KICP News, 2018



 
KICP plays a major role in 2 of Science magazine's 2017 Breakthroughs of the Year!
January 4, 2018
KICP plays a major role in 2 of Science magazine's 2017 Breakthroughs of the Year!
The KICP's Daniel Holz and his research group and the Dark Energy Survey, led by the KICP's Josh Frieman played key roles in the discovery of a pair of coalescing neutron stars, the 2017 Science Magazine Breakthrough of the Year. Third on the list was the COHERENT collaboration's discovery of Coherent Elastic Neutriono-Nucleus Scattering. COHERENT is led by the KICP's Juan Collar. The COHERENT discovery was also came in second place in the people's choice voting fo the year.

Read the full story.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Juan I. Collar; Joshua A. Frieman; Daniel E. Holz
Scientific projects: Coherent Germanium Neutrino Technology (CoGeNT); Dark Energy Survey (DES); Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)
 
The KICP will welcome 3 new Fellows in the Autumn of 2018
January 12, 2018
The KICP will welcome 3 new Fellows in the Autumn of 2018
Anne Gambrel will receive her PhD from Princeton University. For her graduate degree, she helped build, launch, and analyze the data from the SPIDER balloon-borne CMB polarimeter, designed to measure large scale B-mode polarization produced by gravitational waves in the early Universe. At KICP, she plans to continue working with SPIDER data and to join the analysis efforts for SPT-3G.

Yonatan (Yoni) Kahn received his Ph.D. from MIT in 2015, and spent the past 3 years as a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University working on new proposals for dark matter detection experiments. As a theoretical physicist with strong connections to the experimental community, Yoni was a driving force behind the ABRACADABRA axion experiment recently launched at MIT, and he hopes to tap into the network of expertise in cosmology at KICP and the wider University of Chicago community to devise new searches for dark matter.

Dan Baxter will receive his PhD from Northwestern University, where he has spent his graduate career working with the PICO collaboration to search for dark matter using bubble chambers. The primary result of his thesis is the first run with C3F8 of the PICO-60 detector, which represented the first background-free run of a bubble chamber dark matter detector at the 40L scale. As a joint KICP and EFI Fellow, he is excited to continue the search for dark matter with the DAMIC collaboration and looks forward to contributing to the numerous rare event searches in the department.

Related Links:
Scientific projects: COUPP/PICO; Dark Matter in CCDs (DAMIC); South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
2018 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Awarded to Eugene Parker
February 2, 2018
Professor Emeritus Eugene Parker
Professor Emeritus Eugene Parker
Professor Emeritus Eugene Parker was awarded the American Physical Society's Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research, one of the field's highest honors, on February 1. The awards citation states "In recognition of many fundamental contributions to space physics, plasma physics, solar physics and astrophysics for over 60 years." Roger Falcone, the chair of the Medal selection committee said that "Gene Parker has a wonderful and exceptional record of seminal contributions to solar, space and astrophysics over the many years of his distinguished career."

Read more
 
Congratulations to Dr. Zubair Abdulla!
February 8, 2018
Dr. Zubair Abdulla
Dr. Zubair Abdulla
Congratulations to Dr. Zubair Abdulla for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Sunyaev Zel'dovich Effect Observations of X-ray Cavities in Galaxy Clusters".

"Zubair has done it all, from building 10 ultra-sensitive receivers, commissioning them on CARMA, developing the data reduction pipeline, to imaging and analyzing the first Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect imaging of x-ray cavities in galaxy clusters. His thesis places tight constraints on the nature of plasma within the cavities and mechanisms for heating of the inter cluster medium."
- John Carlstrom, Ph.D. advisor

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom
KICP Students: Zubair Abdulla
 
Congratulations to Abigail Vieregg and Eduardo Rozo!
February 14, 2018
Congratulations to Abigail Vieregg and Eduardo Rozo!
Abigail Vieregg, KICP senior member, and Eduardo Rozo, KICP former fellow, have been awarded the 2018 Cottrell Scholars given to outstanding early career academic scientists. The designation comes with a $100,000 award for each recipient for research and teaching.

"The Cottrell Scholar (CS) program champions the very best early career teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics and astronomy by providing these significant discretionary awards," said RCSA President and CEO Daniel Linzer.

Cottrell Scholars engage in an annual networking event, providing them an opportunity to share insights and expertise through the Cottrell Scholar Collaborative. This year’s Cottrell Scholar Conference will be held July 11-13 in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to draw about 100 top educators from around the U.S.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Eduardo Rozo; Abigail G. Vieregg
 
Joshua Frieman will become the Head of Particle Physics Division at Fermilab
February 19, 2018
Joshua A. Frieman, KICP Deputy Director
Joshua A. Frieman, KICP Deputy Director
Joshua A. Frieman, KICP Deputy Director and Professor part-time in Astronomy & Astrophysics, will become the Head of Particle Physics Division (PPD) at Fermilab on April 1, 2018. "Josh's scientific stature and deep understanding of the interconnected nature of particle physics will make him a strong advocate for the broad program of exciting research tied to the lab," said Joe Lykken, Fermilab's Deputy Director. As Head of PPD, Frieman will oversee the Lab's involvement in the CMS experiment at CERN's LHC, all its astrophysics activities, the muon program and the Lab's theory groups, and new technology development, engineering and technical support for particle physics research. UChicago partners in many of Fermilab's astrophysics programs, including the Dark Energy Survey, which is led by Frieman, several dark-matter experiments, and the SPT-3G and CMB-S4 cosmic microwave background experiments. "All of us wish Josh well in this important leadership position at Fermilab, and we look forward to working with him to further strengthen ties between UChicago and Fermilab," said Michael Turner, KICP Director. Frieman, whose UChicago appointment dates back to 1989, added, "while my primary focus will be shaping and ensuring Fermilab's bright future, I will also maintain my UChicago connections, albeit a reduced level for the next few years."

Related Links:
KICP Members: Joshua A. Frieman; Michael S. Turner
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey (DES); South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Congratulations to Dan Hooper
March 5, 2018
Prof. Dan Hooper
Prof. Dan Hooper
Please join me in congratulating Dan Hooper on his promotion to Professor [part-time] in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Congratulations Dan!

John E. Carlstrom
Subramanyan Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor and Chair Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Daniel Hooper
 
KICP Director Michael Turner presented the 2018 Oppenheimer Lecture at the University of California at Berkeley
March 6, 2018
KICP Director Michael Turner presented the 2018 Oppenheimer Lecture at the University of California at Berkeley
2018 Oppenheimer Lecture with Michael S. Turner

Big ideas like the deep connections between quarks and the cosmos and powerful instruments like the Hubble Space Telescope and Large Hadron Collider have advanced our understanding of the universe. We can now trace its history from the big-bang beginning 13.8 billion years ago through an early state of quantum fluctuations to a soup of quarks and other particles, from the formation of nuclei and atoms to the emergence of stars and galaxies, and finally to its expansion today. This lecture describes what we know, what we are trying to figure out and the excitement of the adventure.

Video

Related Links:
KICP Members: Michael S. Turner
 
Kaeli Hughes won a 2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
April 3, 2018
Kaeli Hughes, KICP graduate student
Kaeli Hughes, KICP graduate student
Citation:
"Dear Kaeli Hughes:
I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected to receive a 2018 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship. Your selection was based on your demonstrated potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise. Your selection as an NSF Graduate Fellowship awardee is a significant accomplishment. We wish you success in your graduate studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education, and continued success in achieving your career aspirations. We look forward to learning about your achievements and contributions during your graduate study and beyond.

Sincerely,

Dean Evasius
Division Director
Division of Graduate Education"

Related Links:
KICP Members: Abigail G. Vieregg
KICP Students: Kaeli Hughes
Scientific projects: Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA)
 
Katrina Miller won a 2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
April 3, 2018
Katrina Miller, KICP graduate student
Katrina Miller, KICP graduate student
Congratulations to Katrina Miller, KICP graduate student, for winning a 2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

Katrina is a member of the XENON collaboration, an international research group operating a 3.3-ton liquid xenon detector in search for dark matter. Her current project focuses on characterizing processes that produce single electron events in our detector as a source of low-energy background that would mask potential dark matter signals interacting via electronic, rather than nuclear, recoil.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) has announced the offer of 2,000 fellowship awards, following a national competition. The program recruits high-potential, early-career scientists and engineers and supports their graduate research training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Luca Grandi
KICP Students: Katrina Miller
Scientific projects: XENON1T
 
Congratulations to Nora Shipp!
April 5, 2018
Nora Shipp, KICP graduate student
Nora Shipp, KICP graduate student
Nora won the DOE SCGSR Fellowship and a URA Visiting Scholars Program award to work with Fermilab scientists on using stellar streams to learn about dark matter in the Milky Way.

"Nora Shipp has carried out an analysis of the wide-field distribution of stars in the Dark Energy Survey (DES) footprint on the sky and identified several known stellar streams and discovered new streams. Stellar streams are an "archeological" record of the accretion history of the Milky Way and can be used as probes of properties of dark matter and of the Milky Way gravitational potential.

This project resulted in a paper that presented one of the most spectacular scientific results of the first year DES data and the results were a subject of a number of press releases and were widely covered in the media. In collaboration with DES scientists at Fermilab, Nora is continuing to characterize the streams analyzed in the DES and is planning to search for gaps in the streams and to model them using techniques developed by a former KICP student, Denis Erkal, as part of his postdoc work with Vasily Belokurov at Cambridge. Nora also plans to carry out N-body simulations for more detailed modeling of the streams. This program can potentially provide a new and unique probe of existence of dark matter clumps of mass $approx 10^6-10^7$ solar masses in the Milky Way, thereby constraining properties of dark matter itself, and to constrain properties of the Milky Way potential itself. DoE and URA fellowships that Nora received will help to carry out the first stages of this longer term PhD thesis program."

- Andrey Kravtsov, scientific advisor

Related Links:
KICP Members: Andrey V. Kravtsov
KICP Students: Nora Shipp
 
Paolo Privitera has been awarded an Advanced Grant by the European Research Council
April 9, 2018
Prof. Paolo Privitera, KICP senior member
Prof. Paolo Privitera, KICP senior member
Paolo Privitera has been awarded a 4 M$ Advanced Grant by the European Research Council to search for light dark matter particles with DAMIC. The DArk Matter In CCDs experiment (DAMIC) is designed to detect the tiny signals produced by the interaction of dark matter with the bulk silicon of ~mm-thick charge-coupled devices. The kg-size DAMIC detector to be installed at the Laboratoire Souterrain de Modane in France will search for low-mass dark matter particles with unprecedented sensitivity. The European Research Council "selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality to run projects based in Europe", with Principal Investigators of Advanced Grants identified as "exceptional leaders in terms of originality and significance of their research contributions."

Related Links:
KICP Members: Paolo Privitera
Scientific projects: Dark Matter in CCDs (DAMIC)