Friday, October 30, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

University Rover Challenge

Joseph Finkiewicz, a senior at MSU Denver in the Aerospace Systems Engineering Technology program, is the co-lead on the University Rover Challenge, and has invited us to join an Auraria competition team.

We are looking for students, of any level of experience, who want to be involved in this, and our goal is to get 3-9+ more students involved with the challenge; to design and build the next generation Mars rover that will someday work alongside astronauts on Mars. 

Some of the tasks include:
  • Navigating rough terrain (hills and drops),
  • Collects soil sample and analyzes it for environmental data & biological material,
  • Assists astronauts  in handling dexterous tasks,
  • Must use GPS and Radio Communications to operate

If you are interested please have contact me directly by phone or email

Name: Joe Finkiewicz
Phone: 303-396-7203

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The death of free will?

PhiDiP - Thursday, Oct. 15

This week is the final installment of our Quantum Mechanics series, which is culminating in our discussion about free will. Does QM guarantee that free will is possible, or does it simply not apply? Do some digging on your own, but here are a few resources to get you started:

This article from Scientific American has a good overview of a few different approaches, as well as some more in-depth links. Make sure to click the "Read next page" button until you get the whole article.

To give you fair warning, Dr. Doyle uses "chaotic" and "random" to mean the same thing, which we won't do anymore now that we've learned a little about chaos theory. But beyond that, this Harvard astrophysicist provides a nice, brief background on the subject. Browse some of the Free Will links in the left column to get more overview of free will in general.

From the physics media mogul Dr. Michio Kaku, this short video argues that quantum uncertainty allows free will to be possible.

A brief response to Dr. Kaku's video, where the author feels Dr. Kaku is oversimplifying the matter... It seems consensus on these matters is impossible, even amongst celebrated physicists!

This one doesn't address the type of free will we will generally be discussing, but it does have a brief treatment on Bell's theorem (which will be good to familiarize yourself with anyway). It also presents a new idea for testing that loophole in Bell's theorem!

See y'all Thursday!

Thursday, October 8, 2015


The CU Denver Biology Club is presenting GradCon 2015! This event will be highlighting the post-baccalaureate programs available at CU's Anschutz campus, including a panel of Anschutz's program directors and a networking session. This event is open to everyone, and you'll receive free lunch and a special gift if you RSVP on the Facebook page (
WhenMon, October 12, 11:00am – 2:30pm
WhereBaerresen Ballroom - Tivoli 320 (map)

SPS General Meeting

Physics! Fun! Everyone is welcome!

The Society of Physics Students is hosting our first (not-so-secret) General Meeting of the year!
This time, we will be hosting Team Physics Trivia, with PRIZES!! And SNACKS! So group up with a few new friends and see if you can survive our first round of Jeopardy-styled mayhem, after we catch you up on the recent goings-on of our very active SPS chapter: our new outreach initiative with the Denver Boys & Girls club, October movie night to see "The Martian," upcoming field trips to the VLA radio observatory in New Mexico and national conferences in Salt Lake City and San Francisco, and our regular on-campus events. You are invited!

Oct 13 from 1:00PM-2:00PM, North Classroom 3405

Free Online Course: Finite Element Method for Physics Problems

Hello Friends of SPS!

I thought I would share this free online course that started this week: 

The course title is "The Finite Element Method for Problems in Physics" and is being offered through the University of Michigan. This should be a great resource for understanding what goes on "under the hood" of many of the multiphysics simulation software that is available (especially Comsol, which we have available for students in the Computational Physics Lab NC3115).

I'm planning to take it, and if anyone else is interested we could meet periodically to go over the course material. If anyone does sign up, let me know!


Kristopher Bunker

Monday, October 5, 2015

This Week's PhiDiP - Thursday, Oct. 8 @ 12:15PM

We're on week three of our Quantum Mechanics series, and the topic this week is Chaos Theory (as a lead in to next week's discussion on free will). Here are some resources to get you started!

"Quantum Mechanics and Chaos - Daniel Kleppner"
A 12 min Youtube video with MIT Professor Daniel Kleppner discussing the uncertainty principle, the "rediscovery" of chaos known as the butterfly effect, and "quantum chaology."

"An Introduction to Quantum Chaos"
A very in depth introduction, but if you've got the time, check it out. Jump to page 22 to skip the background and read up on the three types of quantum chaos.

"A Brief Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Chaos & Decoherence"
No joke, this is VERY brief. Click the "MORE INFO" link for the 14 page summary on Quantum Chaos that is the real introduction here. :)

"Chaos theory"
Wikipedia is never my first choice for sources, but hey, they did their homework on this one:

"Chaos: Classical and Quantum"
If all this stuff is tickling your fancy, you can get the details from some of the pioneers of the field with their free online book and on-demand courses:

Make sure to hit up at least one resource before Thursday, and we'll see you then!

Colloquium Series: Dr. Karen Jonscher

Please join us this Friday, Oct. 9th at 3PM in NC 3405 for the next installment in our colloquium series with UCD Physics alum Dr. Karen Jonscher! 

Spaceflight and Lipotoxicity – can our livers withstand a trip to Mars?


The spaceflight environment impacts many physiological systems, resulting in potentially serious consequences, particularly for longer duration space exploration. As use of the International Space Station is increased, and with the rise of commercial spaceflight and tourism, the systemic effects of microgravity must be carefully investigated to protect human health.  Although altered muscle and bone metabolism following spaceflight have been the subject of intense study, little is known about how the functioning of other major metabolic organs, such as liver, is transformed by spaceflight.  Our analysis of liver acquired from mice flown aboard STS-135, the final mission of the US Space Shuttle Atlantis, reveals novel changes in expression of liver genes and metabolites suggesting the potential for activation of cellular processes that may be early precursors of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).  Although the 13-day flight duration is too short for frank fibrosis to develop, we observed retinol loss plus changes in markers of extra-cellular matrix remodeling, raising the concern that much longer duration exposure to the space environment may result in progressive liver damage.  Our provocative results point toward risks astronauts may face on long-duration space exploration, such as a mission to Mars.


Dr. Karen Jonscher is a Denver native and began her scientific career in the UC Denver Physics Department.  Interested in spaceflight, she transferred to Boulder and majored in Engineering Physics with the idea of going to graduate school in Aeronautical Engineering.  However, her love of physics won out and following the advice of her mentors, she followed the pioneers west to California and pursued a PhD in Applied Physics at CalTech.  There she was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Leroy Hood, who was seeking to build an interdisciplinary department of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Washington.  She joined his group and moved to Seattle where she pioneered cutting edge mass spectrometry hardware and software that became standard proteomics platforms.  Karen realized there was a gap between the mass spectrometrists who understood how to analyze samples and the biologists who understood the problems. During her postdoctoral studies at National Jewish Health and in Boulder, and subsequently as a faculty member at the Anschutz Medical Campus, she worked to fill that gap by directing a proteomics core facility, engaging in many productive collaborations with a variety of researchers, including a group interested in the effects of spaceflight on liver health.  Recently, Dr. Jonscher transitioned into biomedical research, where she is using multi-‘omics techniques to understand the role of maternal exposure to fat on offspring metabolic health, and is continuing her spaceflight-related work.

Hi everybody! Hope your weekend went well. Just wanted to let you know about a free speed-reading and memory retention class for all Metro students being held by Iris Speed Reading Classes.

Here's the link to register, but check it out quickly, as classes are filling up quickly...

One tonight 10/5 at 5:00-5:45pm
Wed, 10/7 and Mon,10/12 both at 5:00 as well.
There's a memory retention class being held on Thur, 10/15 5:00-5:30 as well.

Have a great Monday!