physics & astronomy

Explaining the Global Warming Theory



Dr. Joseph P. Straley University of Kentucky Explaining the implications of science to contemporary public issues is an important part of our job. As an example I will give an introduction to the global warming issue.



Upward Curve: UK's Physics and Astronomy Faculty

UK Physicist Sumit Das discusses the unprecedented 70 percent acceptance rate of the department’s top-choice graduate students this spring — 16 of the 22 students accepted will enroll in the fall.

Rotation Fascination: Keh-Fei Liu

After being awarded a highly-competitive grant to perform Advanced Scientific Computer Research, UK physics professor Keh-Fei Liu and his collaborators hope to resolve what has been dubbed the Proton Spin Crisis.

Traveling Light: Gary Ferland

Research at the University of Kentucky expands well beyond campus, and thanks to Physics & Astronomy professor Gary Ferland we have to measure the distance in light years instead of miles.

50th Anniversary of UK's Particle Accelerator

Celebrating its 50th anniversary on UK’s campus, the Accelerator Lab is the giant cylinder in front of the Chem/Phys Building. Mysterious to many visitors to campus, and affectionately but incorrectly referred to as the “Atom Smasher” by others, it houses a 7-million-volt small particle accelerator used by the Physics Department for various experiments, such as studying the form and shapes of stable nuclei.

Marcus T. McEllistrem, the man that helped bring the accelerator to campus reflects back on some of its history.



Making Waves in the Milky Way with Susan Gardner

From childhood, Susan Gardner has had an interest in how the world works, developing a sense of curiosity that would later fuel her work and inspire her research.  Recently, Gardner, a professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, played an important role in a study that was responsible for the discovery of a wave in the Milky Way Galaxy. In this podcast, we spoke to Susan Gardner about this discovery, its relation to her research, and the importance of curiosity.

This podcast was produced by Casey Hibbard.

Creative Commons License
Making Waves in the Milky Way with Susan Gardner by UK College of A&S is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

UK Awarded $1.9 Million to Improve Retention of STEM Majors

Howard Hughes Medical Institute funds five-year project to promote student achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in collaboration with BCTC

Designing energy and climate security in different regions of the world



Dr. Rajan Gupta Los Alamos National Labs Spectacular developments in technology and resource exploitation have provided 2-3 billion people with unprecedented lifestyles and opportunities in the twentieth century. On the energy front, this has largely been achieved using inexpensive fossil fuels-- coal, oil and natural gas. The real costs of burning fossil fuels, many of which are hidden and long-term, have been environmental. Today, all species and nature, are being stressed at unprecedented levels and face conditions that have an increasing probability of resulting in catastrophes. Providing the same opportunities to nine or ten billion people will require 2-3 times current energy resources even with business-as-usual anticipated gains in efficiency. There is little doubt that, globally, we have the resources (100 more years of fossil fuels) and the technology to use fossil-fuels ever more cleanly so that the impacts on the environment are smaller and localized. Unfortunately, the emissions of green house gases and their contributions to climate change mandate we transform from the existing successful fossil-fuel system to zero-carbon emission systems. This talk will examine energy resources in different regions of the world and address the issue of whether these resources can provide energy security for the next fourty years. I will next examine how countries with enough resources (fossil, nuclear, hydroelectric) can reduce their carbon footprint in the power sector. I will then discuss the conditions needed to integrate large-scale solar and wind resources to create sustainable systems. Finally, I will identify areas which lack adequate reserves of fossil fuels and how they can address the simultaneous challenges of energy and climate security.






Dr. Geoff Greene University of Tennessee, Knoxville While neutrons within nuclei may be stable, the free neutron is unstable against beta decay and has a mean lifetime of ~15min. Free neutron beta decay is, perhaps, the simplest weak nuclear process as it is uncomplicated by many body effects that are present in the decay of nuclei. As a result, it can be directly understood in terms of rather simple fundamental weak interaction theory. Additionally, because free neutron decay is the "prototype" for all nuclear beta decays, the neutron lifetime is a fundamental parameter whose value is important not only in nuclear physics, but also in astrophysics, cosmology, and particle physics. I will give an introduction to the theory of weak nuclear decay and briefly discuss the importance of the neutron lifetime as a parameter in the Big Bang. A review of the experimental strategies for the measurement of the neutron lifetime will be given as well as a discussion of the puzzling discrepancy among the measurements with the lowest quoted uncertainty. Finally, I present a very new result recently obtained at the NIST Cold Neutron Research Facility in Gaithersburg Md.




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