Lecture Series

The Compass Lecture Series is a collection of research talks given by Berkeley physical sciences faculty or PhD candidates who are about to graduate. These talks are unique in the Berkeley Physics Department in that they are designed for an undergraduate audience. The goal of the lecture series is to introduce undergrads to as many areas of research as possible using language and physics concepts they can understand. Undergraduates interview and introduce the speakers and manage the question-and-answer period that follows the talk. The lectures take place on the Thursdays listed below at 4:00 PM in 325 LeConte, with refreshments at 3:30 PM.

The Spring 2014 Lectures:

  • March 4Imaging Extrasolar Planets
    James Graham, Professor of Astronomy
  • March 18Momentum flow as an alternative framework for elementary mechanics
    Andrea diSessa, Professor of Education
  • April 15Magneto-optic effect: Faraday effect and Kerr effect
    Zi Qiu, Professor of Physics
  • April 29Using rock magnetism to reconstruct ancient supercontinents
    Nick Swanson-Hysell, Professor of Earth and Planetary Science

The Fall 2013 Lectures:

  • October 10Spatially Localized Structures
    Edgar Knobloch, Professor of Physics
  • October 24(Anti-)Matter Waves for Researching Time, Mass, and Gravity
    Holger Mueller, Asst. Professor of Physics
  • November 7Precision Monte Carlo Event Generation for the LHC
    Calvin Berggren, PhD Candidate in Physics
  • November 21Characterizing Beliefs and Practices of Physics Teaching Assistants
    Ben Spike, Academic Coordinator for Physics
  • December 5Prospects for Climate Treaty Verification
    Inez Fung, Professor of Atmospheric Science

The Spring 2013 Lectures:

  • February 19Powerful Engines: The History, Diversity, Capability, and Uses of Particle Accelerators
    Andy Sessler, Distinguished Director Emeritus of LBNL
  • March 5Single Molecule Biophysics of Molecular Motors
    Ahmet Yildiz, Professor in Physics and Molecular Cell Biology
  • March 19Quantum Mechanics You Can Instagram: Exploring Quantum Magnetism with Ultracold Atoms
    Ryan Olf, PhD candidate in Physics
  • April 9Origin of the Universe
    Marc Davis, Professor of Astronomy and Physics
  • April 30Simulating Systems of Ultracold Atomic Gases
    Joel Corbo, PhD candidate in Physics

The Fall 2012 Lectures:

The Spring 2012 Lectures:

The Fall 2011 Lectures:

  • September 15Atomic Magnetometry in the Lab, in the Field, and in the Sky
    Dmitry Budker, introduced by TBD
  • September 29Particle Acceleration in Solar Flares: The Most Powerful Explosions in the Solar System
    Robert Lin, introduced by Sydney Schreppler
  • October 27The Standard Model of Particle Physics and Beyond
    Mary K. Gaillard, introduced by Alex Georges
  • November 17Optomechanics: From Gravity Waves to Quantum Mechanics
    Dan Stamper-Kurn, introduced by Salman Kahn

The Spring 2011 Lectures:


The Fall 2010 Lectures:


  • October 7What are Gamma Ray Bursts?
    Josh Bloom, introduced by Caleb Levy
  • October 21Precision Tests of the Standard Model
    Yury Kolomensky, introduced by Alex Georges
  • November 4The Search for Earth-Like Planets and Life in the Universe
    Geoff Marcy, introduced by Nora Benavidez
  • November 18Graphene: A Two-Dimensional Electronic and Optical Material
    Feng Wang, introduced by Sara Cheng
  • December 2Atoms of Space
    Hal Haggard, introduced by Davis Burton

The Spring 2010 Lectures:


The Fall 2009 Lectures:


  • October 15Action and Reaction: How Gravity Shapes Planetary Systems
    Eugene Chiang, introduced by Isha Nayak
  • October 29“Topological” Phases in Solids and Applications to Energy Conversion
    Joel Moore, introduced by Brendan O’Hare
  • November 12Some Interesting Phenomena in Picture Perception
    Marty Banks, introduced by Lia Medieros
  • November 19Watching the Waves Go By: Why Astrophysicists Care about Tides
    Eliot Quataert, introduced by Viraj Shah
  • December 3An 85 Year History of the Electron Spin
    Eugene Commins, introduced by Ankur Dhar

The Spring 2009 Lectures:


Spring 2009 Lecture Poster

  • March 3Physics for Future (and Newly-Elected) Presidents: What World Leaders Need to Know
    Richard Muller, introduced by Alexander Jacobsen
  • March 31Superconductivity: History, Trains, and SQUIDs
    John Clarke, introduced by Dominic Culver
  • April 7The New Energy Landscape: The Role of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
    Jeff Grossman, introduced by Davis Burton
  • April 21The Search for Terrestrial Exoplanets: The Kepler Mission
    Gibor Basri, introduced by Gina Quan
  • April 28The Large Hadron Collider: More Symmetries, More Matter, or More Universes?
    Lawrence Hall, introduced by Geoff Iwata

The Fall 2008 Lectures:


Fall 2008 Lecture Poster

  • October 21Supersymmetry, Extra Dimensions, and the Origin of Mass: The Search for New Physics at the Large Hadron Collider
    Marjorie Shapiro, introduced by Melissa Panlasigui
  • October 28Deciphering the Nature of Dark Matter in the Universe
    Bernard Sadoulet, introduced by Alexander Georges
  • November 18Maxwell’s Equations and our Electromagnetic World
    John D. Jackson, introduced by Jeevan Mahal
  • November 25Ultracold Atomic Physics
    Dan M. Stamper-Kurn, introduced by Joe Stoeckl
  • December 2The Fascinating Physics of Graphene and How it Might Revolutionize the Semiconducting Industry
    Alessandra Lanzara, introduced by  Melissa Panlasigui

The Spring 2008 Lectures:


Spring 2008 Lecture Poster

  • March 4The Shape and Sizes of Stars and their Variations
    Charles Townes, introduced by Jeevan Mahal and Felicitas Hernandez
  • March 18Are We Alone?: Searching for ET with Help from Millions of SETI@home Volunteers
    Dan Werthimer, introduced by Michaela Villarreal
  • April 1Making Artificial Atoms from Superconducting Circuits
    Irfan Siddiqi, introduced by Alexander Jacobsen
  • April 8Structure of Higher Dimensions in String Theory
    Ori Ganor, introduced by Felicitas Hernandez
  • April 15Reverse Engineering Cell Movements
    Daniel Fletcher, introduced by Jeevan Mehel
  • April 22Grabbing the Cat by the Tail: Studies of DNA Packaging by Single φ29 Bacteriophage Particles Using Optical Tweezers
    Carlos Bustamante, introduced by Melissa Panlasigui
  • April 29Exploring Nature’s Fundamental Forces and Particles with the Large Hadron Collider
    Beate Heinemann, introduced by T.J. Santos and Tim Jen
  • May 6Nanotube Radio
    Kenny Jensen, introduced by Juan Meza