PHYS 10 Seminars

This seminar brings together Physics and Astronomy students in all years to hear invited speakers, view physics-related films, and learn about current research. These seminars will be uploaded to YouTube as available.

Quantum & Pop Culture - John Donohue

Quantum physics has taken its position with “rocket science” in pop culture as a shorthand for frighteningly complicated science. Quantum physics has also taken on a sort of magical connotation in fiction, with features like entanglement, superposition, and tunneling spurring imagination. But how much is joyful speculation, and how much is disregard for reality? And if it’s always seen as either magical or scary, how does that affect the perception of quantum science? In this talk, we’ll examine how quantum is portrayed in film, TV, games, and books, exploring their interpretation before diving into what the science actually says. We’ll see what Mass Effect has to say about entanglement, what Futurama has to say about superposition, what Transformers has to say about quantum computing, and more.

Photons in Space: the Next Frontier - Katanya Kuntz

These are the voyages of Canada's first Quantum Satellite Mission - the Quantum EncrYption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat). Its upcoming mission: To explore strange new physics, and enable secure communication across Canada and around the world. To seek out new discoveries and new ways to communicate... To boldly send photons where none have gone before!

The Canadian Space Agency is preparing to launch Canada’s first Quantum Science Satellite, QEYSSat, which will circle the Earth in low-earth orbit (500km above the ground), and measure individual packets of light (photons) sent from telescopes on the ground up to the satellite. QEYSSat will demonstrate secure communication across Canada using quantum laser links, and help us explore foundational concepts in physics that cannot be tested on Earth. But how do we catch a photon in the stars? I will discuss challenges we face when bridging the gap between Quantum and Space, and review the current Quantum Space Race, including work being done in Waterloo on QEYSSat.

Katanya Kuntz, PhD is a Research Associate at the Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo. She is the QEYSSat Science Team Coordinator for Canada’s first quantum satellite mission. She received her PhD in Electrical Engineering (Quantum Optics) from the University of New South Wales, Australia (2013), and BSc in Physics from the University of Calgary (2008). She works in the field of experimental quantum optics, such as generating quantum states of light using lasers and non-linear crystals to study quantum entanglement. She is active in promoting STEAM education via outreach in schools, the community, and volunteer work.

A Bench to Beside Journey - Peter Raaphorst

Spanning his career as a medical physicist, Dr. Raaphorst will cover his work from basic research in biology and medical physics on cancerous cells to studying treatments in pigs and progressing to treating cancer patients using specialized heating and radiation equipment.

Physics and Game Programming - Andy Chmilenko

From and still living in the GTA, Andy graduated from Waterloo in 2015 with a B.Sc in Physics with an Astrophysics specialization, as well as having an Advanced Diploma from George Brown College in 2013 for Game Programming. After graduating, he went on to work for Gameloft Toronto for just over 5 years on mobile games. Working on games such as Uno & Friends (eventually becoming Lead Programmer), and recently released LEGO Legacy: Heroes Unboxed, he worked on aspects varying from Graphics, Optimization, Engine Development, Servers and everything else that needed doing. More recently he has been working at Unity Technologies (the game engine company) in a role as a Graphics Developer and tech back-end development for an internal, unreleased project. Coming from learning the secrets of the universe at Waterloo, he now gets to use the things he's learned to solve problems in gaming, film, and streaming to name a few and gets to meet a ton of talented people in the industry and get to make things that thousands of people get to interact with day to day!

Tensors and Memes: An unorthodox approach to physics education - Andrew Dodson

Everyone likes to know what to expect when committing to a long-term goal. Through YouTube, Andrew Dotson has been communicating his experience to an audience of future Physicists to provide an accurate representation of what studying physics entails, while simultaneously pursuing his Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics. What started out as a means of documenting his experience as an undergraduate physics major eventually continued into grad school. He began diversifying his videos to include both comedic skits as well as lectures on higher-level topics in physics. In this PHYS10 Talk Andrew shares a few of these experiences and further discusses why he created a physics YouTube channel. (January 26, 2021)

Einstein: Rated E for Everyone - Richard Epp

What did Einstein discover about gravity? Well, it’s not what’s conveyed in the commonly peddled 'rubber sheet' analogy, that’s for sure! Einstein turned our understanding of gravity 'upside down': it’s precisely when the proverbial apple is in free fall that it’s NOT accelerating! Dr. Richard Epp gives a better analogy that’s dead simple and requires no math. Just an exercise ball and a piece of tape. Be prepared to think outside the box—way outside! (November 24, 2020)