New Professors Lecture Program - Spring 2016

Photo of Tom Al

Lecturer: Tom Al (Earth & Environmental Sciences)


  • Professor of Hydrogeochemistry and Hydrogeology; started January 2015
  • Previously at the University of New Brunswick since 1996
  • BSc and MSc degrees in Earth Sciences from Memorial University and a PhD in Earth Sciences from the University of Waterloo
  • Research focuses on solute transport and reaction processes in groundwater systems with application to waste management and contaminant remediation

Title: Diffusion research in support of the Canadian nuclear waste management program

Abstract: My research program focuses on management of waste materials in the mining and nuclear energy industries; this talk will focus on rock transport properties as they relate to nuclear waste management. In characterizing the geologic properties of candidate sites for a deep geologic repository (DGR), the diffusive properties of rocks are of fundamental importance.  Recent research in this area has resulted in the development of new magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) and radiation-imaging (RI) methods for measurement of diffusion and reaction properties including pore- and effective- diffusion coefficients (Dp and De), tracer-accessible porosity (ftr), cation-exchange capacity (CEC) and ion selectivity coefficients.  The RI techniques are rapid and versatile, involving either an X-ray or a gamma source (241Am) source.  The experiments are conducted principally with iodide as a conservative tracer and cesium for reactive transport experiments. Site investigations for the DGR proposed by Ontario Power Generation for low- and intermediate-level waste at the Bruce nuclear site in Ontario provided opportunity to take the work from lab to field and study diffusion of specific tracers, and the effects of anisotropy, confining pressure and scale.  Measurements were conducted across 700 m of Paleozoic stratigraphy in southwest Ontario.  Drilling and sampling in the field allows for a comparison of lab-measured De values against those obtained from measured depth profiles for naturally occurring porewater tracers. Future efforts will be directed toward management of used nuclear fuel and will focus on measurement of diffusion coefficients for dissolved gases (e.g. CH4, CO2 and He) and refinement of the RI methods to improve tracer detection so that the method can be applied to rocks with very low porosity, and to expand the range of tracers for both conservative and reactive transport.

Lecturer: Daniel Fiorilli (Mathematics and Statistics)

Biography: Daniel Fiorilli completed his Ph.D. in 2011 at the Université de Montréal, under the supervision of Andrew Granville. During the 2011-2012 academic year, he was a member at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He was a postdoctoral assistant professor at the University of Michigan 2012-2014 and he spent the 2014-2015 academic year at the Université Paris 7 - Diderot.

Title: Primes in arithmetic progressions

Abstract: The distribution of primes is central to many questions, with notable applications in cryptography and random number generators. For many mathematical problems we are led to study primes in arithmetic progressions, for example the occurrence of 1 as the last digit of these numbers. I will discuss recent developments in the area as well as some of my current work.

Photo of Pawel Hawrylak

Lecturer: Pawel Hawrylak (Physics)

Title: Designing materials at the nanoscale: challenges and opportunities

Abstract: We describe challenges and opportunities in condensed matter and materials physics applied to information and communication technology. We show how materials designed at the nanoscale address some of these challenges.  These include quantum circuits based on electron spin, synthetic quantum systems hosting macroscopic quantum states, topological insulators, graphene nanostructures which allow the integration of electronic, photonic and magnetic functionalities in a single material system and 2D materials with fractional charge and valley polarized electron gas.

Research Office

Vice-Dean, Research
Louis Barriault
Telephone: (613) 562-5800, extension 6076
Fax: (613) 562-5193

Research Facilitator
Jasmine Lefebvre
Telephone: (613) 562-5986
Fax: (613) 562-5193

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