KICP Workshops & Events
Other Events, 2015
Astronomy Special Seminar: Emily Levesque, University of Colorado, "Engines, Lighthouses, and Laboratories: Massive Stars Across the Cosmos"
January 13, 2015 | 12:00 PM | LASR conference room
Massive stars are crucial building blocks in the study of star-forming galaxies, stellar evolution, and transient events, and their applications as astrophysical tools span a broad range of subfields. The radiative signatures of young star-forming galaxies are powered by their massive stellar populations. Transient phenomena act as observational beacons, ranging from local non-terminal events signaling the death throes of extreme massive stars to long-duration gamma-ray bursts that can serve as powerful probes of the high-redshift universe. Finally, resolved massive star populations offer a treasure trove of nearby targets, allowing us to closely examine their physical parameters, evolution, and contribution to chemical enrichment. I will present my current research programs focused on developing a comprehensive picture of massive stars across the cosmos: observational surveys and models of star-forming galaxies, progenitor and host environment studies of transient phenomena, and extragalactic stellar observations, including the recent discovery of the first Thorne-Zytkow object candidate. Combined, this work will make substantial progress in our understanding of massive stars over the coming decade. This in turn will equip us with the tools we need to take full advantage of the frontiers opened up by new observational facilities such as the GMT, LSST, and JWST, allowing us to immediately begin probing the new corners of the universe that they reveal.
Astronomy Special Seminar: George Becker, Space Telescope Science Institute, "The End of Reionization: An IGM Perspective"
January 27, 2015 | 12:00 PM | LASR conference room
The epoch of reionization was a period of intense interaction between luminous objects and their surroundings. Consequently, along with tracking the cosmic history of baryons, determining when and how the intergalactic medium (IGM) was reionized provides fundamental insights into the first stars and galaxies. I will describe a set of recent projects that examine reionization by using quasar absorption lines to probe the IGM at the highest observable redshifts. The results help to clarify when reionization ended and the role played by galaxies, but also pose significant challenges to current reionization models. I will describe the next steps forward, and some of the potential avenues for IGM science with next-generation observing facilities.
Astronomy Special Seminar: Ryan Foley, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, "Transient Astronomy: Dark Energy, Supernova Physics & Exotica"
February 3, 2015 | 12:00 PM | LASR conference room
We are currently in a golden age of transient astronomy. Repeated imaging of large areas of the sky have revealed celestial objects that change on a human timescale. LSST and WFIRST, the top ground-based and space-based priorities for the entire astronomical community, are inherently transient surveys. Because of these upcoming facilities combined with follow-up capabilities from upcoming facilities such as GMT, this field will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Scientifically, transient astronomy holds significant potential for major discoveries. Supernovae are connected to almost every aspect of astrophysics from star formation to cosmic ray acceleration to dust formation to chemical enrichment and feedback. Type Ia supernovae remain one of our primary dark energy probes. New classes of exotic transients are revealing rare and extreme endpoints to stellar evolution.
I will discuss recent successes and potential future opportunities in transient astrophysics. These include a factor of 2 improvement in Type Ia supernova distances, a new survey to make the most headway in measuring dark energy, a large on-going Hubble program and the innovative use of light echoes from historical Galactic supernovae to measure the explosion properties of Type Ia supernovae, and a Magellan program to probe Type Ia supernova progenitor environments. I will also briefly discuss the recently identified Type Iax class of supernovae, which are the most common "peculiar" supernovae. I will present observations of the progenitor system of one Type Iax supernova, the first detection of a progenitor system for any thermonuclear supernova.
HEP seminar: Kerstin Perez, Haverford, "Antideutron Signatures of Dark Matter with the GAPS Experiment"
February 16, 2015 | 4:15 PM | LASR 162
The question of the origin of dark matter, the mysterious matter known to permeate the universe, is one of the towering problems of 21st-century physics. Dozens of dark matter search experiments are currently planned or ongoing, but these efforts have been hampered by the large background rates from conventional astrophysical processes and the vast array of signatures that could indicate a dark matter interaction. The General Antiparticle Spectrometer (GAPS) experiment aims to advance these searches by detecting low-energy antideuterons that result from the self-annihilation of dark matter particles in the Galactic halo, providing an essentially background-free signature of dark matter. This signal probes supersymmetry, extra-dimensional theories, and other modes dark matter production, complementing and extending the reach of current experiments. In this seminar, I will present the design and discovery potential of the baloon-borne GAPS experiment, especially in the context of recent dark matter results.
Adler colloquium: Andy Howell, Las Cumbres Global Telescope/UC Santa Barbara, "Understanding Mysterious Sources of Energy in Supernovae"
February 19, 2015 | 11:00 AM | Adler Planetarium
In the past few years new classes of supernovae have been discovered that are both brighter and fainter than previously thought possible. The superluminous supernovae have luminosities 100 times greater than a core-collapse supernova, and their origin is a mystery. I will present data on two of the most distant and best-observed events from the Supernova Legacy Survey, and the first radiative transfer model that gives insight into their origin. They seem to result from the creation and spin-down of a magnetar. I'll also discuss a range of both normal and exotic supernovae from the local universe, including an even newer class of superluminous supernovae, and show how new observations are revealing or limiting SN progenitors for the first time. The Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) is one of the latest tools allowing new kinds of observations with its 11 node network of one and two meter robotic telescopes spanning the globe. We have now begun the LCOGT Supernova Key Project, which will collect the largest sample of low-redshift supernovae ever obtained: lightcurves and spectroscopy on 450 supernovae over 3 years for use in cosmology, understanding explosions, and determining supernova progenitors.
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Kavli Prize Lecture: Michael E. Brown, California Institute of Technology, "Tales from the Outer Solar System"
March 5, 2015 | 7:30 PM | Adler Planetarium
Join us on Thursday, March 5, from 7:30 to 9:30 pm for the first Kavli Prize Lecture and Q&A session by 2012 Kavli Prize Laureate in Astrophysics, Michael E. Brown, from the California Institute of Technology. Following the Q&A portion of the lecture guests will have a chance to interact with Michael Brown and Adler astronomers during a reception in the Welcome Gallery. Coffee and refreshments will be served. The past decade has seen an explosion in the discoveries of Pluto-sized and near Pluto-sized bodies in the outer Solar System, giving rise to a new classification of "dwarf planets." Like Pluto, each of these largest dwarf planets has a unique story to tell about the history and evolution of the Solar System. Dr. Brown will discuss the discoveries of these objects and the new views of giant collisions, stellar encounters, and planetary rearrangement that we are gaining from their study. Finally, he will show intriguing new evidence that there is an even larger object lurking far beyond these dwarf planets. This object, if we can find it, will finally silence the lingering questions about Pluto and planethood, for this object, if we can find it, will be the new rightful 9th planet.
Michael E. Brown has been a professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) since 2003. His team has discovered many trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), notably the dwarf planet Eris, the only known TNO more massive than Pluto. He has referred to himself as the man who "killed Pluto", because he furthered Pluto being downgraded to a dwarf planet in the aftermath of the discovery of Eris and several other probable trans-Neptunian dwarf planets. He is the author of How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming, published in 2010.
There will be a live domecast of this presentation to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Peoria Riverfront Museum, and the Flandrau Planetarium in Tucson, Arizona.
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COSMOSIS: Opening Reception
May 3, 2015 | 2:00 PM | Hyde Park Arts Center
Join us at HPAC for the COSMOSIS opening reception featuring a performance by Douglas Ewart, DJ sets by John Corbett, and sun-gazing with Sarah + Joseph Belknap.
2-3:30 John Corbett DJ set
3:30-4 Douglas Ewart performance
4-4:30 John Corbett DJ set
Sun-gazing with Sarah + Joseph Belknap throughout the event
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Adler Colloquium: Renee Hlozek, "Current Challenges in CMB Cosmology"
May 21, 2015 | 11:00 AM | Adler Planetarium
CMB cosmology is currently undergoing a data-rich epoch, with measurements on small scales from experiments like the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) and it polarisation instrument, ACTPol, adding to measurements on larger scales by Planck, WMAP and most recently BICEP. I will contextualise the measurements and present constraints on parameters from the observations at 148 GHz and 217 GHz respectively by ACT from three years of observations. I'll discuss my recent re-analysis of data from the 2013 data release by the Planck satellite, where we found that the 217GHz x 217GHz detector set spectrum used in the Planck analysis is responsible for some of the tension between the Planck parameters and other astronomical measurements. I'll show evidence suggesting residual systematics in the detector set spectra used in the Planck likelihood code, and discuss how the picture has changed with updated Planck data, and put things in context with the BICEP results. I'll highlight the recent ACTPol results, and outline how upcoming information from various cosmological probes will open up the window on the epoch of reionisation; our least explored epoch to date.
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Alumni Weekend: Edward C. Stone, SM'59, PhD'64, "The Voyager Journey to Interstellar Space"
June 5, 2015 | 4:00 PM | Stuart Hall, Room 104, 5835 S. Greenwood Ave.
Launched in 1977 to explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, the two Voyager spacecraft continued their journeys beyond the planets as they searched for the edge of the heliosphere, the giant bubble of wind surrounding the sun. Beyond the bubble lies interstellar space, the space between the stars filled with matter from the explosions of other stars and by the magnetic field of the Milky Way. After a 35-year journey taking it 11 billion miles from the sun, Voyager 1 became the first human-made object to enter interstellar space. Join Edward C. Stone, the 2015 Alumni Medalist, to learn about Voyager's journey of discovery.
Abigail Crites, Caltech, "The TIME-Pilot CII Intensity Mapping Experiment to Study the Epoch of Reionization"
July 13, 2015 | 1:00 PM | LASR conference room
I will present an overview of the science and instrumentation for a new instrument, TIME-Pilot (Tomographic Ionized Carbon Intensity Mapping Experiment). TIME-Pilot is designed to make measurements from the Epoch of Reionization (EoR), when the first stars and galaxies formed and ionized the intergalactic medium. This will be done via measurements of the redshifted 157.7 um line of singly ionized carbon ([CII]). In particular, TIME-Pilot will produce the first detection of [CII] clustering fluctuations, a signal proportional to the integrated [CII] intensity, summed over all EoR galaxies. TIME-Pilot is thus sensitive to the emission from dwarf galaxies, thought to be responsible for the balance of ionizing UV photons, that will be difficult to detect individually with JWST and ALMA. TIME-Pilot will employ a linear array of spectrometers, each consisting of a parallel-plate diffraction grating. The spectrometer bandwidth covers 185-323 GHz to both probe the entire redshift range of interest and to include channels at the edges of the band for atmospheric noise mitigation. The 1840 detectors will be Transition Edge Sensor bolometers read out with the NIST time-domain-multiplexing (TDM) scheme and cooled to a base temperature of 250 mK with a 3He sorption refrigerator.
82nd Compton Lectures: Manos Chatzopoulos, "The Cosmic Fireworks that Synthesize the Building Blocks of Life: Supernova Explosions"
October 3 - December 12, 2015 | 11:00 AM | Kersten Physics Teaching Center, Room 106
Every Saturday morning beginning October 3 through December 12, 2015. There will be no lecture on November 28th (Thanksgiving weekend) or December 5 ("Physics with a Bang!").
Supernova explosions mark the violent deaths of massive stars and the ignition of ultra-dense cores of stars called white dwarfs. The luminosity produced by these cosmic catastrophes is millions to hundreds of billions times greater than that of the sun, meaning that they can outshine their entire host galaxy. The massive stars that evolve into supernova explosions synthesize heavy nuclei that are some of the main ingredients of life. The immense intrinsic brightness of these events allows us to discover them at great distances and use some of them as "standard candles" to measure large cosmic scales enabling us to explore some of the most fundamental properties of the Universe. Supernovae are observed to be a very diverse group of astrophysical objects with many ranges in luminosities, durations and chemical composition. The onset of modern fully-automated wide field telescopes and the large number of amateur astronomers searching for them has allowed us to better understand their nature and explosion mechanism. Furthermore, realistic three-dimensional supernova simulations run on supercomputers have given us a unique insight on the physics associated with the explosion mechanism.
Each week we will explore the conditions that lead to supernova explosions by first understanding the evolution of massive stars, the variety of mechanisms proposed for the explosion itself, and the associated numerical supercomputer simulations largely performed by the astrophysicists here at the University of Chicago. No scientific background is required -- just bring your curiosity.
More Than a Physicist - A 70th Birthday Symposium in Honor of Don Lamb
October 17, 2015 | 8:30 AM | Chicago, IL
The Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago are holding a symposium and dinner in honor of Don Lamb's 70th birthday, entitled "More Than A Physicist."
You are cordially invited to the symposium and a dinner afterward.
Keynote After Dinner Speaker:
"A Physicist Goes to Washington"
The Honorable G. William ("Bill") Foster, Former Businessman; Former Physicist, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; and U. S. Representative for the 11th Congressional District of Illinois
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KICP Members: Donald Q. Lamb
Jim Hartle, University of California, Santa Barbara, "The Quantum Origin of Our Classical Universe"
October 23, 2015 | 3:00 PM | ACC 211
A striking feature of our indeterministic quantum universe is the wide range of time, place, and scale on which the deterministic laws of classical physics hold. This talk will describe the origin of this quasiclassical realm in a quantum cosmology based on Hawking's no-boundary quantum state of the universe. Classical spacetime is the key to the quasiclassical realm, and the no-boundary probabilities for different classical spacetimes lead to different predictions for cosmological observations today. In a simple model, these probabilities favor a long period of inflation, small fluctuations such as those seen in the CMB, but significant fluctuations away from homogeneity on very large scales. Probabilities will also be discussed for properties of the early universe such as whether it was singular or bounced at a small radius, and the direction of the arrow of time.
Higgs Effective Field Theories (HEFT 2015)
November 4 - 6, 2015 | Chicago, IL
The Higgs Effective Field Theories 2015 workshop (HEFT 2015) will take place at the William Eckhardt Research Center in Chicago from Wednesday 4th to Friday 6th November 2015. A welcome reception will be held of Tuesday evening, November 3rd, at the Hyatt Place Chicago-South.
The aim of the workshop is to bring together experts working in the areas of Effective Field Theory techniques in Higgs and BSM physics. We hope that this meeting will foster stimulating discussions and exchange of ideas on the topic. To further expand the horizons of these discussions, we plan on having some talks by key experimental colleagues as well.
Physics colloquium: Wendy Freedman, University of Chicago, "Measurement of Cosmological Parameters"
November 5, 2015 | 4:00 PM | KPTC 106
Over the past few decades, cosmologists have for the first time identified the major constituents of the universe. Surprisingly, the universe hardly resembles what we thought only a few decades ago. The universe is filled with dark matter that is not visible and energy that permeates all of space, causing its expansion to speed up with time. Accurate distances remain central to a number of fundamental problems in astrophysics and cosmology. They are critical for measurements of the acceleration of the universe using supernovae. A more accurate measurement of the Hubble constant is critical for providing independent constraints on dark energy, the geometry, and matter density of the universe. The increased precision of cosmic microwave background fluctuations (most recently with the Planck satellite) make these direct comparisons even more critical, given the physical degeneracies amongst different cosmological parameters,and the apparent tension with the direct measurements of the Hubble constant. There has been fundamental progress over the last couple of decades in measuring extragalactic distances. The upcoming decade promises robust distances and a measurement of the Hubble constant to a few percent accuracy. New space and Earth-based telescopes planned for the next decade will address many of the current outstanding questions.
Midwest Cosmic Visions Meeting
November 10, 2015 | 8:00 AM | Fermilab, Wilson Hall
We would like to announce the Midwest Cosmic Visions one day workshop to be held at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory on Tuesday November 10th.
This meeting is in response to a call from The Office of High Energy Physics of the US Department of Energy to propose ideas for cosmic projects that will follow after DESI and LSST. The HEP office of DOE has set up a group to study the scientific reach of future cosmic surveys. The group will collect and coordinate ideas from the HEP community for research activities, experiments, projects or facilities that will complement, build on, and extend beyond the current program planned for the 2020s in the 2014 P5 report (DESI, LSST, CMB-S4) in investigating the physics probed by surveys. The group was charged to produce a white paper in January 2016 that will include diverse ideas for the future relevant to the HEP program, ranging from blue sky methods to new project concepts to further use of facilities.
With this charge in mind, the Midwest Cosmic Visions workshop will be a one day meeting with three sessions:
1) Enhancing the output from DESI/LSST
2) Science projects beyond DESI/LSST
3) Instrumentation and R&D geared to these science goals.
In addition to this Fall meeting there will be a larger, community-wide workshop in Spring/Summer 2016.
Elise Jennings, Chair of the Organizing Committee
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KICP Members: Scott Dodelson; Nickolay Y. Gnedin; Katrin Heitmann; Elise Jennings
Physics with a Bang!
December 5, 2015 | 11:00 AM | Kersten Physics Teaching Center
Students, families, teachers and especially the curious are invited to attend our annual Holiday Lecture and Open House. See fast, loud, surprising and beautiful physics demos performed by Profs. Heinrich Jaeger and Sidney Nagel. Talk to scientists about their latest discoveries. Participate in hands-on activities related to their research.