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Seminars and Lectures

Physics seminars serve as a dynamic platform where researchers and scholars come together to exchange knowledge, discuss cutting-edge discoveries, and delve into the intricacies of the physical world.

Wednesday Seminar Series

Location and Time

Seminars are held on Wednesdays in 221 Kreger Hall at 4:25 p.m., unless otherwise noted.


Email Mandy Pettit for weekly seminar notifications.

Spring 2024 Seminar Schedule


Jan 31 | No Seminar, First Week of Class


Feb 7 | No Seminar

Feb 14 | No Seminar

Feb 21 | Pam Sooriyan, University College Dublin, Ireland

"Why So Few Women in Physics?"

Feb 28 | No Seminar, Student-Faculty Retreat


Mar 6 | Anil Patnaik, Wright-Patterson Air Force Institute of Technology

"Challenges for Building a Resilient Free-Space Quantum Network with Flying Qubits"

Mar 13 | Igor Fedin, University of Alabama, Department of Chemistry

"Enhanced Emission from the Bright Exciton and Locating the Dark Exciton in Asymmetrically Strained CdSe/Cd x Zn 1-x Se Quantum Dots"

Mar 20 | Robert Wilson, University of Dayton

"Using Light of Multiple Wavelengths and Structured Patterns to Accurately and Equitably Quantify Characteristics of Tissue Disease and Injury within Diverse Populations"

Mar 27 | No Seminar, Spring Break


Apr 2 (Tues.) | Priest Lecture, Christopher Monroe

Gilhuly Family Presidential Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics, Duke University
College Park Professor of Physics, University of Maryland
Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute and Joint Center for Quantum Computer Science
Co-Founder of IonQ, Inc.

"Quantum Computing with Atoms"

Apr 3 (KRG 319) | Steve Alexander, Associate Professor, Miami University Department of Physics

"What Will You Be Doing on the Afternoon of Monday, April 8, 2024?"

Apr 10 | No Seminar

Apr 17 | Kavir Chandriker, Wright-Patterson Air Force Research Laboratory

"Building Practical Solid-State Quantum Technologies"

Apr 24 | Geraldine Cochran, Ohio State University

"Identifying the Cultural Wealth of Physics Graduate Students in Bridge Programs"


May 1 | No Seminar

May 8 | No Seminar, Awards Presentation, 319 Kreger Hall


George C. Benson Memorial Lecture

george benson

The George C. Benson Memorial Lectures are in honor of a man whose memory lives with those whose lives crossed his. George spent the years 1960 to 1962 at Miami earning his Master's Degree in Physics. A native Ohioan, he attended public schools in Lodi, Ohio prior to entering Wittenberg College, class of 1958. For two years he taught high school physics, chemistry, and general science at Olmsted Falls, Ohio. His next two years in Oxford gained him the friendship and respect of faculty, fellow students, and others who knew him. His outstanding performance continued at the University of Michigan, where in December 1966 he earned his Ph.D. in Physics, his dissertation topic being "Mesons and Spectator Protons at 3.65 BeV/c." Three months later he died in an airplane crash which killed all aboard.

For years these lectures have brought distinguished speakers, including four Nobel Laureates, to the Miami University campus. The talks have been interdisciplinary in nature, showing the relationship of physics to other fields of human endeavor. They have ranged in subject from Henry Margenau's discussion of the interaction of physics and philosophy to discussions of the relevance of physics to music, medicine, and our environment. The public, as well as the university community, is encouraged to attend all talks.

If you would like to help continue this valuable lecture series, please send a contribution addressed to "Miami University Fund - George C. Benson Memorial Lectures."

Upcoming Benson Lecture
Alumna Shohini Ghose, Wilfrid Laurier University

Fall 2024

Past Benson Lectures

Christopher Jarzynski

2023, Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland

"Scaling Down the Laws of Thermodynamics"

Karen A. Kosiba

2019, Alumna, Atmospheric Scientist, Center for Severe Weather Research

"Into the Storm...Oh, the Places Mobile Rader Can Go!"

David J. Eicher

2018, Alumnus, Editor-In-Chief, Astronomy

"The New Cosmos: Astronomy's Ongoing Revolution"

Gregory P. Crawford

2017, President and Professor of Physics, Miami University

"Physicians and Physicists: The Power of Collaboration"

Stacy McGaugh

2016, Case Western Reserve University, Warner and Swasey Observatory

"Gravity and Cosmology a Century after Einstein"

Jeffrey Smith

2015, Alumnus, Space Biology Project Manager, NASA Ames Research Lab

"Space Biophysics: Accomplishments, Trends, Challenges"

Alan M. Nathan

2014, Professor emeritus, University of Illinois

"The Physics of Baseball: You can Observe a Lot by Watching"

Eric Cornell, Nobel Laureate

2013, National Institute of Standards and Technology, University of Colorado

"How symmetric is the electron? Looking for out-of-roundness of 10-15 femtometers"

Daniel P. Lathrop

2012, University of Maryland

"Laboratory Models of the Earth's Core"

Norman Salem

2011, Martek Biosciences Corporation

"What does physics have to do with nutrition, omega-3 fatty acids, and brain development?"

Craig Benson

2010, Wyle Laboratories, Inc

"Non-Destructive Testing: Applied Principles of Physics"

Gerald Smith

2009, Pennsylvania State University and Positronics Research, LLC

"Antimatter: History, Science and Opportunities"

Gregory Benford

2008, University of California, Irvine

"In Case of Abrupt Climate Shift, Break Glass"

E. Dan Dahlberg

2007, University of Minnesota

"Magnetism at the Nanoscale: A Voyeurs Tale"

Ramon E. Lopez

2006, Florida Institute of Technology

"The Science of Space Weather"

Lawrence M. Krauss

2005, Case Western Reserve University

"Einstein's Biggest Blunder?: A Cosmic Mystery Story"

Naomi J. Halas

2004, Rice University

"Nanoshells: Using Nanotechnology to harvest light for Biomedicine"

Robert M. Westervelt

2003, Harvard University

"Micro-electromagnets for the Manipulation of Magnetic Particles"

Bruce F. Griffing

2002, DuPont Photomask

"Physics and Technology of Integrated Circuit Lithography"

William D. Phillips, Nobel Laureate

2001, National Institute of Standards and Technology

"Almost Absolute Zero: The Story of Laser Cooling and Trapping"

Alan P. Boss

2000, Carnegie Institution of Washington

"Extrasolar Planets"

Charles M. Falco

1999, University of Arizona

"The Art and Science of the Motorcycle"

Carol Crannell

1998, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

"High Energy Solar Physics"

Joel Birnbaum

1997, Sr. VP of R&D and Director of Laboratories, Hewlett Packard

"Towards Pervasive Information Systems"

Evelyn T. Patterson

1996, United States Air Force Academy

"Using the World Wide Web for Teaching & Learning"

Bernard Vonnegut

1995, State University of New York at Albany

"Experimental Meteorology"

Richard E. Slusher

1994, AT&T Bell Laboratories

"Semiconductor Optical Microresonators"

Jens C. Zorn

1993, University of Michigan

"Fraud, Plagiarism, and the Integrity of Science"

Leon M. Lederman, Nobel Laureate

1992, University of Chicago

"Microscopes for Quarks: Telescopes for Galaxies"

Judy Franz

1991, West Virginia University

"Women in Science: What is the Problem and What can be Done?"

Richard Blankenbecler

1990, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

"Big Accelerators — Small Distances"

Ivan Schuller

1989, University of California at San Diego

"High Temperature Superconductors"

Michael Turner

1988, Fermilab

"The Early History of the Universe"

Arlo U. Landolt

1987, Louisiana State University

"On Stars, Galaxies, and Their Distances"

Pamela Surko

1986, AT&T Bell Laboratories

"Artificial Intelligence: Panacea of Fraud?"

C. Stuart Bowyer

1985, University of California at Berkeley

"Is Anybody Out There? The Search of Extraterrestrial Intelligence"

Alistair B. Fraser

1984, Pennsylvania State University

"The Rainbow Bridge"

John M. Puckett

1983, Los Alamos National Laboratory

"Nuclear Test Ban and Nuclear Arms Reduction"

Solomon Gartenhaus

1982, Purdue University

"A Renaissance of Modern Man: The New Cosmology"

Frank E. Jamerson

1981, General Motors Research Laboratories

"Physics Research in Industry"

Marlan O. Scully

1980, University of Arizona

"General Relativity, Cosmology, and Laser Technology"

Samuel J. Williamson

1979, New York University

"Evoked Neuromagnetic Fields of the Human Brain"

Thomas K. Cureton, Jr.

1978, University of Illinois

"Application of the Laws of Mechanics to Physical Education and Sports Medicine"

Tung H. Jeong

1977, Lake Forest College

"Laser Holography: A Demonstrated Lecture"

E. T. S. Walton, Nobel Laureate

1976, University of Dublin

"Nuclear Physics — From Phosphorescence to Particle Accelerators"

Allan R. Sandage

1975, Hale Observatories

"Did the World Begin?"

John R. Cameron

1974, University of Wisconsin

"Medical Physics: Converting an Art to a Science"

Alvin M. Weinberg

1973, Director, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

"Social Institutions and Nuclear Energy"

Arthur H. Benade

1972, Case Western Reserve University

"New Woodwind Screeches and Baroque Oboes"

Joseph P. Allen

1971, Astronaut, NASA Manned Spacecraft Center

"Is the Moon a Heavy Electron?"

James R. Heirtzler

1970, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

"Earth Science Comes of Age"

Henry Margenau

1969, Yale University

"The Western World and the Sacred Cow"

George B. Arfken Scholar-In-Residence Lecture

george arken

George B. Arfken was a professor of physics from 1952 to 1983, and chair of the department from 1956 to 1972. Widely known for his college text, Mathematical Methods for Physicists, George was loved by his colleagues and generations of students. He endowed this fund in his name and that of his late wife, Carolyn, as a tribute to the closeness the couple felt to members of the physics department and their families, and to recognize her efforts on behalf of the department.

This program provides extended visits by distinguished physicists, providing significant opportunities for faculty and students to interact with the scholar. During the campus stay, the Scholar-in-Residence participates in one or more seminars with faculty and students, delivers a presentation to the university community, and works with undergraduate and graduate students on research and related topics.

If you would like to support this program, please send a contribution addressed to "Miami University Fund - George and Carolyn Arfken Physics Scholars-in-Residence Program."

Past Arfken Lectures

Ivan Deutsch

2023, University of New Mexico

Public Lecture: "Breaking Heisenberg – Controlling the Quantum World"

Physics Seminar: "Quantum Computing with Neutral Atoms"

Short Courses: "Open Quantum Systems and Quantum Measurement," & "Continuous Measurement and Quantum Trajectories"

David Cubero

2018, University of Seville, Spain

Public Lecture: "Brownian ratchets: from statistical physics to bio and nano-motors"

Physics Seminar: "Brownian Ratchets: From Brownian Motors with Hidden Symmetries to Sub-Fourier Sensors"

Short Courses: "Introduction to Stochastic Processes," & "Vibrational Mechanics in an Optical Lattice"

Carlton M. Caves

2017, University of New Mexico

Public Lecture: "What the #$*! do We (k)now!? About Quantum Mechanics"

Physics Seminar: "Gravitational-Wave Detections: What Did LIGO Detect, and When and How Did It Do It?"

Short Courses: "Quantum Metrology: An Information-Theoretic Perspective"

Shane Stadler

2015, Louisiana State University

Public Lecture: "Magnetic Refrigeration...the New Cool"

Physics Seminar: "Giant Multicaloric Effects in a NiMnSi-based Alloy"

Short Courses: "Studying Magnetic Materials with Light-Sensitive Techniques, parts 1 & 2"

Ergin H. Ahmed

2015, Temple University

Public Lecture: "Quantum Optics and Precision Measurements with Diatomic Molecules"

Physics Seminar: "Study and Control of Molecular States Using the Autler-Townes Effect"

Short Courses: "Analysis of Emission and Absorption Spectra of Diatomic Molecules," & "Modeling of Quantum Optics Experiments Using Density Matrix Formalism"

Noureddine Melikechi

2013, Delaware State University

Public Lecture: "Exploring Martian Rocks and Soils With Single Laser Pulses: A Wonderful Journey of Remote Analysis of a Planetary Surface"

Physics Seminar: "Correcting for variable laser-target distances of ChemCam LIBS measurements using emission lines of Martian dust spectra "

Short Courses: "Photo-thermal laser spectroscopy and applications," & "Early detection of ovarian cancer using laser induced breakdown spectroscopy"

Daniel Steck

2011, University of Oregon

Public Lecture: "Chaos, Quantum Mechanics, and Cooling Atoms with Laser Light"

Physics Seminar: "Controlling the Motion of Ultracold Atoms"

Short Courses: "Optical Lattices and the Casimir-Polder Effect," & "Dynamics Under Continuous Position Measurements"

Evgeny Tsymbal

2011, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Public Lecture: "Magic of Magnetism: From Compass Needle to Data Storage"

Physics Seminar: "Ferroelectric Tunnel Junctions: Controlling Electron and Spin Transport by Ferroelectric Polarization"

Short Courses: "Physics of Spin Dependent Tunneling," & "Electronically-Driven Magnetoelectric Phenomena at Interfaces"

Julio Gea-Banacloche

2009, University of Arkansas

Public Lecture: "Fate and the Physicists"

Physics Seminar: "Energy Restraints for Quantum Computation"

Short Courses: "Entanglement in Cavity QED," "The Giant Kerr Effect," & "Quantum Information Processing"

Eugenia Etkina

2009, Rutgers University

Public Lecture: "Physics on Rollerblades"

Physics Seminar: "Can Students Develop Scientific Habits of Mind in an Introductory Physics Course"

Josef C. Frisch

2008, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Public Lecture: "Colossal Microscopes: The Technology of Accelerators"

Physics Seminar: "Electron Beam Diagnostics for SLAC Linac Coherent LIght Source"

Wei Zhong

2007, Harvard Medical School

Public Lecture: "Light and Molecules: Directions in Biomedical Imaging"

Physics Seminar: "The Quest to Beat the Resolution Limit of Light"

Short Courses: "Biomedical Microscopy" & "Photodynamic Therapy and Photodiagnosis"

Mark D. Havey

2005, Old Dominion University

Public Lecture: "Order, Disorder and Discovery"

Physics Seminar: "Mesoscopic Electromagnetic Dynamics in Atomic Gases"

Short Courses: "Precision Measurements with Quantum Beat Spectroscopy" & "Electromagnetically Induced Transparency in Atomic Physics"

Derek C. Richardson

2004, University of Maryland

Public Lecture: "Asteroids: Shedding New Light on Old Rocks"

Physics Seminar: "Gravitational Reaccumulation in the Solar System"

Short Course: "Numerical Methods in Planetesimal Dynamics"

Henry I. Smith

2004, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Public Lecture: "The Role of Lithography in Nanoscale Science and Engineering"

Physics Seminar: "Lithography: the Key Enabler of Current and Future Research and Industries"

Short Course: "The Art & Science of Electron-Beam Lithography

William E. Evenson

2002, Brigham Young University

Public Lecture: "The Discovery of Radioactivity and Randomness in Nature"

Physics Seminar: "Size-Dependent Melting of Indium Nanostructures"

Short Course: "PAC with Time-Dependent Perturbations"

Luis A. Orozco

2002, SUNY Stony Brook

Public Lecture: "Waves and Particles in Quantum Optics"

Physics Seminar: "Spectroscopy of Laser Cooled Francium"

Short Course: "Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics"

Eric E. Fullerton

2000, IBM-Almaden Research Center

Public Lecture: "Bits of the Future: What's in Store for Hard Drives?"

Physics Seminar: "Physical Limits of Magnetic Storage"

Short Course: "Magnetic Properties of Materials"

Joseph R. Priest Lecture on Interdisciplinary and Transformative Science

joseph priest

Joseph Priest was a long-time faculty member of the Department of Physics at Miami University.  He earned his master’s degree in physics from Miami University and his physics Ph.D. degree from Purdue University.  After a couple of years working for IBM in New York, Joe joined Miami in 1962.  During his 45 years as a member of the physics faculty he built a reputation as a brilliant physicist and a beloved educator.  He was an educational pioneer and one of the first to introduce personal computers into the physics teaching laboratory, and he was the mastermind and curator of the legendary Culler Hall Foucault Pendulum. He received many honors while at Miami, among others,  he was one of the first recipients of the College of Arts & Science Distinguished Educator Award, he was Sigma Xi Researcher of the Year, he was named Miami University Distinguished Professor, and was awarded the Benjamin Harrison Medallion, Miami’s most prestigious award.

Alumnus Brant Watson (BA ’64, MA ’65) was Joe’s first graduate student at Miami; Brant endowed this lecture series to honor his advisor who set the foundation of Brant’s later success.  After earning his physics degrees from Miami, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in physics from Florida State University. Following a postdoc at FSU, he became involved in medical research at the University of Miami and eventually became Professor of Neurology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Brant is convinced that complicated medical problems can be mitigated with direct physical methods, and his success at the University of Miami proves him right.


Past Priest Lectures

Christopher Monroe

2024, Gilhuly Family Presidential Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics, Duke University
College Park Professor of Physics, University of Maryland
Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute and Joint Center for Quantum Computer Science
Co-Founder of IonQ, Inc.

"Quantum Computing with Atoms"

Robert Brown

2023, Institute Professor & Distinguished University Professor, Case Western Reserve University

"From Elementary Particle Physics to Helping Save Lives and Teach Better"
Alternatively, "Bob Dylan, Sheldon Cooper, Radiation Zeros, FormerSstudents, our Big Green Book, Teaching in "Cycles", Malaria, Flashcards, RF Startup Company, Met Operas...Oh My!"

Stephen Quake

2022, Lee Otterson Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, Stanford University
Co-President, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub
Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University

"The Cell is a Bag of RNA"

Samarendra Mohanty

2019, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of NanoScope Technologies

“Optical Gene Delivery, Stimulation and Activity Detection in Retina for Restoring Vision”

Brant D. Watson

2017, Professor Emeritus of Neurology and Biomedical Engineering, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

“Physical Thinking and Improbable Innovation in Biomedical Research”

Department of Physics

217 Kreger Hall
500 E. Spring St.
Oxford, OH 45056