News and Colloquium

Lone Cloud
  Photo by Dr. Harald Edens
Use this page to read about recent news and important events in the NMT Physics Department, and find announcements of upcoming colloquia on a variety of physics topics.


  • NMT Physics graduate student Henry Prager is holding his PhD candidacy talk on Tuesday, Nov 10 at 9:30 AM.  See details below.
  • The New Mexico Tech Physics Department has been ranked 39th by College Factual out of 263 schools for Physics! Read more about it here. 


The Physics Colloquium for Nov 5 has been canceled.

The next Physics Colloquium will be held on Nov 12 at 4 pm, via zoom (link to seminar).

Speaker: Kyle Gorkowski
Director's Postdoctoral Fellow
Earth and Environmental Sciences Division
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Title:  One particle at a time: Insights from the Aerosol Optical Tweezers

Aerosol particles have short and long term effects of global importance. However, there are still challenges in accurately representing aerosol processes in regional and global simulations. In this seminar, I will discuss how accounting for humidity dependence of organic aerosol is essential for predicting liquid-particle morphology, aerosol mass concentrations, cloud condensation nuclei, and optical absorption enhancements. I will highlight experiments using the Aerosol Optical Tweezers to inform on liquid-particle morphology and phase-separation. Lastly, I’ll cover my emerging research into the humidity dependence of aerosol absorption, which ties the previous topic to aerosol radiative transfer and global climate simulations.


PhD Candidacy Talk on Nov 10:

Unmasking Mass Loss Using Methods of Many Stars and Modeling

Speaker: Henry Prager

Department of Physics, New Mexico Tech

Time: Tuesday, 10 Nov. 2020 at 9:30 AM

Location: Zoom—,

(attendees must register in advance to maintain meeting security and allow out-of-institution attendees)

In the final stages of their evolution, low to intermediate-mass stars ascend the Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB). During the end of their time on the AGB, these stars experience a steep increase in mass loss rate and quickly lose their envelopes. These envelopes are rich in low mass s-process elements and dust. Understanding the evolution of AGB stars is vital to understanding the chemistry of our galaxy and the building blocks of a future star and planet formation. However, this process is poorly understood. Starting with the survey data, we aim to advance our theoretical understanding of these stars. The physics and mechanisms of mass loss in these stars are extraordinarily complicated, especially when starting from the micro-scale fundamentals of the process. For our purposes, it is more beneficial to examine the macro-scale effects of the observable properties of the star (the luminosity, pulsation period, mass-loss rate, color, and temperature), or derived properties (mass and radius), on the mass-loss rate. The relation of these properties to the mass-loss rate has been expressed through various formulae. However, the details of these formulae vary widely and struggle to predict what we observe. By analyzing recent observational data from the Large Magellanic Cloud, we are looking to determine the relation between the observables and derived properties, determine a more accurate formula for the mass-loss rate using those, and then finally we will look at comparing the results of using the formula to more sophisticated computer models. The public portion of this talk will serve as part of the speaker’s candidacy exam, as part of the NMT physics department’s Ph.D. program.


Click here for the Fall 2020 Colloquium Schedule