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Events & Talks
The Artful Universe with cosmologist Michael S. Turner
The Arts|Science Initiative will host a free lecture and discussion on why images of the universe - spacescapes - are so beautiful, at 7 pm Feb 5 in the performance hall of the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.
The guest speaker will be the University of Chicago's Michael S. Turner, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist who coined the term "dark energy". The audience will travel through space and time with Turner to explore the age of the universe, black holes in galaxies, the birth of stars, and most significantly the mystery of dark energy, whose repulsive gravity is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate, through the extraordinarily artful visualizations with images produced by the Hubble Space Telescope and other telescopes..
Turner is the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics and director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. He helped establish the interdisciplinary field that combines cosmology and elementary particle physics to understand the origin and evolution of the universe. His research focuses on the earliest moments of creation, and he has made contributions to inflationary cosmology, particle dark matter and structure formation, the theory of big bang nucleosynthesis, and the nature of dark energy.
SWIP/KICP Pizza with Professors
On February 19th, the Society of Women in Physics(SWIP) and the KICP joined forces to host "Pizza with Professors," a dinner and discussion about the joys and stresses of pursuing a career in physics. Professors and post-doctoral fellows from the KICP joined faculty from the Physics department in speaking with around 50 undergraduate Physics majors. The event was held in the Kersten Family Atrium of the University's Gordon Center for the Integrative Sciences. Participants left with a better appreciation of what a career in physics or a related field ultimately requires.
Winter 2013 Postdocs Symposium
This quarter's Postdoc Symposium will be on March 15, 9:30AM-12PM.
Lunch, followed by Friday noon seminar (Megan Eckart)
Interview with John Carlstrom, "Witnessing Starbursts in the Early Universe"
On Friday March 29, 12:00-12:30pm PDT, science writer Bruce Lieberman will ask your questions about the starbursts and the early universe with members of the research team: John E. Carlstrom, Dan P. Marrone and Joaquin D. Vieira.Learn more >>
Ryerson Lecture: Michael S. Turner, "Quarks and the Cosmos"
You are cordially invited to attend The Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, given by Professor Michael S. Turner.
Lecture: "Quarks and the Cosmos"
A lecture to be given by Michael S. Turner, the Bruce V. & Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor, and Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 East 59th Street
* Lecture: Max Palevsky Cinema at 5:00 p.m.
* Reception: Library/Lounge at 6:00 p.m.
Lecture and Reception are free and open to the public.
Imaging the Extreme Universe: Solid-state cameras for Astroparticle Physics
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago will host a two-day workshop focusing on solid-state technologies to build cameras for both space and ground-based astroparticle physics experiments. In particular, alternatives to MAPMTs for the JEM-EUSO focal plane and CTA cameras will be discussed including SiPM and G-APD. The workshop will be structured as a series of presentations with ample time for discussions and working sessions.Learn more >>
Broader Horizons: Maria Cruz, Editor at Science
Broader Horizons talk by visitor Maria Cruz discussing her career as an editor at the journal Science.
"I realized that I really love science but not spending my time just focusing on a particular aspect of it." --Maria Cruz
Supernova Hub hosts the JLA (SDSS+SNLS) collaboration meeting
The Supernava Hub at the KICP will host a joint meeting of the SDSS+SNLS (JLA) collaboration which takes place May 15-17 2013 at the University of Chicago. The meetings will start Wed morning at the Temporary Astronomy & Astrophysics Center(TAAC). The Wednesday talks are each 30 minutes to include plenty of time for discussion. The Thursday & Friday discussions can include short presentations as needed. Note that there will be no food at the meeting locations.
Wednsday May 15 (TAAC 67, all day)
1. 09:45 am: introduction/welcome
2. 10:00 am: overview of cosmology analysis (Marc)
3. 10:30 am: General PS1 updates (Sclonic)
4. 11:00 am: Break
5. 11:30 am: calibration summary (Marc)
6. noon - 2pm: lunch
7. 2:00 pm: training systematics (Jennifer)
8. 2:30 pm: intrinsic scatter (Rick)
9. 3:00 pm: sources of intrinsic scatter (Scolnic/PS1)
10. 3:30 pm: break
11. 4:00 pm: add SDSS into the training (Rahul)
12. 4:30 pm: SDSS data release update (Masao)
Thursday May 16 (TAAC 67 from 9am to 1pm, LASR East from 2-5pm)
1. Finish talk(s) from Monday
2. discussion of papers in prep (includes short presentations)
3. u band anomaly
4. simulated mu bias
5. host properties
6. selection requirements
7pm: dinner in South Loop
9:30pm: Buddy Guy's Legends
Friday May 17 (TAAC 67 from 9-1pm, BSLC rm 240 from 1-5pm)
1. future strategies for final cosmology results
2. results with photometric sample
3. extension of the SALT training sample + SN database : Patrick
4. project of SALT training vs host galaxy properties : Nicolas
Matthew Becker: "CALCLENS: Weak Lensing Simulations for Large-Area Sky Surveys and Second-Order Effects in Cosmic Shear Power Spectra"
PhD Committee members: Daniel Holz, John Carlstrom, C. Chin.
"Matt's thesis work, in which he has developed a novel algorithm of computing distorsions of galaxy images using data from cosmological simulations, significantly advances our ability to make realistic theoretical predictions for upcoming wide area surveys aiming to map matter distribution in the universe on large scales."
- Andrey Kravtsov, PhD advisor
Thesis Abstract: I present a new algorithm, CALCLENS, for efficiently computing weak gravitational lensing shear signals from large N-body light cone simulations over a curved sky. This new algorithm properly accounts for the sky curvature and boundary conditions, is able to produce redshift- dependent shear signals including corrections to the Born approximation by using multiple- plane ray tracing, and properly computes the lensed images of source galaxies in the light cone. The key feature of this algorithm is a new, computationally efficient Poisson solver for the sphere that combines spherical harmonic transform and multigrid methods. As a result, large areas of sky (~10,000 square degrees) can be ray traced efficiently at high-resolution using only a few hundred cores. Using this new algorithm and curved-sky calculations that only use a slower but more accurate spherical harmonic transform Poisson solver, I study the convergence, shear E-mode, shear B-mode and rotation mode power spectra. Employing full-sky E/B-mode decompositions, I confirm that the numerically computed shear B-mode and rotation mode power spectra are equal at high accuracy (~1%) as expected from perturbation theory up to second order. Coupled with realistic galaxy populations placed in large N-body light cone simulations, this new algorithm is ideally suited for the construction of synthetic weak lensing shear catalogs to be used to test for systematic effects in data analysis procedures for upcoming large-area sky surveys. The implementation presented in this work, written in C and employing widely available software libraries to maintain portability, is publicly available at http://code.google.com/p/calclens.
Lindsey Bleem: "A Multi-Wavelength Study of Optically Selected Galaxy Clusters from the Blanco Cosmology Survey"
PhD Committee members: Stephan S. Meyer, Michael D. Gladders, Andrey V. Kravtsov, M. Gardel.
"After making critical contributions to every aspect of the 10m South Pole Telescope (SPT) program, from testing the initial detectors at Chicago, optimizing the performance of the telescope at the South Pole, analyzing the cosmic microwave background data and leading the optical follow up observations and analysis, Lindsey's thesis has taken the first major step in the joint analysis of the SPT and optical survey data sets. This work thoroughly explores the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich signal of an optical selected sample of galaxy clusters, laying the groundwork and identifying the challenges for obtaining precision dark energy constraints from the much anticipated joint analysis of the SPT data with the upcoming optical data from the Dark Energy Survey."
- John Carlstrom, PhD advisor
Thesis Abstract: Abundance measurements of galaxy clusters provide powerful constraints of cosmology. The observed distribution of clusters can be used to disentangle whether the accelerated cosmic expansion can be explained by a modification to Einstein's theory of gravity or whether the explanation involves a new form of 'dark' energy. Such growth of structure measurements are both complimentary to and provide an important cross-check of geometrical measurements of the universe. There are two key requirements for cosmology with galaxy clusters: a census of these systems through cosmic time and the ability to connect the measured signal with the underlying mass of the galaxy cluster. In this era of large-area millimeter and optical wavelength surveys (including the South Pole Telescope (SPT) 2500 deg^2 SZ-Survey and the Dark Energy Survey (DES)) where hundreds (mm-wave) to hundreds of thousands (optical) of clusters will be detected, the most serious limitation to cluster cosmology remains creating a well-understood observable-mass relation. Combining cluster observables across wavelengths can both test and inform our knowledge of such scaling relations. As a pilot program for future explorations of the combined SPT and DES datasets, we explore the relation between the optical-richness, λ, and SZ-signal for a sample of 567 optically-selected clusters from the Blanco Cosmology Survey, an ∼ 80 deg^2 survey located within the SPT-SZ survey. In this study we detect SZ-signal at increasing significance as a function of cluster richness but find that the recovered signal falls below expectations derived from models based on X-Ray samples. We explore possible biases to our recovered signal and find that contamination from cluster members - in particular radio and dust emission from galaxies - is small and that the majority of the discrepancy at the high mass end can be explained by poor selection of the optical centers of clusters. Work to improve our centering algorithm is ongoing. The toolset developed here can be combined with future cluster catalogs from the Dark Energy Survey to help improve mass-richness scaling relations and ultimately constrain cosmological models.
Broader Horizons: Jessica Kirkpatrick, data scientist / analyst for the social network Yammer
Jessica Kirkpatrick received her PhD in Astrophysics from Berkeley in 2012. After an exhaustive job search within academia and beyond, she accepted a job as a data scientist / analyst for the social network Yammer (acquired by Microsoft). Now instead of spending her days finding patterns in the large scale structure of galaxies, she finds patterns in the behaviors of people. She'll talk about her transition from physics to tech, compare and contrast the two fields, and give tips about how to land a tech job.
Dark Matter Hub Meeting
The 6 discussion leaders and topics will be:
(each topic has been budgeted for 1/2 hour, so plan on a 20-minute presentation and 10 minutes of questions)
1. Andrey Kravtsov, Current status of CDM woes
2. Luca Grandi, A Look at the DarkSide
3. Ben Loer, CDMS recent Silicon results
4. Jing-Yuan Chen, Dark Matter Coupling to Electroweak Gauge and Higgs Bosons
5. Ilia Cholis, The AMS positron fractions: interpretations
6. Tongyan Lin, Looking for dark matter at LHC from top and bottom production
Plus some thoughts/discussions on UV completions of the effective field theory.
Spring 2013 Postdocs Symposium
This quarter's Postdoc Symposium will be on June 7 at 11 AM.
Galaxies within the Cosmic Web
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago will host "Galaxies within the Cosmic Web" workshop on June 17-21, 2013. The workshop will be held in the lecture hall 120 in the Kersten Physics Teaching Center (KPTC) on the University of Chicago campus.
During the last thirty years, studies of structure formation have played a key role in establishing the Cold Dark Matter (CDM) paradigm of structure formation in an expanding universe. In the CDM model the initial Gaussian density perturbations are shaped by gravity into a cosmic web of voids and filaments, at the intersection of which galaxies and galaxy clusters are mainly thought to form. Although the model has been a tremendous success in explaining the observed large-scale structure of the universe, many key aspects of how galaxies form and evolve within this cosmic web of dark matter and diffuse gas are still not understood. The gaps in our understanding not only hamper interpretation of the wealth of observational data on galaxy evolution, but also represent a major systematic uncertainty for cosmological probes of the accelerated expansion of the universe, the nature of gravity, and forecasts and interpretation of direct and indirect dark matter searches.
This workshop will assemble both observers and theorists (target size ~60-80 people) who work on all key aspects of galaxy formation to assess recent progress and, most importantly, to germinate new ideas for how to improve our understanding of galaxy formation, the relation between the baryonic mass of galaxies and their parent halos, the effects of galaxy assembly and associated feedback on the spatial distribution of dark matter, and the interpretation of galaxy clustering and bias from large surveys to constrain the evolution of dark energy. The focus of the meeting will be on the most rapidly developing and interesting topics of research, and the format will include ample time for discussion and unstructured interaction.Learn more >>
Christopher Williams: "A Search For Microwave Emission From Cosmic Ray Air Showers"
PhD Committee members: Angela Olinto, Scott Wakely, Sidney Nagel.
"The unsolved mystery of ultra-high energy cosmic rays demands a novel approach to the detection of these very rare particles. Chris - a natural-born experimentalist - has made an outstanding contribution with his thesis, by exploring the potential of microwave emission from extensive air showers through a series of careful and accurate measurements. He brought to life MIDAS, an exploratory detector currently taking data at the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, and MAYBE, an electron beam experiment at the Argonne National Laboratory. Measurements performed by these instruments are the most precise of a world-wide campaign to detect microwave emission from cosmic rays."
- Paolo Privitera, PhD advisor
Thesis Abstract: At the highest energies, the sources of cosmic rays should be among the most powerful extragalactic accelerators. Large observatories have revealed a flux suppression above a few 10^19 eV, similar to the expected effect of the interaction of ultrahigh energy cosmic rays (UHECR) with the cosmic microwave background. The Pierre Auger Observatory has measured the largest sample of cosmic ray induced extensive air showers (EAS) at the highest energies leading to a precise measurement of the energy spectrum, hints of spatial anisotropy, and a surprising change in the chemical composition at the highest energies. To answer the question of the origin of UHECRs a larger sample of high quality data will be required to reach a statistically significant result.
One of the possible techniques suggested to achieve this much larger data sample, in a cost effective way, is ultra-wide field of view microwave telescopes which would operate in an analogous way to the already successful fluorescence detection (FD) technique. Detecting EAS in microwaves could be done with 100% duty cycle and essentially no atmospheric effects. This presents many advantages over the FD which has a 10% duty cycle and requires extensive atmospheric monitoring for calibration. We have pursued both prototype detector designs and improved laboratory measurements, the results of which are reported herein, and published in (Alvarez-Muniz et al., 2013; Alvarez-Muniz et al., 2012a; Williams et al., 2012; Alvarez-Muniz et al., 2013).
The Microwave Detection of Air Showers (MIDAS) experiment is the first ultra-wide field of view imaging telescope deployed to detect isotropic microwave emission from EAS. With 61 days of livetime data operating on the University of Chicago campus we were able to set new limits on isotropic microwave emission from extensive air showers. The new limits rule out current laboratory air plasma measurements by more than five sigma. The MIDAS experiment continues to take data installed in Argentina, operating in coincidence with the Pierre Auger Observatory. Using the first 70 days of livetime data combined with a sample of EAS events from the Auger surface detector we are able to set a preliminary limit which is even more stringent than that set with the Chicago data set.
Test beam efforts performed at Argonne National Lab, The Microwave Air Yield Beam Experiment (MAYBE), have successfully measured a microwave signal which exhibits linear scaling with energy deposit in a frequency range of 1 GHz to 15 GHz. This measurement has produced strong upper limits on the isotropic emission of microwaves from air plasmas.
CARMA Science Symposium
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago will host the 2013 CARMA Science Symposium on July 8-9, 2013. The two-day meeting will feature presentations relevant to the wide range of interdisciplinary science pursued with CARMA. In particular, there will be presentations from the community on potential future directions for CARMA-related research. These presentations include potential collaboration with new observatories, and science for which CARMA is uniquely suited.
Contributions from outside CARMA member institutions are welcome. Graduate students and postdocs are encouraged to submit a presentation.Learn more >>
Art & Science: Alvaro Chavarria, "Taking photographs in the dark"
The latest scientific discoveries indicate that more than 80% of the matter in the universe is "dark matter," a massive substance that does not interact with light, yet its gravitational pull on visible matter plays a crucial role in the dynamics of galaxies and the Universe. The favored scientific hypothesis is that this substance is constituted of new particles known as WIMPs. Paradoxically, it may be possible to obtain evidence for their existence by taking photographs in the darkest place on Earth, SNOLAB, a facility two kilometers underground.
"Art & Science" presentations are given in an art gallery: each month a scientist presents a different topic. The event combines science with art, drinks, food and socializing.
The KICP at the University of Chicago will host a week-long workshop dedicated to the Supernova program within the Dark Energy Survey (DES). Since the first DES season starts in September 2013, this workshop will be the final gathering of collaboration-wide expertise to prepare the SN-search software pipelines that run at both NCSA and at Fermilab. While the first three days of the workshop (Mon-Wed) are focussed on the search pipelines, the latter three days (Wed-Fri) will be dedicated to ramping up the analysis, with a focus on cross-cutting tasks that are needed in many analyses. Cross-cutting tasks include final photometry, simulations, measuring the search efficiency, SN-host matching and photometric classification of light curves.
Yeunjin Kim: "The effect of the nuclear burning during the deflagration on the final observables in Supernovae type Ia"
PhD Committee members: Don Lamb, Joshua Frieman, Fausto Cattaneo
Thesis Abstract: A common model of the explosion mechanism of type Ia supernovae is based on a delayed detonation of a white dwarf (WD) in which deflagration precedes detonation. We study one of the delayed detonation models, Gravitationally Confined Detonation (GCD), in two-dimensional simulations, and we discuss a range of the final theoretical observables that can plausibly account for the variety of observed events. Furthermore, we probe the pulsational character of the WD due to the deflagration and its effect on the final observables in one-dimensional studies.
Two-dimensional GCD models with different ignition conditions, parametrized by the number of ignition bubbles and their locations relative to the center of the WD, were performed. The initial ignition led to the development of the subsonic burning flame which in turn generated nuclear burning energy from C and O burning. Depending on the unique initial condition, different amount of nuclear burning energy was released during the deflagration, and at large the star detonated as either a Classical GCD or a Pulsationally-assisted GCD. Furthermore, we have shown a correlation between the amount of nuclear burning that occurs during the deflagration phase and the final abundances of intermediate mass elements such as Si-group. Lastly, the distribution of the ejecta during the homologous phase was studied for each model.
In addition, we create simplified one-dimensional models that test mainly the effects of the pre-detonation stellar internal velocity profile and the post-detonation velocity of expansion on the production of alpha-particle nuclei, including 56Ni. We observe two distinct post-detonation expansion phases: rarefaction and bulk expansion. Almost all the burning to 56Ni occurs only in the rarefaction phase, and its expansion timescale is influenced by pre-existing flow structure in the star, in particular by the pre-detonation stellar velocity profile. We find that the mass fractions of the alpha-particle nuclei, including 56Ni, are tight functions of the empirical physical parameter den_up/v_down, where den_up is the mass density immediately upstream of the detonation wave front and v_down is the velocity of the flow immediately downstream of the detonation wave front. We conclude that the properties of the pre-existing flow, in particular the internal stellar velocity profile, influence the final isotopic composition of burned matter produced by the detonation.
Colors Answers, Yerkes Summer Institute
Instructors: Louis Abramson, Ross Cawthon, Dylan Hatt, Sean Johnson, Randy Landsberg, Samuel Meehan, Sean Mills, Kyle Story, Kat Ziegler
The Yerkes Summer Institute (YSI) is a week long, residential, science camp for inner-city high school students in the Space Explorers Program. In addition to providing the students a science immersion experience, it offers many teaching, curriculum design, communications and team working opportunities for the instructors, who are generally early career scientists.
YSI 2013 focused on the information content of color as an investigative tool. In each lab, students applied a different type of spectrometer to measure the wavelength or, roughly-speaking, color components of light in order to identify the composition of unknown objects or substances. During the first part of the week, students cycled through three different day-long laboratories, which focused on color vision, food color dyes, and stellar spectra. These daytime activities led to two days of extension activities in which groups of students investigated in greater depth one of the labs and prepared a presentation on their findings for their parents and peers. Nighttime activities focused on observations with the Yerkes Observatory telescopes and creation of colorful art.
In "Seeing Color", students learned how color vision is the measurement of a wavelength spectrum by the eye. Students tested the usefulness of the eye as a spectroscopic tool by creating red-green-blue (RGB) histograms of low-resolution images to uniquely identify objects and pictures. In the conclusion of the laboratory, students recreate the process of color vision by applying RGB filters to produce a number of black and white photographs, which were then recombined with false color to form color images.
The "Liquid Colors" lab discovered the properties of absorbance and transmittance for common FD&C dyes (e.g., Blue No. 1) using visible light spectrometers, Spectronic-20's, and then applied that knowledge to identify the composition of common colored beverages (e.g., Gatorade).
During the "Barcoding the Stars" lab, students built their own spectrographs to observe the unique spectral signature of elements here on Earth in gas discharge lamps. After gaining an understanding of basic atomic physics, students used standardized spectra to identify the composition of stars.
Summer School: Computational Cosmology
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago will host a Summer School on Computational Cosmology from August 5 to August 16, 2013.
The aim of the School is to expose a select group of 15 to 20 graduate students to the challenges of modern high-performance computing in cosmological research. During the school the emphasis will be on specific hands-on projects designed to teach modern cosmological simulation techniques. The course will also inform students regarding current challenges in the era of petascale supercomputing, and near future challenges, as computation transitions from the petascale to the exascale within the next decade.
Orientation discussion sessions on ongoing projects and/or a brief lecture in the morning of each day will be followed by work on individual research projects under the guidance and supervision of school instructors and assistants. The projects will be designed to teach students to set up and run modern N-body and associated analyses (halo finding, visualization, MCMC calculations). Computational work will be carried out on the University of Chicago midway cluster and on development racks of the Blue Gene Q Mira supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL).
The School will be held in the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR) at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. Students will spend the last 2-3 days of the school at Argonne National Laboratory, where they will be introduced to the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility and the Exascale Technology and Computing Institute and will have a chance to implement visualizations of the data based on their school project at the ALCF visualization lab.Learn more >>
Live Google Hangout: "Dark Energy: On the Brink of Discovery?"
Ask Your Questions of Joshua Frieman, Michael Niemack and Marcelle Soares-Santos
The race is on to unlock the mystery of dark energy, the unknown force that is causing the universe to expand at an accelerating rate. Three leading projects are paving the way toward discovery: The Dark Energy Survey and SuMIRe (Subaru Measurement of Images and Redshifts) aim to image and map millions of galaxies across space and time to learn about dark energy's influence on the evolution of the universe. A third project, called ACTPol, is using the Cosmic Microwave Background - the afterglow of the Big Bang and the oldest light in the universe - to indirectly detect galaxies and galaxy clusters, map their positions throughout cosmic history, and probe the nature of dark energy.
On Thursday, August 22, Noon-12:30 PDT, three leading astrophysicists will answer your questions about dark energy and the quest to understand it. Join us for a special Google Hangout with Joshua Frieman, Michael Niemack and Marcelle Soares-Santos.
JOSHUA FRIEMAN - Senior staff member in the Theoretical Astrophysics group at Fermilab and the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics, member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago, and Director of the Dark Energy Survey;
MICHAEL NIEMACK - Assistant professor of physics at Cornell University and a leading team member of the Atacama Cosmology Telescope and ACTPol teams;
MARCELLE SOARES-SANTOS - Research associate at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Center for Particle Astrophysics, and leader of an analysis of galaxy clusters with early data from the Dark Energy Survey.
BRUCE LIEBERMAN - Freelance journalist with more than 20 years of experience in the news business. Along with The Kavli Foundation, he has written for Scientific American, Smithsonian Air & Space magazine, and Nature about a variety of science topics.Learn more >>
Abigail Crites: "A Measurement of the Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization with SPTpol"
PhD Committee members: Hsiao-Wen Chen, Steve Meyer, Scott Dodelson
Thesis Abstract: We present maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization at 90 and 150 GHz measured with SPTpol and the ﬁrst EE and TE CMB power spectrum measurements from SPTpol. We also describe the SPTpol instrument in detail. We discuss the development of the SPTpol camera including the cryogenic design and the transition edge sensor (TES) detectors developed at NIST and Argonne National Laboratory. The goals of the SPTpol project are to exploit the high resolution of the telescope (1 arcminute beam) and the high sensitivity afforded by the 1536 detector camera to measure the E-mode power spectrum of the CMB, characterize the B-mode polarization induced by the gravitational lensing of the primordial E-mode CMB polarization, and to detect or set an upper limit on the level of the B-mode polarization from inﬂationary gravitational waves. This thesis is a ﬁrst step toward accomplishing these goals.
Art & Science: Stephen Hoover, "Light from the beginning of the Universe"
"Art & Science" presentations are given in an art gallery: each month a scientist presents a different topic. The event combines science with art, drinks, food and socializing.Learn more >>
Dark Matter at the LHC
KICP is hosting a workshop "Dark Matter at the LHC" this fall on the University of Chicago campus. The workshop will include both theorists and experimentalists actively working on LHC signals of dark matter. The focus will be on model independent approaches. Some topics we plan to cover are monojet, monophoton, and related searches, and improvements in theoretical predictions and experimental techniques. The goal of the meeting is to discuss avenues for taking full advantage of the next LHC run for dark matter studies. This includes exploring new signals of DM models that may be challenging for direct detection or indirect detection experiments, as well as more sophisticated calculations and analyses to improve existing searches.
* Monojet searches for dark matter
* Mono-photon, mono-Z, mono-b, and other signatures
* Effective field theory constraints
* Theoretical improvements in calculationsLearn more >>
Cosmology After Planck Workshop
Inflationary cosmology has become an integral part of the standard model of the early Universe. Inflationary models and other signatures of of the early-Universe physics have become stringently constrained by WMAP and Planck, as well as powerful new large-scale structure surveys. This workshop will discuss the theoretical, observational, and experimental aspects of inflation and primordial physics, interpreted broadly. We plan to gather 20-30 of the top experts in the field.Learn more >>
Kavli workshop for scientists: "Communicating Science"
Join Alan Alda, The Kavli Foundation, and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science for an innovative workshop, September 26-28, 2013, hosted by the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago.
As host of the PBS program Scientific American Frontiers, Alan Alda interviewed 700 scientists around the world. Now, as a founding member of the Alda Center at Stony Brook University, he is helping scientists learn to communicate effectively with the public, including public officials, funders, employers, students, the media, and potential collaborators in other disciplines.
The workshop, led by Alan Alda and representatives from the Alda Center at Stony Brook University, will focus on science communication to reporters, philanthropists, policymakers and the public. This is a 3-day program, with two days of required workshops followed by an optional third day for participants who want more intensive practice. Participants will focus first on improving their skills in understanding and connecting with an audience, and speaking clearly about complex material. Then they will work on applying these skills productively in challenging settings, using scenarios and materials tailored to their real-world needs. This will include practice interviews by reporters on video.
The workshop will be run in two tracks - a master class for those with prior experience in public communication, policy or media and shorter introductory track.
This workshop is sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, with additional support from the Dean of Physical Sciences, the Logan Center for the Arts and the UofC Arts/Science Initiative.Learn more >>
Physics colloquium: Daniel Holz, "Listening to the Universe with gravitational wave astrophysics"
The next few years should see the birth of gravitational wave astrophysics, a revolutionary new way to learn about our Universe. Construction of advanced gravitational wave observatories, such as LIGO and Virgo, is actively underway. We focus on the most likely sources for these detectors, which is the inspiral and merger of a stellar mass binary system, such as a pair of neutron stars and/or black holes. In addition to being extraordinarily loud in gravitational waves, these systems may be associated with short gamma-ray bursts, and thus are also very bright in the electromagnetic spectrum. This offers the promise of multi-messenger astronomy: the combination of gravitational wave and electromagnetic observations to elucidate the physics and astrophysics of the sources. We present estimates for the event rate of these systems, showing that we can expect the first detections within months of operation. These measurements will teach us about the systems themselves (e.g., elucidating the central engine, constraining the beaming), as well as informing us about broad astrophysical and cosmological questions (e.g., the ratio of neutron stars to black holes, precision measurements of the Hubble constant). Of particular interest are "golden binaries", systems with signal strength well above threshold. We show that these systems will be found, and discuss the important role they have to play in gravitational wave astrophysics.
KICP at GLPA Conference: Bradford Benson, Lindsey Bleem, Randall H. Landsberg, & Mark SubbaRao, "Unmasking the Universe with the CMB, Nature's Ultimate Backlight"
For nearly half a century scientists have been laboring to observe the fine details of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). This workshop will explore how the South Pole Telescope (SPT) has turned the study of the CMB on its head to use it as a backlight. In an interactive presentation using WorldWide Telescope (WWT), we will explore the data, images, and story of how the SPT exploits the CMB to detect massive galaxy clusters and ancient starburst galaxies, which were discovered unexpectedly (a story ripped from the headlines, or at least from the journal Nature). We also examine how multi-wavelength (X-ray, optical and radio) follow-up observations on some of the world's most powerful telescopes (Hubble and Chandra space telescopes, and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array-ALMA), are revolutionizing our understanding of star and galaxy formation in the early Universe. In an effort to make this workshop useful for your home institutions, it will include: a brainstorming session to identify ways to incorporate the science and the visuals into a museum or planetarium, a live demonstration of an example narrative one might construct, and take home resources (e.g., data, visuals, and WWT tour).
For more information see: South Pole Telescope webpage.
AMNH Science Bulletin video about SPT.
Physics colloquium: Daniel Hooper, "Dark Matter Annihilation in the Gamma-Ray Sky"
If the dark matter is made up of WIMPs, then such particles are expected to annihilate, generating a potentially observable flux of gamma-rays, cosmic rays, and neutrinos. Experiments such as the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope are designed to search for such annihilation products, and are sensitive to many well motivated dark matter models. I will discuss and review a number of ongoing searches for dark matter using data from Fermi, including searches for gamma-rays from dwarf galaxies, subhalos, galaxy clusters, and the Galactic Center. The central region of the Milky Way is particularly exciting in this context, exhibiting a gamma-ray spectrum and morphology that is consistent with expectations from annihilating dark matter, and difficult to account for with known astrophysical sources or mechanisms.
Fall 2013 Postdocs Symposium
Cafe Scientifique: Benson Farb, "Through the Looking Glass: The Strange World Behind the Mirror"
KICP Astroparticle Seminar: George Fuller, UCSD, "Frontiers of Neutrino Physics and Cosmology"
Much about neutrinos remains mysterious and there are many possibilities associated with these particles which could have an impact on or understanding of the history of the universe.
We all know about the tremendous progress toward precision observational cosmology, but perhaps less well known is the parallel revolution in experimental neutrino physics. Taken together, plausible near-future advances in either, or both, of these subjects promise to provide insights into outstanding neutrino physics issues, e.g., the neutrino rest masses, the origin of these masses, the neutrino mass hierarchy, neutrino magnetic moments, and "sterile" states, among others, which can be difficult or, for some, even impossible to address in the lab. But they also promise deeper insight into the physics of the early universe. I will discuss these topics and tie (some) of these outstanding neutrino physics issues to observables (e.g., CMB observables, primordial light element abundances, "N_eff", and the "sum of the light neutrino masses").
Dark Matter Hub Meeting
The fall KICP dark matter hub meeting will be on this Friday, Nov. 22, 9am - noon, followed by a seminar by Annika Peter. Both the meeting and the seminar will be in the LASR conference room. Coffee and continental breakfast will be at 8:45 am and box lunch at 12:00.
The agenda include
1) A discussion on gamma ray excess from the GC (Tim Linden)
2) Update of CoGeNT (Juan Collar)
3) CDMS ( Rito Thakur)
4) LUX (Richard Saldanha)
Followed by Friday noon seminar by Annika Peter on "WIMP Physics with Direct Detection"
The schedule can be found at Dark Matter Hub website.
For those unfamiliar with campus, LASR is located at 933 East 56th Street, just west of Ellis Ave. The entrance to the building is on the south side next to the lovely construction trailers.
Parking is available in the pay lot at the corner of 55th St. and Ellis Ave., or free parking on the streets north of 55th St.
Transforming Energy, Yerkes Winter Institute
In this years Yerkes Winter Institute, students will learn about how energy can be transformed using the concept of mechanical advantage to make the most of the resources at their disposal. This idea will be introduced by studying how pulleys can be used to ease the lifting of heavy weights and how levers can be transformed into catapults to launch things great distances. They will then put their intuition of energy transformation to the test while competing to construct the most complicated Rude Goldberg machine, understanding each stage of energy transfer along the way.