Colloquium Calendar

Below is the colloquium calendar for the current semester. All in-person colloquia are located in Malott Hall, room 2074. Colloquium refreshments will be held at the main entrance to Malott (near room 2001) at 3:30 p.m. unless otherwise announced. Talk titles and abstracts can be found in the accordions below the calendar when available. Please visit the department YouTube Channel (external) for recordings of colloquia when available. 


Graduate students in the department can submit their attendance by filling out this form.

Spring 2024 Colloquium Schedule
February 26, 2024 Jian WangWichita StateZoom Link pw: 408508
March 4, 2024 Katia MatchevaUniversity of FloridaZoom Link pw: 408508
March 18, 2024 Omar SafirUniversity of KansasZoom Link pw: 408508
March 25, 2024 J.T. LavertyKansas State Zoom Link pw: 408508
April 1, 2024 Megan MansfieldArizonaZoom Link pw: 408508
April 15, 2024 Konstantin MatchevUniversity of FloridaZoom Link pw: 408508
April 22, 2024 Shun SaitoMissouri University of Science and TechnologyZoom Link pw: 408508
April 29, 2024 Dr. Kai XiaoOakridge National LabZoom Link pw: 408508

Spring 2024 Colloquia

Facile synthesis of two-dimensional (2D) materials to discover new compounds and stabilize metastable modifications


Two-dimensional materials remain one of the hottest research fields for a few decades due to their emerging physical properties existing in a single atomic layer or a few atomic layers. After intensive research efforts, 2D materials started to find their applications in our daily life, such as in batteries, electronics, or even bulletproof vests. To turn on the functionalities of 2D materials, controlled synthesis of 2D materials is the first and most crucial step. In general, high-temperature solid-state reactions, solution-phase growth, vapor deposition, molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) method, etc. were widely adopted to grow 2D materials. All these methods proved to be very successful to prepare 2D materials. But worth mentioning, many challenges such as requiring high energy, expensive instruments involved, easily producing thermodynamically stable phases, etc. remain and impede the broader applications of 2D materials. In this work, we will present facile synthesis methods for discovering a new phosphorus allotrope, violet-P11, via a low-temperature flux method and stabilization and growth of the metastable 6R-TaS2 phase. Violet-P11 is a large bandgap 2D semiconductor of Eg=~ 2 eV with good ambient stability. 6R-TaS2 is a metastable phase, which is not easily accessed by conventional synthetic methods.

Exoplanets exploration in the era of big data and artificial intelligence

Transmission spectroscopy is a powerful tool to decode the chemical composition of the atmospheres of transiting extrasolar planets. Our ability to reliably and meaningfully extract information about their physical structure and chemical composition from the observed spectra relies on the complete understanding of the mathematics of the problem, knowing the uncertainties of the observations, as well as, on our ability to handle large volumes of data associated with high-resolution spectra in the era of large planetary surveys such as the ESA Ariel mission. With close to 1000 planets scheduled for observation, Ariel presents us with a new type of challenge: how to quickly process, characterize and understand the exotic conditions on these planets.

In my presentation, I will explore various approaches that leverage astrophysical simulation tools producing vast datasets and harness the recent surge in machine learning algorithms that are fast, robust, and are capable of discerning patterns and correlations within complex parameter spaces. I will discuss the value of simulation-based inference, emphasizing its unique role in advancing our understanding of spectroscopic exoplanet data from both theoretical and observational perspectives.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Focus Group Discussion


We are excited to announce a focus group discussion as part of our ongoing initiative to improve the educational experience within the Departments of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The focus group is part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant initiative for our campus. This session is designed to gather insights and perspectives that will help us refine our teaching and learning strategies.

Key Discussion Areas:

  • Creating supportive and inclusive classroom environments.

  • Enhancing faculty support and resources for teaching and research.

  • Implementing cross-curriculum design for a holistic understanding of natural sciences and mathematics.

  • Shaping our vision for desired student learning outcomes and how to support their achievement.


Your experience and input are invaluable to us as we strive to foster an innovative and effective educational setting. This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the future direction of our departments and make a lasting impact on our academic community.

Improving Physics Assessments - Supporting Students and Instructors

Engaging students in the process of doing science is better for student learning than a focus on concepts. Unfortunately, assessing students' abilities to do physics is less common and more difficult than assessing conceptual understanding. Improving our assessments is vital to improving the education our students receive. This is why we developed the Three-Dimensional Learning Assessment Protocol (3D-LAP) to support undergraduate instructors interested in developing assessments that align with these ideas.  Building on this work, we have developed a new approach to designing Research-Based Assessments and used it to create the Thermal and Statistical Physics Assessment (TaSPA).  The TaSPA focuses on giving instructors control over what is assessed, and provides actionable feedback instructors can use to improve their course.  Together, this work represents an advancement in how we assess physics learning at a large scale and how the PER community can better support physics instructors.

Studying exoplanet atmospheres in the era of JWST

The recent launch of JWST is revolutionizing our understanding of exoplanet atmospheres by providing observations at an unprecedented level of detail. In this talk, I will discuss two methods for studying the atmospheres of exoplanets with JWST. First, I will discuss the potential for spectroscopic eclipse mapping with JWST. Spectroscopic eclipse mapping is the only observational technique which allows for simultaneous resolution of the atmosphere in three spatial dimensions: latitude, longitude, and altitude. I will present a spectroscopic eclipse map of the hot Jupiter WASP-18b, the first such map ever produced. Second, I will present a method of using JWST to quickly determine which M dwarf planets host atmospheres through secondary eclipse observations. I will give an overview of the application of this method in the first two years of JWST science, including new, unpublished results from my own program to observe the hot terrestrial planet Gl 486b in secondary eclipse.



Please follow this link for an archive of previous colloquia.