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Events & Talks
LIGO update on the search for gravitational waves
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Albert Einstein's prediction of the existence of gravitational waves, which are ripples in the fabric of spacetime. The advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has been designed to search for these waves, and has just finished its first science run.
We will be hosting an event to provide an update on efforts to detect gravitational waves. The event will begin with a live stream of a press conference hosted by the National Science Foundation, immediately followed by a Q&A panel led by Associate Professor and LIGO member Daniel Holz and featuring Ben Farr, McCormick Postdoctoral Fellow in the Enrico Fermi Institute; Hsin-Yu Chen, graduate student in the Astronomy & Astrophysics; and Zoheyr Doctor, graduate student in Physics.
I hope you are able to join us for coffee and a live stream of a press conference and the discussion.
*Dean of the Physical Sciences*
Cosmology Using Low Resolution Spectroscopy in the 2020s
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting a workshop "Cosmology Using Low Resolution Spectroscopy in the 2020s" on February 16-17, 2016. The goal of this workshop is to evaluate the cosmological impact of future wide field low-resolution spectroscopic surveys. All of the top surveys will be represented, and the many cosmological studies that these surveys will allow will be discussed.Learn more >>
C2ST Speakeasy: Ritoban Basu Thakur, "Dark Matter -- The Dark Path to our Being"
Everything we see today, our precious atoms and molecules, got here by traveling on swaths dark matter. From the oscillations of the hot plasma of the primordial universe, to the formation and dynamics of modern galaxies, dark matter plays a necessary role. The very construct in which we sit is defined by its abundance. Our universe’s evolution is controlled tightly by a cosmic tug-of-war between dark matter and dark energy. Thus understanding dark matter is not only important to explain the past and the present, but also the future trajectory of our universe. It has been over 80 years since its discovery, and we have yet to “see” dark matter directly. This talk will discuss how we came to know about dark matter and the multitude of concordant observations. Next, we will discuss our best ideas regarding the nature of dark matter and detection strategies being pursued world-wide.
Dr. Ritoban Basu Thakur is an experimental cosmologist at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP), at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on understanding early universe physics by precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background, and progressing experimental techniques toward terrestrial detection of dark matter. To this end, he is developing novel detectors and analyzing observational data collected via these detectors. Dr. Basu Thakur obtained his PhD in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. The crux of his PhD research, on dark matter, was carried out at the Fermilab Center for Particle Atrophysics. He was URA fellow and graduate student association officer at Fermilab. He got his B.S. in Physics, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa (liberal arts and sciences) from Dickinson College.Learn more >>
Winter 2016 Postdocs Symposium
Computations in Science Seminar: Daniel Hooper, Fermilab, "Uncovering the particle nature of dark matter"
A wide range of observations support the conclusion that most of the matter in our universe is not made of protons, neutrons, or electrons, but of some other substance or substances that do not interact electromagnetically or through the strong nuclear force. For a lack of a better name, we simply call this stuff "dark matter". I'll discuss some of our best hypotheses for what dark matter might be made of, and the experimental program designed to test this list of possibilities. I'll focus in particular on searches for dark matter annihilation products using gamma-ray telescope, which may have already seen the first evidence of particle dark matter interactions.
Dark Matter Hub workshop
We are hosting our spring KICP dark matter hub meeting on April 25. We will start at 10:30 am and end 2:30 pm (Note that we are starting later than the previous meetings). It will be held in Room 401, Eckhardt Research Center building. We will have box lunches for the participants.
This hub meeting will focus on direct detection. After the talks, we will have a discussion at the end on possible new directions to pursue and cooperate.
Photometric Classification of SNIA
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting a workshop on the Photometric Classification of SNIA on April 28-29, 2016. This workshop will focus on Photometric classification methods and validation techniques for large SNIA data samples. The emphasis will be on defining samples that can be used to measure cosmological parameters, rate vs redshift, and SN-host correlations.Learn more >>
Graduate Student Symposium
We are excited to invite you to the second KICP Graduate Student Symposium that will take place *May 12th from 12-2:00pm.* Last year was a great success and we hope that you will join us again this year. We will have tasty foods being served before we kick things off from 11:30 until 12
Broader Horizons: Korey Haynes, associate editor at Astronomy Magazine
After completing my PhD at George Mason University studying exoplanets, I joined the staff of Astronomy in December 2014. Astronomy is the largest general level magazine of its type, serving fans of both the science and hobby sides of the field. As an editor, I work closely with scientists and science writers to make stories ready for publication, write for print and the web, and manage large tracts of our website. I will talk about my experiences in the field, and address specifically the transition from scientist to science communicator.
Spring 2016 Postdocs Symposium
The Future of Cosmological Physics: Scott Dodelson, "Cosmic Coda"
Chicago scientists brought together the fields of particle physics and cosmology. This merger of the very big and the very small now underpins both disciplines. A series of special Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics colloquia addresses the future of cosmology and celebrates the opening of the Eckhardt Center and the 125th anniversary of the University of Chicago.
All talks will take place in the Eckhardt Auditorium, 3-5PM, with discussion and reception to follow.
Brittany Kamai, "Hunting for MHz Gravitational Waves with the Fermilab Holometer"
Ph.D. Committee members: Andreas Berlind, Stephan S. Meyer, Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, Keivan Stassun and Shane Hutson
"Brittany's thesis uses the Holometer data for a unique measurement of gravitational waves in the Megahertz frequency band. Her analysis sets limits on possible exotic sources of gravitational waves, such as black holes in binaries of very small mass -- radiating at frequencies ten thousand time higher than those recently measured by LIGO."
- Craig J. Hogan
Thesis Abstract: The highest frequency end of the gravitational wave spectrum remains poorly constrained. The early universe is capable of producing exotic candidates that could radiate at MHz frequencies. The existence of nearby sources can be tested using the Holometer, two nested 40 meter Michelson interferometers, located at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Utilizing a 130-hour dataset taken between July 15, 2015 and August 15, 2015, constraints are made on both the stochastic gravitational wave background and primordial black hole binaries. This thesis demonstrates that the Holometer can be used as a ground-based gravitational wave detector which opens up an opportunity to search for sources in the 1-13 MHz range.
Asher Berlin, "Phenomenology of Particle Dark Matter"
Ph.D. Committee members: Juan Collar, Wayne Hu
"Asher's work has covered a broad range of topics related to dark matter and efforts to reveal its particle nature. He has worked on theory calculations relevant to underground and space-based dark matter searches and to searches for dark matter at the Large Hadron Collider. More recently, he has worked on non-standard ways in which dark matter may be have created in the early universe."
- Dan Hooper, PhD advisor
Thesis Abstract: The search for dark matter incorporates a wide range of characteristic energies. In this talk, I will explore recent work related to theoretical aspects of dark matter that are sensitive to physics ranging from the QCD scale, to LHC energies, and even up to the reheating temperature following inflation.
The 2016 Summer Kavli Fulldome Lecture: Michael Turner, "From The Big Bang To The Multiverse And Beyond"
We know the Universe began 13.7 billion years ago in an explosion of space called the Big Bang. We also know that the gravity of dark matter created the galaxies and other cosmic structures we see today from tiny quantum fluctuations that arose just after the Big Bang. Yet some big questions remain.
Is our Universe part of a larger multiverse?
What is speeding up the expansion of the Universe?
Theoretical astrophysicist Michael Turner has devoted his life and research to the pursuit of the answers to these questions. On July 31, the esteemed University of Chicago Professor will return to the Adler Planetarium for a reprise of the lecture that he delivered to a sold-out crowd on May 5. In a dazzling, fulldome presentation custom-made by the Adler's Space Visualization Lab, this presentation will illustrate what we know and how we know it, as well as the big ideas and puzzles of cosmology today.
As an important feature of the Kavli Fulldome Lecture Series, Turner's presentation will be live domecasted from the Adler to other planetaria around the country and the world. Stay tuned as locations are added.
About Michael Turner
Michael S. Turner is a theoretical astrophysicist and the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. He is also Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at Chicago. Turner helped to pioneer the interdisciplinary field of particle astrophysics and cosmology, and has made seminal contributions to the current cosmological paradigm known as "LambdaCDM", including the prediction of cosmic acceleration. His current research interests are dark matter, dark energy and inflation. Turner has won numerous prizes and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
About The Kavli Fulldome Lecture Series
The Kavli Fulldome Lecture series takes audiences on a journey to the very edges of human knowledge. Adler experts and leading scientists work together to create dazzling, animated images of real data, which are projected onto the planetarium dome during the lectures. Audiences don’t have to imagine what an equation might tell us about the Universe's distant past, they can travel back in time and see it with their own eyes.
Sponsor: The Kavli FoundationLearn more >>
Spy vs. Spy, Yerkes Summer Institute
Instructors: Camille Avestruz, Zoheyr Doctor, Gourav Khullar, Richard G. Kron, Randall H. Landsberg, James Lasker, Phil Mansfield, Sam Passaglia, Rebecca Pierce, Jason Poh.
The 2016 Yerkes Summer Institute (YSI) was filled with secrecy, deception, and espionage. At YSI, high school students in the Space Explorers program played the role of 20th-Century spies to handle secret information: revealing, concealing and distorting information. Through three day-long lab activities, the students explored connections between spying and science. In the "Secret Photos" lab, they studied angular size, resolution, and the film-development process in order to effectively gather information on "enemy operatives" using 35 mm cameras. In the "Radio Beams" lab, students designed, built, and tested a system to transmit audio via an amplitude-modulated (AM) laser, which allowed them to secretly communicate across long distances. Lastly, techniques to securely communicate were examined in the "Codes and Ciphers" lab, which also served as an introduction to modern cryptography. After cycling through these three day labs, the students broke into three new groups and took one of the labs a step further: one group doctored photographs to spread false information, another built AM radio transmitters and receivers, and the last created treasure hunts using codes and ciphers for the clues. Nighttime activities included: observations with the Yerkes telescopes, astrophotography, explorations of the constellations which focused on what current research can tell us about them (e.g. most know exoplanets were found by Kepler in the constellation Cygnus); and bad weather activities that included examinations of the veracity of viral internet photos, and stories of famous spies. The week's spy-themed activities not only introduced the students to the importance of privacy in the digital age, but also to the concepts and skills that are integral to any modern STEM career.
CMB-S4 Collaboration Workshop
This is the fourth of a series of biannual "Cosmology with CMB-S4" workshops dedicated to developing the next generation ground-based Cosmic Microwave Background program, CMB-S4. The first two days of the workshop are dedicated to CMB-S4. The third day will be an overlap day with the "Futures Cosmic Surveys", which is being held at Chicago September 21-23.
The CMB-S4 workshop will start with a review of the science case presented in the recently completed first edition of the CMB-S4 Science Book, followed by sessions dedicated to working on refining the science driven requirements for the CMB-S4 instrumental configuration.
We will review the set of instrumentation white papers, now being drafted, that summarize the current state of relevant technologies for CMB-S4 and identify R&D efforts to advance them for evaluation for possible use in CMB-S4. We will work on the road map to determine the instrumental configuration of CMB-S4.
The goal of the overlap day (Wednesday September 21) with the "Cosmic Surveys" workshop is for the two communities to update each other on their future plans and to explore the synergistic and joint analysis of the combined data sets.Learn more >>
"Observing Einstein's Outrageous Universe", Short Course for Museum & Planetarium Staff
Observing Einstein's Outrageous Universe: Gravitational Waves, Black Holes, Neutron Stars, Gravitational Lenses and the Big Bang
Who Should Attend: Museum & Planetarium Staff
What to Expect:
A century ago Einstein put forth his theory of gravity. For the first 50 years it was an exotic theory with many untestable predictions thought to be irrelevant to our Universe. Beginning 50 years ago with the discovery of quasars and the cosmic microwave background (CMB), it has become clear that we live in Einstein’s Universe where the extraordinary is now the ordinary and his theory is in full bloom. To study the Universe today you have to understand the cosmic implications of Einstein's theory. We will focus on observable aspects of some of the most outrageous and compelling predictions of general relativity. These predictions include black holes, gravitational waves, gravitational lensing, and the Big Bang. We will explore the recent detection of gravitational waves from the merger of black holes 30 times the mass of our Sun, the spectacular fireworks associated with the death of stars and the formation of neutron stars and black holes, precise measurements of properties of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, the bending of light due to the gravity of clusters of galaxies, and how we learn about the origin of space, time, and the earliest moments of the Universe.Learn more >>
Future Cosmic Surveys
On September 21-23, KICP will be holding a workshop on Future Cosmic Surveys. The workshop is intended to gather community input and support for five potential future projects, outlined in "Cosmic Visions Dark Energy: Science", produced by the DOE group. Related ideas were presented in the National Academies sponsored Elmegreen report; the recent NOAO/Kavli sponsored study; and the NRAO 2020 Futures Program.
The first day will be an overlap day with the CMB-S4 workshop preceding it; Thursday will be devoted to plenary talks about the five potential projects; Friday morning, we will break up into groups for each project and formulate a plan for developing the case for the projects; we come together Friday afternoon to hear and comment on the individual plans.
Screening & Discussion: STARMEN
The screening will included a conversation with Director Alison Rose,
Kavli Prize Laureate Donald Lynden-Bell,
KICP Director Michael Turner,
and KICP associate director John Carlstrom.
Sponsored by: The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) and The Kavli Foundation
STARMENLearn more >>
EFI colloquium: John Carlstrom, "Cosmic Microwave Background measurements through the Next Decade"
We will review the current status of cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurements and the planning for the experimental program for the next decade. The talk will focus on the science case and the path forward for the stage 4 ground - based experimental program, CMB - S4, as recommended by P5. The upcoming extremely sensitive CMB measurements will allow us to stringently test the cosmological model and investigate extensions to it. We will be searching for inflationary gravitational waves and rigorously testing single field slow roll inflation, determining the neutrino mass scale, searching for new relic particles, mapping the universe in momentum, investigating dark energy, testing general relativity and more.
Theoretical Advances in Particle Cosmology
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) is hosting a workshop "Theoretical Advances in Particle Cosmology" this fall on the University of Chicago campus. The workshop will bring together theorists with common interests in early universe cosmology and high energy particle physics.
Life Long Learning Training Session
In conjunction with the KICP Life Long Learning program, we are hosting a training session focused on working with older adults. Gerontologist Karen Kolb will conduct a workshop that will explore demographic trends, the physiology and psychology of aging, and practical considerations for presenting to older adults.
Physics colloquium: Carlos Wagner, University of Chicago, "Understanding the Origin of Mass and Matter"
Almost a century after the conceptual revolutions brought by the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, the Standard Model has been established as the correct effective field theory describing all physical phenomena observed in nature, with the exception of gravity. Precision measurements of the recently discovered Higgs boson have provided the first clue on the origin of the mass of all known fundamental particles. As great as these achievements have been, there are several outstanding questions that remain to be answered. In this talk, after reviewing the current status of the field of particle physics, I will describe the efforts directed to understanding the dynamical origin of the observed ordinary and dark matter in the Universe.
Fall 2016 Postdocs Symposium
Up & Down, Yerkes Winter Institute
Instructors: Randy Landsberg, Phil Mansfield, Eric Oberla, and Erik Shirokoff.
The 2016 Yerkes Winter Institute (YWI) focused on the forces that lift objects up and what happens when they are pushed down. Twenty local high schoolers in the Space Explorers program participated in three labs led by Erik Shirokoff, Eric Oberla, Phil Mansfield, and Randy Landsberg, which focused on pressure and buoyancy. This year's activities included weighing a car using only an air pressure gauge and a sheet of paper, determining how many party balloons it would actually take to lift the house in the film Up! (or the ANITA experiment), and a camp-wide competition where students used Archimedes' Principle to design boats that could carry as many pennies as possible. The activities in this year's YWI will help prepare the Space Explorers for the launch of a high altitude balloon which they will be performing later in the year. Nighttime activities included observations with the 24-inch telescope, identifying constellation and interesting astrophysical objects that they contain, and a slide show of the recent launch of ANITA in Antarctica. Thirty-seven parents and siblings joined the last day of YWI for presentations and closing ceremony.