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Saturday Morning Physics


Physics is a fundamental science and provides the foundations for solving both cosmic mysteries and practical problems. In 1995, the University of Michigan Department of Physics began sharing some of the latest ideas in the field with the public in the Saturday Morning Physics lecture series.

Designed for general audiences, the lectures are an opportunity to hear physicists discuss their work in easy-to-understand, non-technical terms. The multimedia presentations include hands-on demonstrations of the principles discussed, along with slides, video, and computer simulations.

We are pleased to present
Winter 2022 Saturday Morning Physics virtually!

Note: Talks will be aired on YouTube on the following dates at 10:30 a.m. Click below to access each lecture's specific YouTube link when available.

March 12
Michael Meyer – Professor (U-M Astronomy)
Livestreamed Lecture and Q&A on:
The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope: Discovery (in) Space
On December 25, 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket at the Guiana Space Centre in South America, beginning its 30-day journey to its final destination in orbit about a semi-stable position relative to the Sun and Earth. This exciting beginning also marked the end of 20+ years of design, development, and construction for this flagship facility that will have a profound impact on many branches of astronomy and astrophysics. Professor Meyer will review the capabilities of this magnificent new space telescope as well as preview some of the discoveries it is poised to make.

April 9
Leopoldo Pando Zayas - Professor (U-M Physics)
Livestreamed Lecture and Q&A on:
A Quantum Hologram for Black Holes 
Black holes are massive objects so dense that the gravitational force holds light within a distance called the event horizon. This strong gravitational force also causes black holes to grow as energy is converted into the black holes' mass. Steven Hawking explored this flow of energy bringing the science of thermodynamics and the concept of entropy to black holes. A black-hole's entropy, a thermodynamic measure of the information hidden within the event horizon, is proportional to its surface area. This remarkable finding points to analogies between these spacetime singularities and systems of particles, such as gasses. In this talk, Professor Pando Zayas will describe how Quantum Mechanics alters this picture, making corrections to the black-hole entropy that affect black-hole physics.

April 23
Van Loo Saturday Morning Physics Lecture - Two Speakers!
Livestreamed Lecture and Q&A on:
Chamindu Sangeeth Amarasinghe - Graduate Student (U-M Physics)
The Underground Quest for Dark Matter
In the prevalent framework of cosmology, dark matter accounts for 85% of the matter in the universe. Despite this abundance, little is known about the nature of dark matter due to its extremely weak interactions with ordinary matter. In this talk, Chamindu shall describe how the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment seeks to detect dark matter particles of a certain type as they pass through Earth using a detector located 4850 feet underground.

Mackenzie Devilbiss - Graduate Student (U-M Physics)
Shapeshifting Mystery: the Muon-to-Electron Conversion Experiment

The Mu2e Experiment at Fermilab will search for the conversion of a muon to an electron, a process so rare that it is deemed to be forbidden in the Standard Model of particle physics! This experiment is truly akin to picking a needle out of a haystack: to look for a very rare muon process, we need to identify all of the other ways that muons can decay and rule them out. With detectors designed to find this 'needle', Mu2e will better inform what we know about the universe on the smallest scale.

Event Details
The Saturday Morning Physics lecture series is free to all. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saturday Morning Physics is presenting virtual lectures for the Winter 2022 season. We will open the lectures to a limited audience. Please join our mailing list for more information.

How to Receive Information about Upcoming Programming

If you would like updates on this series, sign up to be placed on the Saturday Morning Physics mailing list. Due to monetary constraints, we would like to send you programming information via email only.


The Saturday Morning Physics program is sponsored by: 
The Dr. Mary Lois Tiffany Endowment by Dr. O. Lyle Tiffany and Dr. M. Lois Tiffany who were the first to support the Saturday Morning Physics program in May, 2000.

The Hideko Tomozawa Endowment in memory of Hideko Tomozawa in recognition of her interest and loyal participation in the Saturday Morning Physics program.

The Van Loo Family Endowment to support outstanding University students who present public lectures at Saturday Morning Physics.

Friends of the Program-Donations of all sizes are needed to keep this program alive!

How to Donate

Donations to the Saturday Morning Physics Program help fund these informative academic presentations. Show your support for the program by donating online.

U-M Staff and Faculty can donate to Saturday Morning Physics by using University Payroll Deduction on Wolverine Access. Please use designation #365045.

You may also make cash, check, or credit card donations at each Saturday Morning program. Please stop by the back greeting table to pick up a donation slip.

Remember, donations to SMP are tax-deductible in the year in which they are given.

View SMP Lectures

Learn how to view the Saturday Morning Physics talks after the lecture date

Information about previous SMP talks can be found in the Past Events section of this website.