KICP Workshops & Events
KICP Lectures, Talks, & Events, 2017
On MLK Day King College Prep Cosmology Club Explores Dark Matter
January 16, 2017 | KICP
On Martin Luther King Day, 2017, students from the Cosmology Club at Dr. Martin Luther King Prep High School will visit KICP to learn about current dark matter research and tour the lab facilities. The instructor of the club, Nora Wengerski, has been working with KICP Professor Luca Grandi and his group for several months, including a week-long research experience in the summer of 2016 and developing the curriculum for the King Prep cosmology club, which is in its inaugural year.
KICP Members: Luca Grandi
Computations in Science Seminar: Joshua A Frieman, "The Dark Energy Survey"
February 1, 2017 | 12:00 PM | KPTC 206
I will overview the Dark Energy Survey (DES) project, highlight its early science results, and discuss its on-going activities and plans. The DES collaboration built the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera for the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile to carry out a 5-year, deep, multi-band, optical survey over one eighth of the sky and a time-domain survey that will discover several thousand supernovae. The survey started in Aug. 2013 and is now nearing completion of its fourth observing season. DES was designed to address the questions: why is the expansion of the Universe speeding up? Is cosmic acceleration due to dark energy or does it require a modification of General Relativity? If dark energy, is it the energy density of the vacuum (Einstein's cosmological constant) or something else? DES is addressing these questions by measuring the history of cosmic expansion and the growth of structure through four complementary techniques: galaxy clusters, the large-scale galaxy distribution, gravitational lensing, and supernovae, as well as through cross-correlation with other data sets. I will also discuss how the data are being used to make a variety of other astronomical discoveries, from our Solar System to the most distant quasars.
KICP Members: Joshua A. Frieman
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey (DES)
C2ST Public Lecture: Edward W. Kolb, "From Quarks to the Cosmos"
February 9, 2017 | 6:00 PM | Hyatt Regency Chicago
QM2017 Public Lecture in collaboration with C2ST
For the first second of time, long before the emergence of planets, stars, or galaxies, our universe was a hot primordial soup of "elementary" particles like quarks. Encoded in this formless, shapeless quark soup were the imprints of events from an even earlier epoch---the very beginning of the universe. Over the last 12 billion years, the primordial soup has cooled and condensed into the rich cosmic structure we see around us in the universe today. We can learn the nature of the primordial soup by studying relics from the early universe, and we can uncover the ingredients of the soup by cooking up a little bit of it in the laboratory.
Edward W. Kolb
Edward W. Kolb (known to most as Rocky ) is the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the College and Dean of the Physical Sciences at the University of Chicago, as well as a member of the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. In 1983 he was a founding head of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group and in 2004 the founding Director of the Particle Astrophysics Center at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.
Kolb is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He was the recipient of the 2003 Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers for notable contributions to the teaching of physics, the 1993 Quantrell Prize for teaching excellence at the University of Chicago, and the 2009 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Graham School of the University of Chicago. His book for the general public, Blind Watchers of the Sky, received the 1996 Emme Award of the American Aeronautical Society.
The field of Rocky's research is the application of elementary-particle physics to the very early Universe. In addition to over 200 scientific papers, he is a co-author of The Early Universe, the standard textbook on particle physics and cosmology.
Kolb's research was recognized by the 2010 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, awarded by the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute for Physics. He holds an honorary degree, Doctor Honoris Causa, from the University of Lyon, France, and was the recipient of the J. Hans D. Jensen Prize of the University of Heidelberg.
He has traveled the world, if not yet the Universe, giving scientific and public lectures. Rocky has been a Harlow Shapley Visiting Lecturer with the American Astronomical Society since 1984. In recent years he has been selected by the American Physical Society and the International Conference on High-Energy Physics to present public lectures in conjunction with international physics meetings. Rocky presented a special public lecture in Salonika Greece as part of the cultural celebration of that city, and he was selected to address the president of Pakistan as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the country. He has been the Oppenheimer lecturer in Los Alamos, and in Athens (Ohio) and Troy (New York) he presented the Graselli Lecture and the Resnick Lecture. He has also presented public lectures at the Royal Society of London, as well as Vienna, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Valencia, Victoria, Montreal, Bonn, Heidelberg, Munich, Karlsruhe, Rome, Toronto, Copenhagen, Turin, Madrid, Bejing, Uppsala, Hamilton, and Vancouver.
Rocky has appeared in several television productions, most recently interviewing Stephen Hawking for the Discovery Channel. He can also be seen in the IMAX film The Cosmic Voyage.
Dr. Kolb's lecture is a geared toward the public, and is a part of Quark Matter 2017, the XXVI international conference on ultrarelativistic heavy-ion collisions. The conference brings together theoretical and experimental physicists from around the world to discuss new developments in high energy heavy ion physics.
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KICP Members: Edward W. Kolb
Daniel Holz, "Gravitational Waves"
February 28, 2017 | 5:30 PM | BSLC 109
Join The Triple Helix for a discussion with Professor Daniel Holz, who worked on last year's gravitational waves discovery! Learn about what led to the discovery and what further progress has been made in the past year.
We will have copies of the newest edition of our Scientia journal available.
KICP Members: Daniel E. Holz
Rocky Kolb and Michael Turner: "How Fermilab changed the course of cosmology"
March 29, 2017 | 3:30 PM | Fermilab, Ramsey Auditorium
Shortly before the Fermilab Astrophysics group was created in 1983, cosmology was still the search for two numbers -- H_0 and q_0 -- and very much the province of a small band of astronomers known as cosmologists. Fermilab played the leading role in creating -- indeed was the mother church for -- a new approach, one that involved the fusion of modern particle physics and astronomical cosmology. This fusion resulted in the current cosmological paradigm, with its dark matter, dark energy and early epoch of accelerated expansion (inflation). It also changed the cosmological conversation forever and merged the frontiers of particle physics and astrophysics/cosmology. Along the way, Fermilab hosted the first meeting that brought together particle physicists and astronomers (Inner Space/Outer Space), brought Russian physicist Yakov B. Zel'dovich to Batavia for his first and only visit to the U.S., spearheaded the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and its successor the Dark Energy Survey, and trained many leaders of the field today. In this special, extended-length colloquium, the current state of our understanding of the Universe, the big, open questions facing both particle physics and cosmology, and the history of the cosmic frontier at Fermilab will be discussed by its two favorite alums and the two most brilliant scientists of their generation.
KICP Members: Edward W. Kolb; Michael S. Turner
Film Screening and Discussion: "Hidden Figures"
April 8, 2017 | 7:00 PM
Watch a screening of 'Hidden Figures' and join an expert panel of UChicago female physicists and astrophysicists who will explore the contributions of women of color in science and the current and historical challenges they experience. Panelists are Professor Young Kee Kim, Kavli Institute graduate student Andrea Bryant, and KICP Fellow Camille Avestruz.
As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as "human computers", we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history's greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.
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KICP Members: Camille Avestruz
KICP Students: Andrea Bryant
Broader Horizons: Nicole Fields, a health physicist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
April 10, 2017 | 4:00 PM | ERC 445
"From Grad School to Government": UC graduate Nicole Fields will discuss her career as a health physicist and how she got there since gaining her PhD.
Astronomy on Tap: Zoheyr Doctor, "100 Years in the Making: The Detection of Gravitational Waves"
April 12, 2017 | 7:00 PM | The Map Room, 1949 N. Hoyne
Join us for a Yuri's Night edition of Chicago Astronomy on Tap hosted by Univ. of Chicago at The Map Room! Yuri's Night celebrates the launch anniversary of the first person in space, Yuri Gagarin. Come hear about the history of human spaceflight, research into the ripples of the fabric of spacetime, and updates on the upcoming March For Science. Compete in astronomy trivia to win awesome astronomy prizes, enjoy the 25+ beers on tap at The Map Room, and enjoy an evening with some awesome alcohol-inclined astronomers!
This month's talk
100 Years in the Making: The Detection of Gravitational Waves - Zoheyr Doctor
Almost two years ago, a ripple in the fabric of space-time, originating from two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, was detected by an international team of scientists. Hear the story of how scientists made this groundbreaking discovery, and about the mind-boggling phenomena physicists and astronomers hope to understand in the coming years.
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KICP Students: Zoheyr Doctor
Cafe Scientifique: Abby Vieregg, "Turning a Continent into a Telescope"
April 17, 2017 | 7:00 PM | The Map Room, 1949 N. Hoyne
Searching for the highest energy particles in the universe requires an extremely large detector, because they are very rare and elusive. Our hunt for these particles takes us to the bottom of the world - Antarctica - where we can use the entire 14 million square kilometer Antarctic ice sheet as a detector. The particles we are looking for are ultra high energy neutrinos that come from astrophysical sources which are the most powerful accelerators in the universe. At the cafe we will discuss why we search for these high energy neutrinos, how we do it, what we know now, and what we hope to learn in the coming years.
KICP Members: Randall H. Landsberg; Abigail G. Vieregg
Scientific projects: Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA); BICEP2/The Keck Array/BICEP3
Computations in Science Seminar: Daniel Scolnic, "Measuring the size of the Universe with Standard Candles"
May 3, 2017 | 12:15 PM | KPTC 206
Astrophysicists use standard candles, objects which have roughly the same luminosity, to infer distances to far-away parts of the universe. Standard candles of variable stars called 'cepheids' were used to discover the expanding universe, and standard candles of exploding stars called 'supernovae' were used to discover the accelerating universe. Together, these two standard candles can be used to measure the size of the universe. Interestingly, this measurement of the size of the universe recovered conflicts with measurements of the size of the universe from extrapolations of data from the Cosmic Microwave Background. I will go over how we make our measurement, from soup to nuts, and discuss how we can be confident in the accuracy of our values. I will then discuss different ways too explain the tension we see in the different sets of measurements, and possible new physics that may be on the horizon.
KICP Members: Daniel M. Scolnic
Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, "NASA Science Missions"
May 31, 2017 | 1:30 PM | ERC 401
NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen will be visiting next Wednesday May 31. He will be giving a short presentation about NASA Space Science and answering questions about NASA and its science program. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear directly from the individual who directs NASA's Science program, as well as asking questions and expressing your views.
He is especially interested in meeting and hear from graduate students and postdocs.
Michael Turner, "The origin of our universe: what we know for sure and the big mysteries"
June 20, 2017 | 7:00 PM | Central Synagogue of Chicago, 122 S. Michigan Ave
Speaker: Michael S. Turner
Professor, Departments of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics; Enrico Fermi Institute; University of Chicago
We can trace the evolution of our Universe back 13.8 Billion years, to within a microsecond of a big bang beginning. At that early time, all that we see today existed as a hot, slightly lumpy quark soup. We are trying to answer even bigger questions today, e.g., the nature of the dark matter and dark energy that steer the evolution of the Universe, and extend our understanding even further back, even addressing what happened before the big bang.
KICP Members: Michael S. Turner
Midweek on the Midway: Escape from planet Earth
August 2, 2017 | 7:00 PM | Midway Plaisance Center, 1130 E Midway Plaisance
Compare the movie's hero astronaut, Scorch Supernova, to critters walking our planet. See yourself as a South Pole explorer in our selfie booth. Pre-movie fun provided by UChicago's Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, and Boy Scout Troop 599.
KICP Members: Randall H. Landsberg; Nicole Larsen
RosnerFest - a 70th birthday celebration for Robert Rosner
September 7 - 8, 2017 | Chicago, IL
The Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Chicago cordially invites you to attend the RosnerFest - a 70th birthday celebration for Robert Rosner.
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KICP Members: Robert Rosner
September 26, 2017 | 1:30 PM | ERC 401
Online Materials (PDF)
The purpose of the Jamboree is to allow all of KICP members who are currently conducting research to briefly introduce themselves and their work to the entire KICP community. This includes all Senior Members, Senior Researchers, Fellows, and Associate Fellows. Because we have a lot of members and limited time, the jamboree will take the following, tightly controlled, format:
Round table discussion with artist Tomas Saraceno
October 4, 2017 | 6:00 PM | Logan Center for the Arts, Performance Penthouse
Join us for a round table discussion with Berlin-based Argentinian artist Tomas Saraceno and UChicago professors Angela Olinto, Daniel Holz, and Heinrich Jaeger, moderated by Zachary Cahill, Curator for the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at UChicago.
Berlin-based Argentinian artist Tomas Saraceno will be in residence at the University of Chicago to meet with scientists from the Department of Astrophysics & Astronomy, the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, the Enrico Fermi Institute, and the Center for Soft Matter. Saraceno's recent research and new experiments are inspired by the cosmological dimension, both by sub-atomic environments as well as celestial bodies. He will be interacting with astrophysicists, cosmologists, and soft matter physicists to investigate their research and inquiry methods, with a particular focus on cosmic dust. As a result of this residency, all participants will gain a greater understanding of experimenting with structural forms and the physical properties embedded in the natural world, along with first-hand insight into Saraceno's visionary translation of these concepts into sculptural form.
Tomas Saraceno's oeuvre can be seen as an ongoing research, informed by the worlds of art, architecture, natural sciences, astrophysics and engineering; his floating sculptures, community projects and interactive installations propose and explore new, sustainable ways of inhabiting and sensing the environment. In 2015, Saraceno achieved the world record for the first and longest certified fully-solar manned flight. During the past decade, he has initiated collaborations with renowned scientific institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Max Planck Institute, the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, and the Natural History Museum London. He is the first person to scan, reconstruct and reimagine spiders' weaved spatial habitats, and possesses the only three-dimensional spider web collection to existence. Saraceno lectures in institutions worldwide, and his work has been widely exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions. Saraceno lives and works in and beyond the planet Earth.
Angela Olinto, the Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics; Enrico Fermi Institute; and the College; Chair Astronomy & Astrophysics
Daniel Holz, Associate Professor, Departments of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics; Enrico Fermi Institute
Heinrich Jaeger, William J. Friedman and Alicia Townsend Professor of Physics, James Franck Institute; Fellow, Institute for Molecular Engineering
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KICP Members: Daniel E. Holz; Angela V. Olinto
Special KICP/EFI/Physics/A&A Colloquium and Reception
October 16, 2017 | 4:00 PM | ERC Auditorium, Room 161
The colloquium will be followed by discussion and comments by: Holz, Frieman, Hubble Fellow Dan Scolnic, University Professor Wendy Freedman, and students and postdocs involved in the new findings.
Livestream of LIGO press conference will be shown in ERC Lobby (Video Wall) and PRC 201, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
KICP Members: Wendy L. Freedman; Joshua A. Frieman; Daniel E. Holz; Daniel M. Scolnic
KICP Students: Zoheyr Doctor; Maya Fishbach
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey (DES); Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)
Public Lectures & Open Discussion: Gravitational Waves & Transient Astronomy
October 17, 2017 | 5:00 PM | KPTC 120
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Gravitational Waves & Transient Astronomy but were Too Afraid to Ask...
KICP Members: Reed C. Essick; Philippe Landry; Daniel M. Scolnic
KICP Students: Zoheyr Doctor; Maya Fishbach
Scientific projects: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)
Symposium: Celebrating 50 years of Fermilab-UChicago Collaboration
October 31, 2017 | 12:30 PM | PRC 201
KICP Members: Marcela Carena; Edward W. Kolb; Brian Nord; Michael S. Turner
Broader Horizons: Andrew Smith, a senior scientist at Exponent
November 16, 2017 | 5:00 PM | ERC 401
Organizer: Andrew Neil
Dr. Smith has a broad range of expertise in the physical sciences with a particular focus on the development of instrumentation and hardware required to detect high-energy radiation (X-rays, gamma rays), and its interaction with matter. Dr. Smith's extensive background in detector technology, that includes work in modeling and developing detector packages (using both solid state and scintillating crystal detectors), characterizing light detectors (photomultiplier tubes and avalanche photodiodes), and the commissioning of fast (nanosecond scale) signal processing and communication electronics. During his postdoctoral work at Argonne National Laboratory, he was part of an engineering team that designed, installed, and commissioned a FPGA based trigger module for use in ground based gamma-ray telescopes, significantly improving their noise rejection. Additionally, through his participation in multiple astronomical facility construction projects, Dr. Smith has gained a background in the mechanics of large optical support structures, missile positioners, and coating/degradation processes in mirror surfaces.