News, 2014
The PFC will welcome 3 new Fellows in the Autumn of 2014
February 17, 2014
The PFC will welcome 3 new Fellows in the Autumn of 2014
Jason Henning will join us as a joint NSF AAPF and KICP Fellow after completing his degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he helped design and build the receiver and its detectors for the SPTpol CMB polarization experiment. As a KICP Fellow Jason will continue his work with SPT, lending his experience to the design of SPT-3G as well as placing new constraints on cosmological parameters using CMB polarization measurements.

Silvia Galli took her PhD between the University of Rome 'Sapienza' and the APC laboratory in Paris. She is now finishing her first postdoc at the IAP in Paris. In the last couple of years, Silvia mainly worked on developing the likelihood code and determining cosmological parameters for the Planck satellite. She is also interested in using cosmological probes, such as the CMB or clusters of galaxies, to constrain fundamental physics, such as the variation of fundamental constants or the annihilation of dark matter particles.

Dan Scolnic will join the KICP as a Fellow after receiving his degree from Johns Hopkins University. Dan's research focuses on observations of Type Ia supernovae to measure dark energy and other major components of the Universe. Dan has worked extensively on the Pan-STARRs science survey. At the KICP, Dan will continue his research as part of the Dark Energy Survey.

PFC scientists make the case for annihilating WIMPs in the galactic center
March 6, 2014
PFC scientists make the case for annihilating WIMPs in the galactic center
KICP astrophysicists Dan Hooper and Tim Linden are co-authors on a recent study which makes a compelling case that the observed gamma-ray excess coming from the central area of our galaxy is due the annihilation of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles.

Article: "The Characterization of the Gamma-Ray Signal from the Central Milky Way: A Compelling Case for Annihilating Dark Matter"; Tansu Daylan, Douglas P. Finkbeiner, Dan Hooper, Tim Linden, Stephen K. N. Portillo, Nicholas L. Rodd, Tracy R. Slatyer [PDF]

Cosmic WOW: BICEP2 announces evidence for the gravity waves produced by inflation!
March 17, 2014
"BICEP2 I: DETECTION OF B-mode POLARIZATION AT DEGREE ANGULAR SCALES" by the BICEP2 Collaboration
BICEP2 Results Release | BICEP2 Article
KICP Faculty member Abigail Vieregg and KICP Fellow Christopher Sheehy are part of the BICEP2 Team that today announced evidence for the discovery of the CMB B-mode signature of gravity waves produced during inflation. KICP Director Michael Turner said that if this result holds up, it will be the biggest event in cosmology since the discovery of CMB anisotropy or the accelerated expansion of the Universe. Inflation-produced gravity waves are called the smoking' gun of inflation - and for good reason. Their amplitude reveals the expansion rate during inflation and the scale of inflation (about 10^-38 sec and 10^16 GeV respectively for the BICEP2 detection) and confirms the third key prediction of inflation. The first two predictions of inflation - almost scale-invariant density perturbations and a flat Universe - are almost postdictions, as both had been put forth as features of any sensible cosmological model before inflation was postulated in the early 1980s. Because of the large number of highly sensitive CMB experiments that are taking or analyzing data (including SPT and Planck), the BICEP result will be checked very soon. Read more Michael Turner's comments.

"What an amazing discovery. The BICEP2 results are truly fantastic. They provide -- at very high confidence -- evidence for the inflationary origin of our universe, probing physics at the energy scales of grant unified theories and the first instants of the universe. While the signal is tiny -- they measured the polarization of the cosmic microwave background with a sensitivity of 30 millionths of the 3 K background -- it is actually stronger than most cosmologists thought it would be. This means that BICEP2 data along with KECK Array and SPTpol data and upcoming BICEP3 and SPT-3G data all from the same region of the sky, will allow us to not only confirm the BICEP2 results, but also to constrain the inflation model further. it is a fantastic day for cosmology and indeed for all of physics."
- John Carlstrom


Congratulations to Prof. Nick Gnedin!
March 20, 2014
Congratulations to Prof. Nick Gnedin!
Congratulations to Prof. Nick Gnedin for becoming a Fellow of the American Physical Society!

Citation: "For pioneering work in computational cosmology, which has led to a deep understanding of the Lyman alpha forest and reionization of the universe."

SPT Google Trekker Photos
April 8, 2014
SPT Google Trekker Photos
Virtually visit the South Pole Telescope and the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which is operated by the National Science foundation via panoramic in Google Street View format. SPT is supported by NSF-OPP and DOE.

Photos taken by Kyle Story.Learn more >>

Congratulations to Louis Abramson for winning a Harper Dissertation Fellowship!
June 12, 2014
Louis Abramson, KICP graduate student
Dear Colleagues,

Please join me in congratulating Louis Abramson for winning a William Rainey Harper Dissertation Fellowship for the 2014-15 academic year. One of the University of Chicago's highest honors, the award recognizes significant achievement during graduate studies and professional promise.

Congratulations Louis!!

Angela V. Olinto,
Homer J. Livingston Professor and Chair Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Congratulations to Dr. Eric Baxter!
July 18, 2014
Congratulations to Dr. Eric Baxter!
Congratulations to Eric Baxter for successfully defending his PhD dissertation on "Measuring Gravitational Lensing of the Cosmic Microwave Background by Galaxy Clusters."

Congratulations to Dr. Nicole Fields!
October 8, 2014
Congratulations to Dr. Nicole Fields!
Congratulations to Nicole Fields for successfully defending her PhD dissertation on "CosI: Development of a Low Threshold Detector for the Observation of Coherent Elastic Neutrino-Nucleus Scattering."

"Nicole's thesis describes the development of a detector capable of measuring the process of coherent elastic scattering of neutrinos off nuclei. This is the same process expected to mediate dominant interactions from WIMP dark matter candidates. First proposed 40 years ago, it hasn't been experimentally confirmed yet. Nicole's thesis discusses a full feasibility study with a prototype, and the installation of the detector at the SNS source in Oak Ridge National Laboratory".
- Juan I. Collar, PhD advisor

Nicole will be working for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a Health Physicist in Lisle, IL.

Congratulations to Vinicius Miranda for receiving the Schramm Fellowship
October 17, 2014
Congratulations to Vinicius Miranda for receiving the Schramm Fellowship
Vinicius Miranda, a KICP graduate student, was awarded the Schramm Fellowship. Miranda was nominated by Prof. Wayne Hu.

David N. Schramm (M.A. and S.B. '67, Ph.D. '71) was a professor for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Enrico Fermi Institute and Physics and was designated the Louis Block Professor of the Physical Sciences in 1982; as well as Vice President for Research in 1995.

Congratulations to Dr. Alan Zablocki!
November 11, 2014
Congratulations to Dr. Alan Zablocki!
Congratulations to Alan Zablocki for successfully defending his PhD dissertation on "Constraining Neutrinos and Dark Energy with the Angular Clustering of Galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey."

"Over the last decade, cosmological observations have placed increasingly stringent upper bounds on the masses of neutrinos, while observations of neutrino oscillations imply a lower bound. Alan's thesis provides a detailed forecast of the constraints that the Dark Energy Survey (DES) will be able to place on neutrino mass in the next few years, accounting for uncertainties in dark energy and in the relative amplitude of galaxy clustering. He finds that DES has a good chance of shedding light on the pattern of neutrino masses (the mass hierarchy), an exciting possibility. His results will be of broad interest to cosmologists."
- Joshua A. Frieman, PhD advisor