data Scientist
           Host: David Strubbe
April 12
Robert Jorstad (Alan Hancock, science outreach)
Service Learning in Physics
           Host: Jing Xu
April 19
Ahmet Yildiz (UC Berkeley, biophysics)
           Host: Jing Xu
April 26
William Irvine (U. Chicago, soft matter)
           Host: Dustin Kleckner
May 3
Lulu Qian (Caltech, biophysics)
           Host:  Tao Ye
May 10
Undergraduate Thesis presentations
          Host:  Jay Sharping

2018 Fall Semester
Location: COB2 170

August 24
David Quint (UCM NSF CREST)
          [Host: Jing Xu]
August 31
Florian Berger (Rockefeller)
          [Host: Jing Xu]
September 7
Leily Kiani (LLNL): 
          Optical fiber technologies for commercial and high energy physics applications.
          [Host: Jay Sharping]
September 14
Erik Luijten (Northwestern) 
          [Host: Linda Hirst]
September 21 
Zvonimir Dogic (UCSB)
          [Host: Linda Hirst]
September 28 
Tammy Ma (LLNL):
          [Host: Sai Ghosh]
October 5 
Ryan McGorty (University of San Diego)  
          [Host: Arvind Gopinath]
October 12 
Vincenzo Vitelli (UChicago)  
          Topological Soft Matter 
          [Link to Video]
          [Host: Ajay Gopinathan]
October 19 
Hakeem Oluseyi (NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington DC)   
          Hacking the Stars
          Time: 10:30am - 12 noon, refreshments at 10:15am
          Location: COB2 140
          [Host: Jennifer Lu]
October 26 
Natasha Batalha (UC Santa Cruz)
          [Link to Video]
          [Host: Ajay Gopinathan]
November 2 
Andrew Wetzel (UC Davis)  
          [Link to Video]
          [Host: David Strubbe]
November 9 
Keith Brown (Boston University)   
          [Host: Mehmet Baykara]
November 16 
Elena Koslover (UCSD)   
          [Host: Ajay Gopinathan]
November 30 
Justin Burton (Emory)
          Link to Video
          [Host: Dustin Kleckner]
December 7 
No Colloquium



2018 Spring Semester
Location: SSB 120

2018 Spring Semester: SSB 120

January 19
James Palko (UC Merced)
          Understanding and Optimizing Energy and Mass Transport in Porous Materials for Energy, Water, and Thermal Management Applications
          [Host: David Strubbe]

January 26
Venkatt Ayyaswamy (UC Merced)
          The Exciting Future of Microplasma: Role of Computations

February 2
Babak Sanii (Claremont College)
          Engineering Self-Assembly at Micro and Macro Scales
          [Host: Anand Subramaniam]

February 9
Alex Noy  (UC Merced/LLNL)
          Molecular Transport and Nanoscale Confinement in Carbon Nanotube Porins

February 16
Victor Muñoz (UC Merced) 
          Probing the Mechanical Unfolding of Single Protein Molecules at High Resolution

February 23
Robin Selinger (Kent State) 
          Modeling Liquid Crystal Elastomers: From Auto-origami to Light-driven Autonomous Soft Robotics
          [Host:  Linda Hirst]

March 2
Jennifer Lu (UC Merced)
          A New Class of Submolecular Switches Based on Conformational Changes
          [Host: David Strubbe]

March 9
Barbara Jacak (UC Berkeley and LBNL)
          Strongly Coupled QCD Matter 
          [Host: Kevin Mitchel]

March 16
Linda Strubbe (Univ of British Columbia)
          Teaching Scientific Thinking in Canada, West Africa, and Central Asia
          [Host: David Strubbe]

April 6
Joshua Casara (UC Merced)
          Effects of Strain on the Optical Properties of Quantum Dot Molecules
          [Host: Michael Scheibner]

April 13
Arvind Gopinath (UC Merced) 
          Active Thermodynamics in Bacterial Swarms

April 20
Eric Dunham (Stanford)
          Physics of Earthquakes and Tsunamis
          [Host: Jing Xu]

April 27
L. Mahadevan (Harvard)
          Wisdom of Hives and Mounds: Collective Problem Solving by Super-organisms
          [Host: Ajay Gopinathan]

May 4
Undergraduate Thesis Presentations
          [Organizer: Lin Tian]

2017 Fall semester: COB 263

2017 Spring semester

2016 Fall semester

2016 Spring semester

2015 Fall semester

  • 08/28 Alex Noy (UC Merced) --- Chien
  • 09/04 Francois Blanchette (UC Merced) --- Mitchell
  • 09/11 Vivek Shenoy (UPenn) --- Gopinathan
  • 09/18 Cecilia Leal (UIUC) ---Hirst
  • 09/25 Erwin Frey (LMU Munich) --- Gopinathan
  • 10/02 Fred Cooper (Santa Fe Institute) ---Chien
  • 10/09 Prof Liang-Chy Chien (Kent State) ---Hirst
  • 10/16 Richard Packard (UC Berkeley) --- Chien
  • 10/23 Mohammad Mofrad (UC Berkeley) ---Gopinathan
  • 10/30 --- No colloquium
  • 11/06 Prashant Nagpal (CU Boulder) --- Ghosh
  • 11/13 Tao Ye (UC Merced) --- Chien
  • 11/20 Joshua Shaevitz (Princeton) --- Gopinathan
  • 11/27 Thanksgiving holiday --- No colloquium
  • 12/04 Hernan Garcia (UC Berkeley)--- Gopinathan
  • 12/11 Undergraduate presentation

2015 Spring semester

  • 01/23 Nick Ouellette (Yale) --- Mitchell
  • 01/30 Michael Scheibner (UC Merced)
  • 02/06 Bin Liu (UC Merced) 
  • 02/13 Rajiv Singh (UC Davis) --- Gopinathan
  • 02/20 Michael Covin (UC Merced) 
  • 02/27 Anand Bala Subramaniam (UC Merced) 
  • 03/06 APS March Meeting --- No colloquium
  • 03/13 Cheo Park (NASA) --- Sharping
  • 03/20 Siyuan Han (U. Kansas) --- Lin
  • 03/27 Holiday --- No colloquium
  • 04/03 Jinghua Guo (LBNL) ---- Ghosh
  • 04/10 Michael Zwolak (NIST) --- Chien
  • 04/17 Omar Saleh (UCSB) --- Gopinathan
  • 04/24 Oscar Murrillo (NASA) ---  Sharping
  • 05/01 Orlando Guzman --- Ghosh
  • 05/08 Undergraduate presentations --- Sharping/Menke

2014 Fall semester

  • 08/29 Roland Winston (UC Merced) 
  • 09/05 Chen-Yen Lai (UC Merced) --- Chien
  • 09/12 Victor Munoz (UC Merced)
  • 09/19 Jian-Xin Zhu (Los Alamos National Lab) --- Chien
  • 09/26 Giacomo Vacca (Kinetic River Corp) --- Sharping
  • 10/03 Peter Fischer (LBNL/UC Santa Cruz) --- Ghosh
  • 10/10 Robin Selinger (Kent Sate) --- Hirst
  • 10/17 Graduate student presentation --- Chien
  • 10/24 Massimiliano Di Ventra (UC San Diego) --- Chien
  • 10/31 Tom Solomon (Bucknell University) --- Mitchell
  • 11/07 Jim Franson (UMBC) -- Sharping
  • 11/14 Chen-Lung Hung (Caltech/Purdue) --- Chien
  • 11/21 Suckjoon Kim (UCSD) - Gopinathan
  • 11/28 Thanksgiving holiday
  • 12/05 Senior Thesis presentations --- Senior Thesis coordinator
  • 12/12 Kerwyn Huang (Stanford) - Gopinathan
  • 12/19 Final exams (No colloquium)