Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Mississippi

Events

  • Tue
    19
    Feb
    2019
    4:00 pmLewis Hall 101

    Sarah Vigeland
    Department of Physics
    University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee

    Probing Massive and Supermassive Black Holes with Gravitational Waves

    Observations have shown that nearly all galaxies harbor massive or supermassive black holes at their centers. Gravitational wave (GW) observations of these black holes will shed light on their growth and evolution, and the merger histories of galaxies. Massive and supermassive black holes are also ideal laboratories for studying strong-field gravity. Pulsar timing arrays (PTAs) are sensitive to GWs with frequencies ~1-100 nHz, and can detect GWs emitted by supermassive black hole binaries, which form when two galaxies merge. The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is a planned space-based GW detector that will be sensitive to GWs ~1-100 mHz, and it will see a variety of sources, including merging massive black hole binaries and extreme mass-ratio inspires (EMRIs), which consist of a small compact object falling into a massive black hole. I will discuss source modeling and detection techniques for LISA and PTAs, as well as present limits on nanohertz GWs from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) collaboration.

  • Tue
    19
    Feb
    2019
    6:00 pmUptown Coffee, 265 North Lamar Blvd, Oxford, Mississippi

    Dr. Erin Calipari,
    Department of Pharmacology,
    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

    The Neuroscience of Addiction

    We are currently in the middle of an opioid epidemic. Thus, understanding the behavioral and neurobiological factors that drive drug addiction is urgent and critical to public health. One of the most important aspects of drug addiction is the active decision to seek out and take the drug, most often at the expense of other rewards or in the face of negative consequences. Normally, organisms use information in their environment to make decisions that maximize positive – and minimize negative – outcomes. However, addicted individuals value taking drugs above all other outcomes, an effect that drives their decision- making strategies. By using animal models that allow animals to “self-administer” drugs we can determine which cells in the brain are controlling their decision to take the drug and then silence or activate these neurons to change the way that animals are behaving in their environment. By combining complex behavioral models with tools that allow us to record and manipulate different cells and circuits in the brain in awake and behaving animals we can determine how these cells help animals make decisions and develop pharmacological tools to promote abstinence and prevent relapse in addicted individuals.

     

    See this page for details.

  • Thu
    21
    Feb
    2019
    4:00 pmLewis Hall 101

    Anuradha Gupta
    Department of Physics
    Pennsylvania State University

    Physics and Astrophysics with Gravitational Waves from Compact Binary Coalescences

    The recent detections of gravitational waves from several binary black holes and binary neutron star mergers have opened up new avenues for gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics. These detections provide us with great opportunities to study astrophysical sources in both weak and strong gravity regimes. In this presentation, I'll tell you how one does physics and astrophysics with gravitational waves emitted from compact binary coalescences. In particular, how to constrain binary formation mechanisms from their observed properties, how to test general relativity and other theories of gravity and lastly how to do precision cosmology with gravitational waves. I'll also touch upon the future prospects of these efforts.