Journal Club Schedule

Tuesdays 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Date Speaker Topic (click down-arrow to see abstract)
Feb 3 Prof. Bing Zhang
Ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) and their possible astrophysical sources

Abstract: The standard model of cosmology is based on the Friedmann-Robertson-Walker (FRW) metric. Often written in terms of co-moving coordinates, this elegant and highly practical solution to Einstein's equations is based on the Cosmological principal and Weyl's postulate. But not all of the physics behind such symmetries has yet been recognized. We invoke the fact that the co-moving frame also happens to be in free fall to demonstrate that the FRW metric is valid only for a medium with zero active mass. In other words, the application of FRW appears to require an equation-of-state rho+3p = 0, in terms of the total energy density rho and total pressure p. Though the standard model is not framed in these terms, the optimization of its parameters brings it ever closer to this constraint as the precision of the observations continues to improve.

Feb 10 Prof. George Rhee
Statistics of water flows in the colorado river: How long does a 15 year drought last?

Feb 17 Tim Waters
Cloud formation and acceleration in a radiative environment

In a radiatively heated and cooled medium, the thermal instability is a plausible mechanism for forming clouds, while the radiation force provides a natural acceleration, especially when ions recombine and opacity increases. Here we extend Field's theory to self-consistently account for a radiation force resulting from bound-free and bound-bound transitions in the optically thin limit. We present physical arguments for clouds to be significantly accelerated by a radiation force due to lines during a nonlinear phase of the instability. To qualitatively illustrate our main points, we perform both one and two-dimensional (1-D/2-D) hydrodynamical simulations that allow us to study the nonlinear outcome of the evolution of thermally unstable gas subjected to this radiation force. Our 1-D simulations demonstrate that the thermal instability can produce long-lived clouds that reach a thermal equilibrium between radiative processes and thermal conduction, while the radiation force can indeed accelerate the clouds to supersonic velocities. However, our 2-D simulations reveal that a single cloud with a simple morphology cannot be maintained due to destructive processes, triggered by the Rayleigh-Taylor instability and followed by the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability. Nevertheless, the resulting cold gas structures are still significantly accelerated before they are ultimately dispersed. (see arxiv listing)

Feb 24

Mar 3

Mar 10

Mar 17 Ye Li
Do GRBs kill life at high redshift?

Mar 24 Jared Rice
Primordial Black Holes: From Dawn To Dusk

Mar 31 Spring Break

Apr 7 Hui Li

Apr 14 John Boisvert

Apr 21 Zhibin Zhang

Apr 28 Fuwen Zhang

May 5 Lanwei Jia

May 12 Sandamali Weerasooriya

May 19 Houjun Lu

Past Journal Clubs: Fall '14   Spring '14   Fall '13