Category Archives: conference

the annual Physics and Astronomy Graduate student conference. This is designed to highlight the research done in the department, as well as provide an opportunity for grads to practice presentation skills.

Invited speaker Professor Chris Bergevin will talk about the pygmy marmoset!

Probing Cochlear Tuning in the Marmoset

The biomechanical challenges our ears face are immense, as they must detect very fast (0.01-200 kHz), very small (sub-angstrom) motions in warm, salty water. Nonetheless, their performance is remarkable: A dynamic range spanning over 12 orders of magnitude of energy, the lower end of which providing sensitivity below the thermal noise floor. Furthermore, the ear exhibits a striking manifestation: It not only detects sound but also generates and subsequently emits it as well. These very faint sounds, known as otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), can be detected in the ear canal using a sensitive microphone. Thought to be a by-product of an underlying amplification mechanism, they provide a valuable probe into the biophysics of the cochlea, where study is otherwise extremely difficult (given that the inner ear is completely encased in the hardest bone in the body). It has been demonstrated that a certain type of evoked emission (stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emissions, SFOAEs) can be used to objectively estimate the frequency selectivity of the cochlea. Comparative data suggests humans may be unique in this regard, with relatively sharp tuning. The goal of this study was to help establish how tuning may be correlated with basilar-membrane (BM) length. Because inter-species comparisons can be complicated by phylogenetic differences, we sought to minimize these confounds by measuring SFOAE delays in the marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), a New World primate with a relatively short BM (~14 mm) and good high frequency hearing. These data suggest a correlation between SFOAE delay and BM length among primates, although the comparison with cat demonstrates that BM length cannot, by itself, explain delay differences across species. If SFOAE delays provide a reliable measure of cochlear tuning as proposed, the data suggest that tuning is sharper in marmoset than in cats below 8 kHz, encompassing a frequency range relevant for the monkey’s vocalizations.

Pygmy Marmoset Conference – List of Speakers

The Pygmy Marmoset Conference is only ONE week away. Hopefully everyone has marked their calendars, and if you haven’t…mark them now! A reminder, the conference is on October 25th, 2013 from 10am – 4pm in PSE 317. Lunch will be provided. We have also put together a tentative schedule below. Barring any unforeseen changes, this will be the schedule we adhere to for the conference. I’ve attempted to group the different types of physics programs we have in our department, in an effort to create some continuity of topic.

The Judging Panel for the Ralph Nicholls Award will be: Jesse (chair), George, Gabriel, Naif


10:00-10:20 – coffee,tea, and introduction by PAGE
10:20-10:40 – talk 1 – Omid Rezania – AMO – Physics of protein mobility within the stimulated cells
10:40-11:00 – talk 2 – Urmela Selventhiran – AMO – Time-dependent calculation of tunneling ionization of the molecular hydrogen ion in a strong DC-field
11:00-11:20 – talk 3 – Tsogbayar Tsednee – AMO – Molecular hydrogen in pseudospectral method
11:20-11:40 – talk 4 – Bin Jian – AMO – Double-loop microtraps array for ultracold atoms
10min break
11:50-12:45 – keynote Chris Bergevin
12:45-13:30 – lunch/poster session
13:30-13:50 – talk 5 – Homa Ebrahimikhonacha – BIO – Sonoluminescence
13:50-14:10 – talk 6 – Mark Wurtz – HEP – Higgs and W bosons on a lattice
14:10-14:30 – talk 7 – Andrea Capra – HEP – ALPHA and the Antihydrogen Physics
10 min break
14:40-15:00 – talk 8 – Alexandra Terrana – SPACE – Massive Gravity and its Spherically Symmetric Solutions
15:00-14:20 – talk 9 – Bahman Karimi – SPACE – Investigation of Image Errors in VLBI Images of SN 1993J
15:20-15:40 – talk 10 – Neda Hejazi – SPACE – New Photometric Calibrations for Determination of Fundamental Properties of M stars, Galactic Chemical Evolution and Structure
10 min deliberation by judges
16:00 – announce winner of Ralph Nicholls award.

PAGE Conference Official Name

Historically, the PAGE Conference has been called the ‘Monkey Conference,’ and has always been named in honour of some sort of monkey (see the conference history here). The PAGE exec has gotten together and decided that this year’s conference will be named in honour of the smallest monkey on the planet: the Pygmy Marmoset.

Pygmy Marmoset

Pygmy Marmoset
Pygmy Marmoset -wikipedia

‘It is notable for being the smallest monkey in the world at just over 100 grams (3.5 oz). It is generally found in evergreen andriver edge forests and is a gum-feeding specialist.’ –wikipedia

‘High in the rain forest canopy of South America lives a tiny animal that dodges behind tree trunks and branches, alternately freezing and dashing, just like a squirrel. It also has brown fur and a long tail like a squirrel—but it’s really a pygmy marmoset, the world’s smallest monkey! Marmosets and their cousins, the tamarins, are some of the tiniest primates around, but pygmy marmosets are different enough to be classified apart from other marmoset species.’ –San Diego Zoo


The Physics and Astronomy Executive will be making a monetary donation on behalf of the graduate students to the World Wildlife Fund and it’s Pygmy Marmoset efforts.

Call for Abstracts: PAGE Graduate Conference 2013

The annual Physics and Astronomy Graduate Conference is coming up!
Date: Friday, October 25, 2013
Time: 10am-5pm
Room: Chemistry 121

Each year, the Executive organize this conference for many purposes. There will also be talks from invited speakers. More information on the PAGE conference can be found here.

Call For Talk Abstracts

Abstracts are now being accepted for those interested in presenting at the PAGE conference. You would be required to generate a 12-15 minute long original presentation, and then participate in a few minutes of questions immediately following your talk. All presenters will be eligible for the Ralph Nicholls Graduate Award in Science Communication (so long as they meet the requirements of the award). Please submit your abstract to with the subject PAGE abstract.

A mini poster session will be held during lunch break. Please, feel free to bring the poster that you prepared for your summer conference.

The deadline for abstract submission is Friday, October 4, 2013 (no extensions will be granted).

The PAGE conference promotes the work that we are doing, providing a chance to see what kind of research happens at York. Also, this is a great opportunity to practice you presentation skills in preparation for future conferences, your defence or research evaluation.

Participating in the PAGE conference creates social and professional connections amongst graduate students in our department that may not have been there before.

If you are not convinced of participating in the PAGE conference yet, remember that you can include it in your CV, and the best of all…there will be free food!