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The PFC will welcome 4 new Fellows in the Autumn of 2015
January 26, 2015
Camille Avestruz will join us as a joint KICP and Enrico Fermi Fellow after receiving her degree from Yale University. Camille's research uses hydrodynamic cosmological simulations to study clusters of galaxies. She is interested in using simulations to interpret observations and to model astrophysical processes that affect cluster-based cosmology.
Nicole Larsen will join the KICP as a Fellow after completing her PhD at Yale University. Her background is in dark matter direct detection. Specifically, her graduate work was on the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment, where she worked extensively on detector hardware and on using LUX data to set limits on complex types of dark matter interactions. At the KICP, Nicole is interested in broadening her horizons by moving into CMB physics.
Ritoban Basu Thakur completed his PhD between University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics. His thesis was on developing new ultra low threshold cryogenic detectors for dark matter searches (SuperCDMS / CDMSlite). At KICP he plans to work on the next generation CMB cameras (SPT-3G) and continue efforts in progressing low threshold dark matter detectors with CCDs (DAMIC).
Congratulations Daweed Abdiel!
February 9, 2015
Posse Foundation Scholarship to attend Denison University where he plans to major in Chemistry. Daweed has been in the Space Explorers Program since 2013 and exemplifies the academic and leadership skills that KICP and our cross campus partner the Office of Special Programs try to instill in participants.
The Posse Program is one of the most comprehensive college access programs in the United States providing support for Scholars from their senior year of high school, throughout college and into the workforce. It is extremely effective and successful boasting a 90% persistence and graduation rate. A defining feature of the Posse program is the "posse", a cohort of peers that provide a support network at each institution. The Posse model is rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students - a Posse - carefully selected and trained, can serve as a catalyst for increased individual and community development.
The Space Explorers Program is a multi-year science enrichment program for high school students from the neighborhoods around the University of Chicago, which connects them to the KICP science community. It involves over one hundred (>100) contact hours each year including weekly laboratory sessions on campus and bi-annual residential science institutes at Yerkes Observatory in the winter and summer. 100% of Space Explorers who stay in the program through their senior year graduate high school and matriculate in college, and over half declare STEM majors.
Congratulations to Dr. Kyle Story!
March 5, 2015
"Measuring the Temperature Anisotropy and Gravitational Lensing of the Cosmic Microwave Background with the South Pole Telescope."
Kyle has received a Kavli postdoctoral fellowship at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), Stanford University.
Angela Olinto will serve a second consecutive term as Chair of Astronomy & Astrophysics
April 29, 2015
I am pleased to announce that following the recommendation of the department's Chair Search Committee, Angela Olinto will serve a second consecutive term as Chair of Astronomy & Astrophysics through September 30, 2018.
Angela has provided exemplary leadership during this current term, and her continued leadership will be crucial to advancing the many strategic initiatives of the department.
Please join me in congratulating Angela on her reappointment.
Dean of the Physical Sciences
Congratulations to Dr. Youngsoo Park!
April 30, 2015
"Combined Probes Analysis with Galaxy Clustering and Galaxy-Galaxy Lensing in the Dark Energy Survey."
Youngsoo has received a Postdoctoral position at the University of Arizona.
Angela Olinto wins a 2014-2015 Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring
June 1, 2015
The award will be presented to her at the Spring Quarter Convocation on Saturday, June 13, 2015, during the Division of the Physical Sciences Diploma and Hooding Ceremony. That ceremony will take place at noon at the Logan Center, Performance Hall. It will be a special pleasure for me to present it to her.
Dean of the Physical Sciences Division
Sugarman Awards for Excellence in Student Research
June 2, 2015
Congratulations to Dr. Yin Li!
June 2, 2015
"Cosmic Void Abundance in a Spherical Boundary Model."
Yin has received a joint postdoc position at the Berkeley and Kavli IPMU (Japan).
Congratulations to Dr. Vinicius Miranda!
June 2, 2015
"Probing Inflation with the Cosmic Microwave Background."
Vinicius has received a Postdoctoral Fellow position at the University of Pennsylvania.
Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Helsby!
June 11, 2015
"Clustering-based redshifts for the Dark Energy Survey."
"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
Jennifer has received a 2015 Data Science for Social Good Fellowship position at the University of Chicago.
Congratulations to Dr. Benedikt Diemer!
June 11, 2015
"On the (non-)universality of halo density profiles."
"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
Benedikt has received a fellow position at the Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC) at the Harvard University.
PFC Members Win Midwest Famelab Competition
June 17, 2015
FameLab USA is a NASA-sponsored, science-based take on American Idol, aimed at fostering an open community for science communication and development. Dan summed up the training and competition experience, "It was really fun, and the organizers spent a lot of time giving us lessons on better ways to convey hard science topics to audiences."
Congratulations to Dr. Louis Abramson!
July 13, 2015
"Assessing and Understanding Diversity in Galaxy Star Formation Histories."
"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
Louis has received a Postdoctoral Scholar at the UCLA Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Congratulations to Dr. Pierre Gratia!
July 20, 2015
"Cosmology and Singularities in Massive Gravity."
John Carlstrom has received 2015 Gruber Cosmology Prize
August 6, 2015
Congratulations to Dr. Alan Robinson!
August 31, 2015
"Dark Matter Limits from a 2L C3F8 Filled Bubble Chamber".
"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
Alan has received a Research Associate position at the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics.
Congratulations to Dr. Jing Zhou!
September 1, 2015
"Direct Dark Matter Detection with the DAMIC experiment at SNOLAB".
"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
Jing has received a position of Quantitative Analyst in WorldQuantat.
Congratulations to Dr. Tyler Natoli!
September 29, 2015
"A Search for Transient Sources in the First 100 deg2 of SPTpol Data".
Tyler has received a Dunlap Fellow position with the Dunlap Institute at the University of Toronto.
We've moved into the William Eckhardt Research Center (ERC)!
October 21, 2015
Our center of mass is the 4th floor of ERC, with some offices on the 3rd floor, labs on the 5th floor and LL1. We share the ERC with the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Institute for Molecular Engineering. In addition to state-of-the-art laboratories and the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility, the building features a beautiful 150-seat auditorium looking out on the North Science Quad, seminar and meeting rooms and many interaction areas and the 5th floor Astro Lounge.
We said goodbye to LASR on September 11th and opened up operations in the ERC on the following Monday. We have already hosted two workshops, our annual Jamboree and the first two colloquia in our Future of Cosmological Physics series. And there is much more to come!
"Homebase" for the KICP is the NW corner of the building (angle left when getting out of the elevator), where the Director, Assistant Director, Assistant to the Director, Business Manager and Meeting Coordinator have their offices. Click here for a building seating plan.
Our mailing address remains almost the same:
Name, ERC office #, Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, the University of Chicago, 5640 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637-1433.
Erik Shirokoff has received a NSF CAREER award
December 22, 2015
"Developing Antenna-Coupled Kinetic Inductance Detectors to Enable Next Generation CMB Experiments". The team will design, build and demonstrate arrays of Kinetic Inductance Detectors (KIDs). A KID contains a very cold, resistance-free device. That device changes its properties when it "sees" the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the faint signal from the young Universe. Vast arrays of KIDs are needed for the next generation of CMB experiments. The team will also provide laboratory experience for undergraduates from underrepresented minorities and for high school students in the Chicago area.
The CAREER award is presented to junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.
Searching for dark matter: Inside the Xenon1T detector
December 24, 2015
"Of course we want to detect the dark matter particle," Grandi said, "but even if we have only found some hints after two years, we are in an excellent position to move on as we are already now preparing the next step of the project, which will be the far more sensitive XENONnT."