Spring 2015,  PHY 598 Graduate Seminar

AMO and Condensed Matter Physics


Meeting Days and Times: Instructors:
We 2:30-4:30 pm
Room P-129

Dominik Schneble, A-106, Office hours: tbd

Mengkun Liu B-105, Office hours: tbd

Marivi Fernadez-Serra, B-139, Office hours: tbd

Seminar schedule:
Jaunary 28 February 4
February 11
February 18
INITIAL MEETING SELECT TOPIC [first meetings w/ instructors]
February 25
March 4
March 11
March 18 [spring recess]



March 25
April 1
April 8
April 15

April 22
April 29
May  6

 tbd tbd
course webpage: http://ultracold.physics.sunysb.edu/Courses/PHY598-15.Spring/
Check regularly for updates
  • 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 (Powerpoint or pdf) 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.

To use the projctor in the seminar room, you should bring your own laptop computer, borrow one from a friend, or sign out one of the "loaner" laptop computers from Joe Feliciano in the Instructional Lab Room, A-131, during normal working hours. You can practice your talk 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 a USB stick. A pull-down projection screen is available for displaying the projected image.

You must make an appointment to meet with your instructor (as assigned) 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:
Topics are available from the APS online journal "Physics" (http://physics.aps.org/), which highlights a selection of papers from the Physical Review journals. Note that there is a separate category for AMO physics, while topics in condensed-matter physics are distributed over several categories. Topics chosen have to be from the past 12 months.

Choose a topic by February 4, and enter your choice into the online document for which Prof. Schneble will email you a link

Choice of topics will be first come – first served.  Two students may not choose the same topic (note that some of the topics may be closely related and therefore may count as the same).

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. Any suspected instance of academic dishonesty will be reported 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/

Email to your University email account is an important way of communicating with you for this course. For most students the email address is ‘firstname.lastname@stonybrook.edu’, and the account can be accessed here: http://www.stonybrook.edu/mycloud. *It is your responsibility to read your email received at this account.* For instructions about how to verify your University email address see this: http://it.stonybrook.edu/help/kb/checking-or-changing-your-mail-forwardingaddress-in-the-epo . You can set up email forwarding using instructions here: http://it.stonybrook.edu/help/kb/setting-up-mailforwarding-in-google-mail . If you choose to forward your University email to another account, we are not responsible for any undeliverable messages.

See the policy statement regarding religious holidays at http://www.stonybrook.edu/registrar/forms/RelHolPol%20081612%20cr.pdf. Students are expected to notify the course professors by email of their intention to take time out for religious observance. This should be done as soon as possible but definitely before the end of the ‘add/drop’ period. At that time they can discuss with the instructor(s) how they will be able to make up the work covered.

If you have a physical, psychiatric/emotional, medical or learning disability that may impact on your ability to carry out assigned course work, you should contact the staff in the Disability Support Services office [DSS], 632-6748/9. DSS will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation of disability 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 website http://www.sunysb.edu/ehs/fire/disabilities.shtml

Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the University Police and the Office of University Community Standards any serious disruptive behavior that interrupts teaching, compromises the safety of the learning environment, and/or inhibits students’ ability to learn. See more here: http://www.stonybrook.edu/sb/behavior.shtml