KICP News



 
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."

Related Links:
KICP Members: Scott Dodelson
KICP Students: Eric J. Baxter
 
Congratulations to Louis Abramson for winning a Harper Dissertation Fellowship!
June 12, 2014
Louis Abramson, KICP graduate student
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

Related Links:
KICP Members: Angela V. Olinto
KICP Students: Louis Abramson
 
Nine Scientific Pioneers Receive the 2014 Kavli Prizes
May 29, 2014
Nine Scientific Pioneers Receive the 2014 Kavli Prizes
Nine pioneering scientists have been named this year's recipients of the Kavli Prizes - prizes that recognize scientists for their seminal advances in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. This year's laureates were selected for pioneering the theory of cosmic inflation, for transformative contributions to the field of nano-optics and for the discovery of specialized brain networks for memory and cognition.

Kavli Prize in Astrophysics
The Kavli Prize in Astrophysics is shared between Alan H. Guth, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, Andrei D. Linde, Stanford University, USA, and Alexei A. Starobinsky, Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia. They receive the prize "for pioneering the theory of cosmic inflation". The theory of cosmic inflation, proposed and developed by the three prize winners, has revolutionized our thinking about the Universe.

According to this theory, very soon after our universe came into existence it underwent a short-lived phase of exponential expansion. During this brief period the universe expanded by a huge factor - hence the name inflation. The consequences of this episode were momentous for the evolution of the cosmos.The field of inflation theory now occupies thousands of theorists, and many variations of inflation are being actively debated.

Kavli Prize in Nanoscience
The Kavli Prize in Nanoscience is shared between Thomas W. Ebbesen, Universite Louis Pasteur, Universite de Strasbourg, France, Stefan W. Hell, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany, and Sir John B. Pendry, Imperial College London, UK.

They receive the prize "for transformative contributions to the field of nano-optics that have broken long-held beliefs about the limitations of the resolution limits of optical microscopy and imaging".

With their respective work, they have challenged established beliefs about the resolution limits of optical imaging, showing that light can interact with nanostructures smaller than its wavelength.

Seeing at the 'nanoscale' was long considered to be limited in visible resolution by the finite wavelength of 'light', so that only objects larger than ~ 200 nanometers could be imaged. This is about 100 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.

Each of this year's prize winners, through their different insights and routes, has independently advanced our ability to 'see' nanostructures using 'ordinary' light. This ability to see and image nanoscale objects is a critical prerequisite to further advances in the broader field of nanoscience.

Kavli Prize in Neuroscience
The Kavli Prize in Neuroscience is shared between Brenda Milner, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Canada, John O'Keefe, University College London, UK, and Marcus E. Raichle, Washington University in St.Louis School of Medicine, USA. They receive the prize "for the discovery of specialized brain networks for memory and cognition".

The recipients of the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience have all played major roles in advancing our understanding of memory and in the development of techniques to measure the brain. They have discovered that these functions are produced by specialized systems in the brain, which they analysed through a variety of research approaches. They have found the specific regions of the brain that are involved in memory, and how specialized nerve cells perform different roles.

The higher cognitive functions of our brains such as attention, memory, and planning are crucial to create our rich mental lives: memory is essential for humans, from the recognition of where we are, through learning new skills, to being able to recall events. In humans memory can be said to define who we are, and we know that loss of memory can have devastating effects on an individual's personality. Knowing how memory function should work in healthy people could open the door to understanding what has changed in patients with dementia and memory loss.

About the Kavli Prizes
The Kavli Prize is a partnership between The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation (USA) and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. The Kavli Prizes were initiated by and named after Fred Kavli (1927 - 2013), founder of The Kavli Foundation which is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work.

Kavli Prize recipients are chosen biennially by three prize committees comprised of distinguished international scientists recommended by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Society, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society. After making their selection for award recipients, the recommendations of these prize committees are confirmed by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

The 2014 Kavli Prizes will be awarded in Oslo, Norway, on the 9th of September. His Majesty King Harald will present the prizes to the laureates. This year's ceremony will be hosted by Alan Alda and Haddy N'jie.

The ceremony is part of Kavli Prize Week - a week of special programs that celebrate extraordinary achievements in science, educate the public on important scientific advances, and bring together distinguished members of the international community to discuss key global issues in science and science policy.

For more detailed information on each of the prizes, the 2014 laureates and their work, and Kavli Prize ceremony and other events during the Kavli Prize Week in September.

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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.

Read more >>

Related Links:
KICP Students: Kyle Story
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
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."

Related Links:
KICP Members: Nickolay Y. Gnedin
 
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



Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Christopher D. Sheehy; Michael S. Turner; Abigail G. Vieregg
Scientific projects: BICEP2/The Keck Array/BICEP3
 
KICP scientists make the case for annihilating WIMPs in the galactic center
March 6, 2014
KICP 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]

Related Links:
KICP Members: Daniel Hooper; Tim Linden
 
The KICP will welcome 3 new Fellows in the Autumn of 2014
February 17, 2014
The KICP 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.

Related Links:
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey (DES); South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Congratulations to Angela Olinto!
December 6, 2013
Congratulations to Angela Olinto!
Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce that effective 1 January 2014, Angela Olinto will be the Homer J. Livingston Professor. This appointment is in recognition of Angela's contributions to scholarship, teaching, and the intellectual community of the University.

Please join me in congratulating Angela!

Rocky Kolb
Dean of the Physical Sciences

Related Links:
KICP Members: Edward W. Kolb; Angela V. Olinto
 
A peek at the the 4th floor of the William Eckhardt Research Center building
November 26, 2013
A peek at the the 4th floor of the William Eckhardt Research Center building
Slide show
The KICP's new home on the 4th floor of the William Eckhardt Research Center (WERC) as seen on November 8,2013.

Read more >>

Related Links:
KICP Members: Michael S. Turner
 
Fred Kavli Friend and Benefactor of the KICP, 1927-2013
November 22, 2013
Fred Kavli with KICP faculty
Fred Kavli with KICP faculty
Fred Kavli was a powerful voice for the power of basic research to advance humankind and a dear friend of the KICP. His vision, passion and enthusiasm led to the creation and subsequent nurturing of the current family of seventeen Kavli Institutes. As we approach our 10th anniversary, we are very proud to be the third Kavli Institute established. We will miss Fred but have fond memories of our many interactions with him, especially his visits to Chicago and our Institute.

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Sean M. Carroll; James W. Cronin; Wayne Hu; Andrey V. Kravtsov; Stephan S. Meyer; Angela V. Olinto; Simon P. Swordy; Michael S. Turner; Monica Valluri; Bruce D. Winstein
 
Congratulations to Dr. Alissa Bans!
September 26, 2013
Dr. Alissa Bans
Dr. Alissa Bans
Congratulations to Alissa Bans for successfully defending her PhD dissertation on "Large-scale Magnetic Fields in Protoplanetary Disks."

Alissa has received a postdoctoral fellowship at the Adler Planetarium.

Related Links:
KICP Students: Alissa Bans
 
Congratulations to Dr. Abigail Crites!
August 30, 2013
Dr. Abigail Crites
Dr. Abigail Crites
Congratulations to Abigail Crites for successfully defending her PhD dissertation on "A Measurement of the Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization with SPTpol."

Abigail has received a KISS Postdoctoral Fellowship at Caltech.

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom
KICP Students: Abigail T. Crites
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope (SPT)