Fall 2011,  PHY 598 Graduate Seminar

AMO and Condensed Matter Physics


Meeting Days and Times: Instructors:
We 4:00-5:30 pm
Room S-141

Dominik Schneble, A-106, Office hours: tbd

Xu Du, B-103, Office hours: tbd

Yue Hao, BNL, Office hous: tbd

Seminar schedule:
August 31 September 7 September 14 September 21
      von Steinkirch (#32)
September 28 [no class] October 5 October 12 October 19
  Owen (#22) K. Chen (#11) Corbett (#47)
  Kuerten (#20) Soto (#52) Prakash (#58)
October 26 November 2 November 9 November 16
Matsuyama (#59) Zeng (#51) Videbaek (#28) C. Chen (#10)
Krinner (#16) Hazoglou (#1) Bruvelis (#43) Madhavacheril (#37)
November 23 [no class] November 30 December 7
December 12 [Mon]
  Kellogg (#7) He (#42)  
  Chong (#41) Zhao (#55)  

  • Pick a topic within the first week (list of topics: see below)
  • Write an abstract and distribute it (see below)
  • Give a 30-minute presentation on the day assigned
  • Hand in slides to Prof. Schneble within one week after your talk (must be in pdf format)
  • Attend all seminars
  • Talk (contents and form) and abstract: 85%
  • Attendance and activity (asking the speakers good questions, participating in discussions): 15%.


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:

The following topics are taken from the last two years of the News & Views section of Nature. 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.  

A signup sheet will be posted on Prof. Schneble's office door, A-106. Within one week after the organizational meeting, fill in a topic number next to your name in the schedule, and cross out that topic on the list of topics. With permission of an instructor you may change your topic after signing up, but make sure to erase your name completely, so that somebody else wanting that topic may take it.

If your name is not already there, fill in your last name in one of the empty slots, but we will have no more than two talks per day. Choice of topics will be first come – first served.  Two students may not choose the same topic (note that some of the topics on the list may be closely related and therefore may count as the same)




  1/2010 1

Quantum physics: Trapped ion set to quiver

    2 Materials science: Membrane magic
  2/2010 3 Quantum measurement: A light touch
    4 Low-temperature physics: Surprise in the strong regime
  3/2010 5 Materials science: Hydrocarbon superconductors
    6 Solid-state physics: Golden ratio seen in a magnet
    7 Spectroscopy: Expanding versatility
    8 Materials science: Reconfigurable colloids
  4/2010 9 Quantum mechanics: the surf is up
    10 Exotic matter: Another dimension for anyons
    11 Information science: Guaranteed randomness
    12 Quantum measurement: A condensate's main squeeze
    13 Quantum physics: Atoms in chequerboard order
  5/2010 14 Nonlinear dynamics: Optoelectronic chaos
  6/2010 15 Condensed-matter physics: The emergent and hidden unveiled
    16 Quantum physics: Frustrated trio mimicked
    17 Nonlinear dynamics: Chaotic billiard lasers
    18 Quantum optics: Single-atom transistor for light
    19 Condensed-matter physics: Single skyrmions spotted
  7/2010 20 Atomic physics: X-ray laser peels and core atoms
    21 Superconductivity: Revelations of the fullerenes
    22 Quantum electrodynamics: A chink in the armour?
    23 Solid-state physics: U-turns strictly prohibited
    24 Condensed-matter physics: Bringing the noise
  8/2010 25 Spectrocopy: Attosecond prints of electrons
    26 High-temperature superconductivity: The benefit of fractal dirt
    27 Condensed-matter physics: The dance of electrons and holes
  9/2010 28 Laser science: Suckers for light
    29 Nanotechnology: Holes with an edge
    30 Quantum physics: Quantum leaps in the solid state
    31 Low-temperature physics: Paired in one dimension
  11/2010 32 Quantum computing: Quantum RAM
    33 High-temperature superconductivity: Mind the pseudogap
    34 Quantum physics: Entangled quartet
    35 Quantum optics: Particles of light
  12/2010 36 High-temperature superconductivity: How the cuprates hid their stripes
    37 Quantum physics: Hot entanglement
    38 Quantum technology: Electrons spin in the field
  01/2011 39 Quantum photonics: Entangled photons on a chip
    40 Condensed-matter physics: The conducting face of an insulator
    41 Quantum information: Entanglement on ice
  02/2011 42 Quantum control: Squinting at quantum systems
  03/2011 43 Atomic physics: Atoms playing dress-up
    44 Quantum mechanics: A light sounding drum
    45 High-temperature superconductivity: The secret of the hourglass
    46 Condensed-matter physics: Transitions on triangles
  04/2011 47 Atomic physics: Spin drag in a perfect fluid
    48 Atomic physics: A route to quantum magnetism
  05/2011 49 Metrology: Filtering noise with a quantum probe
    50 Quantum physics: Keep your feet on the ground
    51 Precision measurement: A search for electrons that do the twist
  06/2011 52 Quantum information: Entanglement as elbow grease
    53 Quantum physics: How to catch a wave
    54 Condensed-matter physics: Microscopy of the macroscopic
    55 Quantum physics: Correlations without parts
    56 Molecular physics: Matter-wave interference made clear
    57 Quantum optics: Atom gives light a subtle squeeze
    58 Quantum physics: Gentle measurement
  07/2011 59 Quantum physics: Spin flips with a single proton
    60 High–temperature superconductivity: The great quantum conundrum
    61 Quantum information: Microwave ion-trap quantum computing

DISABILITY SUPPORT SERVICES (DSS): If you have a physical, psychological, medical, or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services (631) 632-6748 or http://studentaffairs.stonybrook.edu/dss/.  They will determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate.  All information and documentation is confidential. ----------- Students who require assistance during emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability Support Services.  For procedures and information go to the following website:  http://www.stonybrook.edu/ehs/fire/disabilities

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty are required to report any suspected instance of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary.  For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website at http://www.stonybrook.edu/uaa/academicjudiciary

CRITICAL INCIDENT MANAGEMENT: Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of Judicial Affairs any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, and/or inhibits students' ability to learn