13th December 2019 at 14.15 in E204: Filip Tuomisto

Our last colloquium of the Fall 2019 season will be another inaugural lecture by a new professor in our department, Filip Tuomisto.

Filip is Professor of Experimental Materials Physics here in Helsinki. In his research, he focuses on the development and applications of positron annihilation spectroscopy for studying the atomic-scale structures of materials for future technologies.

In his presentation, titled Antimatter: does it matter? Filip will tell us about the use of positrons in probing the structure of matter and in medical imaging.

Here is the abstract of his talk:

The fundamental question in materials science is: Why is matter what it is? More precisely, if one takes a piece of some material, why does it look what it looks like, why does it respond to external electromagnetic fields in the way it does, why does it yield in the way it does when a force is applied? Many other similar questions can be thought of. In all simplicity, all these properties are dictated by the identities of the atoms constituting the material, and their positions in space. In practice, however, a macroscopic amount of material contains by far too many atoms in order to address the issue atom-by-atom. A wide variety of experimental methods has been developed for studying the atomic-level structure of matter, most of them based on shooting something (electromagnetic waves, particles) at a piece of material, and then observing what (electromagnetic waves, particles) comes out and how. In addition to light, electrons and ions, the probing can be performed also using antimatter. Positrons can be injected into matter, and the positron-electron annihilation gamma radiation analyzed, giving various kinds of information on the local environment of the positron at the time of its demise. In this colloquium, I will give a short introduction to the utilization of positrons in materials science and medical imaging. Antimatter may indeed matter.

After the 30 minute talk, there will be a cocktail reception. Welcome!

1st November 2019 at 14:15 in Exactum B123: Minna Huotilainen

Our next colloquium will take place on 1st November 2019.  Our speaker will be Professor Minna Huotilainen, from the Cognitive Brain Research Unit of the University of Helsinki.  She is a researcher in psychology and cognitive science, working in particular on the development of human cognition. Her research interests include for example the role of music and sounds on brain development, and how to optimise brain work and its recovery. She is the author of a popular science book on brain research and its applications to education and learning, Näin aivot oppivat.

In her talk, titled Can brain research be helpful in advancing physics – optimising scientific work, she will tell us about brain health and how to improve it. Here is her abstract:

Neuroscience is advancing in its technologies and also research methods, allowing more applied questions to be addressed with brain research. One interesting field to scientists is optimising scientific work, aiming at the wellbeing of the brain in the long term as well as high functionality in the work context both for cognitive capabilities as well as for creativity. This talk reviews some of the major findings in this field, allowing the audience to develop their own work and recovery habits.

After the 30 minute talk, there will be a cocktail reception. Welcome!

11th October 2019 at 14:15 in Physicum D101: Tuija Pulkkinen

For our colloquium on 11th of October, we will be joined by Professor Tuija Pulkkinen. Professor Pulkkinen is a space physicist and Chair of the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, University of Michigan, USA. Her primary research foci are studying the energy flow from the solar wind to the near-Earth space environment and the energy dissipation processes in the magnetosphere.

In her talk, titled Wellbeing in the academia – how to achieve the oxymoron?, she will tell us about how to improve wellbeing in academia. Here is her abstract:

Students drown under expanding curricula, young assistant professors panic under the everchanging requirements for tenure, senior professors have no time for research, and faculty and staff have no voice in the university’s decision-making.” We have all seen these headlines, in all continents and throughout times. Yet, the challenges are changing and contain regional and cultural aspects. While the academia will continue to be a competitive environment and thereby to some extent stressful, there are many ways to turn unnecessary competition to collaboration, reward community building efforts, and actively promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the local environment. This talk discusses issues contributing to wellbeing or lack thereof based solely on personal experiences of academic leadership in Finland and in the US.
After the 30 minute talk, there will be a cocktail reception. Welcome!

4th October 2019 at 14.00 in Exactum A111: High Performance Computing Applications

Our first colloquium of Fall 2019 is a Special Colloquium on High Performance Computing (HPC) Applications. We are joined by the Minister of Science and Culture, Hanna Kosonen, who will talk about why HPC is so important for Finland. We will also hear from Professors Ilpo Vattulainen, Minna Palmroth, and Kari Rummukainen who will highlight supercomputing applications at the Department of Physics and Helsinki Institute of Physics (HIP).

Finland has made considerable investments in high-performance computing by renewing the capacity within the CSC – IT Center for Science, and by leading the LUMI consortium that will install one of Europe’s largest pre-exascale supercomputers in Kajaani. But who are the scientific users of HPC in Finland? One of the largest users is the University of Helsinki Department of Physics and HIP, having several groups pioneering in modelling physical systems using supercomputers. This Special Colloquium is targeted to highlight supercomputing applications at the Department of Physics and HIP in a generally understandable manner.

Hanna Kosonen has served as a Member of Parliament since 2015, and is currently Minister of Science and Culture and a member of the Centre Party. During her previous term, she served as a member of the Education and Culture Committee among her other parliamentary duties. Kosonen came to politics from a business career spanning more than ten years. She is a World Champion in Ski Orienteering.

14:00  Opening, Professor Paula Eerola, Vice Rector for Research
14:00  Minister of Science and Culture, Hanna Kosonen: Why is HPC important for Finland?
14:15  Professor Ilpo Vattulainen: Overall Finnish HPC usage, HPC in biophysics
14:30  Professor and Centre of Excellence Director Minna Palmroth: HPC and New Space Economy
14:40  Academy Professor Kari Rummukainen: HPC in particle physics and cosmology
14:50  Questions & Discussion
15:00  Cocktail reception


12th April 2019 at 14.15 in D101: Pauline Gagnon

Image credit: CERN

Our next colloquium will be held on 12th April. The speaker will be Pauline Gagnon,  retired Senior Research Scientist in particle physics from Indiana University and popular science writer.

Pauline Gagnon has conducted most of her research career at CERN, searching for dark matter particles. She has also contributed to the construction of a tracking device for the ATLAS detector.  She is strongly involved in science communication to the general public, and is the author of a popular science book on particle physics: Who Cares about Particle Physics: Making Sense of the Higgs boson, the LHC and CERN. In the recent years, she has been giving numerous public talks about diversity issues in physics.

In her presentation, titled The tragic destiny of Mileva Marić Einstein, she will tell us more about the little-known story of a hidden female figure in physics history.

Here is the abstract of her talk:

What were Albert Einstein’s first wife’s contributions to his extraordinary productivity in the first years of his career? A first biography of Mileva Marić Einstein was published in Serbian in 1969 but remained largely unknown despite being translated first in German, then in French in the 1990’s. The publication of Mileva and Albert’s love letters in 1987 revealed how they lived together while two recent publications shed more light on Mileva Marić’s life and work. I will review this evidence in its social and historical context to give a better idea of her contributions. In this presentation, I avoid all type of speculation and do not attack Albert Einstein personally, but rather strictly stick to facts. The audience will be able to appreciate why such a talented physicist has been so unkindly treated by history.

After the 30 minute talk, there will be a cocktail reception. Welcome!