Love and Physics

It’s February 14th. Yuck.

Normally, I rally every possible inch of ire against this onslaught of monetized cardioid hogwash. But this year is different. This year I’m embracing the sappiness. This year, I’m celebrating my one and only, the light of my life, the eternal subject of my finitely human love – Physics!

I’ve compiled the slides from my most eloquent professions of love – err, lectures – from the past few years and split them into two holiday-themed, vomit-inducing categories:

atom_heart

Prove how nerdy you are for only $28.49 with this T-Shirt from spreadshirt.com!

 

Public Displays of Affection – These talks are heart-tipped arrows aimed at presenting the material clearly, accessibly, and passionately. They’re intended for a general audience and assume no prior knowledge of physics.

Intimate Letters of Love – These talks are more detailed and not recommended for cherry physicists. Math and science savvy undergraduates shouldn’t have many comprehension problems.

 

If there’s enough interest, I’ll post videos of myself delivering these lectures while binging on bargain chocolate and cheap ethanol.

choco_whiskey

L.A. Burdick’s Robert Burns Chocolates cost only $38.00 and are far nicer than whatever crap I’m having!

Stay sexy all you singles; this holiday is shit.

-Sean 

 

The PDA’s

The Physics of Interstellar (.pdf)

Christopher Nolan’s space epic, Interstellar, contains many truths that seem stranger than fiction. Both its storyline and speculative elements were carefully constructed to remain consistent with known physical laws, making Interstellar an excellent case study for writers. This talk draws from material by Kip Thorne, the film’s science advisor. It introduces real world cosmological phenomena, such as general relativity and black holes, to demonstrate how science can inform science fiction.

  • Writing Seminar at 9 Bridges, January 2016
  • Astronomy Club at University of Portland, October 2015

Does the Dark Matter Problem have a WIMPy Solution? (.pdf)

Dark matter is one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in modern physics. Astronomers have observed that galaxies contain large amounts of mass completely exotic from the atomic matter that makes up our daily lives. Stranger still, this “dark” matter seems to make up a quarter of the universe! This talk discusses evidence for the existence of dark matter, presents Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) as a possible solution, and explores some of the many ways scientists hunt for WIMPs. Should they exist, these elusive particles will unite the grandest cosmological scales with the tiniest iotas of existence.

  • Physics Seminar at University of Portland, February 2015
  • Biology Investigation Outreach Series at Portland State University, October 2014

The Love Letters

The “Why,” “What,” and “How?” of the Higgs Boson (.pdf)

For forty years, physicists wandered through an experimental desert, barren of the Higgs Boson. Known to the general public as “The God Particle” – and to physicists as “The Champagne Particle” – the Higgs’s discovery was announced in July 2012 and validated the Standard Model of Particle Physics. This talk’s first half tracks the historical and theoretical development of the Higgs mechanism. Its second half provides a quick tour of the Large Hadron Collider’s Compact Muon Solenoid, one of the two detector experiments responsible for this long awaited, yet groundbreaking discovery. The whole thing serves as a good follow up to Breakfast Physics: Hash Browns and Higgs Bosons.

  • Modern Physics at University of Portland, April 2015

Searching for Dark Matter with the CDMS Detector (.pdf)

Oh the memories, oh the humanity! This is the culmination of my two and a half years of graduate study. It serves as an advanced follow up to the previous dark matter presentation for those who are interested in learning more about the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search.

  • Master’s Defense at Texas A&M University, November 2013

 

For better or worse, I’ve put a lot of work into these slides. You’re welcome to share them for free, but shoot me an email for permission if you intend to somehow make a profit off of them.

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