3rd November at 14:15: Matilda Backholm

The next colloquium in the fall series will take place on Friday (November 3) at 14:15. Our speaker will be Matilda Backholm, who is an associate professor in Soft Matter Physics at the Department of Applied Physics, Aalto University, Finland.

Matilda Backholm is an assistant professor in Soft Matter Physics at the Department of Applied Physics, Aalto University, Finland. Her Living Matter research team studies the mechanics, dynamics, and flow of soft, living, and fluid systems. Prof. Backholm received a BSc in Physics from the University of Helsinki (2009), a MSc in Nanoscience from Aarhus University (Denmark, 2011), and a PhD in Physics from McMaster University (Canada, 2015). Matilda then worked as an Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher in the Soft Matter and Wetting group of Prof. Ras at Aalto University. She was recently awarded an ERC StG, a Research Council of Finland Research Fellowship, as well as grants from the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation and the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.

The title of her talk is: How to swim at the mesoscale.

The event will be held on Friday 03.11.23 at 14:15, in Exactum CK112.

Abstract of the talk:

Swimming is ubiquitous in nature and crucial for the survival of many organisms. The physics behind how to swim has been extensively studied at the viscosity-dominated microscale and inertia-dominated macroscale. Between these extreme regimes lies a mesoscale that is full of interesting living organisms, such as small larvae, shrimps, and jellyfish. However, little is known about how these meso-organisms swim. Here, both viscous and inertial forces are important, rendering complicated non-linear and time-dependent effects on the meso-swimming dynamics. In this talk, I will give a background to this field and present our work on developing new experimental tools to directly measure the tiny swimming forces of mesoscale organisms. Our goal is to resolve major open questions at the mesoscale through new experimental approaches.



27th October at 14:15: Jaan Praks

The next colloquium in the fall series will take place on Friday (October 27) at 14:15. Our speaker will be Jaan Praks, who is an associate professor at the Aalto University, Finland.

Jaan Praks is an associate professor (tenured) at Aalto University who is working with small satellite and remote sensing technology. His research interests are small satellites, space technology and microwave remote sensing. Jaan Praks is the PI of the first Finnish satellite, Aalto-1 and founder/advisor in many New Space start-ups in Finland. His team is part of Finnish Centre of Excellence in Research of Sustainable Space, where Aalto is building Foresail satellites. Jaan Praks is a space enthusiast and frequent public speaker on space topics.

The title of his talk is: Quo vadis, New Space

The event will be held on Friday 27.10.23 at 14:15, in Exactum D123. The talk will also be streamed via Zoom: https://helsinki.zoom.us/j/61261922897 .

15th September at 14:15: Anna Watts

Our first colloquium in the fall series is by Anna Watts from the University of Amsterdam on September 15th.

Anna Watts is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Amsterdam. Her group studies neutron stars, in particular the ultradense nuclear matter in their cores, and their violent dynamical events such as starquakes and magnetic or thermonuclear explosions. She is an ERC Starting and Consolidator Grant laureate and in 2021 was awarded the Mid-Career Prize by the American Astronomical Society’s High Energy Astrophysics Division. 

The event will take place on Friday 15.9.23 at 14:15, in Exactum CK112.
The event was also streamed via Zoom. Link to video:  https://unitube.it.helsinki.fi/unitube/embed.html?id=7ea94a6a-93ae-4de6-a3d3-08ea192779b3


The title of her talk is: A NICER view of neutron stars

Her abstract reads:

NICER, the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, is an X-ray telescope on the International Space Station. Its primary mission is to measure neutron star masses and radii, quantities that enable us to investigate the nature of the ultradense nuclear matter in the star’s cores. NICER exploits relativistic effects on X-rays emitted from the hot magnetic polar caps of millisecond pulsars, a technique that also lets us map the hot emitting regions on the stellar surface. I will present NICER’s latest results and discuss the implications for our understanding of ultradense matter, pulsar emission, and stellar magnetic fields.

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).
Link to video: https://unitube.it.helsinki.fi/unitube/embed.html?id=18834189-91da-4e7f-8b71-bbe23c7de81e

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.