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Events & Talks
Current & Future Events
Workshop: Near-Field Cosmology with the Dark Energy Survey's DR1 and Beyond
Stars in our Milky Way and galaxies in our Local Group contain the fossils and clues on stellar evolution and supernovae, the formation and evolution of star clusters and dwarf galaxies, and the formation of large spiral galaxies. Rapid progress in this field -- usually called Galactic Archeology -- was enabled by large-area imaging and spectroscopic surveys of old stellar components of the Milky Way and dwarf galaxies, together with simulations of chemical and dynamical evolution. The field of Near-Field Cosmology extends the scope of these studies to probe the formation and evolution of galaxies and the nature of dark matter.
The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is releasing its DR1, with catalogs and images from the first three years of DES operations early in 2018, including 400M objects (100M stellar sources in grizY band to r of 24th magnitude at 10 sigma) over 5000 square degrees mostly in the Southern Galactic cap. This survey is about 2 magnitudes fainter than SDSS at the same S/N. In addition to DES, many other DECam community surveys, such as DECaLS, DECaPS, SMASH, MagLiteS, BLISS, etc, have already had or will soon have the public data release.
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago will host a 3-day workshop on June 27-29 to explore uses of the DES DR1 for near field cosmology studies in conjunction with other DECam public data. Furthermore, the workshop will explore possible synergies with other spectroscopic surveys as well as Gaia DR2.
The 3-day workshop will include presentations and discussion on the first two days and a hack day on the last day. Talks on ideas or science results related to DES/DECam data, or synergies with other programs are encouraged. Abstracts can be submitted at registration. On the hack day, we will hack on DES DR1 data and associated data sets (like Gaia DR2) in a collaborative format. Specific hack topics can be submitted at registration.
Topics in this workshop includes:
Workshop: Joint SPT-DES Analysis
The Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting the "SPTxDES Joint Analysis" workshop, which will be held from 20th to 22nd June 2018 in the Eckhardt Research Center (ERC) on the University of Chicago campus.
This workshop focuses on the science at the intersection of two leading cosmology experiments---the Dark Energy Survey (DES) and the South Pole Telescope (SPT) - with the goal of optimal extraction of cosmological constraints from these two surveys.
The workshop would serve as both a forum for discussions on current analyses as well as an incubator for future ideas. The meeting will cover two main themes: galaxy clusters and wide-field science. While these topics cover a broad spectrum, we will target the workshop such that it accelerates joint work on these key areas of synergy between the two collaborations.Learn more >>
Cameron Liang, "Multiphase Gaseous Halos around Galaxies"
Ph.D. Committee members: Nickolay Y. Gnedin, Joshua A. Frieman, Daniel Fabrycky
Thesis Abstract: There is no doubt that our atmosphere is an integral part of the ecosystem of the Earth. Everyday weather and long-term climate of the atmosphere are directly linked to activities on the surface of the Earth and vice versa. Gaseous halos, known as the circumgalactic medium (CGM), are the equivalent atmospheres of galaxies.
In this thesis, I provide a major step towards the empirical constraints and theoretical modeling of the CGM and the co-evolution with their host galaxies. Using background quasars, I statistically map the spatial extent of multiphase gaseous halos in a sample of ~200 galaxies that span nearly five orders of magnitude in stellar mass, from dwarf to L*, and more massive galaxies. With these empirical constraints, I explore the effects of theoretical modeling of star formation and feedback processes using a set of high-resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations of a Milk-Way progenitor. To connect more closely with observations, I develop a synthetic absorption pipeline, as a virtual telescope, to observe the simulated galaxy and their CGM. This series of observational and theoretical studies have led to new insights of the cold gas in galactic winds and halos. I explore a new model, the circumgalactic mist, with a set of magneto-hydrodynamic simulations. I will present the model implications on the spatial distribution of multiphase gas around galaxies.
Pavel Motloch, "Topics in Gravitational Lensing of the Cosmic Microwave Background"
Ph.D. Committee members: Wayne Hu (Ph.D. advisor), Stephan Meyer, Michael Turner Robert Wald
Thesis Abstract: Gravitational lensing of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) has recently started to gain importance as a cosmological probe. With growing detection significance of this effect, it is necessary to further develop theoretical understanding of its consequences. Such studies are the main topic of this work.
We start by looking at correlations that the gravitational lensing induces between CMB temperature, polarization and reconstructed lensing potential and investigate how neglecting them in an analysis impacts constraints on cosmological parameters. We find that for the planned CMB Stage 4 experiment, neglecting these correlations can significantly underestimate variance of certain combinations of cosmological parameters, as well as lead to an increased frequency of mistakenly rejecting the underlying cosmological model.
Then we discuss a method we developed to directly measure the gravitational lensing potential from the CMB data and explain how to practically perform such measurement. This method helps us understand why it is necessary to include the lensing-induced covariances to get correct constraints on cosmological parameters. Additionally, comparing direct measurements of the lensing potential from various subsets of data or across experiments allows for powerful consistency checks that can be used to search for residual systematics and exotic new physics. When assuming a particular cosmological model, this technique can also be used to probe internal consistency of lensing within a single data set.
In the final part of this work we apply this methodology to check lensing consistency of the Planck satellite data. We find that it is not possible to resolve the lensing anomalies seen in this data even when allowing for an arbitrary gravitational lensing potential, beyond the predictions of the standard cosmological model. Significances of these tensions are evaluated at above 2σ; one possible explanation are residual systematics in the Planck temperature power spectrum. Without large modifications, this technique can be applied to data from other current and especially future experiments, where its full power will become manifest.
KICP/A&A Education and Public Outreach Celebration and Open House
Join us on Tuesday May 29 from 3-4:30pm in ERC 401 to celebrate the contributions of KICP and A&A members in the wide variety of Education and Public Outreach (EPO) programs that take place within our departments. Looking to get involved in EPO, or want to volunteer for more? Great! We will have representatives present from all of our initiatives.
Come mingle, eat, drink, share your EPO stories, and find out more about how you can volunteer for our EPO programs. Drop in at any time.
Broader Horizons: Jennifer Helsby, Freedom of the Press Foundation
Organizer: Andrew Neil
Jennifer is Lead Developer of SecureDrop at the non-profit organization Freedom of the Press Foundation. SecureDrop is an anonymous whistleblowing platform used by dozens of major news organizations for safe communications between journalists and their sources. Prior to joining Freedom of the Press Foundation in 2016, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Data Science and Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she worked on applying machine learning methods to problems in public policy. She will discuss her transition from cosmology to public interest technology.
Spring 2018 Postdocs Symposium
Workshop: Towards Dark Matter Discovery
The Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting the "Towards Dark Matter Discovery" workshop, which will be held from 11th to 13th April 2018 in the Eckhardt Research Center (ERC) on the University of Chicago campus.
The workshop will explore new directions on the path toward discovering the nature of dark matter. The invited speakers are encouraged to share their expertise in the fields of primordial black holes, thermal relic dark matter, nonthermal relic dark matter, ultralight dark matter, superheavy dark matter, kinda-chubby dark matter, new strategies for direct detection, newer strategies for direct detection, avant-garde strategies for direct detection, and axions. During the three day workshop, we will host approximately 20 talks of 30 minutes each with generous time remaining for discussion.
Visitors to the University of Chicago are invited to spend the entire week at the university.Learn more >>
Winter 2018 Postdocs Symposium
Fall 2017 Postdocs Symposium
Public Lectures & Open Discussion: Gravitational Waves & Transient Astronomy
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Gravitational Waves & Transient Astronomy but were Too Afraid to Ask...
Special KICP/EFI/Physics/A&A Colloquium and Reception
The colloquium will be followed by discussion and comments by: Holz, Frieman, Hubble Fellow Dan Scolnic, University Professor Wendy Freedman, and students and postdocs involved in the new findings.
Livestream of LIGO press conference will be shown in ERC Lobby (Video Wall) and PRC 201, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
The purpose of the Jamboree is to allow all of KICP members who are currently conducting research to briefly introduce themselves and their work to the entire KICP community. This includes all Senior Members, Senior Researchers, Fellows, and Associate Fellows. Because we have a lot of members and limited time, the jamboree will take the following, tightly controlled, format:
Summer School: CMB Detectors and Instrumentation
This 1-week "hands-on" summer school is designed to provide the participants with working knowledge of the detectors and instrumentation used to detect the tiny temperature and polarization anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Early graduate students interested in pursuing a PhD in experimental CMB research methods are particularly encouraged to apply. A feature of the school is hands-on activities to teach students the basics of CMB instrumentation. We expect to have room for approximately 15 students.
Topics will include: superconducting detectors, e.g., transition-edge-sensor (TES) bolometers, kinetic-inductance-detectors (KIDs); detector characterization (responsivity, beams, bands, time constants, polarization calibration); coherent techniques for characterizing mm-wave components; SQUIDs and detector readout; antenna design; and Fourier transform spectroscopy.
The School will be held at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago in the William Eckhardt Research Center (ERC).Learn more >>
Midweek on the Midway: Escape from planet Earth
Compare the movie's hero astronaut, Scorch Supernova, to critters walking our planet. See yourself as a South Pole explorer in our selfie booth. Pre-movie fun provided by UChicago's Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, and Boy Scout Troop 599.
The Physics of Toys, Yerkes Summer Institute
Instructors: Huanqing Chen, Zoheyr Doctor, Clarke Esmerian, Emily Gilbert, Jason Henning, Gourav Khullar, Randy Landsberg, James Lasker, Phil Mansfield, Nora Shipp.
Over the course of a week, local Chicago high school students will learn about how the physics of energy conservation makes various everyday toys possible, and how using a structured engineering design process can allow them to understand the inner workings of things around them. In the three main labs, students will learn about pressure potential energy by reverse engineer super soakers and testing manufacturer claims about bottle rockets, they will learn about elastic potential energy by building and racing wind up cars, and they will learn about gravitational potential energy as they compete to build room-sized Rube Goldberg machines. The Institute will also contain various bite-sized activities, ranging from observing nebulae with the Yerkes 24-inch telescope, to learning defense techniques against deceptive infographics, to investigating the mysterious physics of the household microwave.
Alessandro Manzotti, "Unveiling the early Universe: delensing the Cosmic Microwave Background with galaxy surveys"
Ph.D. Committee members: Scott Dodelson (Ph.D. advisor), Wayne Hu, Richard G. Kron, Abigail G. Vieregg
"Alessandro led the team that carried out the first 'de-lensing' of the polarization in the cosmic microwave background. Using data from the South Pole Telescope, the team used software to undo what billions of years of propagation through the clumpy universe has done: distorted the pattern of polarization. This first demonstration is the harbinger of what will ultimately become an essential tool in analyses of future SPT CMB-Stage 4 data."
- Scott Dodelson, Ph.D. advisor
Laura M Mocanu, "Measuring the cosmic microwave background gravitational lensing potential and its power spectrum with SPTpol"
Ph.D. Committee members: Scott Dodelson, Brad Benson, Abigail Vieregg.
"Monica has make many important contributions to the analysis of South Pole Telescope CMB data. For her thesis she has used SPTpol temperature and polarization data to produce the most sensitive CMB lensing reconstruction of the mass distribution in the universe, paving the wave for SPT-BICEP B-mode delensing and other cosmological analysis."
- John Carlstrom, Ph.D. advisor
Thesis Abstract: Weak gravitational lensing by large-scale structure in the universe causes deflections in the paths of cosmic microwave background (CMB) photons. This effect introduces non-Gaussian correlations in the observed CMB temperature and polarization fields. The signature of lensing can be used to reconstruct the projected gravitational lensing potential with a quadratic estimator technique; this provides a measure of the integrated mass distribution out to the surface of last scattering. The power spectrum of the lensing potential encodes information about the geometry of the universe and the growth of structure and can be used to place constraints on the sum of neutrino masses and dark energy. High signal-to-noise mass maps from CMB lensing are also powerful for cross-correlating with other tracers of large-scale structure and for delensing the CMB in search for primordial gravitational waves. In my thesis, I describe a measurement of the CMB gravitational lensing potential and its power spectrum using data from 500 square degrees of sky observed with the polarization-sensitive receiver installed on the South Pole Telescope, SPTpol.