Journal Club: Indiana University Dept. of Physics 2007, 2006

Organized by Chuck Horowitz

Welcome to an informal physics journal club on Weds. at 12:15 in the Tea Room, Swain West 113.  All are welcome.   The Journal club presents recent results and covers a very wide range of topics.  Feel free to suggest topics, articles, or speakers or to volunteer to help present a talk. Please send comments via email to horowit "at" or phone 812 855-2959 or 812 855-0303. Presentations should be short and simple and not require much preparation.  Please let me know if you would like to be involved and give or help with a presentation! All are welcome!

FREE PIZZA will be available!  Please come for the food and for the good discussion.

Talks should be self-contained and accessible to a beginning Physics graduate student.


Spring 2007:

Jan 24 “Statistical mechanics in the brain”,  Aonan Tang and John Beggs

            Please see recent Nature article by Bialek’s group and an old classic article from 1982


Jan 31 Organizational meeting


Feb. 7 Ball Lightning (Denver Whittington)

Here's the original paper by a team at the B.P. Konstantinov St. Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics:
Here's additional work by another group:
Finally, here's a press release by the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics who are also studying this method:


Feb. 14 How to make diamonds (canceled)


Feb. 21 Functional magnetic resonance imaging (Yang Yang and Harold Ogren)

“Isolation of a Central Bottleneck of Information Processing with Time-Resolved fMRI” or why we can’t do two things at once.

Neuron 52, 1109–1120, December 21, 2006

Also see  for a nice popular write up on the article.

And here is a link to fMRI images of love


Feb. 28 A direct empirical proof of the existence of dark matter  (Bob Armstrong and John Urheim)


Gravitational lensing can reveal the distribution of dark matter.  For one colliding cluster of galaxies the distribution of dark matter is very different from the distribution of normal matter!

Merging galaxy cluster 1EO657-558.  The green contours are the distribution of dark matter as deduced from gravitational lensing while the other colors show the visible matter as seen in X-rays.



Mar 7 Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  (Helber Dussan)


The executive summary is at


Mar 14 Spring break


Mar 21 2006 Nobel Prize in chemistry and medicine (Lin Wang ) How genes are expressed into proteins.

The links to the animation and movies for this talk are
RNA interference


Mar 28 Nonequilibrium thermodynamics of small systems (Xilin Zhang and Ariel Balter)

Carlos Bustamante, Jan Liphardt, and Felix Ritort, July 2005 Physics Today
See also:
Felix RitortarXiv: cond-mat/0401311 v1
C. Jarzynski,  Phys. Rev. Lett.  78, 2690 (1997)
Denis J. Evancs; Debra J. Searles, Adv. Phys. 51, 1529 (2002)


Apr. 4 Electromagnetic cloaking  (Drew Iyengar)

"Metamaterial Electromagnetic Cloak at Microwave Frequencies" , D. Schurig, et al., Science 314, 977 (2006)

See also article in Physics Today, Feb., 2007   The movies are posted with captions at


Apr. 11 Instead of a normal journal club, there will be a special many-body seminar by

Prof. Raymond Bishop from the University of Manchester (England)
Confronting the quantum many-body problem: An overview of the coupled-cluster method and its applications in physics 


Apr. 18 Plasma wakefield accelerators (Chris Cox)


Apr. 25 The Pioneer Anomaly is a possible small non-gravitational acceleration of spacecraft in the outer solar system (Nikodem Poplawski)

M. M. Nieto, "The quest to understand the Pioneer anomaly", Euro Physics News - Nov/Dec 2006.
Some supplementary articles:
L. Iorio and G. Giudice, "What do the orbital motions of the outer
planets of the Solar System tell us about the Pioneer anomaly?",
New Astron, 11, 600 (2006).
(this I would mention too since it concludes that this anomaly cannot be purely gravitational)

J. D. Anderson, P. A. Laing, E. L. Lau, A. S. Liu, M. M. Nieto and
S. G. Turyshev, "Study of the anomalous acceleration of Pioneer 10 and 11",
Phys. Rev. D. 65, 082004 (2002).
(this is written by the team that reported the anomaly)


Fall 2006-2007:

Oct 4  Organizational meeting


Oct. 11 What happened to the “planet” Pluto?  (Denver Whittington, and Brian Serot)


Oct. 18 The 2006 Nobel prize in Physics (Mark Messier)

             The prize was awarded to J. Mather and G. Smoot for the discovery of fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background with the COBE spacecraft.            


Oct. 25 Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Need a student volunteer, and Harold Ogren) 



Nov. 1 Introduction to Cosmology (Xilin Zhang and Mike Berger)

            See lectures by M. Troidden and S. Carrol at


Nov. 8 Alternative energy sources (Helber Dussan, and Andy Bacher)

             See Ethanol can contribute to Energy and Environmental Goals, Science 311(2006) 506.

            And an editorial in Science by Steve Koonin


Nov. 15 Quantum computing (Liliana Caballero, and Gerardo Ortiz)

               Quantum Information processing  a hands on primer by Gerardo Ortiz et al


Nov. 29 Biophysics (Need a student volunteer, and Sima Setayeshgar)  *** POSTPONED ***

              The 2006 Noble Prizes in Chemistry and Medicine 


Dec. 6 The Axion search experiment PVLAS (Jay Tasson, and Hal Evans)

            Please see the very nice article in Nature: The First Axion?

            Here is the original Phys Rev Letters article: Observation of Optical Rotation Generated in Vacuum by a Magnetic Field

            See also Reconciling the CAST and PVLAS Results

Some other recent suggestions for topics:

Ball lightning

Is string theory at a dead end??


Medical physics and MPRI


Spring 2006:

Jan 11 organizational meeting

Jan 18  no journal club.  Informal discussion with Konopinski lecturer.

Jan  25 "Localization of short gamma ray bursts", Brandon Zerbe and Chuck Horowitz
             An origin for short gamma ray bursts unassociated with current star formation, Nature 438 (2005) 994.

Feb 1   "Intelligent design", Nick Remmes and Tim Londergan
             Power point talk slides on Intelligent design

Feb  8  "Black holes at the LHC", Rick Vankooten and Denver Whittington
              Probing quantum gravity effects at the LHC

Feb  15 "Prospects for fusion power" , Patrick Bowman
              A giant leap for fusion  see also ITER Web Site   and ITER site chosen

Feb  22 "Teaching Physics", Helber Dussan and Andy Bacher
              Transforming Physics Education by Carl Wieman and K. Perkins

Mar   1    TBA (volunteer wanted)

Mar   8     "The Equation of State of Dense Matter", Gang Shen
                 Hadronic Matter is Soft [PRL 96 (2006) 012302], see also Determination of the Equation of State of Dense Matter [Science 298 (2002) 1592]

Mar   15   No journal club, spring break.
Mar   22  "Interpretation of QM", Brian Serot + Student
Mar   29  "g-2 of the muon", Peng Guo
Apr   5  Atmospheric and ocean science, Liliana Caballero and Ben Brabson
Apr   12 Measuring Higher-Level QED, Nick Armstrong
Apr   19  TBA (volunteer wanted)
Apr   26  TBA (volunteer wanted) 

Fall 2005

                September 14, 2005    Bob Armstrong and Chuck Horowitz, gravity waves.
                         Limits on Gravitational Wave Emission From Selected Pulsars Using LIGO Data

                September 21, 2005    Denver Whittington and Jim Musser, a 2.1 Solar Mass Neutron Star and Dense Matter
                         A 2.1 Solar Mass Pulsar

                September 28, 2005    Matt Shepard and we need graduate student volunteer.  Article from Physics Today, Sept., 2005
                         Is Economics the Next Physical Science?

                October 5, 2005  Patrick Boman and Mark Messier, The detection of geoneutrinos

                October 12, 2005 Rick Van Kooten and Denver Whittington, pyronuclearfusion.
                         "Observation of nuclear fusion driven by pyroelectric crystal"

                October 19, 2005 Nick Armstrong and Chuck Horowitz, The discovery the large Kuiper Belt object 2003UB313.  It is larger then Pluto and almost 3 times farther from the sun.  Is it a planet?  What is a planet?  How did it get there, what else is in the outer solar system, and what does this imply for our and other solar systems?
                      Discovery of a Planet Sized Object in the Scattered Kuiper Belt

                October 26, 2005 Heechang Na, Recent Lattice QCD results
                      Recent Lattice QCD results for hadron masses and semileptonic decays

                Nov. 2, 2005 No journal club.

                Nov. 9, 2005 "How bacteria find their middle", Sima Setayeshgar and student
                     How bacteria find their middle, leading to precise cell division.

                Nov . 16, 2005 Chris Lavelle and Mike Snow, Using very small particles as a new kind of moderator for making very very cold (low energy) neutrons that are important for some fundamental physics experiments.
                      Nanoparticles as a possible moderator for an ultracold neutron source

                Nov. 23, 2005 No journal club, Thanksgiving.

                Nov. 30, 2005 Ben Brabson and student, Hurricane Intensity and global warming.
                     Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration and Intensity in a Warming Environment, Science 309 (2005) 1844

                Dec. 7, 2005 Andrei Kryjevski, "Cold Fermion Atoms"
                      Vorticies and superfluidity in a strongly interacting fermi gas

                End of semester


Thanks to all who came to the organization meeting Sep. 7.  People expressed interest in many topics.  Here are some of the topics that got alot of votes as indicated.
Biophysics (21)
Quantum computing (19)
Dark Matter (16)
Gravity waves (15)
WMAP (14)
Geophysics, Kamland, and geoneutrinos (14)
Physics and economics (14)
Cosmology, "How did it all begin?" (13)
Dense matter and neutron stars (12)
Nonlinear dynamics and chaos (12)
Global warming (12)
Teaching in physics (12)