Spring 2013,  PHY 598 Graduate Seminar

AMO and Condensed Matter Physics


Meeting Days and Times: Instructors:
Wed 2:30-4:30 pm
Room P-128

Thomas Allison Office A-101, Office hours: tbd
Yue Hao, BNL, Office hours: tbd
Tzu-Chieh Wei Office Math 6101, Office hours: tbd

Seminar schedule (tentative):
January 30
Febuary 6
Febuary 13 [no class]
Febuary 20
 Abstract due
Lidong Ding
      Vladislav Zakharov
Febuary 27 March 6
March 13 March 20 [no class]
Gongjun Choi
Alyssa Montalbano
JP Ang

Michael Stewart
Taeho Ryu
Rasmus Larsen
March 27 April 3
April 10
April 17
Peter Petrov
Nicolas Tarantino
Xiaoyue Li
Martin Polacek
Peifeng Liu
Kuo-Wei Huang
Moshe Kellerstein
Lucie Baumont
April 24
May 1
May 8

 Mingliang Zhou Hualong Gervais
 Fnu Zoya Zhongling Ji

  • Pick a topic within the first week (list of topics: see below), must decide by Feb. 6 in class
  • Write an abstract around 300 words about your topic and email it to Prof. Wei by Feb. 13
  • Schedule meeting(s) with an instructor to discuss your slides one week before your talk
  • Give a 30-minute presentation on the day assigned (see above schedule)
  • Hand in slides to Prof. Wei within one week after your talk (must be in pdf format)
  • Attend all seminars
  • Talk (contents, form, and discussions with instructor) and abstract: 75%
  • Attendance and activity (asking the speakers good questions, participating in discussions, feedback and short quizzes): 25%.


The purpose of this course is to give graduate students early in their career experience with the vital skill of giving professional talks. One very important aspect of this is to choose the level of your talk based upon your own level of knowledge and the level expected of your audience. As (mostly) first year graduate students, we expect that you are not at a level of preparation that you would have giving a talk at a professional conference.  You will be graded on content and presentation, but the grade on content is more on consistency and "absence of holes" than on the level per se (high school – college – graduate student – faculty – world expert). Do not include in your talk any material that you do not actually understand.

Rule of thumb: If you don't mention something in your talk, it is impolite for someone in the audience to ask you a question about it. Whatever you do mention in your talk is fair game for questions. If you mention something you do not understand, you are opening Pandora's Box and should expect to run into trouble. This happens all the time at professional meetings.

Your talk should be planned to take a total of 30 minutes. Ten more minutes will be used for questions and comments.   Make sure to rehearse your talk (several times!) so that you know your timing is right.  It is a cardinal sin of giving a talk to run over time.

We assume that you have access to an appropriate computer and ask that you use Powerpoint or some other electronic format, e.g., pdf, for showing slides on a computer projector. However, see the above warning on misuse of Powerpoint!

The computer projector will be available in the seminar room, B-131. To use it you should bring your own laptop computer, borrow one from a friend, or sign out one of the "loaner" laptop computers from Joe Feliciano or Frank Chin in the Instructional Lab Room, A-131, during normal working hours. You can practice your talk in the seminar room, B-131. You can also do it in the Graduate Student Lounge on the A level "bridge" between Physics and "Old Physics." A desktop computer is there permanently hooked up to a computer projector. It is not connected to the internet, so you must bring the file of your talk to it on, e.g., a memory stick or a CD. A pull-down projection screen is available for displaying the projected image.

You must make an appointment to meet with one of the instructors at least one week prior to the day you are scheduled to give your talk in class. At that meeting you will be expected to show a preliminary version of your talk to the instructor. Before that, you should already have given a (pre-)preliminary version of your talk to a trial audience, e.g., fellow students. The comments you get from both your trial audience and the instructor will be helpful for making changes before you give your talk "for real."

After your talk, your slides (convert into pdf) will be posted on the course webpage until the end of the semester.

List of topics:   will be posted at http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~twei/Courses/Spring2013/PHY598/

The following topics are taken mostly from the last two years of the News & Views section of Nature. We are also adding selected topics from Science and Physics Today. Each is an active link to an overview article describing the general topic and giving a small number of references. You must decide how to craft from your chosen topic an understandable, interesting 30 minute talk that will be suitable for your fellow students in the class. 

We will meet on Feb. 6 and decide your topics in class (and resolve any conflict of selection).  A signup sheet will be available in class. Topics have now been decided and each student is assigned an instructor for discussing his/her topic and slides.




It is your responsibility to contact and schedule with the assigned instructor to discuss your slides. It is advised that you don't wait until the last moment.


[1] Quantum physics: Time crystals (Kuo-Wei Huang ==> Prof. Wei)

[2] Materials science: Topology matters (Lucie Baumont ==> Prof. Hao)

[3] Photonics: Phased array on a fingertip

[4] Computational materials science: Trustworthy predictions

[5] Computational materials science: Soft heaps and clumpy crystals

[6] Cooling molecules the optoelectric way [Physics Today]


[7] Thermal physics: Quantum interference heats up (Rasmus Larsen ==> Prof. Wei)

[8] Low-temperature physics: Cool molecules

[9] NOBEL 2012 Physics: Manipulating individual quantum systems (Moshe Kellerstein ==> Prof. Wei)

[10] Quantum physics: Strongly correlated transport (Zhongling Ji ==> Prof. Hao)


[11] Quantum physics: Putting a spin on photon entanglement (Vladislav Zakharov ==> Prof. Allison)

[12] Optics: Nanotube holograms


[13] Quantum physics: Cruise control for a qubit (Fnu Zoya ==> Prof. Wei)

[14] Superfluid helium interferometers [Physics Today]


[15] Quantum computation: Spinning towards scalable circuits (Hualong Gervais ==> Prof. Wei)

[16] Materials science: A hard concept in soft matter


[17] Quantum physics: Electrons in perfect drag

[18] Optics: Gain and loss mixed in the same cauldron


[19] Solid-state physics: Thermal spin power without magnets (Congjun Choi ==> Prof. Hao)


[20] Atomic physics: Electrons get real (Taeho Ryu ==> Prof. Allison)


[21] Quantum physics: Simulating magnetism

[22] Quantum physics: Tunnelling across a nanowire

[23] Quantum optics: An entangled walk of photons (Lidong Ding ==> Prof. Allison)

[24] Atomic physics: An almost lightless laser (Alyssa Montalbano ==> Prof. Allison)


[25] Photonics: Terahertz collisions

[26] Condensed-matter physics: A duo of graphene mimics (JP Ang ==> Prof. Wei)


[27] Quantum optics: Controlling the light

[28] Precision measurement: A comb in the extreme ultraviolet


[29] Laser science: Even harder X-rays (Xiaoyue Li ==> Prof. Hao)


[30] Atomic physics: When ultracold is not cold enough (Michael Stewart ==> Prof. Allison)


[31] Quantum physics: Shaking photons out of the vacuum (Nicolas Tarantino ==> Prof. Wei)

[32] Quantum engineering: Spins coupled to a persistent current


[33] Quantum physics: Single electrons take the bus


[34] Quantum physics: Spin flips with a single proton


[35] Quantum optics: Atom gives light a subtle squeeze

[36] Quantum physics: Correlations without parts

[37] Condensed-matter physics: Microscopy of the macroscopic


[38] Precision measurement: A search for electrons that do the twist (Peifeng Liu ==> Prof. Allison)

[39] High-Power Fiber Lasers [Science perspective]
Fiber-Based High Power Laser Systems [article]


[40] Microresonator-Based Optical Frequency Combs [research article from Science]


[41] Condensed-matter physics: Transitions on triangles (Martin Polacek ==> Prof. Hao)

[46] Spin–orbit-coupled Bose–Einstein condensates (Peter Petrov ==> Prof. Allison)


[42] First lasing of an echo-enabled harmonic generation free-electron laser

[43] Compact X-ray sources: X-rays from self-reflection (Mingliang Zhou ==> Prof. Hao)

[44] Free-electron lasers: SACLA hard-X-ray compact FEL

[45] Demonstration of self-seeding in a hard-X-ray free-electron laser

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