2018 University of Minnesota Physics and Astronomy Open House

Friday, November 09 2018, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM [CST]

116 Church Street SE, Room B50, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, United States


1. Select Seats

2. Review and Proceed

This event is currently not on sale, please contact the event organizer for any additional questions.

RSVP for Open House @ 6PM Partial Approval - Free

Registration closes on - 11/08/2018

Please indicate the number of attendees in your group to assist with planning

RSVP for Telescope Observation @ 8PM Partial Approval - Free

Registration closes on - 11/08/2018

If you plan to stay for the Astrophysics presentation and telescope observation session, please RSVP to ensure space is available

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Event Information

Friday, November 09 2018, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM [CST]

About the Event

Friday, November 9, 2018


University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Campus


Nearby parking options include the Church Street Garage and the Washington Avenue Parking Ramp.  More information can be found at http://www.pts.umn.edu/park/facilities


Lab tours will depart from the newly renovated Tate Hall, Room B50.  Tours are limited in size due to space considerations.  More options will be added as the event approaches.


Lab tours and Discussion Groups:


OBSERVATIONAL COSMOLOGY           (Limited to 15 people)

Hanany Lab (Observational Cosmology): is attempting to understand the physics of the big bang. What happened at or very near the origin of time? What physical mechanisms controlled the expansion of the Universe at these high energies? To address these questions the group is building balloon borne telescopes that observe the cosmic microwave background radiation. This radiation, which is an echo of the big bang, provides the earliest image of the Universe. The balloon-borne payloads are launched from various locations around the globe and are flown at the edge of Earth’s atmosphere.  


METHODS OF EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICS              (Limited to 10 people)

See where physics students come to learn the nuts and bolts of experimental physics.


FUNDAMENTAL STATISTICAL MECHANICS USING MESOSCALE MODEL SYSTEMS    (Limited to 10 people)                             

The Dahlberg Lab develops fundamental understanding in areas of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, considered to be one of the four core areas of physics.  The research uses square magnetic particles as small as 200 atoms on a side and 50 atoms thick with four non-magnetic wires attached as the model system.  They pass an electrical current through a particle with two of the wires and measure the voltage across the particle with the other two.  The measured voltage depends upon the direction of the North and South poles of the magnetic particle and so the voltage allows them to see how the magnetization direction jumps around- called fluctuations.  The manner of the fluctuations is used to develop a fundamental model of the dynamics that can be applied to any system exhibiting similar phenomena; one exotic system that exhibits similar behavior is the stock market!


QUANTUM NANOELECTRONICS (Pribiag Lab)           (Limited to 5 people)

In the Pribiag lab, we study the way electrons flow at very low temperatures in certain materials where they can only move in one or two dimensions. During the tour, you will be able to see the ‘fridge’ we use to cool samples to near absolute zero. You will also see some of our samples, as well as highly-magnified images of nano-sized devices made from these materials.


SPIN TRANSPORT  (Crowell Lab)                                    (Limited to 10 people)

Do you ever wonder how computers get faster, smaller, and more robust all the time? Physics is quite often the answer.  Spin electronics is a growing field that has applications in consumer electronics. 


ADVANCED FLUORESCENCE MICROSCOPY (Mueller lab)      (Limited to 10 people)

Our lab uses fluorescent proteins along with complex statistical analysis to study protein interactions in cells.  On this lab tour, you will see the instrumentation we use including microscopes, lasers, optical elements, and microfluidic devices.  We will also demonstrate excitation of fluorescent molecules in dye solution and living cells.


SOLAR ASTROPHYSICS (Glesener Lab)  (Limited to 15 people)

Part of the space physics group, the solar astrophysics team investigates the Sun’s remarkable capabilities for accelerating particles. Solar flares take huge amounts of energy on the Sun and transform it into blasts that propagate throughout the solar system, forming the basis of "space weather."  In pursuit of understanding solar flares, we are building instruments to measure the high-energy X-rays they produce.  One is an experiment featuring focusing X-ray telescopes that flies aboard a rocket into space for a few minutes at a time.  The other is a small "CubeSat" -- an entire spacecraft about the size of a shoebox -- that measures X-rays from the Sun and other astrophysical sources.  In addition to these hardware projects, we work on a variety of analytic projects studying X-rays from the Sun and other stars.


HIGH ENERGY PARTICLE PHYSICS  (Heller Lab)  (Limited to 15 people)

Visit the control room of the most important high energy particle physics experiment in the country.  Physicists from the NOvA neutrino oscillation experiment will give tours of the campus control room of the experiment where you can see how the experiment operates including the events as they come in.  The NOvA experiment shoots neutrinos from the Fermilab particle accelerator outside of Chicago to detector the size of a 5 story building in Northern Minnesota near International Falls.


CRYOGENIC DARK MATTER SEARCH (Mandic Lab) (Limited to 10 people)

The Cryogenic Dark Matter Experiment (CDMS) experiment is comprised of germanium semiconductor detectors placed deep underground in order to detect a signal from dark matter particles. The CDMS group at UMN is forefront in testing these detectors. Our facility is responsible for thoroughly investigating the behavior of these detectors before their use in official science runs. We also conduct research and development efforts for future progressions of the experiment. In the lab tour you will get to see the equipment popularly employed in condensed matter physics that our facility uses to test detectors. In addition, you will get to see the clean room and methods we must use in order to keep our detectors and tools pure from contamination. Moreover, you will be able to see what a true experimental laboratory environment looks like and what tools are used on a daily basis to conduct our work!


2D MATERIALS    (Limited to 15 people)

Wang lab's research focus examining the novel physics and applications associated with the unique behavior of atomically-thin two-dimensional materials. Electrons in these materials exhibit very exotic behavior. Electrons moves at an effective speed of light in graphene, while electron spin can be locked with its crystal momentum in transition metal dichalcogenides. These properties provide opportunity to study relativistic physics in a table-top condensed matter experiment, and provide basis for next generation quantum electronic devices that utilizes electron spin as quantum bit and quantum logic. Wang lab is currently equipped with a full assembly line of preparing and characterizing 2D materials, including high resolution optical microscope, atomic force microscope, motorized dry-transfer stage. The lab is very new and several additional major equipment including evaporator, vacuum annealer and  cryogenic measurement system is in the process of getting setup. This provides an opportunity to see a lab in its pre-full-establishment stage.



Following lab tours, guests will be guided back to Tate Hall B50 for:

  • University Admission Information 
  • Faculty Keynote Speaker, Professor Lucy Fortson 


Solving Big Data Problems with the Zooniverse

How are scientists in all disciplines including astronomy and physics going to handle the analysis of 100s of Terabytes of data collected from observatories and experiments? One novel approach is through combining the human intelligence of the crowd with machine intelligence. The success of this method is demonstrated by the Zooniverse citizen science platform.


For those interested in Astronomy, the Minnesota Institute of Astrophysics is hosting a presentation and public telescope viewing at the end of the Open House (8PM).  Space for this portion of the evening is more limited, so please RSVP separately for this portion if you plan to attend.  



Cancellation policy

If you find you are unable to attend after registering, please cancel to help us maintain an accurate number for planning.  Thank you!

Event Location

About the Organizer

University of Minnesota School of Physics and Astronomy