Department of Physics

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URI Physics Colloquium

The URI Physics department hosts an ongoing speaker series each academic year, which features physics experts from URI and other universities, as well as scientific organizations.

During the fall and spring semesters, colloquia are held in East Hall, Room 112. Refreshments are served before each talk at 3:30 pm in the East Hall Library or Room 112.

All are welcome, and there is no fee to attend.

Schedule for Spring 2023



Date Speaker Title Host


02.24.2023 Nhu Nguyen Averaging principle and large deviations principles of Stochastic Acceleration in Random Environment: Abstract Feruz Ganikhanov East 112

(4 PM)

03.10.2023 Hannah Visca Biophysical Characterization of pHLIP Peptide-Cargo Conjugates Developed for Imaging and Therapy: Abstract Feruz Ganikhanov East 112

(4 PM)

03.24.2023 Samantha Adams Properties of Polarized Radio Sources in the Wide Deep Field South from 2 to 4 GHz:Abstract Feruz Ganikhanov Zoom only


(4 PM)

04.07.2023 Robert Neffenger Trapped Ion Nanofabrication Testbed at UMass Amherst:Abstract Feruz Ganikhanov East 112

(4 PM)

04.21.2023 Akira Sone Reliability and Practicability of Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum Computers:Abstract Feruz Ganikhanov East 112

(4 PM)


04.28.2023 Peter Nightingale  The Life and Times of Galileo: Abstract Feruz Ganikhanov East 112

(4 PM)





Averaging principle and large deviations principles of Stochastic Acceleration in Random Environment.

Motivated from mathematical physics and statistical mechanics, we establish the averaging principle and large deviation principle of stochastics acceleration systems perturbed by random environments. It will be shown that a net of inhomogeneous systems can be approximated by an averaged homogeneous system. A tail probability of this convergence is also established. These results also generalize classical Smoluchowski-Kramers approximations. Some applications and numerical examples are provided to illustrate our results.

Biophysical Characterization of pHLIP Peptide-Cargo Conjugates Developed for Imaging and Therapy.

Acidity is a hallmark of “cold” immuno-supressive tumors with poor prognosis. The family of pH Low Insertion Peptides (pHLIPs) can sense and target diagnostic and therapeutic agents to acidic diseased issues.  The molecular mechanism of pHLIP targeting is based on pH-triggered folding in the membrane. Recent findings from investigations of pHLIP variants’ interactions with the membrane using fluorescence and circular dichroism spectroscopic approaches will be presented. pHLIP-targeted extracellular and intracellular delivery of immuno-modulating molecules to activate the immune system for tumor cure will also be discussed.

Properties of Polarized Radio Sources in the Wide Deep Field South from 2 to 4 GHz’.( Zoom only : Link)

We present a study of the linear polarization properties of radio sources within the 10 square degrees Wide – Chandra Deep Field South (W-CDFS) in S-band (2 – 4 Ghz). This is the first step in a campaign to image the three pre-defined deep drilling fields of the upcoming Legacy Survey of Space and Time that are visible to the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array at >2GHz. We were able to detect approximately 200 linear polarized sources, identify the Milky Way’s magnetic field as the main cause of Faraday Rotation, and calculate the fractional polarization for two subgroups. In addition to characterizing the S-band polarization properties of sources in the W-CDFS, this study will be important for validating the shallower, but higher resolution S-band polarimetry information that the VLA Sky Survey will provide for the whole sky above Declination ~40 degrees over the next few years.

Trapped Ion Nanofabrication Testbed at UMass Amherst.

Trapped ions are high fidelity qubits for quantum computing and networking. However, they are challenging to scale due to the multiple laser beams required for addressing individual qubits. Integrated photonics with diffraction grating couplers offer a path to scaling up the addressing of qubits within trapped ion quantum information processors (QIPs) but have degraded gate fidelity, despite nearly eliminating errors related to beam pointing instability. We present progress towards an apparatus and fabrication process for surface electrode traps designed to study effects degrading the performance of trapped ion QIPs with integrated photonics towards improving gate fidelity and building a scalable trapped ion quantum computer.

Brief Bio:

  • PhD Purdue University – Quantum Simulation with BECs
  • Industry – Intel 7nm CPU process development
  • Postdoc – MIT Lincoln Laboratory – Trapped ions and integrated photonics

Reliability and Practicability of Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum Computers.

In this talk, I will discuss the constraints on the trainability of the variational quantum algorithms (VQAs), which are regarded as promising strategy of Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) computers, and the applications of VQAs for quantum sensing. I demonstrate that the trainability of VQAs is determined by the depth of the quantum circuit and the locality of the measurements. Next, I will show that the physical insights of the trainability of VQAs are associated with the controllability of the quantum system by particularly focusing on the Hamiltonian-based VQAs. Finally, I will introduce the VQA for preparing an optimal probe state for quantum magnetometry.

The Life and Times of Galileo.

Galileo’s contributions to developing and popularizing the scientific method have been overshadowed by his persecution by the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church. The talk will focus on topics such as:

  • What Einstein had in common with Galileo;
  • Galileo’s motion experiments in relation to his musical background and that of his family;
  • His attempts to solve “that great problem of finding the longitude of a given place on the earth’s surface;” and
  • His explanation of what limits the size of land animals.


Past colloquium schedules


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