20th May 2022 at 14:15: Hanna Vehkamäki

Our last Physics Colloquium for this spring will take place on Friday, May 20th. We will have a presentation on how to improve workplace culture to be given by Hanna Vehkamäki, the new Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Science in charge of equality.

Hanna is Professor in Computational Aerosol Physics here at the University of Helsinki, and she is well known in the University to be an excellent and engaging speaker, as well as being an accomplished physicist. In her work, she focuses on computational and theoretical methods to  understand cluster and particle formation for atmospherically relevant molecules. She has won several awards including the Finnish Aerosol Research Foundation Distinguished Researcher Award, The NOSA (Nordic Society for Aerosol Research) Aerosologist Award as well as the University of Helsinki Maikki Friberg Award for Promoting Equality. Since the beginning of this year, she is the new Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Science in charge of sustainability, international affairs, wellbeing, equality, and the principles for facility use.

In her colloquium, titled Everyday tips for making the workplace culture welcoming for diverse staff, Hanna will present and discuss ideas on how to improve our workplace culture, based on the work of the well-being group of INAR.

The event will be held on Friday 20.05.22 at 14:15 in hybrid format: in Physicum E204 and on Zoom (Meeting ID: 617 0905 2108 – Passcode: 741449 )

Here is her abstract:

The equality and work well-being group at the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR) has comprised a list of everyday behavior patterns that we should pay attention to when striving to make the workplace culture welcoming to people with diverse backgrounds. The examples in the list are broadly categorized as 1) Accept and be interested in people as multidimensional beings, restricting manifestation of fear of differences 2) Be aware of the space and time different people are taking in workplace meetings and social situations 3) Support a balance between work and private life and recovery from work equally for different genders as well as for people with different ages and family situations 4) Be aware that discussions focusing in competition, status, hierarchies, and comparing the achievements of people (those present or not present) make many people uncomfortable 5) Be aware that discussing people in terms of being ‘smart’, ‘intelligent’, ‘brilliant’, ‘genius’ is not gender and culture neutral 6) Avoid boss-centric atmosphere where the role of the boss is to decide alone and be revered by the rest 5) Avoid discussing the physical appearance or capabilities of other people even if they are not present 6) In both work related discussions and when telling jokes, stories and anecdotes in social situations, keep in mind you position with respect to people present when choosing the content or style 7) Don’t use gender specific words etc as a compliment: ‘real man’, ‘has got balls’, ‘strong for a woman’ 8) Remember to consider the language barrier(s) when a multinational set of people is present

We recommend that the list is discussed, for example, in a departmental seminar: our approach was to have three members of the equality and work well being group perform some of the examples in the list as a dialogue, after which the audience discussed whether they have encountered something similar and how that has affected them. Afterwards, the complete list was distributed to the staff on the unit. We received encouraging feedback on the session with requests to organize similar events in the meetings of the individual INAR research groups. We want to remind that no-one is perfect, and our vision is not to construct strict foolproof rules to avoid all situations leading to feelings of discomfort.

However, a little change goes a long way in making the working environment better for everyone. Opening the eyes to how other people might experience common encounters can be aided by using an externally constructed list of examples as a starting point.

25th March at 14:15: Thomas Michely

Our next Physics Colloquium will take place on Friday, March 25th. We will have a presentation on 2D material systems to be given by Thomas Michely, who is professor of experimental physics at the II. Physikalisches Institut of the University of Cologne.

Thomas investigates surface processes, nanostructures and 2D materials. In his research, he employs scanning tunneling microscopy, -spectroscopy, and a variety of synchrotron based methods to study for example the growth, defects, magnetic and electronic properties of 2D materials and ultrathin films, and the interaction of energetic ions with surfaces and 2D materials. He has studied physics and philosophy at the University of Bonn, and has been working at the Research Center Jülich until 1997 and at RWTH Aachen until 2006. He won the Wayne B. Nottingham Prize and the Günther-Leibfried Preis in 1992, and the Gaede Preis of the German Vacuum Society in 2000.

In his colloquium, titled About 2D crystals of clusters and correlated electrons in 1D cavities, Thomas will give us an overview of recent findings on the fabrication and properties of 2D material systems.

The event will be held on Friday 25.03.22 at 14:15 on Zoom (Meeting ID: 670 0174 5900 – Passcode: 994871).

Here is his abstract:

The diversity of 2D materials systems has been increasing substantially over the last years, and each new system offers new and exciting research opportunities. While a prime route for increasing complexity is the fabrication of 2D layer vertical heterostructures by stamping, in the present talk in situ fabrication of 2D material systems with new functionalities and properties are under concern. Three surprising examples will provide insight into the fabrication and the physics of these material systems.

First we will talk about cluster superlattice membranes, a new type of crystalline 2D material for nano-catalysis and nano-magnetism being itself largely composed of amorphous carbon. Second it will be shown that doping of graphene through an intercalation layer on its backside not only fundamentally changes its frontside reactivity, but even may induce phase transition in 2D materials placed on it. Lastly we will take a look into 1D cavities in 2D materials that host strongly correlated electrons of split nature.


4th March at 14:15: Marja Makarow

Our next Physics Colloquium will take place on Friday, March 4th. We will have a presentation on the European Innovation Council to be given by Marja Makarow, President of Academia Europaea and current board member of the EIC.

Marja Makarow’s research domain is molecular cell biology, and until 2021 she was the Director of Biocenter Finland. She is the former Vice President of the Academy of Finland (2012-2016), Chief Executive of the European Science Foundation ESF in Strasbourg France (2008-2011), and Vice-Rector (2003-2007) and Professor of Applied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Helsinki. She is Board member of the European Innovation Council EIC. She chaired till recently Technology Academy Finland that awards the Millennium Technology Prize for ground-breaking innovations. She has been decorated in Finland (Commander of the Order of the White Lion) and France (Chevalier de l’Ordre de Legion d’Honneur) for her achievements in science, science policy and international research collaboration.

In her colloquium, titled European Innovation Council: Concept and funding instruments, Marja will give us an overview of this council and the funding opportunities it provides.

The event will be held on Friday 04.03.22 at 14:15 in Physicum E204. It will also be streamed on Zoom (Meeting ID: 692 0310 6459 – Passcode: 905176).

Here is her abstract:

The European Innovation Council programme of Horizon Europe offers funding opportunities for academic research groups developing emerging technologies, as well as for research-based innovative start-ups to scale-up. The credo of the EIC is that while Europe’s research performance is at top level, translation of findings of fundamental research to benefits for society is lagging. The EIC programme with its 10 billion euro budget calls deep tech researchers and research-based start-ups to apply for funding and contribute to intellectual and financial growth of Europe.

28th January at 14:15: Kimmo Tuominen

Our first Physics Colloquium for the year 2022 will take place on Friday, January 28th. We will have a presentation to be given by Kimmo Tuominen, who recently became a Full Professor in our department.

Kimmo Tuominen obtained his PhD in the University of Jyväskylä in 2001. As a university lecturer he moved from Jyväskylä to Helsinki in 2013. He leads the research group focusing on dark matter theories, particle cosmology and, in collaboration with Kari Rummukainen, on fundamental properties of gauge theories. Since his early career, Kimmo has participated in teaching and development of higher education. He was nominated to the teacher’s academy in the University of Helsinki in 2017. He is currently the director of the Master’s programme in Theoretical and Computational methods and the vice-director of the Bachelor’s programme in physical sciences.

In his colloquium, titled Phases of gauge theories, Kimmo will present recent results in lattice field theory and its contribution to understanding gauge theory dynamics.

The event will be held on Friday 28.01.22 at 14:15, on Zoom (Meeting ID: 669 7589 3454  – Passcode: 543849).

Here is his abstract:

Our current understanding of elementary particles and their interactions rests on the paradigm of gauge theories. One of the most fundamental questions about a given gauge theory is its phase diagram. In particle phenomenology, this knowledge is needed, for example, to understand the Higgs sector or to build models of particle dark matter. Determining the vacuum phase of a nonabelian gauge theory requires understanding gauge theory dynamics beyond perturbation theory and is a computational grand challenge. Over the past decade significant results have been obtained by the international lattice field theory community in general and by the Helsinki lattice group in particular. I will review the motivations of these computations, summarize the present state-of-the-art results and discuss their scientific and societal impact.

10th December at 14:15: Hannu Kurki-Suonio

Our last online Physics Colloquium for this autumn will take place on Friday, December 10th. We will have an inaugural lecture to be given by Hannu Kurki-Suonio, who recently got promoted to Full Professor in our department.

Hannu obtained his PhD from the University of Texas in 1986 and worked in the USA for several years before returning to Helsinki. He has been a University Lecturer at the University of Helsinki since 2001, and in 2021, he became Professor of Cosmology at the University of Helsinki. He was strongly involved in the former Planck mission from the European Space Agency, for which he was one of the four Finnish Co-Investigators. Hannu now leads the Finnish participation in the upcoming Euclid mission and represents Finland in the Euclid Consortium Board.

In this colloquium, titled Euclid space mission: Is the acceleration of the expansion of the universe caused by dark energy?, Hannu will tell us about this upcoming cosmology mission and the scientific objectives it aims to address.

The event will be held on Friday 10.12.21 at 14:15, on Zoom (Meeting ID: 660 6869 4076 – Passcode: 587666).

Here is his abstract:

The next cosmology mission of the European Space Agency is Euclid.  It is a wide-field space telescope, to be launched in 2023 to orbit the second Lagrange point of the Earth-Sun system.  In six years it will observe 36% of the sky, measuring the distribution of galaxies and dark matter in the universe.  The mission is optimized for helping to solve the “dark energy problem”: What causes the observed acceleration of the expansion of the universe?  Is it a new energy component, “dark energy”, filling the universe, or should the law of gravity be modified at cosmological distances? What is the more detailed nature of this dark energy or modification of gravity?  To help theorists towards the correct solution, Euclid measures the expansion history and growth of large-scale structure to much higher accuracy than is currently known.  The tools for this measurement are the statistical properties of the galaxy distribution and the gravitational lensing of galaxy images by dark matter.
Since looking over longer distances means looking further back in time, Euclid will trace the last 3/4 of the 14-billion-year history of the universe.
Euclid complements the previous ESA space mission, Planck (2009-2013), which focused on the early universe, in improving the understanding of the structure and history of the universe.  Finland contributes to the Euclid mission by providing one of the nine Euclid science data centers to analyze Euclid data.