Events, 2015
2015
DateEvents
January 22, 2015
4:00 PM
Talk
Physics colloquium: John Carlstrom, University of Chicago, "Physics and Cosmology with the Cosmic Microwave Background"
February 9, 2015
2:00 PM
Talk
All Chicago Cosmology Colloquium: Alexander Szalay, Johns Hopkins University, "Baryon Acoustic Oscillations and Redshift Space Distortions"
February 13, 2015
7:00 PM
Event
The Cabinet: Cosmos
February 17, 2015
9:00 AM
Workshop
Dark Matter Hub meeting
February 23, 2015
2:00 PM
Talk
Mark SubbaRao, Adler Planetarium, "The Future of the Planetarium"
March 3, 2015
2:00 PM
Event
Broader Horizons: Stephen Hoover, Civis Analytics
March 5, 2015
1:30 PM
PhD Thesis Defense
Kyle Story, "Measuring the Temperature Anisotropy and Gravitational Lensing of the Cosmic Microwave Background with the South Pole Telescope"
March 9, 2015
1:00 PM
Event
NSF's Google Hangout with KICP
March 17, 2015
4:00 PM
Event
Broader Horizons: Reid Sherman, "Career Phase Transition: Finding work in science policy"
March 19, 2015
9:00 AM
Postdocs Symposium
Winter 2015 Postdocs Symposium
March 24, 2015
1:00 PM
Workshop
American Society on Aging Workshop: "Bringing Astrophysics to Older Adults"
April 7, 2015
12:00 PM
Event
Broader Horizons: Krista Martocci, Software Engineer @ Gro Intelligence
April 16, 2015
4:15 PM
Event
Cosmosis Conversations: "The Artist and Scientist: Understanding Our Universe and Place Within featuring Jeremy Bolen & Juan Collar"
April 30, 2015
2:00 PM
PhD Thesis Defense
Youngsoo Park, "Combined Probes Analysis with Galaxy Clustering and Galaxy-Galaxy Lensing in the Dark Energy Survey"
May 18 - 20, 2015
Workshop
CMB Spectral Distortion Workshop
May 19, 2015
6:30 PM
Event
SWIP/KICP Pizza with Professors
May 26, 2015
2:00 PM
Talk
All Chicago Cosmology Colloquium: Carlos Frenk, Durham University, "The vicissitudes of the cold dark matter model of cosmology"
May 28, 2015
7:00 PM
Event
World Science Festival Live Stream viewing and discussion: "To Infinity and Beyond: The Accelerating Universe"
May 29, 2015
4:30 PM
Event
World Science Festival Salon: "Dark Energy: Measuring a Mystery"
May 30, 2015
10:30 AM
Event
Chicago Science Fest: The Mysteries of Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Universe
May 30, 2015
11:00 AM
Lecture
81st Compton Lectures: Andrew McCann, "Nature's Timepiece: The Exotic World of Pulsars"
June 2, 2015
9:30 AM
PhD Thesis Defense
Yin Li, "Cosmic Void Abundance in a Spherical Boundary Model"
June 2, 2015
1:30 PM
PhD Thesis Defense
Vinicius Miranda, "Probing Inflation with the Cosmic Microwave Background"
June 5, 2015
9:00 AM
Postdocs Symposium
Spring 2015 Postdocs Symposium
June 11, 2015
11:00 AM
PhD Thesis Defense
Jennifer Helsby, "Clustering-based redshifts for the Dark Energy Survey"
June 11, 2015
1:00 PM
PhD Thesis Defense
Benedikt Diemer, "On the (non-)universality of halo density profiles"
June 12, 2015
11:30 AM
Workshop
Graduate Student Symposium
June 16, 2015
12:00 PM
Talk
Adler Brown Bag Lunch Seminar: Daniel Grin, "Astrophysics to older adults"
July 13, 2015
2:00 PM
PhD Thesis Defense
Louis Abramson, "Assessing and Understanding Diversity in Galaxy Star Formation Histories"
July 20, 2015
10:00 AM
PhD Thesis Defense
Pierre Gratia, "Cosmology and Singularities in Massive Gravity"
July 28, 2015
9:00 AM
Workshop
Putting Your Data into World Wide Telescope (WWT)
July 28, 2015
12:00 PM
Talk
WorldWide Telescope: A Professional and Public Visualization Tool
August 2 - 8, 2015
Yerkes Institute
Mission to Mars: Engineering Design Process, Yerkes Summer Institute
August 31, 2015
10:00 AM
PhD Thesis Defense
Alan Robinson, "Dark Matter Limits from a 2L C3F8 Filled Bubble Chamber"
September 1, 2015
10:00 AM
PhD Thesis Defense
Jing Zhou, "Direct Dark Matter Detection with the DAMIC experiment at SNOLAB"
September 3, 2015
9:30 AM
Workshop
DESUC2015: Chicagoland-based DES meeting
September 18, 2015
Talk
KICP at the Council for Opportunity in Education conference
September 23 - 25, 2015
Workshop
Calibration of low energy particle detectors
September 29, 2015
4:15 PM
PhD Thesis Defense
Tyler Natoli, "A Search for Transient Sources in the First 100 deg2 of SPTpol Data"
October 12 - 14, 2015
Workshop
Exploring Theories of Modified Gravity
October 24, 2015
2:30 PM
Talk
Michael S. Turner, "The Realm of Mystery"
October 30, 2015
9:00 AM
Postdocs Symposium
Fall 2015 Postdocs Symposium
November 16, 2015
9:00 AM
Workshop
Dark Matter Hub workshop
December 27 - 29, 2015
Yerkes Institute
The Science of Musical Instruments, Yerkes Winter Institute

Physics colloquium: John Carlstrom, University of Chicago, "Physics and Cosmology with the Cosmic Microwave Background"
January 22, 2015 | 4:00 PM | KPTC 106 | Talk
Physics colloquium: John Carlstrom, University of Chicago, "Physics and Cosmology with the Cosmic Microwave Background"
Talk
The study of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) has driven spectacular advances in our understanding the origin, make up and evolution of our universe. We now have a standard cosmological model, ΛCDM, that fits all the cosmological data with only six parameters, although there are some tensions that may hint at that cracks in the model. Far from being the last word in cosmology, the model points to exciting times ahead using the CMB to explore new physics, i.e., inflation, dark matter, dark energy, neutrino masses and possible extra relativistic species, or dark radiation. This talk will review the current status and near term plans for CMB measurements, with emphasis on the South Pole Telescope, and discuss the plans for the next generation experimental program, CMB-S4.

All Chicago Cosmology Colloquium: Alexander Szalay, Johns Hopkins University, "Baryon Acoustic Oscillations and Redshift Space Distortions"
February 9, 2015 | 2:00 PM | room One West, Fermilab's Wilson Hall | Talk
All Chicago Cosmology Colloquium: Alexander Szalay, Johns Hopkins University, "Baryon Acoustic Oscillations and Redshift Space Distortions"
Talk
The talk will present results about measuring the Baryon Acoustic Oscillation signal in redshift surveys. The impacts of various effects like survey geometries, redshift space distortions, nonlinear corrections will be discussed. In particular, we will show that redshift-space distortions can substantially sharpen the BAO peak in directions close to the line of sight. We also demonstrate a detection of Baryon Acoustic Oscillations in the SDSS Main Galaxy Survey.

The Cabinet: Cosmos
February 13, 2015 | 7:00 PM | Logan Center, Performance Penthouse (915 E 60th St) | Event
The Cabinet: Cosmos
Event
The vastness of the observable universe; the seeds of ancient religious belief; a mythical faraway world; the humming network of your neighborhood streets; intricate technological systems; blood vessels inside our bodies; nerves of the brain; the world of a single cell; known and unknown totalities. All these visions conjured by this single term, with infinite possibilities remaining. Our Cosmos Cabinet is built on the idea that such a concept can inspire scientists and artists equally to inquiries and creations that will engage all who are mystified and intrigued by the connections, relationships, orders, limits and limitlessness, and the tremendous scale of the world and worlds we inhabit or imagine. Please join us for a series of performative presentations by scholars and artists from the University of Chicago and beyond, who explore cosmology and its reverberations.

EVENING PROGRAM
  • Cosmic Mysteries: the Dark Universe and the Most Energetic Particles
    a conversation with Angela Olinto (Homer J. Livingston Professor, Chair, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics; Enrico Fermi Institute; and the College, the University of Chicago)
  • The Night Sky
    a magic lantern performance created by Artemis Willis (filmmaker and media arts curator; PhD Candidate, Cinema and Media Studies, the University of Chicago) featuring Terri Kapsalis (writer, performer and cultural critic; Adjunct Professor of Visual and Critical Studies, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago).
  • Sun Ra
    performed on tenor and soprano saxophones by David Boykin (composer, bandleader, and multi-reed instrumentalist)

Presenter & Performer Bios
  • DAVID BOYKIN is one of the most original and dynamic artists in the Chicago music scene. He is a composer, bandleader, and a multi-reed instrumentalist performing on the tenor and soprano saxophones, the Bb soprano and bass clarinets, and the drum set. He has received many grants and awards for his talents as a composer. He is the leader of the David Boykin Expanse; founder of Sonic Healing Ministries; and an occasional collaborator with other artists. David Boykin began studying music on the clarinet at the age of 21 in 1991 and first performed professionally in 1997. Since 1997 he has released 10 album length recordings as a leader and contributed as a featured soloist to other musicians’ recordings; and performed at major international jazz festivals and smaller jazz venues locally and abroad.
  • TERRI KAPSALIS is a founding member of Theater Oobleck and has performed in 15 Oobleck productions. Her writings have appeared in such publications as Short Fiction, The Baffler, Denver Quarterly, new formations, Public, and Lusitania. Her most recent publication is Jane Addams’ Travel Medicine Kit (Jane Adams Hull-House Museum, 2011). She teaches in Visual and Critical Studies and Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).
  • ANGELA OLINTO is the Homer J. Livingston Professor, Chair, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics; Enrico Fermi Institute; and the College (UChicago); and a member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (UChicago). Her Research interests are in astroparticle physics and cosmology. While at UChicago, she has expanded her work on cosmic magnetic fields' and has investigated the nature of the dark matter in the universe. Her most recent research encompasses investigations into the origin of the highest energy cosmic particles cosmic rays, gamma U rays and neutrinos. Olinto' received her B.S. in Physics from the Pontificia Universidade Catolica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and her Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute Technology. Her many awards and accolades included receiving the Chaire d' Excellence Award of the French Agence Nationale de Recherche in 2006 and the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2011.
  • ARTEMIS WILLIS Artemis is a non-fiction filmmaker, media arts curator and scholar of the magic lantern. Her films have screened at the MFA Boston, the Brooklyn Museum and Anthology Film Archives. She has curated magic lantern shows at Film Society of Lincoln Center, the National Gallery of Art, and the Freer and Sackler Galleries. She is presently working on a dissertation at UChicago concerning the international history, practice and culture of the magic lantern.

Dark Matter Hub meeting
February 17, 2015 | 9:00 AM | LASR conference room | Workshop
Dark Matter Hub meeting
Workshop
We will host a dark matter hub meeting at KICP on Feb 17 (9 am - 1:30 pm).

The theme will be "beyond the simple WIMP" and focusing on a broader framework of the dark matter sector.

AGENDA
9:10-9:40
Dan Chung - "Dark matter in the early universe"
9:45-10:15
Bibhushan Shakya - "Neutrino Masses and Sterile Neutrino Dark Matter from the PeV Scale"
10:20-10:50
Francis-Yan Cyr-Racine - "Gravitational Detection of Self-Interacting Dark Matter"
11:10-11:40
Tongyan Lin - "CMB probes of WIMP and non-WIMP dark matter"
11:45-12:15
Dan Grin - "Axions in cosmology"
12:30 - 1:30
Lunch and discussion on dark sector, lead by Rocky Kolb

Mark SubbaRao, Adler Planetarium, "The Future of the Planetarium"
February 23, 2015 | 2:00 PM | Crerar Library, Kathleen A. Zar Room | Talk
Mark SubbaRao, Adler Planetarium, "The Future of the Planetarium"
Talk
Webpage

The first planetarium was developed over 90 years ago. Today thousands of planetaria exist all across the world. This talk will argue that the future of the planetarium is to make the transformation to a big data visualization facility. After reviewing the state of the art in planetarium visualization the talk will conclude with a invitation for University researchers to visualize their data sets at the Adler Planetarium.

Speaker Biography: Mark SubbaRao is the Director of the Space Visualization Laboratory at the Adler Planetarium. He received his bachelors degree in engineering physics at Lehigh University and his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University in astrophysics. His Ph.D thesis concerned the characterization and evolution of the luminosity function of galaxies. After obtaining his degree he worked as a post doctoral researcher at the University of Chicago on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey a project to make a 3D map of the Universe. He has led the development of major exhibition galleries at the Adler such as "The Universe: A Walk Through Time and Space" and has also produced, written and directed a number of stereoscopic videos and full-dome planetarium shows. These include the planetarium shows "Welcome to the Universe" and "Cosmic Wonder." His visualizations have been widely shown in print and television. He was part of a team that created a first-prize-winning visualization in the 2011 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. He was also on a team that was awarded the best visualization at XCEDE 2013. Dr. SubbaRao chairs the international Planetarium Society's Task Force on Science and Data Visualization, which seeks to realize the potential of the planetarium as a scientific visualization tool.Learn more >>

Broader Horizons: Stephen Hoover, Civis Analytics
March 3, 2015 | 2:00 PM | TAAC 67 | Event
Broader Horizons: Stephen Hoover, Civis Analytics
Event
In mid-2014, I left a postdoc as a cosmologist at the University of Chicago to join Civis Analytics as a "data scientist". Civis is a 2-year old Chicago-based tech company that helps organizations use the data they have to connect with the people they care about. Data science is the core of Civis's business, and to us that means smart applications of statistics and machine learning to make sense of real-world person-level data. In this talk, I'll describe what a data scientist does at Civis Analytics, how my PhD in physics prepared me for what I do now, and what a physicist or astronomer could do to prepare for a transition to data science.

Kyle Story, "Measuring the Temperature Anisotropy and Gravitational Lensing of the Cosmic Microwave Background with the South Pole Telescope"
March 5, 2015 | 1:30 PM | LASR conference room | PhD Thesis Defense
Kyle Story, "Measuring the Temperature Anisotropy and Gravitational Lensing of the Cosmic Microwave Background with the South Pole Telescope"
PhD Thesis Defense
PhD Committee members: Stephen Meyer, Scott Dodelson, Edward Blucher

Thesis Abstract: Over the past two decades, measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) have provided profound insight into the nature of the universe. The CMB, which is comprised of thermal radiation that originated in the early universe, contains detailed information about the composition and evolution of the universe that is encoded in the temperature and polarization anisotropy. Measurements of this CMB anisotropy have enabled powerful tests of cosmological theory.

In this talk, I will present two studies of the CMB anisotropy using data from the South Pole Telescope (SPT). First, I will present a measurement of the power spectrum of the CMB temperature anisotropy from the 2500 square degree SPT-SZ survey using data from the first camera mounted on the SPT. This measurement has significant implications for cosmological models; I will discuss constraints on the standard cosmological model, neutrinos, and cosmic inflation. Second, I will present a measurement of the CMB gravitational lensing potential and its power spectrum using data from the polarization-sensitive camera SPTpol, the second camera installed on the SPT. The CMB lensing potential probes the amount of matter and the growth of large-scale structure in the universe. Additionally, this technique is used to make maps of the projected mass in the universe, which will be powerful for cross-correlating with other tracers of large-scale structure as well as in the search for inflationary gravity waves.

NSF's Google Hangout with KICP
March 9, 2015 | 1:00 PM | Event
NSF's Google Hangout with KICP
Event
Webpage

NSF-funded Physics Frontiers Centers are pushing the frontiers of science across the disciplines of physics. The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) tackles the big questions in cosmology - dark matter, dark energy and how the Universe began. At 2 pm ET / 1 pm CT on Monday, March 9, the NSF Physics Division will host a live hour-long Google Hangout with KICP. We'll talk with the KICP Director and other members about the exciting science going on there including research on the cosmic microwave background and dark matter as well as the center itself and its innovative activities in graduate and postdoctoral education and programs that advance the broader understanding of science. You'll even be able to participate in the discussion using Twitter! No matter what your area of physics or the stage of your physics education or career, tune in to hear all about KICP and just what makes it a PFC.
  • MICHAEL S. TURNER - Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, as well as the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. Turner helped establish the interdisciplinary field that combines together 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.
  • ABIGAIL VIEREGG - Member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, and assistant professor at the University of Chicago, is interested in answering some of the most exciting and fundamental questions about the nature of the universe at its highest energies, through experimental work in particle astrophysics and cosmology. In particle astrophysics, her work is focused on searches for particles called neutrinos that come from the most energetic sources in the universe. These particles will help researchers determine the origin of the highest energy cosmic particles.
  • TIM LINDEN - Member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, and Einstein and KICP Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago, Linden's work has focused on methods for disentangling signals from dark matter annihilation at the center of the Milky Way galaxy from the many astrophysical background sources which are also present in this dense region of space.
  • RANDALL LANDSBERG - Director of Education & Outreach for the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago.
Learn more >>

Broader Horizons: Reid Sherman, "Career Phase Transition: Finding work in science policy"
March 17, 2015 | 4:00 PM | LASR conference room | Event
Broader Horizons: Reid Sherman, "Career Phase Transition: Finding work in science policy"
Event
As a AAAS Policy Fellow in NASA's Earth Science Division, Reid Sherman gets to see how the US government thinks about its satellite resources, and how decisions get made about the future of earth science research and climate monitoring systems. Prior to that, he has worked for both for-profit and non-profit institutions, and studied the STEM workforce and the state of American postdocs. In this talk, he'll share how he moved from academia into government, what policy work is really like, and some lessons he's learned about making the career transition.

Winter 2015 Postdocs Symposium
March 19, 2015 | 9:00 AM | LASR conference room | Postdocs Symposium
Postdocs Symposium
9:00 - 9:30
Coffee/Breakfast
9:30 - 9:55
Zhen Hou - "Reconstructing the cluster mass profile from CMB lensing"
9:55 - 10:20
Amy Bender - "SPT-3G readout electronics: design and commissioning"
10:20 - 10:45
Tongyan Lin - "Radiation from the dark sector"
10:45 - 11:00
Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:25
Ben Loer - "SuperCDMS status and plans"
11:25 - 12:15
Keith Bechtol and Alex Drlica-Wagner - "The search for Milky Way satellite galaxies: from optical to gamma rays"
12:15
Lunch

American Society on Aging Workshop: "Bringing Astrophysics to Older Adults"
March 24, 2015 | 1:00 PM | Chicago, IL | Workshop
American Society on Aging Workshop: "Bringing Astrophysics to Older Adults"
Workshop
Webpage

Location: Michigan A (East Tower, Bronze Level) , Hyatt Regency Chicago

Description
This session will highlight a new program to bring astrophysics to older adults, where older Chicagoans are learning all about space from the researchers themselves. Come learn about how the physicists were prepared to work with older adults, how the programming was marketed and implemented, and the outcomes of this novel project.

Objectives
1. Increase understanding of opportunities to interact with University or Research settings and to bring their expertise to older adults in your community.
2. Identify components of the training that was provided to prepare astrophysics faculty to have a successful presentation to older adults.
3. Recognize the different marketing and outreach techniques used to bring older audiences to the project and programming.
4. Develop ideas for replication of high level programming in their own communities.
5. Learn about the experience of and lessons learned by a physics researcher working with older adults and the aging network, and bringing their expertise to a new audience.

Outcomes
1. Physicists learned how to better reach older audiences
2. Older adults were exposed to high level science programming
3. Collaboration between the University of Chicago, Chicago Department on Aging and other community-based organizations.
4. Development of a model to unite university faculty with older adult programming.

Presenters
  • Joyce Gallagher, MA, Executive Director of Senior Services, City of Chicago - Department of Family and Support Services
  • Daniel Grin, PhD, RN, KICP Associate fellow, NSF Astronomy and, University of Chicago
  • Karen Kolb Flude, MS, RFG, Principal, Age with Ease
Learn more >>

Broader Horizons: Krista Martocci, Software Engineer @ Gro Intelligence
April 7, 2015 | 12:00 PM | TAAC 67 | Event
Broader Horizons: Krista Martocci, Software Engineer @ Gro Intelligence
Event
I am currently working at a small start up company called Gro Intelligence, which has offices in Nairobi and New York City. Our main focus is increasing the quality and access to data of agricultural commodities as well as the environmental and market effects that relate to agriculture. I will talk about my current role as a software engineer and how I adjusted from astrophysics, and what it is like to work at a start up as compared to academia.

Cosmosis Conversations: "The Artist and Scientist: Understanding Our Universe and Place Within featuring Jeremy Bolen & Juan Collar"
April 16, 2015 | 4:15 PM | SAIC, Room #707 | Event
Cosmosis Conversations: "The Artist and Scientist: Understanding Our Universe and Place Within featuring Jeremy Bolen & Juan Collar"
Event
Webpage

Join us for a panel conversation featuring COSMOSIS artist Jeremy Bolen and University of Chicago scientist-interlocutor Juan Collar, two dark matter mavericks, as they discuss their investigations of photographic process, particle acceleration, radiation, and all manner of cosmic particles. This intimate discussion will give the audience a chance to listen and ask questions about Jeremy and Juan's processes, allowing for greater access and understanding of the fields of art and science.Learn more >>

Youngsoo Park, "Combined Probes Analysis with Galaxy Clustering and Galaxy-Galaxy Lensing in the Dark Energy Survey"
April 30, 2015 | 2:00 PM | LASR conference room | PhD Thesis Defense
Youngsoo Park, "Combined Probes Analysis with Galaxy Clustering and Galaxy-Galaxy Lensing in the Dark Energy Survey"
PhD Thesis Defense
PhD Committee members: Henry Frisch, Stephan Meyer, Michael Turner

Thesis Abstract:
Combining galaxy-galaxy lensing and galaxy clustering, a type of the so-called combined probes analysis methods, is a promising method for inferring the growth rate of large scale structure in current and future cosmological surveys. Measuring the growth of structure in the universe will shed light on the mechanism driving the acceleration of the universe. The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is a prime candidate for such an analysis, with its measurements of both the distribution of galaxies on the sky and the tangential shears of background galaxies induced by these foreground lenses. By constructing an end-to-end analysis that combines large-scale galaxy clustering and small-scale galaxy-galaxy lensing, we forecast the potential of a combined probes analysis on DES datasets. In particular, we develop a realistic approach to a DES combined probes analysis by jointly modeling the assumptions and systematics affecting the different components of the combined observable, employing a shared halo model, parametrized halo occupation distribution, photometric redshift uncertainties, and shear measurement errors. We also study the effect of external priors on different subsets of these parameters. We conclude that data from the first year of DES will provide powerful constraints on the evolution of structure growth in the universe, constraining the growth function to better than 8%.

CMB Spectral Distortion Workshop
May 18 - 20, 2015 | Chicago, IL | Workshop
Workshop
Webpage

The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting a workshop on CMB spectral distortions.

The frequency spectrum of the Cosmic Microwave Background has been shown to be a blackbody to a precision of 50 parts per million. However, at higher sensitivity the CMB is expected to show distortions from the blackbody shape. These distortions contain the signatures of energy-releasing processes in the early universe. A new experiment could improve the sensitivity to distortions by a factor of 1000 or more, opening a new window into the physics of the early universe.

This workshop will explore the science potential and design requirements for such an experiment. A series of working sessions will examine the spectral signatures from different effects, instrument trades to reach different sensitivity levels, and data analysis techniques to maximize the science return from the spatial/spectral maps.

The conference will be three days, Monday May 18 through Wednesday May 20.
  • The first day, Monday, will include an overview of the scientific questions accessible with CMB spectral distortion measurements, both from a theoretical and experimental perspective. These include predictions for the type and amplitude of distortions due to specific energy inputs in the early universe as well as predictions for the competing Galactic foreground emission. Experimental considerations include the sensitivity and accuracy of possible instruments and the trade space for optimization.
  • The second day, Tuesday, will consist of splinter sessions followed by short plenary reports. The goal is to allow workshop participants to exchange ideas and potentially develop collaborations for future research. Each splinter session will have a workshop leader who will give a brief splinter report. Reports from earlier sessions will inform and modify later sessions as freewheeling discussion leads to new critical topics. The topics for the splinter sessions are open for modification. The last topic of the Monday program is to update the splinter session topics. Suggestions for additional topics are invited.
  • The third day, Wednesday, will consist of topical reviews of the activities leading into a discussion of priorities for future research, both theoretical and experimental.
Learn more >>

SWIP/KICP Pizza with Professors
May 19, 2015 | 6:30 PM | GCIS Atrium | Event
SWIP/KICP Pizza with Professors
Event
Pizza with Professors is an event hosted by SWIP (Society of Women in Physics) and KICP designed to bring physics undergraduates, professors, postdocs, and graduate students together over dinner to talk about research, life, the universe, and everything.

All Chicago Cosmology Colloquium: Carlos Frenk, Durham University, "The vicissitudes of the cold dark matter model of cosmology"
May 26, 2015 | 2:00 PM | Fermilab, Wison Hall - One West | Talk
All Chicago Cosmology Colloquium: Carlos Frenk, Durham University, "The vicissitudes of the cold dark matter model of cosmology"
Talk
Professor Carlos S. Frenk is Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology, Durham University's world-renowned theoretical cosmology research group. Along with collaborators from all over the world, he builds model universes in state-of-the-art supercomputers, trying to understand how the structures in our Universe evolved from simple beginnings to the complex structures composed of stars and galaxies that we see today.

World Science Festival Live Stream viewing and discussion: "To Infinity and Beyond: The Accelerating Universe"
May 28, 2015 | 7:00 PM | Hutch Commons | Event
World Science Festival Live Stream viewing and discussion: "To Infinity and Beyond: The Accelerating Universe"
Event
7PM (CDT)
Bring food, friends and questions to Hutch Commons for a Live Stream viewing and discussion of "TO INFINITY AND BEYOND: THE ACCELERATING UNIVERSE" with professors Michael S. Turner, John E. Carlstrom and Michael Gladders of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP). Explore modern cosmology's biggest mystery with UofC Professor Josh Frieman, Priyamvada Natarajan, Adam Riess (2011 Noble Laureate), Jan Tauber, and Neil Turok with Lawrence Krauss moderating.

How to WATCH live stream:
Click Here to watch live stream (7-8:30PM Central Time Thursday May 28)

How YOU can ask cosmic questions:
(1) Ask the faculty and other researchers in Hutch Commons!
(2) Send questions to the WSF in NYC before and during the event by emailing wsflive@worldsciencefestival.com
or
via Twitter using the #WSFLive hashtag.

note - The WSF Twitter account will be tweeting questions relating to "Infinity and Beyond" before, during, and after the live-screened event.

It's modern cosmology's biggest mystery -- an unexplained energy that could one day rip the universe apart. It's called dark energy, an anti-gravitational force that confounds the conventional laws of physics. It's the most dominant substance in the universe, making up more than two-thirds of the cosmos. And yet, nearly two decades after its discovery, science is still grappling to explain what dark energy actually is. With today's top physicists as our guides, we'll journey to the earliest moments of the universe -- and then far into the future -- searching for answers.

MODERATOR
Lawrence Krauss
Lawrence Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist and best-selling author. His research focuses on the intersection of cosmology and elementary particle physics. Krausss work addresses questions about the origin of matter in the universe, Einstein's theory of general relativity, astrophysics, the future of the universe, and the properties and description of the dark energy that is thought to account for most of the universe's present energy content. A fervent advocate for science literacy, Lawrence Krauss has written nine books for a general audience, including the bestseller The Physics of Star Trek, and most recently A Universe from Nothing. He was recently awarded the National Science Board's Public Service Award for his contributions to public understanding of science. Krauss is foundation professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and director of the ASU Origins Project at Arizona State University.

PARTICIPANTS
  • Josh Frieman, Cosmologist
    Josh Frieman is a senior staff scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics. He's also a member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago. Frieman's research focuses on cosmology, including the study of dark energy and dark matter, the large-scale structure of the Universe, supernovae, and gravitational lensing. Frieman is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an honorary fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Currently, he serves as director of the Dark Energy Survey, an international collaboration of 300 scientists carrying out a five-year survey of 300 million galaxies using a camera they built for a four-meter telescope in Chile, to explore why the universe is speeding up. Josh Frieman received his B.S. in physics from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago.
  • Priyamvada Natarajan, Cosmologist, Theoretical Astrophysicist
    Priyamvada Natarajan is a professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. Natarajan's research is focused on exotica in the universe - dark matter, dark energy, and black holes. She is noted for her key contributions to two of the most challenging problems in cosmology: mapping the distribution of dark matter and tracing the growth history of black holes. Her work using gravitational lensing has provided a deeper understanding of the granularity of dark matter in clusters of galaxies and offers a novel way to unravel the nature of dark matter. She also works on the assembly and accretion history of black holes. Deeply invested in the public dissemination of science and a fervent proponent of numerical literacy, she is also a published poet. Along with her academic position at Yale, Natarajan holds the Sophie and Tycho Brahe Professorship at the Dark Center, Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Adam Riess, Astrophysicist
    Adam Riess is the Thomas J. Barber Professor in Space Studies at the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, a distinguished astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He received his bachelor's degree in physics from MIT and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Currently, he leads the SHOES Team in efforts to improve the measurement of the Hubble Constant, and the Higher-Z Team to probe the origin of cosmic acceleration by measuring distant Type Ia supernovae. In 2011, he was named a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and was awarded the Albert Einstein Medal for his leadership in the discovery that the expansion rate of the universe is accelerating, a phenomenon widely attributed to a mysterious, unexplained "dark energy" filling the universe. His accomplishments have been recognized with numerous other awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2008.
  • Jan Tauber, Cosmologist
    Jan Tauber has been involved in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) since 1993, when the European Space Agency received two proposals for space experiments to map the CMB. These experiments eventually became the Planck satellite, Europe's flagship experiment in the field. Planck was launched in May 2009 and observed the sky continuously between August 2009 and October 2013. The first major scientific results from Planck were published in 2013. The entirety of the Planck data, including polarization, are being published during 2015. Tauber has guided the scientific development and exploitation of the mission throughout these years.
  • Neil Turok, Physicist
    Neil Turok is one of the world's leading theoretical physicists. Formerly Professor of Physics at Princeton and Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge, he is Director and Niels Bohr Chair at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. Turo's research focuses on developing fundamental theories of cosmology and new observational tests. His predictions for the correlations of the polarization and temperature of the cosmic background radiation (CBR) and of the galaxy-CBR correlations induced by dark energy have been recently confirmed. With Stephen Hawking, he discovered instanton solutions describing the birth of inflationary universes. With Paul Steinhardt, he developed an alternative, cyclic cosmology, whose predictions are so far in agreement with observational tests. Turok founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), a network of five centres across Africa. For his scientific discoveries and his work founding and developing AIMS, Turok was awarded a TED Prize in 2008.

World Science Festival Salon: "Dark Energy: Measuring a Mystery"
May 29, 2015 | 4:30 PM | NYU Global Center, Grand Hall | Event
World Science Festival Salon: "Dark Energy: Measuring a Mystery"
Event
Webpage

4:30PM (CDT)

MODERATOR: Mario Livio
PARTICIPANTS: Josh Frieman, Priyamvada Natarajan, Adam Riess

Dark energy may be the most compelling problem in modern cosmology. An unexplained substance, it's believed to be the driving force behind cosmic acceleration. And yet there is no consensus on what dark energy actually is. The answer could have profound implications for our understanding of the fundamental laws of physics. This discussion focuses on three cutting-edge studies of dark energy, each using radically different techniques. Adam Riess, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for the discovery of dark energy, will share a new technique to more accurately measure the expansion rate of the universe. Priya Natarajan of Yale will explain how dark matter can be used to explore dark energy. And Dark Energy Survey director Joshua Frieman will deliver the very latest from his five-year study.

The World Science Festival's annual salon series offers in-depth conversations with leading scientists, extending the discussion of the Festival's premier public programs to graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and well-informed members of the general public.

MODERATOR
Mario Livio, Astrophysicist, Author
Mario Livio is an internationally known astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which conducts the scientific program of the Hubble Space Telescope and will conduct the scientific program of the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published more than 400 scientific papers on topics ranging from dark energy and cosmology to black holes and extrasolar planets. Livio is the author of five popular science books, including The Golden Ratio (for which he received the Peano Prize and the International Pythagoras Prize) and Is God a Mathematician? Livio's recent book, Brilliant Blunders, was on the New York Times Best Sellers list and was selected by the Washington Post as one of the "2013 Best Books of the Year."

PARTICIPANTS
Josh Frieman, Cosmologist
Josh Frieman is a senior staff scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics. He's also a member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago. Frieman's research focuses on cosmology, including the study of dark energy and dark matter, the large-scale structure of the Universe, supernovae, and gravitational lensing. Frieman is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an honorary fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Currently, he serves as director of the Dark Energy Survey, an international collaboration of 300 scientists carrying out a five-year survey of 300 million galaxies using a camera they built for a four-meter telescope in Chile, to explore why the universe is speeding up. Josh Frieman received his B.S. in physics from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago.

Priyamvada Natarajan, Cosmologist, Theoretical Astrophysicist
Priyamvada Natarajan is a professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. Natarajan's research is focused on exotica in the universe - dark matter, dark energy, and black holes. She is noted for her key contributions to two of the most challenging problems in cosmology: mapping the distribution of dark matter and tracing the growth history of black holes. Her work using gravitational lensing has provided a deeper understanding of the granularity of dark matter in clusters of galaxies and offers a novel way to unravel the nature of dark matter. She also works on the assembly and accretion history of black holes. Deeply invested in the public dissemination of science and a fervent proponent of numerical literacy, she is also a published poet. Along with her academic position at Yale, Natarajan holds the Sophie and Tycho Brahe Professorship at the Dark Center, Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Adam Riess, Astrophysicist
Adam Riess is the Thomas J. Barber Professor in Space Studies at the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, a distinguished astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He received his bachelor's degree in physics from MIT and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Currently, he leads the SHOES Team in efforts to improve the measurement of the Hubble Constant, and the Higher-Z Team to probe the origin of cosmic acceleration by measuring distant Type Ia supernovae. In 2011, he was named a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and was awarded the Albert Einstein Medal for his leadership in the discovery that the expansion rate of the universe is accelerating, a phenomenon widely attributed to a mysterious, unexplained "dark energy" filling the universe. His accomplishments have been recognized with numerous other awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2008.Learn more >>

Chicago Science Fest: The Mysteries of Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Universe
May 30, 2015 | 10:30 AM | 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, 12th Floor, Chicago, IL | Event
Chicago Science Fest: The Mysteries of Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Universe
Event
Webpage

Everyone knows there are things we can't see - the air we breathe, for example, or to be more exotic, a black hole. But what you may not know is that what we can see - a tree, a building or our planet - makes up only 5% of the Universe. The other 95% is totally invisible to us and its presence is discernible only by the weak effects it has on visible matter around it.

This invisible stuff comes in two varieties - dark matter and dark energy. One holds the Universe together, while the other tears it apart. (In 1998 was the astonishing revelation that the Universe is not only expanding, but doing so at an ever-quickening pace.) What these forces really are has been a mystery for as long as anyone has suspected they were there, but the latest discoveries of experimental physics have brought us closer to that knowledge. Particle physicist Dan Hooper and cosmologist Elise Jennings will explain some of the toughest ideas science has to offer and how they are working to discover what makes up our dark cosmos. Particle physics explores the fundamental nature of energy and matter, while cosmology is the science of the universe itself, including its composition, history and evolution.

Elise Jennings is a research associate in the astrophysics theory group at Fermi National Laboratory and an associate fellow at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Research at the University of Chicago. She is a computational cosmologist and interested in large scale structure measurements which can constrain dark energy and modified gravity models. In particular she has worked on simulations that allow us to determine the expansion history and growth rate of structure in the universe, which are important ways to test the standard model of cosmology.

Dan Hooper is an Associate Scientist in the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Previously, he was the David Schramm Fellow at Fermilab, and a postdoc at the University of Oxford. In 2003, he completed his Ph.D in physics at the University of Wisconsin. Dan's research focuses on the interface between particle physics and cosmology. He is especially interested in questions about dark matter, supersymmetry, neutrinos, extra dimensions and cosmic rays.Learn more >>

81st Compton Lectures: Andrew McCann, "Nature's Timepiece: The Exotic World of Pulsars"
May 30, 2015 | 11:00 AM | KPTC 106 | Lecture
81st Compton Lectures: Andrew McCann, "Nature's Timepiece: The Exotic World of Pulsars"
Lecture
Every Saturday morning beginning April 4, through June 6, 2015; lectures start at 11:00 a.m. (No lecture on May 23rd, Memorial Day weekend).

Neutron stars are born in the final moments of the supernova death of massive stars and, in keeping with their exotic origin, they exhibit unmatched extremes in a variety of ways. Not only are they the smallest stars we know of, neutron stars are the most dense solid objects in the known Universe. Their surface gravity is 100 billion times that of the Earth and their magnetic fields' strengths, which can reach 1015 Gauss, are the strongest known to exist. Neutron stars are born rotating rapidly and their emission, like the beam from a lighthouse, is observed as a highly stable and regular periodic pulsation - hence the name 'pulsating star' or 'pulsar'. Although pulsars were discovered over 40 years ago and the number of known pulsars exceeds 2400, the physical processes which power the vast array of unique and often bizarre phenomena observed from pulsars are poorly understood. Explaining the observed behaviour of neutron stars has become one of the most challenging puzzles in high-energy astrophysics. Despite the longstanding mystery of their emission, the steady and predictable pulsations from pulsars make them remarkably powerful astrophysical tools. This duality has put pulsars at the centre of some of the most compelling astrophysical research of the last few decades.

Each week we will explore different aspects of this duality, by reviewing pulsar phenomena in different wave bands (radio, optical, x-ray, gamma-ray) and by discussing the role of pulsars in tests of Einstein's theory of relativity and in the search for gravitational waves. No scientific background is required -- just bring your curiosity.

Yin Li, "Cosmic Void Abundance in a Spherical Boundary Model"
June 2, 2015 | 9:30 AM | ACC 211 | PhD Thesis Defense
Yin Li, "Cosmic Void Abundance in a Spherical Boundary Model"
PhD Thesis Defense
Ph.D. Committee Members: LianTao Wang, Daniel Holz, John Carlstrom

Thesis Abstract: Cosmic voids are large and underdense structures that fill up most of the volume of the universe, and are potentially a powerful probe of dark energy and modified gravity. By developing a more complete void model that accounts for both the boundary and interior evolution, we discover that shell-crossing is an inaccurate description for void formation, correcting a misconception that has accompanied void studies for decades. In addition, the model directly incorporate selection criterion acting on the significance of voids, making it possible to relate the theoretical prediction to voids identified in observations/simulations. The new model is also compatible with the existence of the largest voids observed in galaxy surveys, which is forbidden in the previous widely used model.

Vinicius Miranda, "Probing Inflation with the Cosmic Microwave Background"
June 2, 2015 | 1:30 PM | ACC 211 | PhD Thesis Defense
Vinicius Miranda, "Probing Inflation with the Cosmic Microwave Background"
PhD Thesis Defense
PhD Committee members: Scott Dodelson, LianTao Wang, Steve Meyer

Thesis Abstract: The existence of a quasi-deSitter expansion in the early universe, known as inflation, generates the seeds of large-scale structures and is one of the foundations of the standard cosmological model. The main observational predictions of inflation include the existence of a nearly scale-invariant primordial power spectrum that is imprinted on the cosmic microwave background (CMB), that has been corroborated with remarkable precision in recent years. Generalizations of the vanilla single-field slow-roll inflation provide a wealth of observational signatures in the power spectrum and the non-Gaussianity of fluctuations of the CMB, and this motivates a technique that can evaluate predictions of inflation beyond the slow-roll approximation called the generalized slow-roll (GSR). I will describe the latest searches for signatures of slow-roll violations in the Planck data using the GSR formalism, which is an ideal framework to probe inflationary models in this regime.

Spring 2015 Postdocs Symposium
June 5, 2015 | 9:00 AM | LASR conference room | Postdocs Symposium
Postdocs Symposium
9:00 - 9:30
Coffee and Pastries
9:30 - 9:55
Hayato Motohashi - "Causal structure in self-accelerating massive gravity"
9:55 - 10:20
Dan Grin - "Ultra-light axions and the CMB"
10:20 - 10:45
Christopher Sheehy - "Ground based CMB spectral distortions"
10:45 - 11:00
Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:25
Marilena LoVerde - "Neutrino clustering in cold dark matter halos"
11:25 - 11:50
Adam Mantz - "Galaxy cluster grab-bag"
Noon
Lunch

Jennifer Helsby, "Clustering-based redshifts for the Dark Energy Survey"
June 11, 2015 | 11:00 AM | TAAC 67 | PhD Thesis Defense
Jennifer Helsby, "Clustering-based redshifts for the Dark Energy Survey"
PhD Thesis Defense
Ph.D. Committee members: Scott Dodelson, Stephan Meyer, Craig Hogan

"To constrain cosmology, and in particular to probe dark energy, from deep optical imaging surveys such as the Dark Energy Survey (DES), requires precise estimates of the redshifts of the distant galaxies they observe. Traditionally, these redshift estimates are made using galaxy colors, but this technique has known limitations and biases. Jennifer's thesis work involved the testing and implementation of a novel technique for estimating redshifts of galaxies, using the fact that they cluster in space with galaxies for which the redshifts may be known from spectroscopic measurements. Using simulations, Jen found that this "clustering redshift" technique accurately reconstructs the galaxy redshift distribution for a survey such as DES. She then applied this technique to determine the redshift distribution for several million galaxies in the first year of DES data, an important result that should prove extremely valuable for the cosmological analysis of these data."
- Joshua A. Frieman, PhD advisor

Thesis Abstract: Accurate determination of photometric redshifts and their errors is critical for large scale structure and weak lensing studies for constraining cosmology from deep, wide imaging surveys. Current photometric redshift methods suffer from bias and scatter due to incomplete training sets. Exploiting the clustering between a sample of galaxies for which we have spectroscopic redshifts and a sample of galaxies for which the redshifts are unknown can allow us to reconstruct the true redshift distribution of the unknown sample. Here we use this method in both simulations and early data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) to determine the true redshift distributions of galaxies in photometric redshift bins. We find that cross-correlating with the spectroscopic samples currently used for training provides reliable estimates of the true redshift distribution in a photometric redshift bin. We discuss the use of the cross-correlation method in validating template- or learning-based approaches to redshift estimation and its future use in Stage IV surveys.

Benedikt Diemer, "On the (non-)universality of halo density profiles"
June 11, 2015 | 1:00 PM | LASR conference room | PhD Thesis Defense
Benedikt Diemer, "On the (non-)universality of halo density profiles"
PhD Thesis Defense
Ph.D. Committee members: Scott Dodelson, Joshua A. Frieman, Donald Q. Lamb

"In his PhD thesis Benedikt Diemer has shown that radial density profiles of dark matter halos cannot be characterized only as a function of halo mass, as was thought previously, but also depend on the mass accretion rate of halos. The work has resulted in a new model that accurately describes halo profiles in simulations from small radii out to 10 virial radii. Likewise, Benedikt has shown that halo concentrations depend not only on the halo mass (or more precisely on halo peak height), but also on the local slope of the power spectrum. Overall, this thesis showed that previously believed "universality" of the halo profiles is limited. Beyond just criticizing previous models, new models were developed that take into account the extra dependencies of halo profile parameters on the mass accretion rate and power law slope."
- Andrey V. Kravtsov, Ph.D. advisor

Thesis Abstract: We present a systematic study of the density profiles of dark matter halos in LCDM cosmologies, focusing on the question whether these profiles are "universal", i.e., whether they follow the same functional form regardless of halo mass, redshift, cosmology, and other parameters. The inner profile can be described as a function of mass and concentration, and we thus begin by investigating the universality of the concentration-mass relation. We propose a universal model in which concentration is a function only of a halo's peak height and the local slope of the matter power spectrum. This model matches the concentrations in LCDM and scale-free simulations, correctly extrapolates over 16 orders of magnitude in halo mass, and differs significantly from all previously proposed models at high masses and redshifts. Testing the universality of the outer regions, we find that the profiles are remarkably universal across redshift when radii are rescaled by R200m, whereas the inner profiles are most universal in units of R200c, highlighting that universality may depend upon the definition of the halo boundary. Furthermore, we discover that the profiles exhibit significant deviations from the supposedly universal analytic formulae previously suggested in the literature, such as the NFW and Einasto forms. In particular, the logarithmic slope of the profiles of massive or rapidly accreting halos steepens more sharply than predicted around ~R200m, where the steepness increases with increasing peak height or mass accretion rate. We propose a new, accurate fitting formula that takes these dependencies into account. Finally, we demonstrate that the profile steepening corresponds to the caustic at the apocenter of infalling matter on its first orbit. We call the location of the caustic the splashback radius, Rsp, and propose this radius as a new, physically motivated definition of the halo boundary. We discuss potential observational signatures of Rsp that would allow us to estimate the mass accretion rate of halos.

Graduate Student Symposium
June 12, 2015 | 11:30 AM | LASR conference room | Workshop
Workshop
11:30 - 12:00
Food and Coffee
12:00 - 12:05
Introduction
12:05 - 12:20
Pavel Motloch - "Neutrino detection with transition radiation"
12:25 - 12:40
Laura Kreidberg - "Exoplanet Atmospheres"
12:45 - 1:00
Sasha (Alexander) Kaurov - "Effect of Dark Matter annihilations on reionization and recombination"
1:00 - 1:05
Break
1:05 - 1:20
Alan Robinson - "Dark Matter Searches need Nuclear Physics"
1:25 - 1:40
Chen He - "Probing the Early Universe with the CMB"
1:45 - 2:00
Sean Mills - "Observed Resonance in Kepler Planets"

Adler Brown Bag Lunch Seminar: Daniel Grin, "Astrophysics to older adults"
June 16, 2015 | 12:00 PM | Adler Planetarium | Talk
Talk
I will discuss a new program (based at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago) designed to bring astrophysics and broader science content to older adults throughout Chicago. I'll start by highlighting the motivation for life-long learning in general but for senior citizens in particular. I'll then discuss the program we have created at a variety of senior centers and residential communities throughout the Chicago, including presentations by researchers from the University of Chicago, as well as the capstone trip made by senior groups to the Adler planetarium at the end of the program. As I conclude, I will try to touch on outcomes and future avenues for growth of the program.

Louis Abramson, "Assessing and Understanding Diversity in Galaxy Star Formation Histories"
July 13, 2015 | 2:00 PM | LASR conference room | PhD Thesis Defense
Louis Abramson, "Assessing and Understanding Diversity in Galaxy Star Formation Histories"
PhD Thesis Defense
Ph.D. Committee members: Hsiao-Wen Chen, Andrey Kravtsov, Rich Kron

"Dr. Louis Abramson is an expert on the observation and phenomenological modeling of galaxy evolution, with a particular focus on the relationship between bulk statistical observables of galaxies, such as the distributions of star-formation-rate and mass over cosmic time, and the star formation histories of galaxies. His work during his Ph.D. has led to several new insights into the relationship between the passive (i.e., bulges) and actively star-forming components of galaxies, and led to a clear understanding that the scatter of galaxies across the so-called 'star forming main-sequence' is a critical observable to consider in further analyses, which he will continue as a postdoc at UCLA."
- Michael D. Gladders, Ph.D. advisor

Thesis Abstract: Galaxy star formation histories (SFHs) form a central thread of the cosmological narrative. Understanding them is therefore a central mission of the study of galaxy evolution. Although an ever-better picture is emerging of the build-up of the stellar mass of the *average* galaxy over time, the relevance of this track to the growth of *individual* galaxies is unclear. Largely, this ambiguity is due to the availability of only loose, ensemble-level constraints at any redshift appreciably greater than zero. In this talk, I outline how one of these constraints -- the the star formation rate/stellar mass relation -- shapes empirically based SFH models, especially in terms of the *diversity* of paths leading to a given end-state. I show that two models propose very different answers to this question -- galaxies grow *together* vs. galaxies grow *apart* -- corresponding (largely) to two different interpretations of the scatter in instantaneous galaxy growth rates at fixed stellar mass -- unimportant vs. essential. I describe how these interpretations affect one's stance on the profundity of galaxy "bimodality," the role of quenching mechanisms, and the influence of environment on galaxy evolution. Finally, after endorsing one of the models, I present some predictions that --- given upcoming observations --- should have the power to prove me right or wrong.

Pierre Gratia, "Cosmology and Singularities in Massive Gravity"
July 20, 2015 | 10:00 AM | LASR conference room | PhD Thesis Defense
Pierre Gratia, "Cosmology and Singularities in Massive Gravity"
PhD Thesis Defense
Ph.D. Committee members: Juan Collar, Carlos Wagner, Bob Wald

Thesis Abstract: In my thesis, I focus on the theory of massive gravity and its cosmological implications. I show that a massive graviton leads to self-acceleration, and that a whole class of solutions possess this property, including FRW universes. Subsequently, I investigate fluctuations around these solutions, and show that they are stable, at least for spherically symmetric fluctuations. Massive gravity also contains a coordinate-independent determinant singularity that shows up in specific examples with well-defined initial conditions, and that cannot be dynamically avoided. The vierbein formulation of massive gravity is particularly suited to address this issue. It can be seen that a commonly chosen convention is not supported by the vierbein formalism. Finally, I look at the appearance and properties of similar singularities in bimetric gravity, in which the second, fiducial metric is allowed to evolve independently of the spacetime metric. I find that while determinant singularities continue to show up in bimetric massive gravity theories, physical quantities such as curvature remain finite as they cross them.

Putting Your Data into World Wide Telescope (WWT)
July 28, 2015 | 9:00 AM | Chicago, IL | Workshop
Putting Your Data into World Wide Telescope (WWT)
Workshop
Webpage

Tuesday July 28, 2015
9AM - 6PM
LASR Conference Room


This will be an intensive 1-day working workshop for people who are interested in porting their data into WorldWide Telescope and developing uses for that data in WWT - video abstracts, tours, etc. A follow-up data showcase at the Adler Planetarium is also planned.

A lunch talk will provide the larger KICP community with a broad introduction to WWT and ways that its stunning visuals can be used for outreach, teaching, professional talks, publications and research.Learn more >>

WorldWide Telescope: A Professional and Public Visualization Tool
July 28, 2015 | 12:00 PM | LASR conference room | Talk
Talk
Visualization of data is a core aspect of most astrophysical research. WorldWide Telescope (WWT) was developed by Microsoft Research to enable rich contextual visual explorations and presentations. As a tool, WWT can be used in research to view datasets in the context of wider spatial scales and comparisons to image and catalog data at various wavelengths as well as a portal to journal articles. It has been used to create video abstracts to complement papers published in ApJ Letters and to generate videos to be used in professional talks. It also provides a way to interact with figures in context in journal articles. Videos and tours can be created to communicate basic or contemporary research to public audiences. WorldWide Telescope can be used to support K-12 as well as undergraduate education in instruction and student projects. What makes this even more exiting is that WWT is now an open source project available in GitHub under the .NET Foundation. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is helping to put together community-based support for this project.

At this lunch talk, you will learn about how you can use WWT in your own research and communication to colleagues and the public. WWT team members Doug Roberts (Northwestern, AAS), Mark SubbaRao (Adler, UofC), and the principal developer Jonathan Fay (Microsoft) will present this talk and take questions about WWT as a tool, its new life under open source development and future roadmap.

Mission to Mars: Engineering Design Process, Yerkes Summer Institute
August 2 - 8, 2015 | Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, WI | Yerkes Institute
Mission to Mars: Engineering Design Process, Yerkes Summer Institute
Yerkes Institute
Photo Gallery
Instructors: Louis Abramson, Ross Cawthon, Zoheyr Doctor, Dylan Hatt, Chen He, Sean Johnson, Randy Landsberg, Jason Poh.

Tonight we will begin a week of engineering and exploration. Throughout the week, we will tackle a number of engineering challenges associated with exploring a distant planet: Mars. After this week of working in teams, defining problems, brainstorming, building, testing, and improving your designs, you will make a presentation to your family and fellow students about what you did and learned. Below, we describe the institute schedule and format so you can better plan for the week ahead. The institute will kick-off with a star party hosted by the Milwaukee Astronomical Society (MAS) on Sunday night. During the day on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we will focus on three daytime laboratories, each of which explores a different engineering challenge associated with exploring the surface of Mars: Robotic Manipulation, Extraterrestrial Navigation and Launching/Landing (see lab summary descriptions on page iii). You will be divided into three groups named after past Mars missions: VIKING, PATHFINDER, and CURIOSITY. Each group will devote an entire day to each daytime lab, but the groups will cycle through the labs in a different order. By the end of the day on Wednesday, each group will have performed all three of the day labs.

Alan Robinson, "Dark Matter Limits from a 2L C3F8 Filled Bubble Chamber"
August 31, 2015 | 10:00 AM | LASR conference room | PhD Thesis Defense
Alan Robinson, "Dark Matter Limits from a 2L C3F8 Filled Bubble Chamber"
PhD Thesis Defense
Ph.D. Committee members: Luca Grandi, Dan Hooper, Philippe Guyot-Sionnest

"Alan's thesis goes beyond presenting new WIMP limits from our bubble chambers. In addition to that, he has provided the community of dark matter experimentalists with new tools that should generate a wide interest: revised cross-section libraries for neutron production and neutron scattering that can be employed to better assess the sensitivity of any WIMP detector."
- Juan I. Collar, Ph.D. advisor

Thesis Abstract: The PICO-2L C3F8 bubble chamber search for Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) dark matter was operated in the SNOLAB underground laboratory at the same location as the previous CF3I filled COUPP-4kg detector. Neutrons calibration using photoneutron sources in C3F8 and CF3I filled calibration bubble chambers were performed to verify the sensitivity of these target fluids to dark matter scattering. This data was combined with similar measurements using a low-energy neutron beam at the University of Montreal and in situ calibrations of the PICO-2L and COUPP-4kg detectors. C3F8 provides much greater sensitivity to WIMP-proton scattering than CF3I in bubble chamber detectors. PICO-2L searched for dark matter recoils with energy thresholds below 10 keV. Radiopurity assays of detector materials were performed and the expected neutron recoil background was evaluated to be 1.6$^{+0.3}_{-0.9}$ single bubble events during the 211.5 kg-day exposure. Twelve single bubble dark matter candidate events were observed. These events were not uniformly distributed in time, and were likely caused by particulates in the active volume. Despite this background, PICO-2L sets a world-leading upper limit to the WIMP-proton spin dependent scattering cross-section.

Jing Zhou, "Direct Dark Matter Detection with the DAMIC experiment at SNOLAB"
September 1, 2015 | 10:00 AM | LASR conference room | PhD Thesis Defense
Jing Zhou, "Direct Dark Matter Detection with the DAMIC experiment at SNOLAB"
PhD Thesis Defense
Ph.D. Committee members: Luca Grandi, Liantao Wang, Sidney Nagel

"Jing has made fundamental contributions to the DAMIC experiment in its crucial R&D phase. Her measurements of radiogenic backgrounds in silicon include novel powerful methods which make use of the excellent spatial resolution of the CCDs. These measurements put stringent limits on the presence of uranium and thorium and provide a first evidence for sizeable cosmogenic silicon 32 in the bulk of high-purity silicon, an important discovery for the present and next generation of dark matter silicon detectors. Also, she has measured the nuclear recoil ionization efficiency in silicon below 3 keV, an energy range so far unexplored and fundamental for the search of low mass WIMPs. The impact of these results goes beyond their application in DAMIC, and will influence any WIMP detector based on silicon."
- Paolo Privitera, Ph.D. advisor

Thesis Abstract: DAMIC (Dark Matter in CCDs) is a novel experiment with unique sensitivity to dark matter particles of masses below 10 GeV/c2. It employs the bulk silicon of scientific-grade charge-coupled devices (CCDs) as the target for coherent WIMP-nucleus elastic scattering. The extremely low noise of the CCD readout results in an unprecedentedly low energy threshold to ionization of a few tens of eV. DAMIC was installed at SNOLAB at the end of 2012, and is now completing the R&D phase required for the construction of a 100g detector, DAMIC100.

DESUC2015: Chicagoland-based DES meeting
September 3, 2015 | 9:30 AM | Chicago, IL | Workshop
DESUC2015: Chicagoland-based DES meeting
Workshop
Webpage

This 1-day long Chicagoland-based DES meeting creates a common discussion platform for those who work on Dark Energy Survey (DES) at the KICP, University of Chicago, Fermilab, UIUC, NCSA, and Argonne. The ongoing Dark Energy Survey is designed to probe the origin of the accelerating universe and help uncover the nature of dark energy by measuring the 14-billion-year history of cosmic expansion with high precision. Learn more about the survey at the DES website. The objectives of this meeting are to provide updates and to discuss various science/infrastructure projects that are going on in Chicagoland and to provide a channel for interested people to join ongoing and create new projects.Learn more >>

KICP at the Council for Opportunity in Education conference
September 18, 2015 | Atlanta, GA | Talk
KICP at the Council for Opportunity in Education conference
Talk
Webpage

This year's conference, "Renewing the American Promise of 1965," features thought-provoking and practical sessions to address the importance of and potential for educational opportunity.

September 18, 2015 in Atlanta, GA
"S.T.E.M. Partnership in Process: Collaborating Across Organizations Identifying Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Resources to Support TRIO Programs"

Joy Brittain, Ed.D.
Director Early Outreach Support Programs
California State Univ.

Dovetta McKee, J.D.
Director Office of Special Programs
University of Chicago

Randall H. Landsberg
Director Education & Outreach
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics
University of ChicagoLearn more >>

Calibration of low energy particle detectors
September 23 - 25, 2015 | Chicago, IL | Workshop
Calibration of low energy particle detectors
Workshop
Webpage

Photo Gallery
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting a workshop on the calibration of the energy response of a wide range of different targets and technologies that are currently being implemented and/or explored for the detection of the lowest energy signals from dark matter and neutrino interactions. These include scintillating crystals, ionization and phonon solid state detectors, noble liquid scintillation and ionization detectors, and superheated detectors.

We aim to bring together a diverse group of scientists to report, propose and discuss the various calibration techniques.

Current research at KICP includes multiple efforts, on- and off-site, on the calibration of bubble chambers, charge-coupled devices, noble liquid time projection chambers, p-type point-contact Ge detectors and CsI crystals.Learn more >>

Tyler Natoli, "A Search for Transient Sources in the First 100 deg2 of SPTpol Data"
September 29, 2015 | 4:15 PM | ERC 401 | PhD Thesis Defense
Tyler Natoli, "A Search for Transient Sources in the First 100 deg2 of SPTpol Data"
PhD Thesis Defense
Ph.D. Committee members: Brad Benson, Henry Frisch, Daniel Holz

Thesis Abstract: We will present the results from a systematic transient source search over a 100 deg2 field of millimeter wavelength data taken with the SPTpol camera on the South Pole Telescope (SPT). The SPTpol instrument was installed on the SPT in the Austral summer of 2011/2012 and features 1,536 polarization sensitive detectors and a resolution at 150 GHz of 1.1 arcminute. The transient data set presented here includes 9 months of SPTpol observations over the same 100 deg2 patch of sky attaining an average depth at 150 GHz of 7.4 mJy over 36 hours of observing. The technology developed for SPTpol detectors is described here along with the associated technology necessary to operate the detectors. We present the specifics of producing millimeter wavelength maps from raw detector timestreams including the quality cuts in the process. We describe the specific analysis and results of searching for transient sources with timescales of days to weeks in the first 100 deg2 of data taken by the SPTpol camera. Using the search results we place upper limits on the number of millimeter transient sources as a function of the transient duration above a flux of 20 mJy.

Exploring Theories of Modified Gravity
October 12 - 14, 2015 | Chicago, IL | Workshop
Exploring Theories of Modified Gravity
Workshop
Webpage

The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting a workshop this fall on theories of modified gravity. The purpose of workshop is to discuss recent progress and interesting directions in theoretical research into modified gravity. Topics of particular focus include: massive gravity, Horndeski, beyond Horndeski, and other derivatively coupled theories, screening and new physics in the gravitational sector, and possible observational probes of the above. The meeting will be relatively small, informal, and interactive workshop for the focused topics.Learn more >>

Michael S. Turner, "The Realm of Mystery"
October 24, 2015 | 2:30 PM | The Helix Center | Talk
Michael S. Turner, Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor of Physics, the University of Chicago
Talk
Webpage

Donald Rumsfeld famously said, "There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know." From a philosophical perspective, how do we know what we don’t know? How do we go about transforming "known unknowns" into "known knowns" and "unknown unknowns" into "known unknowns"? Is one person's unknown another person's cognitive bias? How might a psychoanalytic understanding of dynamic mental function play a role here? And what role does mystery play in our lives, from scientific, religious, and other perspectives?

Participants
  • Megan Abbott, Author
  • Carol Rovane, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
  • Michael S. Turner, Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor of Physics, the University of Chicago
  • Elliot Wolfson, Marsha and Jay Glazer Chair Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, the University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Susan Wolfson, Professor of English, Princeton University
Learn more >>

Fall 2015 Postdocs Symposium
October 30, 2015 | 9:00 AM | ERC 401 | Postdocs Symposium
Postdocs Symposium
9:00 - 9:30
Coffee/Breakfast
9:30 - 9:55
Adam Anderson: "Sterile neutrino searches with sounding-rocket-borne x-ray microcalorimeters"
9:55 - 10:20
Samuel Flender: "Simulations of the pairwise kinematic Sunyaev-Zeldovich signal"
10:20 - 10:45
Zhen Hou: "Study Gravitational Lensing of the Cosmic Microwave Background by Galaxy Clusters"
10:45 - 11:00
Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:25
Cosmin Deaconu: "Evaluating directional sensitivity of low-pressure CF4 dark matter Detectors"
11:25 - 11:50
Aurélien Benoit-Lévy: "Recent developments on CMB lensing"
11:50 - 12:15
David Staszak: "Measuring cosmic-ray electrons to TeV energies with VERITAS"
12:15
Lunch


Dark Matter Hub workshop
November 16, 2015 | 9:00 AM | ERC 401 | Workshop
Dark Matter Hub workshop
Workshop
We will host a dark matter HUB meeting at KICP/EFI on Nov 16 (9 am - 1:30 pm) in Room 401 ERC.

9:10-9:40
Dan Hooper - "Dark Matter Indirect Detection with Subhalos"
9:45-10:15
Gordon Krnjaic - "Discovering or Falsifying Light Thermal Dark Matter"
10:20-10:50
Seyda Ipek - "Reducing Small Scale Structure via DM-Neutrino Interactions"
10:55-11:10
Coffee Break
11:10-11:40
Cosmin Deaconu - "Experimental Status of Directional Dark Matter
Detectors"
11:45-12:15
Andrey Kravstov - "Dark Matter Halo Structure: New Results and Insights"
12:30-1:30
Lunch and discussion


The Science of Musical Instruments, Yerkes Winter Institute
December 27 - 29, 2015 | Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay, WI | Yerkes Institute
The Science of Musical Instruments, Yerkes Winter Institute
Yerkes Institute
Photo Gallery
Instructors: Cosmin Deaconu, Zoheyr Doctor, Brittany Kamai, Randy Landsberg, Rito Basu Thakur.

At this Yerkes Winter Institute, we will explore the connections between musical instruments and the physics of sound. Students will build their own pan flutes, drums, and synthesizers to learn about the principles that drive instrument design and construction. With homemade instruments in hand, students will examine how physical parameters and playing techniques affect sound and quality (i.e., frequency and time domain waveforms produced by their instruments).