Women in Physics Canada

COVID-19 information for PI Residents and Visitors

Conference Date: 
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 (All day) to Thursday, July 21, 2011 (All day)
Scientific Areas: 


We invite applications to "Women in Physics Canada", a three day conference which will take place from Tuesday, July 19 to Thursday, July 21, 2011 jointly at Perimeter Institute and the Institute for Quantum Computing, Waterloo, Ontario.  This conference, aimed at undergraduates and early graduates, is intended to provide support to young women in physics and astrophysics, and to encourage them to continue in a career in science. The main component of the conference will be student presentations and we invite participants from all areas of physics, astrophysics and astronomy to present their research. There will also be several keynote lectures, opportunities for discussions with more senior physicists, and interactions with our invited speakers and local researchers.


We welcome participants at all stages of their career, however as the event is intended to benefit students, all contributed talks will be given by student participants.  Students who have not yet had the opportunity to complete a research project are also welcome. The conference will provide a forum for young female physicists to develop both presentation and informal discussion skills, and will also facilitate the creation of informal support networks between peers.  In so doing, this event will help women physicists at an early stage of their career develop the skills and confidence essential to their continuing success.


The under-representation of Women in Science has seen much research in recent years, the results of which are still inconclusive. Physics fares even worse than other sciences: in Canada, around 20% of physics degrees, at undergraduate and postgraduate level, are awarded to women. By focusing on skills important for any young physicist, as well as encouraging students to make connections with peers, we hope that this conference can make a difference to young female physicists, now and as their careers progress. The schedule will also include a panel discussion, so that participants can hear directly from more senior women about what a career in physics entails.


Invited Guests


Neta Bahcall, Princeton University
Melanie Campbell, University of Waterloo
Vicki Kaspi, McGill University
Fotini Markopoulou, Perimeter Institute
Michele Mosca, Perimeter Institute, Institute for Quantum Computing
Adriana Predoi-Cross, University of Lethbridge

Panel Participants

Melanie Campbell
Melanie is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Optometry at the University of Waterloo.
Melanie Campbell earned a BSc in Chemical Physics, an MSc in Physics and, from the Australian National University, a PhD in Applied Mathematics and Physiology. Following a CSIRO Fellowship at the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics in Canberra, Campbell returned to Canada with an NSERC University Research Fellowship.  
Melanie Campbell undertakes experimental and theoretical research in the optical quality of the eye and imaging of its structures. She studies eye development, eye disease and linear and nonlinear optics of the eye. Campbell is well known for her work on the gradient index optics of the crystalline lens, its changes with ageing and effects of visual experience on its refractive index distribution. She has developed and patented improved scanning laser and polarization methods for imaging the eye and biological tissues. She has collaborated in the first real-time images of cones at the rear of the eye, using adaptive optics. Recently she has discovered putative optical signals to eye growth which appear to follow a circadian rhythm. She uses ultrafast lasers to study highly localized light activated therapies for eye disease. Campbell is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK), holds an honorary Professional Physicist designation and is a former President of the Canadian Association of Physicists. Campbell was also a co-founder of Biomedical Photometrics Inc, now Huron Technologies. Campbell shared the 2004 Rank Prize in optoelectronics for her work cited as "an initial idea (that) has been carried through to practical applications that have, or will, demonstrably benefit mankind." 
Marianne Fedunkiw, York University (panel moderator)
Marianne’s first degrees were in Biology, English Drama, and Journalism. Before returning to graduate school, she wrote for The London Free Press, The Globe and Mail, and Maclean Hunter publications and was also part of the team that started the Discovery Channel Canada in 1995. She earned a PhD in history of medicine from the University of Toronto in 2000, and then went on to complete a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford. In addition to her academic work, Marianne also serves as a communications consultant, specializing in education and science. Most recently she has been working with QuantumWorks, Canada’s quantum information network, which has its' headquarters here in Waterloo.
Catherine Kallin, McMaster University
Catherine Kallin did her undergraduate studies in Physics and Mathematics at UBC and obtained a PhD in Physics from Harvard in 1984. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara before joining the faculty at McMaster University in 1986. She has spent sabbaticals at Bell Labs, Cornell, UBC, Stanford and KITP, has held Sloan, Steacie and Guggenheim Fellowships, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Catherine studies novel electron behaviour in materials, including superconductors, frustrated magnets and quantum Hall systems and currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Quantum Materials Theory at McMaster.
Vicky Kaspi, McGill University
Victoria Kaspi is a Professor of Physics at McGill University, where she holds the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology, and a Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics.
She received a B.Sc. (Honours) in Physics from McGill University in 1989, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Physics from Princeton University in 1991 and 1993 respectively.  From 1994-96, she was both a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a Visiting Associate at the California Institute of Technology.  Prior to joining the McGill faculty in 1999, Prof. Kaspi was an Assistant Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she also held a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for Space Research.
Prof. Kaspi's research centres on neutron stars: ultradense, rapidly rotating stars that are close cousins of black holes. Her research goals are to constrain fundamental physics by observing neutron stars, as their extreme physical properties are very interesting, yet cannot be simulated in a laboratory. To this end, Prof. Kaspi observes neutron stars using the largest and most powerful radio and X-ray telescopes in the world. Among the specific questions she is hoping to answer are how neutron stars are formed, how fast they can rotate, what are they made of, and what sort of magnetic fields can they harbour. These questions ultimately constrain fundamental issues such as the equation of state of dense matter, and the physics of supernova explosions, the source of the matter out of which we are made.
Prof. Kaspi has been the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the John C. Polanyi Award in 2011, a Killam Research Fellowship in 2010, the Prix du Quebec in 2009, the Harvard University Sackler Lectureship in 2009, election as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2008, and the Royal Society of Canada Rutherford Medal for Physics in 2007. This past year she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
Adriana Predoi-Cross, University of Lethbridge
Dr. Adriana Predoi-Cross received her combined Bachelor and Masters degree in Engineering Physics in 1990 from the University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania. Following a two year stage at the Institute of Optoelectronics, Bucharest, she joined the Physics Department of the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton as a Ph.D. student. In 1997 she obtained a Ph.D. in molecular spectroscopy and became a pdf in the Atmospheric Physics group at the University of Toronto, Toronto. She spent nearly three years working on spectroscopic projects with applications to remote sensing and developed long standing research collaborations with colleagues from Canada and abroad. New techniques of spectroscopic analysis have been developed from the experiences of these projects and were documented in peer-refereed publications. In 2000 Dr. Adriana Predoi-Cross joined the Product Line Management at JDS Uniphase, Ottawa where she acquired an unique blend of industrial experience and interfaced with both JDS customers and scientists from other fiber-optic companies, thus enhancing her project management and communication skills. Adriana returned to the academic world in 2003 as a sessional lecturer at University of Ottawa and Carleton University, Ottawa.  In July 2003 she joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge. The analysis of atmospheric trace gases, industrial process monitoring and controlling, and basic investigations of molecular structures are the main areas of research. Dr. Adriana Predoi-Cross is a recipient of a NSERC University Faculty Award.
Sarah Shandera, Perimeter Institute
Sarah Shandera received undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Arizona. She earned her PhD in Physics from Cornell University in 2006. Sarah was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Strings, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics at Columbia University before joining the Perimeter Institute as a postdoc in the cosmology group. She will be starting as an Assistant Professor of Physics at Pennsylvania State University in the fall of 2011. Sarah works on ideas for describing the very early universe, when high energy particle physics and gravity both played important roles. She also explores ways to test those ideas using observations of the universe as we see it today.
Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District
Ilse Treurnicht is the CEO of MaRS Discovery District, a leading innovation centre located in Toronto. She oversees both the development and operations of the MaRS Centre and its broad suite of entrepreneurship and innovation programs. Ilse has worked closely with the leadership of Toronto’s academic institutions and teaching hospitals to create MaRS Innovation, an integrated commercialization platform for 14 Toronto Institutions and served as the interim Managing Director for a year following its formal launch in early 2008.
Ilse joined MaRS in early 2005 from her role as President & CEO of Primaxis Technology Ventures, a start-up stage venture capital fund focused on the advanced technologies sector. Prior to Primaxis, Ilse was an entrepreneur with senior management roles in a number of emerging technology companies. She is an active member of Canada’s innovation community and has served on the boards of private companies, industry associations and research organizations. She has also been a member of several government advisory panels.
Ilse holds a DPhil in chemistry from Oxford University, which she attended as a Rhodes scholar. In 2009, Dr. Treurnicht was inducted into Women’s Executive Network’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Hall of Fame.


Aida Ahmadi, University of Calgary

Khulud Almutairi, IQIS University of Calgary

Razieh Annabestani, Institute for Quantum Computing

Amanda Bishop, University of New Brunswick Saint John

Golnoosh Bizhani, University of Calgary

Chloe Bureau-Oxton, Sherbrooke University

Fang Chen, McGill University

Hillary Dawkins, University of Guelph

Monika Deivat, University of Calgary

Lidia del Rio, ETH Zurich

Miriam Diamond, Carleton University

Sara Ejtemaee, Simon Fraser University

Xiaoxia Fan, University of Waterloo

Marjorie Gonzalez, University of British Columbia

Chen He, McGill University

Catherine Holloway, Institute for Quantum Computing

Natasha Holmes, University of British Columbia

Fayruz Huq, York University

Biljana Indovski, Brock University

Nikta Javanfar, Queen's University

Stacey Jeffery, Institute for Quantum Computing

Ann Kallin, University of Waterloo

Johanna Karouby, McGill University

Jiae Kim, University of British Columbia

Shelby Kimmel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Madeline MacGillivray, Acadia University

Chloe Malbrunot, UBC/TRIUMF

Andrea Marshall, University of British Columbia

Mercedes Martinson, University of Saskatchewan

Anna McCoy, Perimeter Institute

Emma McKay, University of Waterloo

Corey Rae McRae, University of Western Ontario

Corina Nantais, Queen's University

Yomna Nasser, University of Waterloo

Brittini Ogden, Wilfrid Laurier University

Jane Panangaden, McGill University

Miok Park, University of Waterloo

Cathryn Parsons, Acadia University

Aleksandra Petrova, Kasan (Volga Region) Federal University

Deanna Pineau, University of Victoria

Sepiedeh Pirasteh, Brock University

Vanessa Punal, Oakland University

Shohreh Rahmati, University of Lethbridge

Sophie Rochette, Sherbrooke University

Hoimonti Rozario, University of Lethbridge 

Tamara Rozina, University of Waterloo

Maitagorri Schade, Perimeter Institute

Shivani Sharma, Ryerson University

Marisa Smith, Mount Allison University

Erin Stephenson, University of Guelph

Maryam Taheri, Brock University

Francesca Vidotto, Centre de Physique Thorique Marseille

Di Wan, University of Calgary

Judy Wang, McGill University

Lucy Liuxuan Zhang, University of Toronto


Aida Ahmadi, University of Calgary

Determination of Total C18O Column Density in Orion KL

The large number of high-energy rotational lines of C18O, available via the Herschel Space Observatory, provides an unprecedented ability to model the total C18O column density in hot cores. Using the emission from all the observed lines (up to J=16-15) we use an automated algorithm to model all transitions simultaneously.  Under Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (LTE) assumptions and knowledge of source size, centroid velocity and line width, the model determines the values for total C18O column densities in 4 separate line-of-sight components of Orion KL known as the Extended Ridge, the Outflow/Plateau, the Compact Ridge, and the Hot Core. These values are determined to be: 2.5 X 10^16, 5.9 X 10^16, 1.8 X 10^16, and 6.0 X 10^16 cm^(-2) respectively. We also explain the difficulties in using the said algorithm to model optically thick molecules such as CO which require non-LTE modeling.


Khulud Almutairi, IQIS University of Calgary

Generating Two-Photon Entangled States in a Driven Two-Atom System

We describe a mechanism for a controlled generation of a pure Bell state with correlated atoms that involve two or zero excitations. The mechanism inhibits transitions into singly excited collective states of a two-atom system by shifting them from their unperturbed energies. The shift is accomplished by the dipole-dipole interaction between the atoms. The creation of the Bell state is found to be dependent on the relaxation of the atomic excitation. When the relaxation is not present or can be ignored, the state of the system evolves harmonically between a separable to the maximally entangled state. We follow the temporal evolution of the state and find that the concurrence can be different from zero only in the presence of the dipole-dipole interaction. Furthermore, in the limit of a large dipole-dipole interaction, the concurrence reduces to that predicted for an X-state of the system. A general inequality is found which shows that the concurrence of an X-state system is a lower bound for the concurrence of the two-atom system. With the relaxation present, the general state of the system is a mixed state that under a strong dipole-dipole interaction reduces the system to an X-state form. We find that mixed states admit of lower level of entanglement, and the entanglement may occur over a finite range of time. A simple analytical expression is obtained for the steady-state concurrence which shows that there is a threshold value for the dipole-dipole interaction relative to the Rabi frequency of the driving field above which the atoms can be entangled over the entire time of the evolution.


Neta Bahcall, Princeton University

The Dark Side of the Universe

What is the Universe made of?  Recent observations suggest surprising results: not only most of the matter in the Universe is dark and unconventional but, more surprisingly, the major component of the Universe may be in the form of 'dark energy' --  a form of energy that opposes the pull of gravity and causes the expansion of the universe to accelerate. By combining recent observations of clusters of galaxies, distant supernovae, and the cosmic microwave background, we find evidence for a Universe that has only 5%  'normal' baryonic  matter, 20% non-baryonic dark matter, and 75%  'dark energy'. The observations suggest a Universe that is lightweight, with only 25% of the critical mass-density needed to halt the Universal expansion,  and a geometry that is flat with no space curvature. The observations of the dark side of the Universe and their implications will be discussed. 


Chloe Bureau-Oxton, Sherbrooke University

Introduction to Spin Qubits in Lateral Quantum Dots

A quantum computer is a computer fabricated using quantum bits (qubits) that uses the quantum properties of matter (entanglement, superposition of states, etc.). Such a computer would allow certain calculations to be done exponentially more quickly than with a classical computer. An electron in a quantum box constitutes a perfect two-level system and can thus be used as a qubit. In my talk, I will give an introduction to lateral quantum dots, their fabrication process and how they can be used as qubits.


Melanie Campbell, University of Waterloo

A Physicist’s View of the Eye

Melanie will discuss how she has and collaborators have applied physics techniques to advance the understanding of the optics of the eye, and to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for eye diseases. Her work includes the application of inverse methods used to characterise optical fibres, waveguide theory applied to cone photoreceptors, sinusoidal analysis of circadian rhythms in the eye, adaptive optics, confocal and polarisation imaging used to improve images of the rear of the eye, characterisation of deposits by atomic force microscopy and drug excitation by two photons as a therapy for eye disease.

Using an Abel integral inversion technique applied in optical fibres, Campbell measured for the first time, the gradient refractive index variation in the crystalline lens of the eye. She and her collaborators demonstrated that this distribution can be modified by visual experience. Campbell and her collaborators have also shown that the optical quality of the lens varies with age and that the progressive loss of near vision is lens based. These findings inspired a new design for an IOL lens which replaces the living lens during cataract surgery.

In another example, adaptive optics, originally developed for astronomy, offers a powerful tool for localizing light within the eye. In turn, this has resulted in the correction of the optical imperfections of the eye, giving images of structures at the rear of the eye with improved resolution and contrast. 

In addition, adaptive optics can precisely localize light stimuli for therapeutic purposes within the eye. The precise localization of light energy in other at the retina is limited by the optics of the eye. Adaptive optics may enable precise light based therapies in the crystalline lens and retina of the eye.


Fang Chen, McGill University

QCD Confinement at Finite Chemical Potential and the Gravity Dual


Lidia del Rio, ETH Zurich

Thermodynamics and Information

Thermodynamics is, at heart, a probabilistic theory about the state of physical systems. Traditionally, however, our knowledge of systems is modelled implicitly: for instance, it is often assumed that we only have access to a few macroscopic parameters, like the temperature, energy, or volume of a gas, and that all states satisfying those parameters are equally likely. 

Another example is Maxwell's demon, an apparent violation of the second law: a demon operates the trapdoor between two boxes filled with a gas at the same temperature. He lets fast particles fly to the right box, cooling the left container and heating the right one at no work cost. The paradox comes from ignoring the demon's memory, a system where he stores his information about the speed of the particles, which has finite capacity. Eventually, he will have to erase his memory, an irreversible operation that costs him work.

Classical and quantum information theory have given us tools to model knowledge explicitly: we use them to analyse the security of cryptographic protocols, or how much information can be sent through a noisy channel, for example. In this talk, I will explore what happens when we apply information-theoretical tools to thermodynamics. In particular, I will discuss the implications of having quantum information about a physical system, with the example of erasure of information.


Monika Deivat, University of Calgary

On the Existence of a Residue Entangled State in eLOCC Transformations

Quantum entanglement is a valuable resource in the field of quantum information science and allows one to accomplish many information processing tasks. In quantum transformations an entangled state A can be converted to another state B through local operations assisted by classical communication (LOCC). It has also been demonstrated that there exist entangled states A, B, C such that state A cannot be converted to a state B, but A otimes C can be converted to B otimes C by LOCC, where C is a suitably chosen entangled state acting as the catalyst. This is known as entanglement assisted LOCC or eLOCC. I will show that for certain A and B it is possible to obtain an extra entangled state R, called the residue entangled state in an eLOCC transformation. That is to say A otimes C can be converted to B otimes R otimes C even though A cannot be converted to B by LOCC. I will discuss the necessary and sufficient conditions for such a transformation to occur.


Miriam Diamond, Carleton University

Exploring Dark Matter in a Leptophilic Two-Higgs-Doublet Model

A recent analysis of gamma rays from the centre of our galaxy has provided possible evidence for a dark matter annihilation signal, with the dark matter taking the form of low-mass WIMPs annihilating predominantly to taus. We study an extended Higgs model proposed to yield such a dark matter candidate. Scanning over parameter space in this model, we find suitable areas that feature fairly little fine-tuning. In favoured areas, the cross-sections for invisible decays of neutral Higgses are predicted to be too low for detection atcolliders. However, dark matter direct detection experiments are currently becoming relevant for constraining parameter space in the model.


Marjorie Gonzalez, University of British Columbia

Spatial Analysis of Positron Emission Tomography Images using 3D Moment Invariants

3D moment invariants (3DMIs) are mathematical spatial descriptors designed to be invariant to scaling, translation and rotation. We propose to characterize the spatial distribution of positron emission tomography (PET) images using 3DMIs. We have used 3DMIs to characterize the spatial distribution of PET brain images recorded from subjects with Parkinson's Disease (PD) and healthy controls. 3DMIs were found to accurately describe the 3D texture of PET images despite changes in the size and orientation of the participating subjects in the PET scanner. In addition, we were able to find differences in the 3DMIs of PD patients distinct from those of healthy volunteers. These changes suggest that disease-related variations in the spatial distribution measured using PET can be quantitatively described with the proposed method. Therefore, this method shows great promise to extract additional information from PET data with a wealth of potential applications to disease diagnosis, staging, treatment assessment and more. The quantification of the observed disease-related changes for PD subjects is currently under way.


Alina Chen He, McGill University

Searching for Neutron Stars in Disguise with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory

Neutron stars are the collapsed cores of massive stars that went under supernova explosions. They are found with high surface magnetic fields, rapid but steady rotation and high density comparable to that inside an atomic nucleus. In the past 20 years, many different classes of neutron stars have been discovered. One of the most enigmatic classes of neutron stars is the compact central objects (CCOs). Only seven of them have been discovered and their emission process are still not well understood. Three of them have magnetic field estimates which are found to be significantly lower than those of the other neutron stars of comparable age. I will describe our project searching for more of these mysterious objects with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. We compiled a list of eleven nearby weak-field neutron stars to look for CCO-like X-ray emission. Chandra carried short observations of six of them and no x-ray emission was found. The physical implications of the results will be discussed.


Catherine Holloway, Institute for Quantum Computing 

Quantum Key Distribution Over Active Telecom Fibres

Quantum Key Distribution is a form of public-key cryptography where the security comes from the unique properties of quantum mechanical systems: entanglement and the no-cloning theorem, rather than computational complexity. With increased adoption of fibre optic networks, it may be possible to implement QKD in parallel with classical data traffic. Many research projects have demonstrated QKD over fibre optic networks at the same wavelengths as existing network traffic. These projects require sophisticated noise cancellation due to wave mixing between quantum and classical signals, as well as having to use complex non-silicon based photodiodes. Our research uses lower wavelengths for QKD over active telecom fibres to avoid these problems.  Entangled lower-wavelength photons are combined with telecom wavelength laser signals carrying a large amount of traffic, and passed through single mode telecom fibres. We show that data bandwidth usage has a negligible effect on the quantum bit error rate (QBER) and visibility for distances up to 6km. We find key rates of 61 bits per second with QBER rates of 10% at 6km. This research demonstrates the simplicity and applicability of QKD to existing fibre optic infrastructure in corporate, government, and academic campuses.


Natasha Holmes, University of British Columbia 

Physics Education Research: Helping Students Become Better Scientists

Physics Education Research (PER) is a blossoming subfield of physics that is changing the way students become physicists. Our research involves the transformation of the lab portion of a first-year enriched physics course through the implementation of “invention activities:” discovery-learning activities that ask students to “invent” a solution to a problem before being taught the expert solution. The combination of invention activities and tell-and-practice methods has been shown to lead to better student learning and performance on transfer tasks, as compared to tell-and-practice methods alone (Roll, Aleven & Koedinger, 2009; Schwartz & Martin, 2004). In addition, scaffolding invention activities using domain-independent metacognitive prompts can support students through the invention process, leading them to attend to more features of the domain and reason at a deeper level (Roll, Holmes, Day & Bonn; submitted). Our current study further investigates this theory by expanding the treatment across a four-month term and using faded levels of scaffolding. Using interactive learning environments (ILE), five inventions in the domains of statistics and data-analysis were given to students and various assessments were administered to measure performance on domain-level knowledge and “invention skills.” I will present preliminary results from this and previous studies.


Biljana Indovski, Brock University

Structural, Electronic, Magnetic, and Thermal Properties of Pb2-xLaxCrO5

Pb2CrO5 have received considerable interests due to their potentials applications in UV radiation measuring devices, visible and UV light photodetectors. In this research we are examining the structural, electronic, magnetic, and thermal properties of polycrystalline Pb2-xLaxCrO5. Samples have been prepared using a solid state solution technique. The temperature dependent magnetic measurements reveal a transition in the Pb2CrO5 and La doped samples near 300 K. To understand the possible origin of such transition, we measured thermal properties using Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) technique. These results reveal an endothermic transition close to 285 K in the parent sample and in La doped sample. We have also measured the temperature dependent resistance in 300K-900K range.


Nikta Javanfar, Royal Military College of Canada

Detection of Magnetic Fields in Cool Supergiants

Magnetic fields of stars can provide insight on their structure and evolution. These magnetic fields can be detected by exploiting the Zeeman effect. The theory behind detection and the method of Lease Squares Deconvolution will be described and preliminary results will be presented.


Stacey Jeffery, Institute for Quantum Computing

A Brief Introduction to Quantum Cryptography

By exploiting the properties of quantum mechanical systems, two parties can achieve cryptographically secure communication in a manner not possible in a purely classical world, through the process of quantum key distribution. In this talk, I will briefly introduce the field of cryptography and explain one of the most fundamental applications of quantum mechanics to cryptography.


Johanna Karouby, McGill University

Radiation Instability for a Matter Bounce

In this talk I will discuss an alternative to infation models, namely non singular bouncing models.Their advantage is to supress both the transplanckian problem and the big bang singularity. It  also gives a scale invariant power spectrum in the case of amatter bounce.First we will study a toy model, the non singular matter bounce. Then we will try to see what is the effect when we add upradiation through a gauge fields. To do that we add up a coupling term between the scalar fields  and the gauge fields to see if it destroys the bounce or not.


Vicky Kaspi, McGill University

Neutron Stars and Fundamental Physics

Neutron stars are collapsed remnants of massive stars.  One form of neutron star, pulsars, produce clock-like radio pulses, a result of their rotation combined with a misalignment of their rotation and magnetic axes.  These pulses can be used in a variety of experiments in  fundamental physics, including tests of gravity theories, constraining the properties of  supranuclear density matter, and gravitational wave detection.  In this talk, I will describe  pulsar properties and explain how the above experiments are carried out, as well as show  interesting recent results.


Jiae Kim, University of British Columbia

Neutrino Mass and Oscillation

In the standard Model, neutrinos are massless. But now we know that is not true any more. Neutrino has mass even though it is too small. And it leads neutrino flavor mixing. In other words, one flavor neutrino can transform to the other flavor neutrino.  I will give theoretical back ground and brief idea how to measure this phenomena in real experiment.


Shelby Kimmel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Super-polynomial Speed-up for a Quantum Computer on Boolean Trees

We can prove that for certain problems, quantum computers do better than classical computers. I will introduce the query complexity framework, which lets us compare classical and quantum computers, and then describe a problem where quantum computers do better than classical. The problem I will discuss is evaluating boolean trees with a promise on the input.


Chloe Malbrunot, University of British Columbia, TRIUMF

Measurement of the Pion Branching Ratio at TRIUMF : A Sensitive Probe in the Search for New Physics

Study of rare decays is an important approach for exploring physics beyond the Standard Model (SM). The branching ratio of the helicity suppressed π → eυ decay, is one of the most accurately calculated decay process involving hadrons and has so far provided the most stringent test of the hypothesis of electron-muon universality in weak interactions. The branching ratio has been calculated in the SM to better than 0.01% accuracy to be R = 1.2353(1).10^4 .The PIENU experiment at TRIUMF, which started taking physics data in September 2009, aims to reach an accuracy five times better than the previous PSI and TRIUMF experiments so as to confront the theoretical calculation at the level of 0.1%. If a deviation from the SM branching ratio is found, “new physics” beyond the SM, at potentially very high mass scales (up to 1000 TeV), could be revealed. Alternatively, sensitive constraints on hypotheses can be obtained for pseudoscalar or scalar interactions, or on the mass and couplings of heavy neutrinos.So far, around five millions pion to electron decay events have been accumulated by the PIENU experiment. Data taking will continue in 2011 to increase the statistics to the 10^7 level.The presentation will outline the physics motivations, describe the apparatus and techniques designed to achieve high precision and present the status of the analysis.


Fotini Markopoulou, Perimeter Institute

Creating Spacetime

Our understanding of the physical world at the most fundamental level is based on two theories:  quantum theory and general relativity.  They are impressively successful but only when each is considered on its own.  In situations where both play a role, we are reduced to puzzles and absurdity.  Hence the search for a quantum theory of gravity, the currently missing theory that will work sensibly in exactly these situations.  To the great frustration of researchers in this field, candidate quantum theories of gravity tend to produce more puzzles instead of answers.  We shall take a tour of some of the problems, focusing on the role of spacetime and causality.  We will consider the possibility that spacetime did not always exist but is instead emergent and explore how one can create a spacetime from a world with no notion of "here" and "there".


Mercedes Martinson, University of Saskatchewan

Density Functional Theory: A New Computational Approach for XAS of Solids


Anna McCoy, Perimeter Institute

Gamma Ray Bursts and the Principle of Relative Locality


Corey Rae McRae, University of Western Ontario

Exploring the Viscoelastic Properties of PAA Phantoms

A gel that has similar thermodynamic properties to human tissue is necessary for determining the safety of implanted medical devices during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). One particular gel recommended by the ASTM standard (F218209) is the polyacrylic acid (PAA) phantom. In this work, PAA mixtures were characterized by measuring viscosity (as a function of shear rate), electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and elastic and viscous moduli (as a function of frequency). Experiments compared samples with blend times between 30 seconds and 9 minutes, and measurements were taken over a period of weeks to document the aging process in the phantoms. Results suggest that 3 minutes or more of blending 500 mL quantities causes the sample to transform from a gel (which has a well-defined yield stress) into a viscous liquid. The same transformation was observed in a single sample over a  period of two weeks. These results are important because the current ASTM standard does not specify blending time in detail. It is therefore possible that variability in the gel preparation methods could affect the results of experiments to determine the safety of implanted medical devices. These results will help to strengthen the ASTM standard procedure in future revisions. 


Michele Mosca, Perimeter Institute

Introduction to Quantum Information Processing

Information processing is a physical process, and thus the powers and limitations of an information processing device depend on the laws of physics. The “classical” framework for physics has long been replaced by quantum physics. Over the past century we have moved from observing quantum phenomena to controlling quantum phenomena. Remarkable progress has been made in recent years. 

Very importantly, the quantum features of nature lead to qualitatively different and apparently more powerful models of computation and communication. Quantum computers can efficiently solve problems that were previously believed to be intractable. Quantum information also enables communication and cryptographic tasks that would otherwise not be possible. I will introduce quantum information processing and summarize the state of the art.


Corina Nantais, Queen's University

Measurement of the Radiopurity of Acrylic for the DEAP-3600 Dark Matter Experiment

The DEAP-3600 single-phase liquid argon detector at SNOLAB will increase the sensitivity to spin-independent WIMP-nucleon scatters by two orders of magnitude, allowing for the possibility of dark matter particle detection. The spherical detector will contain 3600 kg of liquid argon in an 85 cm radius acrylic vessel surrounded by 255 photomultiplier tubes (PMTs). After a collision between a WIMP and an Ar-40 nucleus, the scintillation light from the recoiling nucleus will be collected by PMTs. The separation of background events from WIMP events is critical. Detector materials contain levels of uranium and thorium, and these decay chains contain alpha, beta, and gamma decays.  Alpha particles near the surface of the acrylic vessel are perhaps the most difficult background. A fraction of the alpha energy, or the recoiling nucleus from the alpha decay, could misreconstruct in the fiducial volume and result in a false candidate dark matter event. The maximum concentrations in the DEAP-3600 acrylic are 0.3 ppt, 1.3 ppt, and 1.1 x 10^-8 ppt for U-238, Th-232, and Pb-210, respectively. The concentrations of U-238, Th-232, and Pb-210 in the bulk acrylic will be measured by vaporizing acrylic, collecting the residue, and counting the contamination in a high-purity germanium well detector.


Miok Park, University of Waterloo

Deformations of Lifshitz Holography in Higher Dimensions

(n+1)-dimensional Lifshitz spacetime is deformed by logarithmic expansions in the way to admit a marginally relevant mode in which z is restricted by n=z+1. According to the holographic principle, the deformed spacetime is assumed to be dual for quantum critical theories, and then thermodynamics of generic black holes in the bulk describe the field theory with a dynamically generated momentum scale $Lambda$. This is a basically UV-expanded theory considered in higher dimensions of the Lifshitz holography from the previous works. By finding the proper counterterms, the renormalized action is obtained and by performing the numerical works, the free energy and energy density is expressed in terms of $T/Lambda^2$.


Cathryn Parsons, Acadia University

MnSi Epitaxial Thin Films: Structure and Magnetic Properties

Epitaxial MnSi grown on Si (111) offers new opportunities in the development of spin-dependent transport in helical magnets. Helical magnets are a class of noncollinear structures that have shown promise as a material for spin-dependent electron transport studies.The helical magnets are of particular interest in spintronics because in these magnets the electron spins spiral about a particular crystallographic direction, this property can allow for control over electron spin. Many interesting magnetic properties can be studied with the combination of thin-film heterostructures and helical magnets. Through use of x-ray diffraction, SQUID magnetometry and transmission electron microscopy, we have observed the structural and magnetic properties of crystalline MnSi thin-films to determine the effects of strain on the magnetic properties. As a result, we have found that epitaxially induced tensile strain results in an increase in the unit-cell volume, and that the atypical strain relaxation behaviour is correlated with a magnetic response.The talk will give a brief outline of the theory/techniques used, and the results gathered.


Aleksandra Petrova, Kasan (Volga Region) Federal University

Quantum Vacuum Polarization Effects and the Estimation of the Stabel Vacuum Lifetime in the Field of a Superheavy Necleus

The vacuum polarization effects in superstrong Coulomb and laser fields are considered from the point of view of the generalized quantum dynamics formalism. The vacuum decay time in superstrong electromagnetic field is discussed.


Adriana Predoi-Cross, University of Lethbridge

Progress and Challenges for Canadian Women Physicists

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of women in all academic levels in physical and applied sciences in Canada. Despite the modern feminist movement the number of women in physics continues to be less than the number of men, particularly in higher and leadership positions. As there is no rational reason for women to trail men in achieving new scientific discoveries or excel in academic teaching, the cause of this is attributed to existing gender biases in the perception and practice of science.  Thus increasing the number of women in physics as well as emphasising their relevance in physics has emerged as a women’s issue.  At the national level, the overall climate for women physicists both in academia and industry has improved significantly over the past decade.  Balancing a family and career is not easy, and in particular not for academics or physicists.  Even though a number of universities have programs, leaves, and flexibility of teaching duties in place for parents, balancing the demands of a university or governmental/industrial research position and a newborn child can be very challenging. This talk will cover a variety of topics from the importance of starting outreach activities at a young age, to national physics associations’ role in addressing women’s issues and the challenges facing spouses who are both pursuing academic careers.


Vanessa Punal, Oakland University

A Perturbation Solution Of The Mechanical Bidomain Model

This research focuses on finding analytical solutions to the mechanical bidomain model of cardiac tissue. In particular, a perturbation expansion is used to analyze the equations, with the perturbation parameter being inversely proportional to the spring constant coupling the intracellular and extracellular spaces. The results indicate that the intracellular and extracellular pressures are not equal, and that the two spaces move relative to each other. This calculation is complicated enough to illustrate the implications of the mechanical bidomain model, but is nevertheless simple enough to solve analytically. The zeroth-order of the perturbation expansion reveals that the intracellular and extracellular displacements are equal, thus making it unnecessary to account for either space on an individual basis. Yet, in the first-order of the expansion we see a shift and the intracellular and extracellular displacements are unequal. One application of the calculation is to the mechanical behavior of active cardiac tissue surrounding an ischemic region. Also, a hypothesis for the physical meaning of the pressure inequality is if this inequality is held for an extended period of time it may cause fluid to flow across the cell membrane and in the tissue.


Shohreh Rahmati, University of Lethbridge

Vacuum Polarization in Quantum Gravity

The objective of our project is to study Hawking radiation which is produced from vacuum polarization in the vicinity of the horizon.


Sophie Rochette, University of Sherbrooke

Introduction to Spin Control in Lateral Quantum Dots and Micro-Magnets Characterization

Development of quantum computing promises, among other things, improvement of scientific computation performance. Indeed, a computer exploiting the proprieties of quantum mechanics would allow for computation power exponentially greater than a classic computer.We develop double lateral quantum dots with micro-magnets to control spin orientation of electrostatically confined electrons. In this talk, an introduction to the mechanisms used in the spin control will be given. Then, methods used to characterize the micro-magnets will be described. Finally, we will present the results obtained with Hall effect devices for the micro-magnets.


Hoimonti Rozario, University of Lethbridge

Spectroscopic Study of Atmospheric Trace Gases

Molecular spectroscopy offers the tools and instrumentation needed to unveil the structure and characteristics of molecules that are found within planetary atmospheres. In order to do this we examine the frequencies of light that these molecules either absorb or emit. It is the fine structure of these absorption or emission features that give us information about their physical state.. In our lab we use a near-infrared source to probe various molecules and examine absorption features and their dependency on both temperature and pressure.  In this study we plan to retrieve the N2-broadened widths, pressure-induces N2-shifts and N2-broadened line mixing coefficients for twenty two transitions in the P branch of the ν1+ν3 band of acetylene mixed with nitrogen. The gas mixture has been selected to be 10% acetylene and 90 % nitrogen. We will record spectra using a 3 channel tuneable diode laser spectrometer. The system contains a temperature controlled single pass absorption gas cell of fixed length, a room temperature cell filled with pure acetylene gas used  to create a reference spectra and a third background cell. The system is controlled by LabVIEW software which will be discussed.Simulations have been performed on the v1+v3 band using data obtained from the HITRAN database and will be presented. . From the simulations we determined that we can measure twenty two lines in the P-branch of this band.  These lines are all within the interval of P(1)-P(31). For each line we will record spectra at pressures of 100, 250, 400 and 500 torr and for each pressure we plan on measuring 7 different temperatures ranging from -60 to 60C. From these recorded spectra we hope to obtain line parameters using a nonlinear least squares fitting routine. The routine will allow for use of several different line shape models. This study will be the first one over a range of temperatures.


Marisa Smith, Mount Allison University

Using Antimatter to Aid in the Design of Safer more Efficient Nuclear Power Plants

We are doing research on the chemical reaction of the hydrogen atom with water under sub- and supercritical conditions.  Supercritical water is water above the critical point (373.9 C and 220.6 bar).  This reaction is one of the most important reactions in the next generation of nuclear reactors called Gen IV, where supercritical water will be used as a coolant.  We have been studying this reaction by the SR experimental technique.  SR is the only technique that is able to work under these extreme conditions to provide kinetics data and it can be a billion times more sensitive than other techniques.  TRIUMF, the particle accelerator in Vancouver is the facility that we used to collect data.


Maryam Taheri, Brock University

Impact of Gd-site Doping on Magnetic, Transport and Specific Heat Behavior of Multi-Ferroic Gd2CuO4

The magnetic properties of ceramic samples of Gd1.98R0.02CuO4 R= Ca Sr Th were studied and compared with Gd2CuO4. The results showed weak ferromagnetic ordering in all samples. We observed two magnetic ordering temperatures in the heat capacity measurement a sharp peak at TN(Gd) 6.5 K that can be attributed to the Neel temperature of Gd3+ ions and the second transition temperature at about 20 K that suggested to the magnetic interactions of Gd-Cu. The third anomaly was seen at TN(Cu)=280 K in susceptibility measurements. Investigations indicated that 0.02% mole substitution for Gd was not much effective on the transition temperature of compounds although we  bserved significant change in the magnitude of heat Capacity susceptibility and magnetization of samples as well as their conductivities.


Francesca Vidotto, Centre de Physique Thorique, Marseille

What's the Entropy of Gravity?

I present a proposal, originally motivated by a result in graph theory: the entropy function of a density matrix naturally associated to a simple undirected graph, is maximized, among all graphs with a fixed number of links and nodes, by regular graphs.I recover this result starting from the Hamiltonian operator of a non-relativistic quantum particle interacting with the loop-quantized gravitational field and setting elementary area and volume eigenvalues to a fixed value. This operator provides a spectral characterization of the physical geometry, and can be interpreted as a state describing the spectral information about the geometry available when geometry is measured by its physical interactionwith matter. It is then tempting to interpret the associated entropy function as a genuine physical entropy: I discuss the difficulties of this interpretation and I present a possible viable definition of quantum-gravitational entropy.


Di Wan, University of Calgary

Scattering Kernel for Aperture Modulated Total Body Irradiation

The goal of Total Body Irradiation (TBI) is to deliver a uniform dose of radiation to the entire body, to destroy cancerous cells.  Since the human body is not uniform in either density or thickness, it is difficult to deliver a uniform dose.   A novel, Aperture Modulated, Total Body Irradiation (AMTBI) technique was introduced by researchers at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre to address this problem. The AMTBI technique reduces the dose deviation along the midline in the longitudinal direction to less than 5%, as compared to 15% with conventional TBI. This improvement in dose homogeneity is achieved by dynamically changing the apertures of the Multi-Leaf Collimator (MLC) according to the radiative area’s radiological depth. The dose at a point in a medium can be analyzed in two parts: primary and scattered components.  Up to now, the calculation did not include the scattered components.  By analyzing experimental data, I determined scattering kernels to optimize the field sizes using MLC.  This will allow us to deliver a more homogenous dose at the midline.


Xiaoya Judy Wang, McGill University

Theory of Heavy-Hole Spin Echoes

Heavy-hole spin states have been proposed as a robust qubit candidate. Nevertheless, the coupling of the hole spins to nuclei in the surrounding medium likely limits hole-spin coherence and has, until very recently, been overlooked. We describe the spin decoherence of a heavy-hole in a semiconductor quantum dot, subject to spin echo pulses. We do so both analytically and numerically for an experimentally realistic number (10^4) of nuclear spins. Including the (previously neglected) nuclear Zeeman term in the Hamiltonian, we observe novel effects uniquely characterizing the decoherence mechanisms under study. In particular, we find a nontrivial dependence of the decay on the applied magnetic field, as well as novel predictions for motional narrowing and envelope modulation, which could significantly extend the hole-spin memory time in near-future experiments.


Lucy Liuxuan Zhang, University of Toronto

Mathematics and Topological Quantum Computation



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