Colloquia and Lectures

  • Physics Colloquium

The colloquia are weekly given by distinguished UChicago physicists and invited speakers. The presentation is aimed at all levels of physicists, from undergraduates to senior scientists.
Time: Thursday, 3:30pm CDT (recordings posted Friday)
Location: KPTC 106

Dear Physics Community,

After thoughtful consideration, we have decided not to have indoor receptions following our weekly Physics colloquium.  As a result, we will not have a reception for the remaining of the Autumn Quarter.   Though we look forward to these gatherings, the health and safety of our community is our highest priority.  We will continue to monitor the situation and, when possible, will resume our normal schedule.

Please note, our Physics Tea will continue on Tuesday/Thursday at 3pm in KPTC 206.  We’ll offer tea, coffee and take-away snacks.  We encourage you to bring your own mugs too!

Information for Colloquium Speakers

These lectures are annually given by outstanding alumni of the Department of Physics at the University of Chicago, in honor of William Zachariasen. Zachariasen is well known for his remarkable work on X-ray Diffraction in Crystals, but he was also an outstanding teacher. From 1945 to 1950 and again from 1955 to 1959, Zachariasen was the chair of the Physics department. His influence and effectiveness as department chair has positively affected many lives. He brought many distinguished physicists to Chicago, including Enrico Fermi, Ed Teller, Robert Christy, Walter Zinn, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, and Gregor Wentzel. Among those who earned PhDs at Chicago between 1945 and 1950 there were five who won Nobel prizes later in their careers.

These lectures are annually given by outstanding women physicists, in honor of Maria Goeppert-Mayer. Goeppert-Mayer was a theoretical physicist who developed the nuclear shell model while at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1959. She received the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics for her “discoveries concerning nuclear shell structure”.

The purpose of the biennial Inghram Lecture is to present lucid experimental demonstrations of some of the laws and processes of nature and the theoretical interpretation of these results to a broad community. The level of presentation is that of undergraduate students and/ or advanced high school students. It should seek to interest, explain and excite individuals, as well as enhance the understanding of selected basic laws of physics.

Colloquium Travel


Rooms for Department guests lodged at the Quadrangle Club are billed directly to the Department of Physics. (Government employees whose travel expenses must be paid by their agency may pay for their room and associated expenses using most credit cards or a personal check.) Reservations for colloquium speakers' accommodations have been made at the Quadrangle Club for each Wednesday and Thursday night throughout the academic year. Please report your lodging requirements to the colloquium chairman or to Shadla Cycholl as soon as possible and at least ten days before your colloquium. Mrs. Cycholl will cancel unnecessary reservations based on the information she receives; please don't make changes yourself as this has led to confusion in the past.

Travel Reimbursement

If you don't receive a UChicago travel log during your visit, please itemize your expenses in a letter with the following statement: "I certify that the amounts listed here are my true travel expenses and that they have not and will not be reimbursed by another entity." Then mail your original receipts and the signed log or letter with your home address to: Shadla Cycholl, Department of Physics, University of Chicago, 5720 South Ellis Avenue, KPTC 201, Chicago, IL 60637-1434. If you have any questions about travel reimbursement, please contact her at or 773-702-7006.

The UChicago Comptroller's Policies for Receipts

  • Transportation - Please send the original passenger coupon from your air ticket; for ticketless travel (electronic tickets), request a passenger itinerary and receipt when booking the trip and/or at check in. Comparable receipts are required for other common-carrier transportation. Coach airfare is the Comptroller's reimbursement standard.
  • Hotel - Physics colloquium speakers normally stay at the Quadrangle Club, and their expenses are billed directly to the Department. A speaker staying at another hotel may be reimbursed in accordance with the University's travel policy about lodging, which specifies receipt requirements and other details.
  • Taxi fares - Since multiple airport transfers are likely to exceed the Comptroller's $75 threshold, please send receipts for your home and Chicago airport taxis.
  • Private car (home airport transfers or local speakers) - Please indicate the number of miles; which will be reimbursed in accordance with the current IRS rate. If you pay to park your car at your home airport, please indicate the amount or enclose the receipt. Local speakers using the University parking structure at the southeast corner of 55th Street and Ellis Avenue may submit the charges on their travel logs. (Any speaker from outside the metropolitan area considering driving to Chicago should contact Shadla Cycholl in advance to determine reimbursement limits based on common-carrier transportation.)
  • Rental car - Because of road construction, restricted parking on campus, and other matters of (in)convenience, we strongly recommend that our visitors use taxis for their Chicago airport transfers. However, you may submit an original rental receipt in support of reimbursement of actual rental car charges not to exceed round-trip cabfare: $100 if you travel through O'Hare Airport, $50 if you travel through Midway Airport. Self-insured, the University does not reimburse for collision damager waiver (CDW) or liability insurance coverage.
  • Other Expenses - Original charge card receipt or other receipt is required for any item $75 or more.
  • Lost Receipts - Should you misplace any of your original receipts, please indicate this on your travel log (or in your cover letter) and add a statement that you will not receive reimbursement from any other source.

January 14, 2021 - Building Materials from microwave photons
David Schuster, University of Chicago

January 21, 2021 - A new world of topology in driven quantum systems
Michael Levin, University of Chicago

January 28, 2021 - Universality of Saturons: from black holes to solitons to quantum brains
Georgi Dvali, NYU/MPI

February 4, 2021 - Collison Course: Particle Physics meets Machine learning
Jesse Thaler, MIT

February 11, 2021 - AI for physics & physics for AI
Max Tegmark, MIT

February 18, 2021 - Beyond BCS: An Exam Model for Superconductivity and Mottness
Philip Philips, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

February 25, 2021 - Discovering New Physics with Cosmological Data Sets
Cora Dvorkin, Harvard University

March 4, 2021 - Viral Testing and the NFL: Two Stories about the Pandemic
Peko Hosoi, MIT

March 11, 2021 - Abstraction and Analogy in Natural and Artificial Intelligence
Melanie Mitchell, Santa Fe Institute

March 18, 2021 - A Study of Superorbital Modulation in Wind-fed Supergiant X-ray binaries
Joel Coley, Howard University

April 1, 2021 - New surprises from the gravitational path integral
Ahmed Almheiri, IAS

April 8, 2021 - Let There be Light: Unlocking the Secrets of the Universe with Neutrinos
Gabriel Orebi Gann, UC Berkeley & LBNL

April 15, 2021 - Searching for Dark Particles with Light and Quantum Technologies
Roni Harnik, Fermilab

April 22, 2021 - Dark Matter searches at ATLAS: tools, recent results, and synergies with other experiments
Caterina Doglioni, Lund University

May 6, 2021 - Listening to the Sound of Entanglement
John Teufel, NIST/ University of Colorado, Boulder

May 20, 2021 - The " Inner Necessity" of a Reluctantly Public Intellectual: James Franck as Leader of the Physics Community under Political Pressure
Richard Beyler, Portland State University

June 3, 2021 - Majorana or Dirac, That is the Question
André De Gouvêa, Northwestern University

June 10, 2021 - Characterization of oritavancin mode of action and Staphylococcus aureus peptidoglycan structure by solid-state NMR
Sung Joon Kim, Howard University

October 14, 2021 -Inghram Lecture: Tractor Beams and Related Topological Waves
David Grier, New York University

October 28, 2021 - First-Passage Processes in Physics and Beyond
Sidney Redner, Santa Fe Institute

November 11, 2021 - Next Generation Axion Dark Matter Searches
Andrew Sonnenschein, Fermilab

December 2, 2021 -Broken Symmetry Clues for Fundamental Physics
Matthew Reece, Harvard University

May 21, 2020 - Dynamical phase transitions at many-body exceptional points
Peter Littlewood and Vincenzo Vitelli, University of Chicago

June 4, 2020 - Open Questions in Particle Physics (Talk begins at 29:33)
Carlos Wagner, University of Chicago

June 18, 2020 - Grand Challenges in Accelerator and Beam Physics
Sergei Nagaitsev, University of Chicago

July 2, 2020 - A Physicist’s View of Learning
Arvind Murugan, University of Chicago

July 16, 2020 - A Physicst's Journey Through Entrepreneurship
Chooki Arinze, University of Chicago

July 30, 2020 - Light activated matter: from energy to quantum information science
Giulia Galli (PME+Chemistry)

August 13, 2020 - The Unexpected Bose fireworks
Cheng Chin, University of Chicago

August 27, 2020 -  Interferometric scattering enables label-independent feedback trapping of single nanoparticles
Allison Squires, University of Chicago (PME)

September 10, 2020 - Reverse engineering the astrophysical r-process with CARIBU
Guy Savard, University of Chicago

September 24, 2020 - Discovering the Highest Energy Neutrinos
Abigail Vieregg, University of Chicago

October 10, 2020 - When Photons Self-Organize: Laughlin Molecules and Mott Insulators
Jon Simon, University of Chicago

  • More Colloquia Videos are available here.
  • Archive of past colloquia (1993--2019) are available here