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Five physicists turn into slammers for one night as they compete with each other to bring you the clearest and most entertaining explanation of a topic in physics. Each has only 10 minutes to wow you with secrets and subtleties of nature that took them their entire careers to discover. That's it - 10 minutes. No fuss, no intellectual fog, and absolutely no unexplained jargon. Instead, you get good old-fashioned entertainment and a solid foundation in physical science, or the slammers haven't done their jobs. The participants will be the judges to determine which slammer will go home with the top prize.
Meet the Slammers
Dacen is an ORISE Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle. Dacen received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he studied a class of materials called two-dimensional (2D) materials. 2D materials are materials that have atomic layers in the bulk that can be isolated down to a single atom thick. Different 2D materials can be controllably stacked together to form heterostructures and this high degree of control offers a vast space of possibilities for creation and engineering, analogous to playing with legos. At UW, Dacen works with Prof. Matthew Yankowitz to investigate the properties of devices made out of 2D materials, utilizing extremely cold temperatures and high magnetic fields. His current work focuses on moire systems, which are formed by controllably twisting two sheets of 2D materials relative to one another, such that exciting properties like magnetism and superconductivity can emerge.
Sara Mouradian is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Washington building quantum technologies out of trapped ions. She received her BS, MEng, and PhD degrees from MIT where she designed, fabricated, and tested nanophotonic devices in diamond. Before coming to Seattle, she was an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley building quantum sensors out of trapped ions.
Masha Baryakhtar is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Washington, Seattle. She received her PhD in Physics from Stanford University, and spent time at Perimeter Institute and New York University as a postdoctoral fellow. Masha is a particle theorist interested in predicting and searching for new physics beyond what we've discovered so far. She is currently investigating ways to use extreme astrophysical environments such as black holes and neutron stars to detect new particles. She is also interested in thinking up novel experiments to search for the dark matter of the universe.
Sarah Greenstreet is a research scientist with the Data-intensive Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology (DiRAC) Institute in the Astronomy Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. She received her BS in physics from Western Washington University and her MSc and PhD in astronomy from the University of British Columbia. She studies orbital dynamics of asteroids across the Solar System -- how asteroid orbits change over time as the planets push them around the Solar System. Her research largely focuses on how asteroids can get onto rare and unusual orbits, studying the objects that make us ask "How did that get there?". She also studies asteroid impacts and planetary defense. Sarah has also heavily collaborated with the New Horizons science team on preparing for and interpreting the science results from the spacecraft's fly-through of the Pluto system in 2015. In addition, Sarah leads the world-wide near-Earth objects and interstellar objects working group within the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST)'s Solar System Science Collaboration. The majority of her recent work has been preparing for the revolutionizing, petabyte-scale deluge of data the 8-m class telescope will produce over its 10-year survey, starting in late-2024.
Alanna Pawlak is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Physics at the University of Washington Bothell. She earned her Ph.D. in Physics from Michigan State University and her B.S. in Physics and Mathematics at DePaul University. Her research is in Physics Education, specifically focusing on how students, faculty, and teaching assistants engage with collaborative learning environments in introductory physics. She has studied group dynamics, collaborative reasoning, and the beliefs and teaching approaches of undergraduate teaching assistants. Prior to joining UW Bothell, Dr. Pawlak taught at the University of Colorado Boulder and Front Range Community College and was a research associate at the University of Colorado Boulder.