Colloquia

Talks given by high profile astronomers and scientists.


Video
Thursday April 7, 2011
Dr. Antonio Acín
ICFO-Instituto de Ciencias Fotónicas, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract

El azar es un concepto fascinante que atrae el interés de diversas comunidades, desde filósofos a físicos y matemáticos. Por otro lado, los números aleatorios se han convertido en un recurso de gran utilidad práctica, puesto que son utilizados en, por ejemplo, aplicaciones criptográficas o la simulación de sistemas físicos y biológicos. Hasta ahora, cualquier propuesta para la generación de números aleatorios adolece de los siguientes problemas: (i) certificación: ¿cómo se puede probar que los números generados son aleatorios?, (ii) privacidad: ¿cómo se puede garantizar que los números aleatorios son aleatorios, en el sentido de impredecibles, a cualquier otro observador externo y (iii) device-independent: ¿cómo afectan las imperfecciones en los dispositivos al proceso de generación de azar? En la charla se presentará un nuevo formalismo para la generación de azar que resuelve estos tres problemas: por medio de las correlaciones no-locales de los estados entrelazados, es posible generar números cuya aleatoriedad es certificable, privada e independiente de los dispositivos.


Video
Thursday March 24, 2011
Prof. Pierre Cox
IRAM, France

Abstract

In recent years, major changes were done at the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer and 30-meter telescope, in particular in the areas of receivers and back-ends. These enhancements increased in significant ways both the sensitivity and the efficiency of both IRAM facilities. I will present results obtained on high-z (2 < 6.4) sub-millimeter galaxies and quasars that illustrate the progress that has been made, emphasizing recent follow-up observations of sources that were uncovered in the Herschel surveys. The talk will end with a presentation of the future projects that are currently under discussion at IRAM, including the NOrthern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA), as well as the prospects offered by ALMA.


Video
Thursday February 24, 2011
Prof. Antonio Dobado
Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Abstract

According to Quantum Chromodynamics, which is the well established theory of strong interactions, quark and gluons are forced to live inside hadrons because of the property of confinement. However, under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure, a new phase called quark-gluon plasma is possible, where quarks and gluons became basically free. In the last years it has been possible to study this phase experimentally by using new facilities called Heavy Ion Colliders like the RHIC (Brookhaven) or the LHC (CERN).


Video
Thursday January 27, 2011
Prof. Tom Abel
Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University, USA

Abstract

This lecture will address recent progress in modeling the emergence of cosmic structure at high redshifts. Also new insights gained from numerical simulations into the processes relevant for star formation are presented. Rapid magnetic field growth in galaxies and the important role of proto-stellar outflows regulating star formation up to pc scales are particularly highlighted.


Video
Thursday December 2, 2010
Prof. Jocelyn Bell Burnell
University of Oxford, UK

Abstract

In this talk I will summarise the events that led to the discovery of the first four pulsars, recount several instances where pulsars were almost discovered and reflect on what lessons we might draw from these stories.


Video
Thursday November 25, 2010
Prof. Frank Close
University of Oxford, UK

Abstract

Rutherford discovered the atomic nucleus in 1912 in an experiment on a table top. The LHC will be producing its first major results by 2012, involving teams of thousands and apparatus that is bigger than Rutherford's entire laboratory. How did science come to this, and what are the questions the LHC hopes to answer? What is Higgs' boson, and is it really Higgs that invented it? I will explore the role of symmetry and asymmetry in physics, and illustrate how the ideas that have been associated with Higgs' name have a long history.

Video
Thursday October 21, 2010
Prof. Michael Parker Pearson
University of Sheffield, UK

Abstract

Since 2003 there has been a new period of excavation and research on Stonehenge. With two excavations inside Stonehenge and many more around it, archaeologists now have a new chronology for this famous monument as well as the prehistoric monuments with which it is associated. While theories of its use as an astronomical observatory were proposed in the late 20th century, current approaches re-interpret Stonehenge’s astronomical alignments as calendrical indicators for the timing of social gatherings, in which Stonehenge was part of a larger complex of monuments in wood and stone, centered on a short stretch of the River Avon. Many of these other monuments were also designed to mark astronomical events but these have received less attention than their more famous stone counterpart. In 2009 the Stonehenge Riverside Project, which has been conducting most of the new research, discovered a new stone circle, named as Blue stonehenge, next to the River Avon at the end of Stonehenge’s avenue.

Video
Monday October 4, 2010
Prof. João Magueijo
Imperial College London, UK

Abstract

Contrary to popular belief, on very large distance scales visible matter stubbornly refuses to "fall" according to the laws of gravity of both Newton and Einstein. The paradox has led to the introduction of dark matter, purporting to explain the observed surplus of gravitational pull. The logical possibility remains that there is no dark matter, what you see is all there is, and that the paradox simply signals the break down of the Einstein-Newton theory of gravity. I will review alternative theories of gravity that do away with the need for dark matter. Surprisingly Solar system gravitational experiments, such as those associated with the LISA Pathfinder mission, might settle the score between the two approaches.

Video
Monday June 21, 2010
Prof. Craig McKay
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK

Abstract

A new method of imaging in the visible has given the highest resolution images ever taken anywhere. It needs a natural guide star of only 18.5 mag (I band). This talk will show how it can be done on the WHT, the VLT and even on the GTC.

Video
Thursday June 3, 2010
Prof. Colin Cunningham
UK Astronomy Technology Centre, ROE, UK

Abstract

Teams from industry, universities and institutes across Europe are contributing to the design and development phase of the European Southern Observatory's project to build the world's biggest optical/infrared telescope. I will outline some of exciting scientific prospects for a fully-adaptive 42m telescope, from studying exoplanets to the furthest galaxies, and then show how some of the technical challenges are being addressed. I will place special emphasis on the work UK teams are doing on instrumentation, detectors and adaptive optics.


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