CSULB Colloquium- Oct 16

California State University Long Beach

Monday, October 16, 2017
11:15 am in PH1-223

(Refreshments served at 10:45am in HSCl-224)

Scanning Tunneling Microscopy of Graphene:  Hydrogen Desorption and Nitrogen Doping
Prof. Li Gao
California State University, Northridge

Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) can provide atomic-scale insights into the properties of materials. Functionalization of graphene with adsorbates or dopants is important toward its practical applications. In this talk, I will discuss our recent STM studies of hydrogen-passivated graphene and nitrogen-doped graphene. First, we investigated electron-stimulated desorption of hydrogen from the graphene/SiC(0001) surface at room temperature. Two different desorption processes were observed. We also found that the curvature of graphene dramatically affects hydrogen desorption. Second, we investigated the synthesis of nitrogen doped graphene on metals from a nitrogen-containing sole precursor azafullerene. Three different metal surfaces have been used, including Ru(0001), Cu(111), and Ir(111). Our results indicate that azafullerene is an effective sole precursor for the controlled synthesis of nitrogen-doped graphene, and the growth substrate strongly influences the synthesis process and doping properties.

Deadline for Fall Meeting Submissions is Oct. 13

Please consider submitting an abstract for a presentation or Show & Tell at our upcoming meeting (November 4 at Saddleback College). You need to complete the online submission form by October 13, for your presentation to be considered.

CSULB Colloquium- Oct 9


California State University Long Beach

Monday, October 9, 2017
11:15 am in PH1-223

(Refreshments served at 10:45am in HSCl-224)

Career Opportunities in Physics Without a Doctorate

John Milligan
Logical Approach Engineering

The world of physics opens the doors to many, if not all, technical fields. All technical fields rely heavily on problem solving skills. Regardless of the field or problem to be solved, as I peel back the layers of the onion, I find physics at the core. According to the American Institute of Physics, new physics bachelors entering the workforce enjoy some of the highest paid starting salaries. Moreover, those entering the private sector STEM fields enjoy a high level of satisfaction. Yet, only 1-in-5 physics graduates enter the private workforce upon receiving their bachelors. We will examine the applicability of physics in the technical private sector and demonstrate that transitioning from the halls of HSCI to exo-academia is an easy and rewarding experience.

CSULB Colloquium- Oct 2


California State University, Long Beach
Monday, October 2, 2017 11:15am in PH1-223
(Refreshments served at 10:45am in HSCI-224)

Topological Order in Condensed Matter Physics
Prof. Michael R. Peterson
California State University Long Beach

In Landau’s theory of phase transitions, different phases of matter are understood and classified in terms of symmetry that can be locally probed. Since the early 1980’s new of phases of matter called topological phases have been discovered with the integer and fractional quantum Hall effects serving as the paradigmatic examples. Much of theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics has dedicated itself to the full understanding and classification of these newly discovered topological phases—the 2016 Physics Nobel prize in physics was awarded for “for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter” to David Thouless, Duncan Haldane, and Michael Kosterlitz. As the name would suggest, topological phases are gapped phases that possess topological, or global, order that cannot be classified by a local symmetry. Additionally, they are characterized by particle fractionalization (so-called anyons with fractionally charged quasi-particle excitations and fractional braiding statistics) and particular ground state degeneracies. Fascinatingly, a special kind of anyon called a non-abelian anyon has potential applications in the construction of a fault-tolerant (topological) quantum computer. I will discuss the reality of so-called intrinsic topological phases in the fractional quantum Hall effect and frustrated spin systems where the strongly interacting constituents produce emergent topologically ordered phases.

“Physics Library” Open House – Oct 7

There will be an OPEN HOUSE on Saturday October 7 of the SCAAPT Physics Library.  The library is a collection of books, videos, and laboratory and demonstration equipment that is freely available to teachers of Southern California to borrow from.  Normally, the library is open by appointment with the librarian (James Lincoln), please let James know if you would like to stop in at another date.

The open house will be from 9am to 2pm and takes place at the library location:
The Physics Library
43 Hartford Drive
Newport Beach, CA

We are always seeking donations of equipment, books, and journals.  This library’s initial operations have been supported by a grant from the Brown Foundation who also funds the SCAAPT New Physics Teacher Workshops.  SCAAPT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and monetary donations are tax-deductible if you would like to support this effort as we try to grow and continue the collection into the future.  Please let James know if you have equipment to donate or have other questions.

At the open house there will also be a kids table of science toys and books (if you have kids) and some light refreshments.  This is an open house so you don’t have to RSVP, simply drop in.  If you would like to let James know you are coming you can email him or make an appointment by phone which is typical of library patrons.

Call for Fall Meeting Submissions

SCAAPT is pleased to announce that the Fall Meeting will take place November 4 at Saddleback College.

Details about the meeting will be announced soon, but first we need your help to complete the schedule.  Please consider giving a presentation at the meeting.  These member-contributed presentations are what make the meeting useful. You can share an activity that you have done with your students, show off a demonstration (old or new!), describe a research study that you did on student learning, etc.  Anything that enhances teachers’ understanding of physics or physics teaching is welcomed.

Submissions can be made via the online submission form.

2018 Conference of Undergraduate Women in Physics

A Conference of Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWIP) will be held January 12 – 14, 2018 at Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona College, and Harvey Mudd.  See and for more information.

Please encourage your female undergraduate students to apply by the October 13th deadline. The local hosts are extending a special invitation to community college students.

CSULB Colloquium- Sept 25

California State University, Long Beach
Monday, September 25, 2017 11:15am in PH1-223
(Refreshments served at 10:45am in HSCI-224)

Neutron Stars – Challenges and Opportunities
Prof. Thomas Klähn
California State University Long Beach

During the last decades numerous theoretical investigations, laboratory experiments as well as astronomical observations have been conducted to constrain thermodynamic properties and chemical composition of stellar matter relevant to the description of compact stars, core collapse supernovae and neutron star mergers. These systems are of particular interest as they provide conditions where matter reaches densities several times the saturation density of nuclear matter, viz. the density of an atomic nucleus. This raises the unique possibility that, given sufficiently large density or temperature, the postulated transition from nuclear to quark matter degrees of freedom can be realized in nature. By this fact, the study of dense astrophysical objects, in particular neutron stars, is an invaluable complement to the ongoing search for the quark-gluon plasma in terrestrial high energy collision experiments. New techniques such as gravitational wave astronomy or the recently launched NICER mission promise exciting new data and future insights. The intrinsic connection between the macroscopic structure and evolution of such astrophysical objects and the underlying fundamental interactions between the constituent particles at the microscopic level makes the study of neutron stars and related systems difficult and at the same time very rewarding. It challenges our understanding of nature on both scales. In my presentation, I will discuss mainly the connection between neutron star phenomenology and the underlying equation of state which reflects our current understanding of (not only) the strong interaction.

Announcing the Fall Meeting

SCAAPT will hold it’s Fall Meeting November 4, 2017 at Saddleback College.  Please mark your calendars!  We’ll be updating our website (and sending out emails) with details shortly.

In the mean time, start planning a 15-minute talk or a 5-min Show & Tell that you can share with other physics teachers. We need your help to make the meeting a successful one.

CSULB Colloquium- Sept 18

California State University, Long Beach
Monday, September 18, 2017 11:15am in PH1-223
(Refreshments served at 10:45am in HSCI-224)
Constraining Planet Formation with Directly Imaged Exoplanets
Prof. Quinn Konopacky
Physics in the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at UC San Diego

In the past decade, several new jovian exoplanets at wide separations have been revealed using ground based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics systems. These planets, with masses between ~2-14 MJup, remain a puzzle for both major planet formation models – core accretion and gravitational instability. At the same time, they offer a powerful tool in the hunt for observational constraints of formation, as they can be characterized with both imaging and spectroscopy. I will describe our recent efforts to push beyond the discovery phase into the realm of detailed characterization of these planetary systems. Using the Keck adaptive optics instrument suite, we have been targeting the HR 8799 multiplanet system. Astrometric monitoring with imaging over the course of a decade has allowed for orbital constraints in HR 8799 based on a self-consistent data set. This has allowed us to minimize systematic uncertainties and determine that the planets are likely co-planar and have low eccentricities. Spectroscopic observations of HR 8799b and c have yielded the best-ever spectra for any exoplanet. Using these observations, we have measured the C/O ratio in these planets, which can be used as a diagnostic of formation. Finally, I will discuss a new discovery with the Gemini Planet Imager of a substellar companion to a debris disk host star, HR 2562.  This object seems to have the mass of a brown dwarf (~30 MJup), but orbits within a cleared inner hole in the debris disk. Future observations of the planet and disk could point to evidence of a “planet-like” formation process for this companion in spite of its high mass.