Colloquium Fall 1996



September 30

Nuclear Archaeology in Iraq: The Hunt for Saddam Hussein's Weapons
Dr. Jay Davis
Environmental Programs, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


Post-war UN inspections of Iraq have been unique in the history of arms control, combining non-IAEA inspectors, intrusive and unannounced inspections, and the overt use of intelligence information in planning inspections and in guiding teams in the field. Confrontations with the Iraqis forced their disclosure of a multi-billion dollar effort in uranium enrichment and a weapons design program in its early stages. The Iraqis justified this program as a consequence of the bombing of the Osirik reactor in 1981. The program has dual goals, creation of both enrichment capability and a sophisticated infrastructure for mechanical and electronics design and production. Using declassified results from the Manhattan Project, indigenous scientific and engineering manpower, and imports of non-controlled technologies, the Iraqis created electromagnetic isotope separators (EMIS) and support facilities on the scale of the Oak Ridge plant. They also evaded nuclear export controls, successfully bringing into the country sophisticated centrifuge technologies and supposedly controlled materials and machine tools. At the time of its destruction in the war, the electromagnetic separation equipment was beginning to achieve results equivalent to that obtained by the US in WW II. The EMIS complex would have given the Iraqis significant amounts of weapons grade material within 18-30 months. Davis played major scientific and operational roles in the early confrontational inspections in the summer of 1991. The process of the inspections and the status of the Iraqi equipment will be covered in this talk.

October 7

A Physicist's Approach to Violin Making
Dr. William Atwood
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center


An overview of the violin making is given with special emphasis on acoustics. The origins from the Cremonese School are traced. The selection of woods and their importance to the sound is discussed. Modern techniques are present as substitutes for some of the traditional techniques. Demonstration instruments are shown and played.

Background of Speaker
Raised in the Greater Boston area. Father was a part time furniture maker specializing in copies of French Provincials. This resulted in early training in wood working. Began playing the piano at age 6 and the violin at age 8. Received undergraduate degree from CalTech ('70) in Physics and a Ph.D. from Stanford (SLAC) in 1975. Specialized in experimental elementary particle physics. Post Doc at CERN (1977), Asst. Prof. at SLAC('80 - '83) and joined the SLAC Perm. Staff in '83. Authored chapters in two books in Particle Physics and has co-authored over 130 articles in this field. Became interested in violin making in 1976 and began making instruments in 1983. Mostly self taught, but with considerable advise and consultations with several traditional makers. For the past two years has been studying under Tom Croen of Richmond, CA. Has made more than 3 dozen violins and violas to date which are in the hands of local Bay Area musicians.

October 14

The Search for Baryonic Dark Matter via Microlensing
Dr. Kim Griest
Dept. of Physics, UC San Diego

October 21

Quantum Information and Quantum Computation
Dr. John Preskill
California Institute of Technology

October 28

String Duality -- What Have We Learned and Where Are We Going?
Dr. Joe Polchinski
Institute for Theoretical Physics, UC Santa Barbara

November 4


November 11

DNA Triplets and Human Disease
Dr. Norman Arnheim
Dept. of Biological Sciences, USC

November 18

Synchronous Picosecond Sonoluminescence
Dr. Seth Putterman
Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, UC Los Angeles

November 25

Physics at the Edge: Strange States in the Quantum Hall Effect
Dr. Matthew Fisher
Institute for Theoretical Physics, UC Santa Barbara

December 2

Dr. Michael Peskin
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • University of Southern California
  • 825 Bloom Walk
  • ACB 439
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0484