Dissertation Defense: Tong Liu, Yale University, "Inclusive Hadron Yield Analysis in Small and Mid-sized Collision Systems at sqrt(s_NN)=200 GeV at STAR"

At extremely high temperature and energy density, the quarks and gluons form a novel state of matter called the Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP). The QGP has been widely studied via relativistic heavy ion collisions in large collision systems like Au+Au and Pb+Pb. However, whether the QGP exists in small systems like p+Au, and the dependence of QGP production on the collision system size are still open questions. One way to study the QGP properties is by using proxies of high energy partons, which are created in the initial stages of the collisions, and fragment into hadrons in the final state.

WIDG Seminar: Sierra Wilde, Yale, "Let There Be Light... in Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay Detectors"

Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay is a powerful tool for learning more about the properties of neutrinos and the fundamental behaviors of the universe. Liquid Xenon (LXe) time projection chambers, such as EXO-200 and nEXO, are capable of doing highly sensitive searches for this decay using enriched Xe-136. Scintillation light emitted from the Xe has previously been an underutilized tool, but has great potential for analysis and event detection. Optical simulations of EXO-200 and nEXO will be used to characterize both detectors’ responses.

NPA Seminar: Scott Kravitz, University of Texas at Austin, "Dark matter detection and beyond with crystal xenon"

I will present the crystalline xenon time projection chamber (TPC), a promising novel technology for next-generation dark matter searches. Initial tests have established that it maintains many of the benefits of the liquid xenon TPC while also effectively excluding radon, the dominant background in currently-running xenon dark matter experiments such as LZ. This offers the potential for greatly improved sensitivity to dark matter through a crystal xenon upgrade to an existing experiment.

NPA Seminar: Wenqing Fan, LBNL, "Studying jet substructure with energy correlators at colliders"

The internal structure (substructure) of jets produced in high-energy hadron collisions encodes rich Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) dynamics, from the interaction of quarks and gluons in the weakly coupled limit to the hadronization process in the strongly coupled limit. Studies on jet substructures have attracted interest from both the theoretical and experimental sides, together advancing our understanding of QCD. Central to the recent development of jet substructure has been the use of energy correlators, which measure statistical correlations of the energy flux within a jet.

NPA Seminar: Kelly Stifter, SLAC, "Leveraging quantum sensors to shine new light on searches for low-mass dark matter"

While dark matter accounts for approximately 85% of the mass in the universe, its physical nature remains one of the most pressing open questions in the field of physics. Three decades of experiments have been searching for dark matter interactions over a wide range of candidate dark matter masses and all have come up empty-handed. Nevertheless, there remain large swaths of unexplored, well-motivated particle dark matter models that are currently inaccessible through existing detector technologies.

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