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November 16th School of Science Colloquium

Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
Location: Science Complex P-101

Knots and the Universe
Cindy Curtis, Department of Mathematics & Statistics

It has been understood for several decades that all 3-dimensional spaces such as our universe can be built by operations involving knots. Very recently our understanding of 3-dimensional spaces has improved dramatically, as long-conjectured connections to geometry have been established. In this talk, we explain how knots can be used to generate all 3-dimensional spaces and discuss ongoing research efforts to understand the relationship between these knot constructions and the geometry of the resultant 3-dimensional spaces.


Color as an optical switch: controlling light at the nanoscale

David McGee, Department of Physics

The fusion of materials science with photonics has enabled remarkable advances in optoelectronic technology, from fiber optics to smartphone displays.  Next-generation devices may emerge from electronic graphene-based materials functionalized with optically-switchable azobenzene molecules. We will discuss how common optical concepts (e.g. index of refraction, polarization) can be leveraged to probe molecular arrangements of azobenzenes on graphene nanotubes.  These laser-based experiments probe molecular surface coverage and dipolar orientation, and are essential in a materials design process that includes chemists, physicists, and engineers.