The Goeppert Mayer Gauge
  • Jay Foley and Dugan Hayes
10 episodes
A semi-monthly podcast about chemistry, physics, and music with a focus on light and its interactions with matter.


Episode 10: Perovskites and photon upconversion with Prof. Lea Nienhaus
2021 Apr 2752m 44s
We are joined by Prof. Lea Nienhaus from Florida State University to learn about photon upconversion with perosvkites, a strategy for increasing the efficiency of photovoltaic energy conversion among other applications that her group has pioneered in the last few years.  We also talk to Lea about her science communication project, "Kitchen Spectroscopy", that she launched at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that empowers people to discover the plethora of "glowy things" that can be found at home.
Episode 9: Transient Absorption
2021 Apr 131h 4m 1s
It's Season 2 of the Goeppert Mayer Gauge! We kick things off with an introduction to transient absorption spectroscopy and discuss what it is, why it's useful, and how it's done before getting a bit philosophical on how best to think about the signal that is actually measured. And just to prove how serious we are, Jay has scored us our first (fake) sponsorship, and Dugan finally recorded with a microphone that doesn't sound like it's under water. Things are about to get CRAZY. Are you ready for Season 2?!?!? As always, extra content and links are available on our website:
Episode 8: Interview with Jeamme Chia on Maria Goeppert Mayer
2021 Feb 091h 5m 43s
We talk with Jeamme Chia about her scholarly writing about Maria Goeppert Mayer's time at Sarah Lawrence College and the Manhattan project.
Episode 7: 2020 Recap
2021 Jan 261h 21m 2s
What better way to celebrate the end of 2020 than by talking about it for 80 minutes? We take a break from science talk and (mostly) leave aside the bad stuff from the year to focus on what music, TV, podcasts, and youtube channels kept us sane during lockdown. We also contemplate the future of in-person conferences and get excited for the Goeppert Mayer Gauge in 2021. Be sure to check out the accompanying Spotify playlist linked below and get all the other links at
Episode 6: Surface Plasmon Resonance Biosensors
2021 Jan 1243m 14s
In this episode, we discuss surface plasmon resonance biosensors and their potential application to COVID testing.  A companion Jupyter notebook that allows the simulation of sensitivity of a SPR-based sensor can be found on our webpage:
Episode 5: Short Wave Infrared with Professor Justin Caram from UCLA
2020 Dec 291h 54s
In this episode of the Goeppert Mayer Gauge, we learn why Kanye would fund development of organinc materials that emit short wave infrared radiation (SWIR) and why Elon Musk would not. We have our very first guest, Prof. Justin Caram from UCLA,  who tells us about designing organic absorbers and emitters for SWIR applications, compares their performance to that of QD-based SWIR absorber/emitters, and discusses a variety of applications for these materials.  We get into some particle-in-a-box scaling relationships, which you can explore in the Jupyter notebook accompanying the episode Be sure to check out our SWIR-inspired playlist here:
Episode 4: Terahertz
2020 Dec 151h 2m 58s
In this low-energy episode, we talk about the terahertz gap, different ways to generate and detect terahertz pulses, and why people go to the trouble anyway.  This episode we also try something new - providing supplemental content using Jupyter notebooks, which you can find on our new website:  Be sure to check out our THz inspired playlist here:
Episode 3: Polaritonic Chemistry
2020 Dec 011h 4m 1s
What does it sound like when you stick a molecule between two mirrors? Modal jazz, apparently! Jay guides Dugan through the world of polaritonic chemistry, where coupling between molecules and cavity modes can have some astonishing effects on the trajectories of photochemical and even non-photochemical reactions. We discuss the past, present, and future of this emerging field, including Jay's latest publication in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
Episode 2: The Gordon Moore Gauge #1 (Dirty)
2020 Nov 171h 7m 42s
In this special warm-up episode, we try to figure out what exactly this podcast will be. One thing's for certain: we have a lot to say about light, and not all of it is good! We then go back to our college radio roots and review Sonic Youth's 1992 album Dirty.  And in keeping with the quantum theme of the show, we somehow conclude that it is both "Sonic Youth's least cool album" and "a damn solid album" simultaneously. Although we don't know how to legally play copyrighted music in a podcast, we made a Spotify playlist with all the songs we discuss in the order in which they were mentioned. Listen to it here:
Episode 1: X-rays, pt. 1
2020 Oct 251h 3m 16s
It may be our first episode, but we aren't afraid to start out with the hard stuff - hard X-rays, that is. We discuss what X-rays are, what they might sound like, and why Dugan is so fond of using them from studying transition metal complexes. We also end up getting a bit philosophical about structural vs. spectroscopic X-ray characterization and dive into EXAFS, the one technique that manages to be both at once.