8th June 2023 at 13:15: Adrienne Traxler

Our next Kumpula Physics colloquium in the spring series will take place on Thursday, June 8th at 13:15 (notice the change of day and time!). Our speaker will be Adrienne Traxler, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Science Education at the University of Copenhagen.

Adrienne Traxler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Science Education at the University of Copenhagen. Her research focuses on university physics learning environments, as well as other science education contexts. She uses network analysis to model student collaborations and mixed methods to study gender equity issues. Her current work includes characterizing collaboration networks and activity profiles in university physics courses, and investigating the professional support networks of women and LGBTQ+ physicists in the United States.

In her colloquium, titled Gender and physics education: Systemic issues and levers for change, Adrienne Traxler will discuss the role of gender in physics education.

The event will be held on Thursday 08.06.23 at 13:15 (notice the change of time!), in Physicum E204 and on Zoom (Meeting ID: 631 5504 8211 – Passcode: kumpula).

Here is the abstract:

The percentage of women in science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) fields has risen in recent decades, but physics continues to lag in gender and racial representation. It is reasonable to ask: What factors drive talented women out of the field, and what can physicists do about it? Decades of research has documented various types of bias faced by women in physics and other STEM fields, as well as emerging research on the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ scientists. This talk will review large-scale statistical trends and selected specifics. I will discuss what physicists can do to help, in terms of how we structure our courses, how we talk with our students, and how we mentor them. In physics education research, treatment of gender has often focused on gender differences in introductory courses, especially via gaps on standardized tests. This work is now being supplemented by a growing number of qualitative and critical perspectives. I will end by highlighting recent work that questions binary deficit-based models of gender, explores complexities of identity such as the intersection of race and gender, or takes up under-studied areas such as disability in physics. As conversations in education shift from increasing diversity to broader issues of equity and inclusion, our research agendas and our classroom spaces must keep up.

5th May 2023 at 14:15: Tuija Saresma

Photo credit: Petteri Kivimäki

Our next Kumpula Physics colloquium in the spring series will take place on Friday, May 5th at 14:15. Our speaker will be Tuija Saresma, who is a senior lecturer at the Research Centre for Contemporary Culture at the University of Jyväskylä

Tuija Saresma holds the title of Docent (Adjunct/Associate Professor) in Cultural Studies and Gender Studies at the universities of Jyväskylä, Helsinki, and Eastern Finland. She has published widely on hate speech and online hate and harassment. Her recent publications include peer-reviewed articles and academic book chapters on hate speech, affective communities on the internet, right-wing populism, gendered violence online, as well as two reports on hate speech by the Finnish Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities. Saresma takes actively part in societal discussion, gives talks and writes popular texts for broad audiences, including several invited blog posts for NGOs and organizations. She is also a former chairperson and currently a board member of the Association for Gender Studies in Finland (SUNS) and the Association for Cultural Studies in Finland, and the treasurer of the international Association of Cultural Studies (ACS). Saresma was granted the Academic of the Year 2022 Prize by the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers.

In her colloquium, titled Hate Speech Online – a threat to equality, participation and academic freedom, Tuija Saresma will discuss how hate speech impact public decision-making processes and affects both individuals and society.

The event will be held on Friday 05.05.23 at 14:15, in Physicum E204 and on Zoom (Meeting ID: 673 9114 9743 – Passcode: kumpula).

Here is her abstract:

The concept of hate speech refers to demeaning, threatening, or stigmatising expressions often based on intolerance and hatred and targeted at a certain person or group of people based on their gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background or race. Online hate is a phenomenon that touches practically everybody in the digitalized contemporary culture. On the internet, easy distribution of content is combined with the ability to communicate to large audiences. Hate speech has become more frequent with digitalisation and the growing popularity of social media. It also coincides with the right-wing populist upheaval.

Our research Hate and Power (2019) analyses the impact of hate speech on public decision-making processes as well as its scale and quality. According to the survey, the experience of hate speech is widespread: A third of municipal decision-makers had been targeted by hate speech because of their work. In recent years it has become apparent that it is not only politicians, but other public actors are also targets of hate speech and harassment. This is a cause for concern: Especially public officials, administrators, police, reporters, researchers and politicians are regularly being targeted for hate speech. Among the producers of hate speech are, based on our research Online hate (published 2022), there is a group of ideological online hate producers that deliberately aim at affecting the political discussion.

Online hate and harassment have negative consequences for both individuals and society: they affect communication, politics, the work of professionals, and freedom of speech, which is the funding pillar of democratic societies. Online hate, threat, and harassment as a new form of violence should be taken seriously: this digitally mediated abuse is an integral part of the chain of violence that links misogynistic gender-based violence, violent political discussion and societal structures, and ideological and political violence. Thus, affective discursive expressions of hatred that spread through social media are not only violent themselves but also pave the way for an ideological readiness to use other types of violence.

14th April 2023 at 14:15: Tuomas Lappi

Our next colloquium in the spring series is by Tuomas Lappi from the University of Jyväskylä on April 14th.

Tuomas Lappi obtained his PhD from the University of Helsinki in 2005. After postdocs at Brookhaven National Laboratory and CEA/Saclay he moved to the University of Jyväskylä in 2009. He obtained an ERC Consolidator grant in 2015. Since 2022 he is the director of the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Quark Matter. His research revolves around the interactions of quarks and gluons in high energy collisions, such as relativistic heavy ion collisions aiming to produce deconfined quark matter in the laboratory.


The event was held on Friday 14.4.23 at 14:15, in Chemicum A129.
Link to video: https://unitube.it.helsinki.fi/unitube/embed.html?id=3352d6c6-f559-4413-97af-04b610c04939

The title of his talk is: The Electron-Ion Collider EIC – the most powerful microscope on Earth

His abstract reads:

This talk will discuss the physics program of the Electron-Ion Collider EIC. The EIC will be built at Brookhaven, combining the existing proton and ion beams of RHIC with a new electron accelerator, and should start taking data in the early 2030’s. The EIC will be the first collider energy deep inelastic scattering experiment with polarized protons, and the first to collide heavy ions. It will also have a luminosity that is orders of magnitude higher than previous comparable experiments at DESY. These features allow the EIC to access new aspects of gluonic degrees of freedom in ordinary matter, in particular gluons carrying a small fraction of the nucleus momentum. These gluons are also the relevant degrees of freedom for understanding the creation of the matter that subsequently turns into deconfined quark matter in a relativistic heavy ion collision. Thus the EIC physics program has many connections to the research on properties of the quark gluon plasma.

24th March 2023 at 14:15: Sara Wickström

Our first Kumpula Physics Colloquium for the year 2023 will take place on Friday, March 24. We will have a presentation on the regulation of cell fate and integrity to be given by Sara Wickström who is the director of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster.

Sara’s lab aims to understand how mammalian epithelial tissues are generated and maintained, and in particular how mechanical forces and cellular interactions integrate single cell behaviors to pattern these structurally  extremely robust yet dynamic tissues. Sara Wickström received her MD in 2001 and PhD in 2004 from the University of Helsinki, Finland. After postdoctoral training at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biochemistry she became Group Leader at the MPI for Biology of Ageing in 2010. In 2018 her laboratory moved to the University of Helsinki where she was professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. In 2022, Wickström was appointed as Director of the MPI for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster.

In her colloquium, titled Regulation of cell fate and integrity by nuclear mechanotransduction, Sara will discuss her recent research on how dynamic changes in chromatin organization in response to force change the mechanical properties of the nucleus and chromatin to prevent cell damage.

The event was held on Friday 24.03.23 at 14:15, in Physicum E204.
Link to video: https://unitube.it.helsinki.fi/unitube/embed.html?id=a8a84735-372e-496d-8f28-24e590f5d0f3

Here is her abstract:

The structure of tissues is tightly linked to their function. During formation of functional organs, large-scale changes in tissue elongation, stretching,  compression, folding/buckling, and budding impact the shape, position, packing, and contractility state of cells. Conversely, changes in single cell contractility, shape and position locally alter tissue organization and mechanics. Thus forces function as important ques that are transmitted to the nucleus to coordinate gene expression programs. On the other hand, excessive mechanical stresses have the potential to damage cells and tissues. In my presentation I will discuss our recent research on how dynamic changes in chromatin organization in response to force change the mechanical properties of the nucleus and chromatin to prevent damage, as well how cells integrate mechanical signals with biochemical inputs to alter their state.

11th November 2022 at 14:15: Visa Heinonen and Mika Pantzar

Our next Physics Colloquium will take place on Friday, November 11th. We will have a presentation given by Visa Heinonen and Mika Pantzar, professors from the Faculty of Social Sciences (UH).

They will open the academic history of economics through the writings of two classics, John Maynard Keynes and John von Neumann. In the 1930s, Keynes questioned the policy doctrines underlying the equilibrium theory of economics, emphasized the importance of uncertainty and highlighted aggregate demand – consumption and investments – as a determinant of gross domestic product. Von Neumann, on the other hand, was a scientific all-rounder, whose early history focused on the discussion of the development of quantum mechanics and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. As a computer developer, von Neumann drew his ideas from brain physiology and especially from the modeling of neural networks. Economists know von Neumann as the father of game theory and mathematical economics, in specific equilibrium theory. However, practical economic policy draws only to a limited extent from economic theoretical thinking and, for example, national accounting systems affect the way we see today the dynamics of the economy. Visa Heinonen and Mika Pantzar have studied the Finnish economic policy debate using computer-assisted rhetorical analysis. According to them, for example, the prevailing understanding of the nature of the national economy’s productivity is based on biblical metaphors and gendered deep structures. 

In this colloquium, titled What you always wanted to know about economics but didn’t dare to ask?, Visa and Mika will introduce us to contemporary economics.

The event will be held on Friday 11.11.22 at 14:15, in Physicum E204.