18th December 2020 at 14.15: Sabrina Maniscalco

Our last online Physics Colloquium for the Autumn 2020 season will take place on Friday, December 18th. We will have an inaugural lecture to be given by a new professor in our Department, Sabrina Maniscalco, who is a world-renowned expert in Quantum Technologies.

After obtaining her PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Palermo, Sabrina Maniscalco has worked in Bulgaria, South Africa and the UK before becoming a professor and Chair of Theoretical Physics at the University of Turku in 2014. She is now joining our Department of Physics at the University of Helsinki as the new Professor in Quantum Information and Logic. She is also the Vice Director of the Finnish Centre of Excellence for Quantum Technologies. Her research interests include open quantum systems, quantum brownian motion, as well as cold atoms and quantum tomography. She is also very active in outreach and communication, in which she likes combining art and science.

In her colloquium, titled The Promise of Quantum, Sabrina will talk about how combining quantum research with other fields of science could help tackle global challenges.

The event will be held on Friday 18.12.20 at 14:15, on Zoom (Meeting ID: 667 9916 8136 – Passcode: 994654).

Here is her abstract:

Quantum Science and Technology have entered a new exciting age characterized by a high degree of cross-fertilization and interaction among different fields. Specifically, the utilization of quantum phenomena in combination with AI, complex network theory, and big data promises to impact in a tremendous manner our ability to tackle the most urgent global challenges faced by humanity: from energy to environment, data security, and health.
We are at a stage in which completely new approaches, combining quantum and classical resources, are being developed and they have already shown capabilities to re-think and attack problems from a completely different perspective.
In this colloquium I will review some of the most promising new methods – such as complex quantum networks and quantum simulators for chemistry, biology, and new materials – highlighting the challenges and exciting prospects that lay ahead. I will also discuss how the research performed in my group sits in the context, presenting some examples of open problems and possible quantum-enhanced solutions.


In the spirit of our usual cocktail reception, we encourage all attendees to join us with a glass of your favourite tipple. Cheers!

27th November 2020 at 14.15: Christer Fuglesang

Our next online Physics Colloquium will take place on Friday, November 27th. We will have a presentation to be given by Christer Fuglesang.

Christer Fuglesang is best known as the first astronaut from the Nordic Countries, who travelled to space twice, in 2006 and 2009. He is also a particle physicist, and obtained his PhD in experimental particle physics from Stockholm University and worked at CERN before being selected in the European Space Agency astronaut program. He is currently a Professor in Space Travel and the Director of the KTH Space Center in Stockholm. His research interests focus on particles in space, such as high-energy cosmic rays.

In his colloquium, titled From KTH to Space: A story of space travel to ISS and future large projects, Christer will talk about his experience as an astronaut and his current projects.

The event will be held on Friday 27.11.20 at 14:15, on Zoom (the link will be added closer to the date of the event).

Here is his abstract:

I’ll give a brief background how I became an ESA astronaut and describe my two visits to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2006 and 2009 with two short videos. ISS itself will be discussed and the research there mentioned. After 25 years with ESA I’m back at KTH and now looking into how solar sails could be used as sunshades positioned at the L1 Lagrangian point between Earth and the Sun to help control global temperature increase. The physics, technology and economy of such a sunshade system will be presented.

In the spirit of our usual cocktail reception, we encourage all attendees to join us with a glass of your favourite tipple. Cheers!

30th October 2020 at 14.15: Joonas Nättilä

For our first Physics Colloquium of the new academic year, we will have a presentation to be given by Joonas Nättilä. In his colloquium, entitled Astrophysical turbulence: from stirring coffee to illuminating black holes, Joonas will give an overview on how supercomputer simulations can help shed new light on astrophysical turbulence.

Joonas Nättilä is a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University and a Flatiron Research Fellow at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York, USA. His research interests lie in high-energy astrophysics and plasma physics, focusing particularly on modelling the physics of neutron stars.

The event will be held on Friday 30.10.20 at 14:15, on the following University Zoom meeting:

Here is his abstract:

Turbulence – the seemingly chaotic flow of fluids and plasmas – is said to be one of the most important unsolved problems of contemporary physics and mathematics. It is a ubiquitous physical phenomenon operating in all kinds of environments, from mixing liquids in coffee cups to energizing astrophysical plasmas around black holes and neutron stars. In my talk, I will review some of the latest insights we have gained in understanding astrophysical turbulence from first principles by utilizing new state-of-the-art particle-in-cell supercomputer simulations.

In the spirit of our usual cocktail reception, we encourage all attendees to join us with a glass of your favourite tipple. Cheers!



29th May 2020 at 15.15: Shohini Ghose, The quantum revolution

Following the success of our first online Physics Colloquium, we will have a second colloquium to be given by Shohini Ghose. In her colloquium, entitled The quantum revolution, Shohini will give an overview on the state-of-the-art in quantum computing.

Shohini Ghose is Professor in Physics & Computer Science at the Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, as well as Founding Director of the Laurier Centre for Women in Science, President of the Canadian Association of Physicists and a TED Senior Fellow. Her research is in the area of quantum information science – the study of how the laws of quantum physics can be harnessed to transform computation and communication, and to develop novel tasks such as teleportation.

The event will be held on Friday 29.05.20 at the exceptional time of 15:15, on the following University Zoom meeting:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 68558909770

Here is her abstract:

Quantum physics has already transformed society by enabling our current computing technologies as well as our communications systems and the internet. The next quantum revolution may lead to game-changing quantum computers and a quantum internet. This presentation provides an overview of current developments in the field and the potential impact on science and society.

In the spirit of our usual cocktail reception, we encourage all attendees to join us with a glass of your favourite tipple. Cheers!

24th April 2020 at 14.15: Hanna Vehkamäki, Molecular cluster formation in the atmosphere

Our first online Physics Colloquium will be given by Hanna Vehkamäki, who will talk to us about the physics of molecular cluster formation in the atmosphere.

The event will be held, as usual on Friday (24.04.20) at 14:15, on the following University Zoom meeting:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 672 8578 8599

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.

In her colloquium, entitled Molecular cluster formation in the atmosphere, Hanna will tell us about aerosol particles in the atmosphere, and her work on understanding their formation. This is an important topic for climate modelling and an interesting area of physics.

Here is her abstract:

Roughly half of the particles in the Earth’s atmosphere originate from molecular clustering of gaseous species such as sulphuric acid, ammonia, amines and highly oxidized organic compounds- the other half are emitted to the atmosphere as ready-made particles such as dust and pollen.
Atmospheric particles affect air quality, and cloud formation in our atmosphere always involves particles which act as cloud condensation nuclei. The effect of particles via clouds constitute the largest uncertainty in predicting future climate. The molecular mechanisms for formation of molecular clusters and their growth to atmospheric aerosol particles in the diverse atmospheric conditions are not yet understood. In my presentation will give an introduction to state-of-the-art quantum chemistry based models of atmospheric cluster formation, recent developments in detailed understanding of the experiments used to study these clusters, and discuss the agreement between theory and experiments.

In the spirit of our usual cocktail reception, we encourage all attendees to join us with a glass of sparkling wine. Cheers!