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Relatively Certain

Joint Quantum Institute

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Relatively Certain

Relatively Certain

Joint Quantum Institute

1
Followers
7
Plays
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About Us

Hear the latest news about everything from quantum computers to astrophysics, all straight from scientists at the University of Maryland. Relatively Certain is produced by the Joint Quantum Institute and hosted by a rotating cast, featuring Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards and Sean Kelley. Episodes from Quantum Conversations, a prior series focused entirely on quantum physics, will remain available under the new name.

Latest Episodes

Donuts, Donut Holes and Topological Superconductors

Topology—the mathematical study of shapes that describes how a donut differs from a donut hole—has turned out to be remarkably relevant to understanding our physical world. For decades, it’s captured the hearts and minds of physicists, who have spent that time uncovering just how deep the connection between topology and physics runs. Among many other things, they’ve unearthed a prediction, born of topology, for a new particle with promising applications to quantum computing.In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina Genkina sits down with JQI Fellow Jay Sau, an associate professor of physics at UMD, and Johnpierre Paglione, a professor of physics at UMD and the director of the Quantum Materials Center. They take a trip back to the 1980s, when the story of topology in physics began, and arrive at a recent discovery by Paglione and his collaborators of a (possible) topological superconductor.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare, and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper, Frequency Decree, Chad Crouch and Scott Holmes. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it oniTunes,Google Play,Soundcloud or Spotify.

16 MINAPR 9
Comments
Donuts, Donut Holes and Topological Superconductors

Labs IRL: A Craving for Code

Software just might be the unsung hero of physics labs. In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina sits down with JQI postdoctoral researcher and programming aficionado Chris Billington to talk about his passion project—a piece of experimental control software that’s gaining popularity in labs here at the University of Maryland and around the world.The tool, called labscript, is a testament to the strengths of open source programming. It was originally developed by Billington in collaboration with Philip Starkey, Martijn Jasperse, Shaun Johnstone, and Russell Anderson in the labs of Lincoln Turner and Kristian Helmerson at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.Billington would like to dedicate this episode to Shaun Johnstone, who passed away while it was in production.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare, and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper and Podington Bear. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. You can find it oniTunes,Google PlayorSoundcloud. Relatively Certain and the Joint Quantum Institute do not intend to endorse the products discussed in this podcast.

14 MINFEB 3
Comments
Labs IRL: A Craving for Code

Taming chaos with physics and AI

In many situations, chaos makes it nearly impossible to predict what will happen next. Nowhere is this more apparent than in weather forecasts, which are notorious for their unreliability. But the clever application of artificial intelligence can help reign in some chaotic systems, making them more predictable than ever before.In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina sits down with Michelle Girvan, a physics professor at the University of Maryland (UMD), to talk about how artificial intelligence can help predict chaotic behavior, as well as how combining machine learning with conventional physics models might yield even better predictions and insights into both methods.Girvan collaborated with several colleagues at UMD on these chaos-taming projects, including physics professor Edward Ott, mathematics professor Brian Hunt, physics postdoctoral researcher Zhixin Lu, physics graduate students Jaideep Pathak and Sarthak Chandra, and physics undergraduate students Alexander Wikner and Rebeckah Fusol.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper, David Hilowitz, Blue Dot Sessions and Scanglobe. "Lorenz Attractor" is used courtesy of Michelle Wilber. Prints are available for purchase at FineArtAmerica.com. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it oniTunes,Google PlayorSoundcloud.

15 MIN2019 SEP 6
Comments
Taming chaos with physics and AI

Black holes: The ultimate cosmic whisks

Chaos. Time travel. Quantum entanglement. Each may play a role in figuring out whether black holes are the universe’s ultimate information scramblers.In this episode of Relatively Certain, Chris sits down with Brian Swingle, a QuICS Fellow and assistant professor of physics at UMD, to learn about some of the latest theoretical research on black holes—and how experiments to test some of these theories are getting tantalizingly close.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards and Dina Genkina. It features music by Dave Depper and Podington Bear.Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it oniTunes,Google PlayorSoundcloud.

9 MIN2018 OCT 8
Comments
Black holes: The ultimate cosmic whisks

Life at the edge of the world

What's it like living and working in Antarctica? Upon returning from a five-week trip to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, UMD graduate student Liz Friedman sat down with Chris and Emily to chat about her experience. In this episode, Friedman shares some of her memories of station life and explains how plans at the pole don't always pan out.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards and Dina Genkina. It features music by Dave Depper.Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it oniTunes,Google PlayorSoundcloud.

11 MIN2018 MAY 31
Comments
Life at the edge of the world

Physics at the edge of the world

Deep within the ice covering the South Pole, thousands of sensitive cameras strain their digital eyes in search of a faint blue glow—light that betrays the presence of high-energy neutrinos.For this episode, Chris sat down with UMD graduate student Liz Friedman and physics professor Kara Hoffman to learn more about IceCube, the massive underground neutrino observatory located in one of the most desolate spots on Earth. It turns out that IceCube is blind to the highest-energy neutrinos, and Friedman is heading down to the South Pole to help install stations for a new observatory—the Askaryan Radio Array—which usesradio waves instead of blue light to tune into the whispers of these ghostly visitors.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper and Podington Bear.Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute o...

10 MIN2018 MAR 9
Comments
Physics at the edge of the world

Ancient timekeeping with a modern twist

Trey Porto, aNISTphysicist and Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, spends his days using atoms and lasers to study quantum physics.But even outside of the lab, he views the world as one great physics problem to tackle.So one morning when he spotted some sunlight dancing across his wall, he couldn’t help but dive in and calculate its movements. He then took his project a step further and began constructing a sundial. Emily sat down with Porto to hear about his clock-making hobby and how today’s time-keeping differs from its ancient counterparts.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Emily Edwards and Chris Cesare. It features music by Dave Depper and Poddington Bear. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it oniTunes,Google PlayorSoundcloud.

10 MIN2017 DEC 21
Comments
Ancient timekeeping with a modern twist

The Nobel Prize: A LIGO Q&A

A little more than a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein worked out a consequence of his new theory of gravity: Much like waves traveling through water, ripples can undulate through space and time, distorting the fabric of the universe itself.Today, Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for decades of work that culminated in the detection of gravitational waves in 2015—and several times since—by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).Emily and Chris sat down with UMD physics professor Peter Shawhan, a member of the LIGO collaboration, to learn more about gravitational waves and hear a sliver of the story behind this year's Nobel Prize.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper. RelativelyCertain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Sta...

9 MIN2017 OCT 3
Comments
The Nobel Prize: A LIGO Q&A

Long live MATHUSLA

More than 300 feet underground, looping underneath both France and Switzerland on the outskirts of Geneva, a 16-mile-long ring called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) smashes protons together at nearly the speed of light. Sifting through the wreckage, scientists have made some profound discoveries about the fundamental nature of our universe.But what if all that chaos underground is shrouding subtle hints of new physics? David Curtin, a postdoctoral researcher at the Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics here at UMD, has an idea for a detector that could be built at the surface—far away from the noise and shrapnel of the main LHC experiments. The project, which he and his collaborators call MATHUSLA, may resolve some of the mysteries that are lingering behind our best theories.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards, Sean Kelley and Kate Delossantos. It features music by Dave Depper, Podington Bear, Broke for Free, Chris Zabriskie and the LHC...

11 MIN2017 JUL 31
Comments
Long live MATHUSLA

Labs IRL: Boxing up atomic ions

What makes a university physics lab tick? Sean Kelley grabs a mic and heads to a lab that's trying to build an early quantum computer out of atomic ions. Marko Cetina and Kai Hudek, two research scientists at the University of Maryland who run the lab, explain what it takes to keep things from burning down and muse about the future of quantum computers.This is the first installment of Labs in Real Life—Labs IRL, for short—a recurring segment on Relatively Certain that will explore what it's actually like to work in a university lab. (The work in this lab is supported by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) LogiQ Program through the U.S. Army Research Office.)This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Sean Kelley, Emily Edwards and Chris Cesare. It features music by Dave Depper, dustmotes and Podington Bear.Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Ins...

8 MIN2017 JUL 10
Comments
Labs IRL: Boxing up atomic ions

Latest Episodes

Donuts, Donut Holes and Topological Superconductors

Topology—the mathematical study of shapes that describes how a donut differs from a donut hole—has turned out to be remarkably relevant to understanding our physical world. For decades, it’s captured the hearts and minds of physicists, who have spent that time uncovering just how deep the connection between topology and physics runs. Among many other things, they’ve unearthed a prediction, born of topology, for a new particle with promising applications to quantum computing.In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina Genkina sits down with JQI Fellow Jay Sau, an associate professor of physics at UMD, and Johnpierre Paglione, a professor of physics at UMD and the director of the Quantum Materials Center. They take a trip back to the 1980s, when the story of topology in physics began, and arrive at a recent discovery by Paglione and his collaborators of a (possible) topological superconductor.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare, and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper, Frequency Decree, Chad Crouch and Scott Holmes. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it oniTunes,Google Play,Soundcloud or Spotify.

16 MINAPR 9
Comments
Donuts, Donut Holes and Topological Superconductors

Labs IRL: A Craving for Code

Software just might be the unsung hero of physics labs. In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina sits down with JQI postdoctoral researcher and programming aficionado Chris Billington to talk about his passion project—a piece of experimental control software that’s gaining popularity in labs here at the University of Maryland and around the world.The tool, called labscript, is a testament to the strengths of open source programming. It was originally developed by Billington in collaboration with Philip Starkey, Martijn Jasperse, Shaun Johnstone, and Russell Anderson in the labs of Lincoln Turner and Kristian Helmerson at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.Billington would like to dedicate this episode to Shaun Johnstone, who passed away while it was in production.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare, and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper and Podington Bear. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. You can find it oniTunes,Google PlayorSoundcloud. Relatively Certain and the Joint Quantum Institute do not intend to endorse the products discussed in this podcast.

14 MINFEB 3
Comments
Labs IRL: A Craving for Code

Taming chaos with physics and AI

In many situations, chaos makes it nearly impossible to predict what will happen next. Nowhere is this more apparent than in weather forecasts, which are notorious for their unreliability. But the clever application of artificial intelligence can help reign in some chaotic systems, making them more predictable than ever before.In this episode of Relatively Certain, Dina sits down with Michelle Girvan, a physics professor at the University of Maryland (UMD), to talk about how artificial intelligence can help predict chaotic behavior, as well as how combining machine learning with conventional physics models might yield even better predictions and insights into both methods.Girvan collaborated with several colleagues at UMD on these chaos-taming projects, including physics professor Edward Ott, mathematics professor Brian Hunt, physics postdoctoral researcher Zhixin Lu, physics graduate students Jaideep Pathak and Sarthak Chandra, and physics undergraduate students Alexander Wikner and Rebeckah Fusol.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper, David Hilowitz, Blue Dot Sessions and Scanglobe. "Lorenz Attractor" is used courtesy of Michelle Wilber. Prints are available for purchase at FineArtAmerica.com. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it oniTunes,Google PlayorSoundcloud.

15 MIN2019 SEP 6
Comments
Taming chaos with physics and AI

Black holes: The ultimate cosmic whisks

Chaos. Time travel. Quantum entanglement. Each may play a role in figuring out whether black holes are the universe’s ultimate information scramblers.In this episode of Relatively Certain, Chris sits down with Brian Swingle, a QuICS Fellow and assistant professor of physics at UMD, to learn about some of the latest theoretical research on black holes—and how experiments to test some of these theories are getting tantalizingly close.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards and Dina Genkina. It features music by Dave Depper and Podington Bear.Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it oniTunes,Google PlayorSoundcloud.

9 MIN2018 OCT 8
Comments
Black holes: The ultimate cosmic whisks

Life at the edge of the world

What's it like living and working in Antarctica? Upon returning from a five-week trip to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, UMD graduate student Liz Friedman sat down with Chris and Emily to chat about her experience. In this episode, Friedman shares some of her memories of station life and explains how plans at the pole don't always pan out.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards and Dina Genkina. It features music by Dave Depper.Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it oniTunes,Google PlayorSoundcloud.

11 MIN2018 MAY 31
Comments
Life at the edge of the world

Physics at the edge of the world

Deep within the ice covering the South Pole, thousands of sensitive cameras strain their digital eyes in search of a faint blue glow—light that betrays the presence of high-energy neutrinos.For this episode, Chris sat down with UMD graduate student Liz Friedman and physics professor Kara Hoffman to learn more about IceCube, the massive underground neutrino observatory located in one of the most desolate spots on Earth. It turns out that IceCube is blind to the highest-energy neutrinos, and Friedman is heading down to the South Pole to help install stations for a new observatory—the Askaryan Radio Array—which usesradio waves instead of blue light to tune into the whispers of these ghostly visitors.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper and Podington Bear.Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute o...

10 MIN2018 MAR 9
Comments
Physics at the edge of the world

Ancient timekeeping with a modern twist

Trey Porto, aNISTphysicist and Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, spends his days using atoms and lasers to study quantum physics.But even outside of the lab, he views the world as one great physics problem to tackle.So one morning when he spotted some sunlight dancing across his wall, he couldn’t help but dive in and calculate its movements. He then took his project a step further and began constructing a sundial. Emily sat down with Porto to hear about his clock-making hobby and how today’s time-keeping differs from its ancient counterparts.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Emily Edwards and Chris Cesare. It features music by Dave Depper and Poddington Bear. Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and you can find it oniTunes,Google PlayorSoundcloud.

10 MIN2017 DEC 21
Comments
Ancient timekeeping with a modern twist

The Nobel Prize: A LIGO Q&A

A little more than a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein worked out a consequence of his new theory of gravity: Much like waves traveling through water, ripples can undulate through space and time, distorting the fabric of the universe itself.Today, Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for decades of work that culminated in the detection of gravitational waves in 2015—and several times since—by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).Emily and Chris sat down with UMD physics professor Peter Shawhan, a member of the LIGO collaboration, to learn more about gravitational waves and hear a sliver of the story behind this year's Nobel Prize.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare and Emily Edwards. It features music by Dave Depper. RelativelyCertain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Sta...

9 MIN2017 OCT 3
Comments
The Nobel Prize: A LIGO Q&A

Long live MATHUSLA

More than 300 feet underground, looping underneath both France and Switzerland on the outskirts of Geneva, a 16-mile-long ring called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) smashes protons together at nearly the speed of light. Sifting through the wreckage, scientists have made some profound discoveries about the fundamental nature of our universe.But what if all that chaos underground is shrouding subtle hints of new physics? David Curtin, a postdoctoral researcher at the Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics here at UMD, has an idea for a detector that could be built at the surface—far away from the noise and shrapnel of the main LHC experiments. The project, which he and his collaborators call MATHUSLA, may resolve some of the mysteries that are lingering behind our best theories.This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Chris Cesare, Emily Edwards, Sean Kelley and Kate Delossantos. It features music by Dave Depper, Podington Bear, Broke for Free, Chris Zabriskie and the LHC...

11 MIN2017 JUL 31
Comments
Long live MATHUSLA

Labs IRL: Boxing up atomic ions

What makes a university physics lab tick? Sean Kelley grabs a mic and heads to a lab that's trying to build an early quantum computer out of atomic ions. Marko Cetina and Kai Hudek, two research scientists at the University of Maryland who run the lab, explain what it takes to keep things from burning down and muse about the future of quantum computers.This is the first installment of Labs in Real Life—Labs IRL, for short—a recurring segment on Relatively Certain that will explore what it's actually like to work in a university lab. (The work in this lab is supported by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) LogiQ Program through the U.S. Army Research Office.)This episode of Relatively Certain was produced by Sean Kelley, Emily Edwards and Chris Cesare. It features music by Dave Depper, dustmotes and Podington Bear.Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Ins...

8 MIN2017 JUL 10
Comments
Labs IRL: Boxing up atomic ions
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