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Hear the latest news about everything from quantum computers to astrophysics, all straight from scientists at the University of Maryland. Relatively Certain is produced by the Joint Quantum Institute and hosted by a rotating cast, featuring Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards and Sean Kelley. Episodes from Quantum Conversations, a prior series focused entirely on quantum physics, will remain available under the new name.

Relatively Certain Joint Quantum Institute

    • Naturwissenschaften

Hear the latest news about everything from quantum computers to astrophysics, all straight from scientists at the University of Maryland. Relatively Certain is produced by the Joint Quantum Institute and hosted by a rotating cast, featuring Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards and Sean Kelley. Episodes from Quantum Conversations, a prior series focused entirely on quantum physics, will remain available under the new name.

    The Secrets Atoms Hold, Part 1: Search for Dark Matter

    The Secrets Atoms Hold, Part 1: Search for Dark Matter

    There’s a big unsolved mystery in physics: The cosmic balance sheet for matter in our universe just doesn’t add up. Galaxies all over space move as though they are much heavier than they appear. Scientists postulate that they are full of stuff we cannot see, stuff that they call dark matter.To figure out what that stuff might be, scientists have turned their attention to atoms, which are familiar, well-understood, and in abundant supply right here on Earth. Atoms have regular heartbeats that can be measured extremely precisely in experiments, and some theories about dark matter suggest that its interactions with normal matter might change the frequency of this telltale ticking. Checking whether atoms ever skip a beat can tell us whether dark matter is present, and it might even reveal that things we’ve come to think of as constant—like the speed of light or the charge of the electron—are actually changing ever so slightly over time.In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina Genkina sits down with JQI Adjunct Fellow Marianna Safronova, a physics professor at the University of Delaware, and JQI Fellow Charles Clark, an adjunct professor of physics at UMD and a fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to talk about how precision measurements with atoms might shed some light on matter that’s otherwise dark.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare, and Emily Edwards. Music featured in this episode includes Picturebook by Dave Depper, Future You by Chad Crouch, Surge and Swell by Pictures of the Floating World, and The Beauty of Maths by Meydn. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud or Spotify.

    • 15 Min.
    Donuts, Donut Holes and Topological Superconductors

    Donuts, Donut Holes and Topological Superconductors

    Topology—the mathematical study of shapes that describes how a donut differs from a donut hole—has turned out to be remarkably relevant to understanding our physical world. For decades, it’s captured the hearts and minds of physicists, who have spent that time uncovering just how deep the connection between topology and physics runs. Among many other things, they’ve unearthed a prediction, born of topology, for a new particle with promising applications to quantum computing.In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina Genkina sits down with JQI Fellow Jay Sau, an associate professor of physics at UMD, and Johnpierre Paglione, a professor of physics at UMD and the director of the Quantum Materials Center. They take a trip back to the 1980s, when the story of topology in physics began, and arrive at a recent discovery by Paglione and his collaborators of a (possible) topological superconductor.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare, and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper, Frequency Decree, Chad Crouch and Scott Holmes. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud or Spotify.

    • 16 Min.
    Labs IRL: A Craving for Code

    Labs IRL: A Craving for Code

    Software just might be the unsung hero of physics labs. In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina sits down with JQI postdoctoral researcher and programming aficionado Chris Billington to talk about his passion project—a piece of experimental control software that’s gaining popularity in labs here at the University of Maryland and around the world.The tool, called labscript, is a testament to the strengths of open source programming. It was originally developed by Billington in collaboration with Philip Starkey, Martijn Jasperse, Shaun Johnstone, and Russell Anderson in the labs of Lincoln Turner and Kristian Helmerson at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.Billington would like to dedicate this episode to Shaun Johnstone, who passed away while it was in production.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare, and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper and Podington Bear. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. You can find it on iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud. Relatively Certain and the Joint Quantum Institute do not intend to endorse the products discussed in this podcast.

    • 14 Min.
    Taming chaos with physics and AI

    Taming chaos with physics and AI

    In many situations, chaos makes it nearly impossible to predict what will happen next. Nowhere is this more apparent than in weather forecasts, which are notorious for their unreliability. But the clever application of artificial intelligence can help reign in some chaotic systems, making them more predictable than ever before.In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina sits down with Michelle Girvan, a physics professor at the University of Maryland (UMD), to talk about how artificial intelligence can help predict chaotic behavior, as well as how combining machine learning with conventional physics models might yield even better predictions and insights into both methods.Girvan collaborated with several colleagues at UMD on these chaos-taming projects, including physics professor Edward Ott, mathematics professor Brian Hunt, physics postdoctoral researcher Zhixin Lu, physics graduate students Jaideep Pathak and Sarthak Chandra, and physics undergraduate students Alexander Wikner and Rebeckah Fusol.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper, David Hilowitz, Blue Dot Sessions and Scanglobe. "Lorenz Attractor" is used courtesy of Michelle Wilber. Prints are available for purchase at FineArtAmerica.com. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it on iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud.

    • 15 Min.
    Black holes: The ultimate cosmic whisks

    Black holes: The ultimate cosmic whisks

    Chaos. Time travel. Quantum entanglement. Each may play a role in figuring out whether black holes are the universe’s ultimate information scramblers.In this episode of Relatively Certain, Chris sits down with Brian Swingle, a QuICS Fellow and assistant professor of physics at UMD, to learn about some of the latest theoretical research on black holes—and how experiments to test some of these theories are getting tantalizingly close.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards and Dina Genkina. It features music by Dave Depper and Podington Bear. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it on iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud. 

    • 9 Min.
    Life at the edge of the world

    Life at the edge of the world

    What's it like living and working in Antarctica? Upon returning from a five-week trip to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, UMD graduate student Liz Friedman sat down with Chris and Emily to chat about her experience. In this episode, Friedman shares some of her memories of station life and explains how plans at the pole don't always pan out.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards and Dina Genkina. It features music by Dave Depper. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it on iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud.

    • 12 Min.

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