Category Archives: conferences

screenshot of Bulletin of APS March Meeting

Watch my talk at the March Meeting Thursday 9:12 am central time

Tomorrow (Thursday 3/18) I’m giving my talk at the March Meeting!

R20.00005: Field-induced freezing in the unfrustrated Ising antiferromagnet
Thursday, March 18, 9:12 AM–9:24 AM CDT
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We study instantaneous quenches from infinite temperature to well below Tc in the two-dimensional (2D) square lattice Ising antiferromagnet in the presence of a longitudinal external magnetic field. Under single-spin-flip Metropolis algorithm Monte Carlo dynamics, this protocol produces a pair of metastable magnetization plateaus that prevent the system from reaching the equilibrium ground state except for some special values of the field. This occurs despite the absence of intrinsic disorder or frustration. We explain the plateaus in terms of local spin configurations that are stable under the dynamics. Although the details of the plateaus depend on the update scheme, the underlying principle governing the breakdown of ergodicity is quite general and provides a broader paradigm for understanding failures of ergodicity in Monte Carlo dynamics. See also: Iaizzi, Phys. Rev. E 102 032112 (2020), doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.102.032112

*Note: The views expressed here are the speaker’s, and do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the AAAS STPF Program, the US Dept. of Energy, or the US Government.

Follow this finely crafted link to a dedicated page with more information about this work.

Life changing tips for screen sharing with Keynote/Zoom

I just stumbled across these on the internet and they are both great. These are for Keynote (on macs) but there are probably equivalent settings on Powerpoint.

1. If you want to be able to switch apps while in presentation mode (e.g. to see the Zoom window). Look at this guide on the Zoom documentation. There is also a setting where you can make your cursor visible at all times so you can use it to point at things on your slides.

2. If you want to play your slideshow in a window (so it doesn’t take up the whole screen). Go into this mode first, then share the keynote window from Zoom. (Downside: you won’t be able to see your “presenter view” from keynote, just the slides at they appear to others.

Check out these FECS sessions at the March Meeting!

The APS virtual March meeting is just around the corner! Although we are not meeting in person, FECS will spare no effort on ensuring a meeting that is as successful as before. We are hosting the following three invited sessions to highlight the contributions from early career scientists in science, industry, and international collaboration: 

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This week: the APS Annual Leadership Meeting (free registration)

The APS Annual Leadership Meeting will be taking place this week on Thursday 2/4 and Saturday 2/6. This is usually an in-person meeting in DC, so registration is usually limited to the leadership of APS Units, but this year it’s virtual and they have extended registration to all APS members for free (it might be free to nonmembers, but I am not sure).

I attended last year and it was an extremely valuable look at the work that APS does to advance physics, from organizing conferences to interacting with the congress and federal agencies to advance policies to strengthen scientific research. That includes obvious things, like most science funding, and less obvious things, like ensuring an adequate supply of liquid helium.

Register now for free!

FECS APS March Meeting Mini Grants

Application deadline: January 15, 2021 11:59pm EST
Apply now!

The 2021 March Meeting will be held completely online. In order to support early career physicists, FECS is running a one-time “mini grant” program to cover the cost of registration (up to $165). Note: in order to receive that low rate, you must register for the meeting by the early bird deadline of January 25, 2021.

To be considered, applicants must be recent PhD recipients (past 5 years), present a poster or talk at the meeting, and be current members of the APS Forum for Early Career Scientists (free to join, link below). Women, underrepresented minorities and candidates who can clearly demonstrate a need for funding are especially encouraged to apply. Applications are due January 15, 2021 11:59pm EST. If you have any questions, please contact me.

To join FECS, follow this link and sign into your APS account.

Apply now!

P.S. We will also be offering grants for the April meeting. More information will be posted on Engage soon.

Stock image of a classroom

A few tips to enhance your slides

Scientists watch a lot of talks, and I’ve noticed a lot of people (including me) make the same handful of mistakes. Here are a few of my tips:

  • Number your slides. Powerpoint, Keynote and Beamer all have options to add these automatically. Visible slide numbers make it easier for people to refer back to a specific slide if they have a question, especially at the end.
  • Test your slides on a projector or low-resolution monitor. Computer monitor resolutions have steadily grown, but projectors technology seems stuck in 2004. This leads to a familiar trap: you make beautiful figure with graceful thin lines on your laptop, which are rendered totally invisible by the projector. Same goes for contrast, light colors like yellow are often invisible on projectors.
  • Keep the text to a minimum. You want people listening to you speak, not reading your slides. Use slides for short bullet points and for showing off your figures.
  • Even fewer equations. Unless you’re teaching a class, people are rarely going to be interested in following any mathematical derivations, and they’re hard to follow on a slide anyways. 1-2 equations per slide max. If people want to know more, they can always ask, which will probably lead to a more interesting discussion anyways.
  • Finally, include your contact information on the final slide. It’s easy to space out at the start of a presentation and forget to jot down the presenter’s name. Make it easier for your audience by having your name and email on the last slide along with any relevant papers you want to promote.

Disclaimer: I want to be 100% clear that these tips are not a veiled reference to anyone in particular.

Just presented at the Annual Meeting of the Physical Society of Taiwan

I just presented a talk “Quenching to field-stabilized magnetization plateaus in the unfrustrated Ising antiferromagnet” based on my preprint that I posted on arXiv last week at the Annual Meeting of the Physical Society of Taiwan at National Pingtung University in Pingtung, Taiwan. I haven’t gotten around to making a post about this paper yet (that is coming soon), but in the meantime I will post my slides from this talk here. My slides included some movies of the process of freezing in to magnetization plateaus. Since PDFs can’t include movies I will post the movies below.

Gif of Ising spin configurations arriving at a frozen plateau state.
The spin configuration over time starting from a random (T=∞) state and doing single spin flip Metropolis updates at T=0 and h=1 until we arrive at a final frozen state. Individual spin states are denoted by the (+) and (-); the background shading shows which of the antiferromagnetic ground states each site is in. In the final frozen state the domain walls are all straight lines or corners with (+) on the inside.

Gif of Ising spin configurations arriving at a frozen plateau state.
The spin configuration over time starting from a random (T=∞) state and doing single spin flip Metropolis updates at T=0 and h=3 until we arrive at a final frozen state. Individual spin states are denoted by the (+) and (-); the background shading shows which of the antiferromagnetic ground states each site is in. In the final frozen state the domain walls are all diagonal or square-wave-like with excess (+) spin.

Great resource: Beall’s list of predatory journals

Update 2020-01-24: Beall’s list has a new home:

With your academic email address posted online, you’ll be flooded with sketchy offers inviting you to submit your manuscript to open-access journals with legitimate sounding names like “British Journal of Science” or “Cancer Research Frontiers”. These predatory journals typically do little or no peer review. One pair of scientists was even able to get a paper containing only the repeated text “Get me off your f___ing mailing list” published in the predatory International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology.

The proliferation of these journals is perhaps the chief disadvantage of the move towards open access since, in the digital age, setting up a website is nearly free, and open access journals need not convince any librarians to pay for subscriptions to make money. Instead these ‘journals’ charge huge fees to publish and conduct shoddy peer review or none at all. Some are less directly predatory, but are instead “vanity press” where they get you to pay a fee to publish your thesis with them with little editing or review.

You might also find yourself invited by [person you’ve never met/heard of] to give a talk at [prestigious conference you’ve never heard of] organized by [not a university or professional society]. When you go to register, you’ll find that it’s bizarrely expensive. I think that at least sometimes conferences are real, but like the predatory journals, they are just doing it for a profit.

At least in the case of the predatory journals, Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers (now located here)provides a great way to check if the journal is a known scam so you can end that email to your spam folder without a tinge of fear that you’re throwing away a legitimate offer. Two notes of caution here: (1) obviously just because it isn’t on the list doesn’t mean everything is above board, so still do your due diligence and (2) on the Beall’s List, you have to click through publishers, standalone journals and vanity press and search each separately.