Physics and Astronomy Colloquium Series

Next Seminar

Thursday, May 4, 2017
4:00 PM
 Senior Project Talks
  Sac State Physics Majors

Anthony Asuega
"Measuring Pressure in Cryogenic Systems with Piezoelectric Ceramics"

We have developed a new method of measuring pressure in cryogenic systems by using piezoelectric ceramics as low temperature pressure sensors. The sensors work by the piezo-electric effect, where changes in pressure deform the piezoelectric material, producing a voltage that we are able to measure. We used piezoelectric PZT diaphragms. We found that they had a sensitivity of .87 +/- .02 Bar/Volt at 77.4 K. Our sensor design however, was flawed, in that a leak made it impossible to maintain a constant pressure, especially at higher pressures. Future development of the sensor will focus on redesigning the cell as to eliminate the leak. Eventually we hope to use this method in measuring pressure gradients in solid helium by embedding the sensors in the solid.


Mitchell Struck
"Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in College Science: A Classroom Study of Values Affirmation"

In many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines, women are outperformed by men in test scores, jeopardizing their success in science-oriented courses and careers. The current study tested the effectiveness of a psychological intervention, called values affirmation, in reducing the gender achievement gap in a college-level introductory physics class. In this randomized double-blind study, 399 students either wrote about their most important values or not, twice at the beginning of the 15-week course.


The Physics and Astronomy Colloquium Series is open to all members of the university. Unless otherwise noted, talks are held on Thursday afternoons at 4:00-5:20 in Mendocino 1015. Schedule is regularly updated as dates, titles, and abstracts are received. Please check back often. To receive updates about the Colloquium Series, please join our Events Mailing List. For past semesters' series, see our archive.

Spring 2017 Semester Schedule

February 7, 2017
*Note: Tuesday Colloquium*
Dr. Rodolfo Barniol Duran
Purdue University
"Following Astrophysical Jets from Birth to Glory"

February 9, 2017
Dr. Samantha Fonseca dos Santos
Drake University
"Electron and Photon Impact Induced Processes in Molecules"

February 14, 2017
*Note: Tuesday Colloquium*
Dr. Joshua Willis
Abilene Christian University
"Finding a Needle in a Haystack: LIGO's First Observations and Gravitational Wave Searches"

February 16, 2017
Dr. Kassahun Betre
Stanford University
"Spacetime Geometry from Quantum Graphity"

March 2, 2017
Prof. Sebastian Wachsmann Hogiu
McGill University and UC Davis
"Point of Care Technologies for Blood Testing"

March 16, 2017
Prof. Troy Topping
Sacramento State
 "Nanostructured Aluminum Alloys and their Composites"

March 30, 2017
Dr. John Ready
UC Davis Medical Center
"Development of a Multi-knife-edge Slit Collimator for Prompt Gamma Ray Imaging during Proton Beam Cancer Therapy"

April 6, 2017
Prof. Monika Schleier-Smith
Stanford University
 "Seeking Fundamental Quantum Limits with Cold Atoms and Light"

April 20, 2017
Mr. Henry Garcia
Pixar Animation Studios
Sacramento State Physics Alumnus
"To Infinity and Beyond"

May 4, 2017
Senior Project Talks
Anthony Asuega
"Measuring Pressure in Cryogenic Systems with Piezoelectric Ceramics"
Mitchell Struck
"Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in College Science: A Classroom Study of Values Affirmation"


May 11, 2017
Senior Project Talks
Haley Marez
"Development of a Fast Tracker Trigger (FTK) for the ATLAS Experiment at CERN"
Caleb Mosakowski
"A Search for New Particle Decaying to Two Higgs Bosons at the ATLAS Experiment at CERN"