KICP News, 2017



 
On MLK Day King College Prep Cosmology Club Explores Dark Matter
January 16, 2017
On MLK Day King College Prep Cosmology Club Explores Dark Matter
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.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Luca Grandi
 
Former KICP Fellow Eric Dahl honored with a PECASE
January 24, 2017
Former KICP Fellow Eric Dahl
Former KICP Fellow Eric Dahl
Former KICP Fellow Eric Dahl has received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE); the highest honor presented by the U.S. Government to scientists and engineers during the early stages of their careers. Dahl's research at the KICP focused on the COUPP/PICO series of bubble chamber based dark matter detection experiments. His current research continues to focus upon PICO, where he is developing new and innovating ways to use this technology to detect dark matter.

Read more:

Related Links:
Scientific projects: COUPP/PICO
 
Summer Undergraduate Researcher Michael Foley Wins AAS Chambliss Student Medal
February 1, 2017
Undergraduate Michael Foley (Far Left) received an AAS Chambliss Student Medal for work conducted with KICP Fellow Dan Scolnic (Second from Right).
Undergraduate Michael Foley (Far Left) received an AAS Chambliss Student Medal for work conducted with KICP Fellow Dan Scolnic (Second from Right).
KICP Summer undergraduate research student Michael Foley was recently awarded a Chambliss Student Medal at the 229th AAS meeting for a presentation on his KICP research. Michael, a Notre Dame student, worked at the KICP on a grant from Notre Dame's Glynn Family Honors Program and was mentored by KICP Fellow Dan Scolnic and Senior Researcher Rick Kessler. Michael's poster presented his work on The Foundation Survey, a new low-redshift supernova survey that uses the Pan-STARRS telescope to measure distances of Type Ia Supernovae in the Hubble flow. The survey will be a critical resource in the coming years to improve measurements of the Hubble constant and satisfy the WFIRST low-redshift sample requirement for measurements of dark energy. According to mentor Scolnic, "Michael helped rewrite the full photometry pipeline, determined our absolute calibration, created accurate simulations of the survey and became completely indispensable in just one summer."


Read more

Related Links:
KICP Members: Richard Kessler; Daniel Scolnic
 
Deflategate: Cold Wet Footballs, Ideal Gas Laws and Accusations of Cheating
February 8, 2017
Deflategate: Cold Wet Footballs, Ideal Gas Laws and Accusations of Cheating
Just in time for Super Bowl LI, students in the Space Explorers Program examined the physics and media frenzy of Deflategate. During the 2015 AFC championship game, NFL officials discovered that the pressure in several footballs used by the New England Patriots had decreased below permissible levels. This sparked a national controversy known as "Deflategate". The NFL (as well as many enemies the four-time Super Bowl champions Patriots had made in the football world) argued that the pressure drop could only be caused by cheating, especially because Tom Brady favors underinflated balls. (note: each team controls 12 footballs used when they are on offense mandated to be between 12.5 and 13.5 psi ). Patriots' fans argued that the drop was caused either by well known laws of physics, or by an elaborate NFL conspiracy.

Twenty-eight (28) high school students in KICP's Space Explorers program put these arguments to the test. Over the course of two weeks, students critically evaluated over a dozen arguments made by both sides, ranging from court documents, to college lectures, to tweets. Despite the strong opinions, contradictory claims, and often factually incorrect information found in these arguments, the Space Explorers managed to identify the critical questions that needed to be resolved to determine if Deflategate could be caused by purely innocuous physics and designed an experiment to address them. Their experiment revolved around measuring the effect that wetness had on the rate at which cold footballs warm up and increase in pressure.

To date their results are inconclusive. One trial found nothing suspicious about the pressure drop, and a second could not explain the low pressures in the Patriots' footballs. The Space Explorers themselves are split down the middle about how to interpret their results and will debate the best way to resolve this difference at the pre-Super Bowl Saturday class.

Related Links:
KICP Students: Phil Mansfield
 
Hsin-Yu Chen has been selected for a Cronin Fellowship
February 15, 2017
Hsin-Yu Chen has been selected for a Cronin Fellowship
Please join me in congratulating Hsin-Yu Chen who has been selected for a Cronin Fellowship for 2017. The James Cronin Graduate Student Fellowship honors Professor Cronin though support of exceptional Ph.D. candidates. The Cronin Fellowship will support Hsin-Yu's research work up to the end of Summer quarter 2017, when she is expected to graduate.

Congratulations Hsin-Yu!

Angela V. Olinto,
Homer J. Livingston Professor and Chair Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Related Links:
KICP Members: Daniel E. Holz; Angela V. Olinto
KICP Students: Hsin-Yu Chen
Scientific projects: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)
 
The KICP will welcome 5 new Fellows in the Autumn of 2017
March 9, 2017
The KICP will welcome 5 new Fellows in the Autumn of 2017
Reed Essick received his PhD from MIT focusing on strong tides in close binary systems and gravitational radiation. His work has touched many areas of gravitational-wave astrophysics, from data quality and detection to phenomenological source modeling. Reed plans to continue this research at KICP and looks forward to exploring the physics accessible through measurements of populations gravitational wave sources.

Macarena Lagos will receive her PhD from Imperial College London. Her research focuses on theoretical cosmology, specifically on analysing the viability of alternative gravity theories and developing methods to test gravity at large scales. At KICP, Macarena hopes to continue her current research and start new collaborations with its members.

Kirit Karkare will join us as a joint Grainger and KICP Fellow after completing his degree at Harvard University, where he worked on hardware and systematics analysis for the BICEP/Keck CMB polarization experiments. At the KICP, he plans to continue working on the CMB with BICEP and SPT, and on detector development for line intensity mapping and measurements of high-redshift galaxies.

Wai Ling (Kimmy) Wu did her graduate work at Stanford University with the BICEP/Keck team on the design, testing, and deployment of BICEP3 -- a small aperture CMB polarimeter that aims to target the inflationary gravitational wave B-mode signature. She then moved to UC Berkeley to work with the SPT team on the SPT-3G receiver and on delensing CMB B-mode maps, an important step to further constraint the inflationary B-mode signature. At KICP, she plans on extending her delensing work with BICEP/Keck and SPT datasets and looks forward to exploring new avenues to understand the cosmos with fellow KICP researchers.

Grayson Rich carried out research at Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) while a graduate student at the University of North Carolina. As a part of the COHERENT Collaboration, he has been working towards the first observation of coherent, elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering (CEvNS): a low-energy neutrino-nucleus interaction arising from the standard model but still undetected over 40 years after its prediction. As a KICP Fellow and an Enrico Fermi Fellow at the Enrico Fermi Institute, he will maintain involvement with COHERENT and continue to advance an effort he spearheaded at TUNL to provide definitive characterizations of the responses of neutrino and dark matter detector systems, working with several groups at KICP and the broader astroparticle physics community. He also hopes to work with KICP and EFI members to exploit high-energy astrophysical signals, seeking insight into cosmological questions and the properties of fundamental particles.

Related Links:
Scientific projects: BICEP2/The Keck Array/BICEP3; South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Prof. Angela Olinto has been awarded a NASA grant for "Concept Study of the Probe Of Extreme Multi Messenger Astrophysics (POEMMA)"
March 20, 2017
Prof. Angela Olinto has been awarded a NASA grant for
A research team led by Prof. Angela Olinto has been awarded a NASA grant for "Concept Study of the Probe Of Extreme Multi Messenger Astrophysics (POEMMA)". The team will define the instrument and mission details necessary for the Probe Of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (POEMMA) to enable, for the first time, charged particle astronomy with ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs), and to discover cosmogenic tau neutrinos as well as Ultra-High Energy Neutrinos of other flavors. POEMMA will make the first all-sky survey of UHECRs to reveal the sources of these extreme energy particles. UHECRs result from extreme conditions in the extragalactic universe that are not presently understood. POEMMA will combine the well-developed Orbiting Wide-field Light-collectorsi (OWL) concept with the recently proposed CHerenkov from Astrophysical Neutrinos Telescope (CHANT) concept to form a multi-messenger probe of the most extreme environments in the universe. POEMMA will detect UHECRs through the observation of particle cascades produced by the interaction of UHECRs with the Earth's atmosphere. Particle cascades excite nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere, which fluoresce in the ultraviolet (UV). Ultra-fast UV cameras record the fluorescence light produced by the particle cascades. The fluorescence technique has been perfected by the leading ground-based UHECR observatories, like the Pierre Auger Observatory and will begin to be observed from space observations shortly with EUSO-SPB.

The team will receive funds for an 18-month comprehensive study.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Angela V. Olinto
Scientific projects: Pierre Auger Observatory (AUGER)
 
Abigail Vieregg will receive the 2017 Shakti P. Duggal Award
March 27, 2017
Abigail Vieregg will receive the 2017 Shakti P. Duggal Award
Assistant Professor Abigail Vieregg will receive the 2017 Shakti P. Duggal Award. The award will be presented during the opening ceremony of the 35th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC) at Busan, Korea this upcoming July. The award was created "To recognize an outstanding young scientist for contributions in any branch of cosmic ray physics." The award is presented every two years at the ICRC and is recognized as the premier award in the field of cosmic ray physics. As part of the award, Professor Vieregg will visit and present a colloquium at the Bartol Research Institute.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Abigail G. Vieregg
 
The Event Horizon Telescope's historic quest
April 13, 2017
The South Pole Telescope
The South Pole Telescope
This week the South Pole Telescope joined a global network of telescopes to take observations which aim to capture the highest-resolution image ever taken of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

Read more:

Related Links:
KICP Members: Bradford A. Benson; John E. Carlstrom
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
The Halo Boundary of Galaxy Clusters in SDSS
April 24, 2017
A cluster formed in a Lambda-Cold Dark Matter simulation of structure formation.   <i>Credit: Benedikt Diemer, Philip Mansfield</i>
A cluster formed in a Lambda-Cold Dark Matter simulation of structure formation.

Credit: Benedikt Diemer, Philip Mansfield
KICP astrophysicists Chihway Chang and Andrey Kravtsov have participated in a recent study, which presents strong evidence for the physical edge of galaxy clusters using public data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

The existence of such physical edges associated with sharp density drops due to the density caustics formed by accreting matter was predicted by KICP researchers Benedikt Diemer and Andrey Kravtsov in 2014, as part of Diemers PhD research. In a follow-up study, Diemer, Kravtsov and a former KICP fellow Surhud More (currently at Institute of Physics of the Universe, Tokyo, Japan) have shown that the-edges can be considered to be natural physical boundary of dark matter halos that provide the gravitational "back-bone" for the structures observed in the galaxy distribution.

In the recent study, co-led by Chihway Chang and Eric Baxter - a former KICP student and currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania - the density drop associated with the halo edges was detected in the galaxy distribution around cluster centers.

Cosmological simulations show that massive galaxy clusters we see today have been accreting galaxies into their deep gravitational potential over the cosmic time. The process of galaxies "falling into" the cluster's potential well is a fairly clean and universal process that depends only on basic quantities of the cluster such as mass and accretion rate. One of the result of this simple picture is a sharp feature in the number density of galaxies around clusters - an imprint of the caustic formed by the infalling galaxies as they reach the first apocenter of their orbit, or the "edge" of the galaxy cluster. Researchers called the distance of the edge the "splashback" radius, as galaxies literally "splashing back" to that radius after they accrete onto cluster.

Together with collaborators in UPenn and UIUC, that included KICP faculty Andrey Kravtsov, Chihway Chang and Eric Baxter, examined distribution of galaxies around a sample of clusters identified within the SDSS. The existence of the edge in the galaxy distribution within clusters was confirmed. In addition, the analysis revealed that properties of galaxies around cluster are sensitive to existence of the edge. Outside the splashback radius, the mix of red and blue galaxies was approximately independent of the distance from the cluster center, while inside the splashback radius the mix is abruptly changes towards a larger fraction of red galaxies. This indicates that the edge is a real dynamical feature and that majority of galaxies get transformed by the cluster environment from blue to red in less than one orbital period.



This figure shows the fraction of red and blue galaxies around galaxy clusters. The sharp change in the red fraction indicates that galaxy tend to turn red once they enter the edge of the cluster, which is marked by the grey vertical band. (Figure modified from the paper "The Halo Boundary of Galaxy Clusters in the SDSS".)

Related KICP references:

Related Links:
KICP Members: Chihway Chang; Andrey V. Kravtsov; Surhud More
KICP Students: Eric J. Baxter; Benedikt Diemer; Phil Mansfield
 
EUSO-SPB has been launched
April 24, 2017
EUSO-SPB has been launched
EUSO-SPB launched today from Wanaka, New Zealand.

The EUSO-SPB instrument is carried by a superpressure balloon designed and launched by NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility.

EUSO-SPB emerged from the JEM-EUSO project and uses the same principle of harnessing the earth's atmosphere to detect ultra high-energy cosmic rays. EUSO-SPB will observe the nitrogen fluorescence and Cherenkov photons produced by extensive air showers.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Angela V. Olinto
 
Congratulations to KICP member Joshua Frieman!
April 27, 2017
Prof. Josh Frieman
Prof. Josh Frieman
Congratulations to KICP Senior Member Joshua Frieman for his election as Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society.

The Division of Astrophysics (DAP), organized in 1970, engages in observational and theoretical investigation that relates to the study of physical processes in stars and other discrete galactic sources, galactic structure and evolution, the early history and evolution of the Universe, and the Sun and solar activity. Division interests also have significant overlap with other APS divisions such as Particles and Fields, Nuclear Physics, and Plasma Physics.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Joshua A. Frieman
 
Congratulations to KICP member Wayne Hu, newly inducted NAS member!
May 1, 2017
Prof. Wayne Hu is signing the
Prof. Wayne Hu is signing the "Registry of Membership" of the National Academy of Science.
Prof. Wayne Hu has been introduced to his colleagues in the Academy and he signed the "Registry of Membership" at the NAS Presentation Ceremony. NAS Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.

Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Video of the Presentation Ceremony

Related Links:
KICP Members: Wayne Hu
 
Congratulations to Dr. Michael Fedderke!
June 9, 2017
Dr. Michael Fedderke
Dr. Michael Fedderke
Congratulations to Michael Fedderke for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Studies in Higgs physics, particle dark matter and early universe".

"Michael's thesis work covers several important aspects of particle physics and cosmology. It includes detailed studies on the signal of dark matter annihilation in the galactic halo. After producing an interesting paper on the heavy particle production in the early universe, he delved into Higgs physics. He evaluated the potential of discovering new physics via fermionic Higgs portal, which has implications for the physics reach of both current and future colliders. In his most recent project, he has also constructed a model which addressed the little hierarchy problem in the composite Higgs scenario using cosmological evolution of an axion like field."
- LianTao Wang, PhD advisor

Michael has received a joint postdoc position at Stanford University and UC Berkeley.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Edward W. Kolb; Lian-Tao Wang
KICP Students: Michael Fedderke
 
Congratulations to Dr. Hsin-Yu Chen!
June 12, 2017
Dr. Hsin-Yu Chen
Dr. Hsin-Yu Chen
Congratulations to Hsin-Yu Chen for successfully defending her Ph.D. dissertation on "Multi-messenger Astronomy with Advanced LIGO-Virgo".

"Hsin-Yu's work is helping set the stage for the new era of gravitational-wave astronomy. She has played an active role within the LIGO collaboration in the analysis of our first detections, while also becoming a leader in the field of multi-messenger astronomy."
- Daniel E. Holz, PhD advisor

Hsin-Yu has received a postdoc position at the Black Hole Initiative (Harvard).

Related Links:
KICP Members: Daniel E. Holz
KICP Students: Hsin-Yu Chen
Scientific projects: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)
 
Space Explorers Program Evaluation and Experiments Featured at the 2017 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Meeting Los Angeles, CA
June 14, 2017
Randall H. Landsberg presented "Space Explorers: 25 Years of Inner-city Students Out of School Time Explorations" as part of the "mission possible" thread at the NSTA national conference. The talk included data on how students in the program are out preforming their peers and exemplar, hands-on, inquiry based experiments. The experiments both involved measurements but in very different realms: the size of the universe and the response rates of rods compared to cones in the human eye.


Space Explorers Compared to Chicago Public Schools.


Undergraduate First-Year STEM Majors National Data Comparison.

Presentation Abstract:
Since 1991 Space Explorers has offered first generation, low income inner-city students and university astrophysics researchers the opportunity to explore together (with over one hundred contact hours a year). An external evaluation probed the impacts of this program on the hundreds of students and instructors involved. We will examine the evaluation findings, which map well to the recent NRC study on out of school time programs. We will also explore some of our favorite lab activities, hear about taking students to Yerkes Observatory for residential science institutes, and discuss best practices for university and community based organization partnerships. Take home new ideas for student labs and partnerships.


Space Explorers Careers
(respondent 4 years past high school graduation n~100).

Related Links:
KICP Members: Randall H. Landsberg
 
Cameron Liang has won a Harper Dissertation Fellowship
June 16, 2017
Cameron Liang has won a Harper Dissertation Fellowship
Congratulations to Cameron Liang for winning a William Rainey Harper Dissertation Fellowship for the 2017-18 academic year. The intent of the award is two-fold: to recognize significant achievement and to facilitate completion of the doctoral degree. This award, one of the University of Chicago's highest honors, recognizes significant achievement during graduate studies and professional promise.

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom
KICP Students: Cameron Liang
 
Congratulations to Dr. Chen He Heinrich!
June 19, 2017
Congratulations to Dr. Chen He Heinrich!
Congratulations to Chen He Heinrich for successfully defending her Ph.D. dissertation on "Lensing Bias to CMB Polarization Measurements of Compensated Isocurvature Perturbations".

Chen has received a postdoc position in cosmology at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Wayne Hu
KICP Students: Chen He Heinrich
 
John Carlstrom becomes the new Chair of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
July 13, 2017
Prof. John E. Carlstrom
Prof. John E. Carlstrom
I am very pleased to share the news of Department Chair appointment in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Effective October 1, 2017, John Carlstrom will become the Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics. His scientific excellence will serve the department well in the coming years.

I thank Angela Olinto for her excellent service as Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

I look forward to working closely with John as he takes on leadership of the Department. Please join me in congratulating him on this appointment.

Rocky Kolb,
Dean of the Physical Sciences Division

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Edward W. Kolb; Angela V. Olinto
 
Congratulations to Dr. Laura Mocanu!
July 21, 2017
Dr. Laura M. Mocanu
Dr. Laura M. Mocanu
Congratulations to Laura Mocanu for successfully defending her Ph.D. dissertation on "Measuring the cosmic microwave background gravitational lensing potential and its power spectrum with SPTpol".

"Monica has make many important contributions to the analysis of South Pole Telescope CMB data. For her thesis she has used SPTpol temperature and polarization data to produce the most sensitive CMB lensing reconstruction of the mass distribution in the universe, paving the wave for SPT-BICEP B-mode delensing and other cosmological analysis."
- John Carlstrom, Ph.D. advisor

Laura has received a Postoctoral fellowship at the University of Oslo.

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom
KICP Students: Laura M Mocanu
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Congratulations to Dr. Alessandro Manzotti!
July 24, 2017
Dr. Alessandro Manzotti
Dr. Alessandro Manzotti
Congratulations to Alessandro Manzotti for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Unveiling the early Universe: delensing the Cosmic Microwave Background with galaxy surveys".

"Alessandro led the team that carried out the first 'de-lensing' of the polarization in the cosmic microwave background. Using data from the South Pole Telescope, the team used software to undo what billions of years of propagation through the clumpy universe has done: distorted the pattern of polarization. This first demonstration is the harbinger of what will ultimately become an essential tool in analyses of future SPT CMB-Stage 4 data."
- Scott Dodelson, Ph.D. advisor

Alessandro has received a Lagrange Fellow position at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Scott Dodelson
KICP Students: Alessandro Manzotti
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Congratulations to Prof. Hsiao-Wen Chen!
July 26, 2017
Prof. Hsiao-Wen Chen
Prof. Hsiao-Wen Chen
Congratulations to Prof. Hsiao-Wen Chen!
Department News: July 26, 2017
Dear Colleagues,
It is my great pleasure to announce that Professor Hsiao-Wen Chen has been promoted to Full Professor. Please join me in congratulating Professor Chen!

Angela V. Olinto,
Homer J. Livingston Distinguished Service Professor and Chair Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Related Links:
KICP Members: Hsiao-Wen Chen; Angela V. Olinto
 
Joshua Frieman becomes the new Deputy Director of the KICP
September 8, 2017
Professor Joshua Frieman
Professor Joshua Frieman
Professor Joshua Frieman has been appointed Deputy Director of the KICP, taking over from the current Deputy Director, Professor John Carlstrom, who will become Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics on October 1, 2017.

Frieman received his Ph.D. from UChicago in 1985 and is a Scientist III at Fermilab, a Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, part time, at UChicago, and a founding member of the KICP. He is also the current Director of the Dark Energy Survey (DES), an international, collaborative effort to map hundreds of millions of galaxies, detect thousands of supernovae, and find patterns of cosmic structure that will reveal the nature of the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the expansion of our Universe. Frieman's honors include Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Fellow of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Joshua A. Frieman
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey (DES)
 
Observation of coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering
September 15, 2017
Prototype detector <i>Photo: Jean Lachat/University of Chicago</i>
Prototype detector
Photo: Jean Lachat/University of Chicago
KICP Professor Juan Collar and his research group played a leading role in the recent discovery of Coherent Elastic neutrino-Nucleus Scattering made by the COHERENT collaboration. That discovery is featured on the cover and in the perspective section of the September 15 edition of Science Magazine.

Links:

Related Links:
KICP Members: Juan I. Collar
KICP Students: Bjorn Scholz
Scientific projects: Coherent Germanium Neutrino Technology (CoGeNT)
 
The KICP wishes Kavli IPMU a Happy 10th Birthday!
September 27, 2017
The KICP wishes Kavli IPMU a Happy 10th Birthday!
The KICP wishes Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe a Happy 10th Birthday!

Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU)
Galileo once remarked that mathematics is the language of the universe, and it is the firm belief at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU). But here, a combination of different approaches based on theoretical physics, experimental physics, and astronomical observations is used for seeking answers to profound problems in cosmology.

The Kavli IPMU, an institute within the University of Tokyo, brings together a wide range of researchers -- from pure mathematicians and string theorists to experimental particle physicists and observational astronomers -- in a truly multi-disciplinary and collaborative environment. First established in 2007 under a Japanese government initiative as the Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU), the Institute received an endowment from The Kavli Foundation in early 2012 and became the Kavli IPMU.

Read more >>
 
Congratulations to Dr. Michael Florian!
October 3, 2017
Dr. Michael Florian
Dr. Michael Florian
Congratulations to Michael Florian for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Measurements of Morphology in Strongly Lensed Galaxies in the Image Plane".

"Michael has been working at the interface of simulations and observations to develop statistical methods to quantify the morphology of strongly lensed galaxies, in the image plane. Such techniques bypass the extensive effort (both in analysis, and additional data) required to model strong lensing systems and generate source plane images. His work in particular sets a standard for upcoming space missions such as JWST, Euclid and WFIRST; he will be leaving us to go to take a NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship working the JWST group at Goddard Space Flight Center."
- Michael Gladders, Ph.D. advisor

Michael has received a NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship at Goddard Space Flight Center.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Michael D. Gladders
KICP Students: Michael Florian
 
Gravitational Waves Events
October 13, 2017
Gravitational Waves Events
I am pleased to let you know about three special, late-breaking news events that will take place on campus this coming Monday and Tuesday.

FIRST, On Monday, October 16th at 09:00 CDT, the National Science Foundation will host a press briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., bringing together scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo collaborations, as well as representatives from some 70 observatories. This will be live-streamed and we will set up a live viewing with some of the involved University of Chicago scientists in the lobby of ERC, as well as in room 201 of the Physics Research Center.

The press briefing will begin with an overview of new findings from LIGO, Virgo and partners that span the globe, followed by details from telescopes that work with the LIGO and Virgo collaborations to study extreme events in the cosmos.

The discovery of gravitational-waves by LIGO opened a new window to the Universe and involved several UChicago scientists. This year's Nobel Prize in Physics recognized three scientists for their contributions to the LIGO detector and the first observation of gravitational waves.

SECOND, there will be a special, more technical colloquium on the topic Monday, October 16th at 4:00 p.m. CDT in ERC 161, featuring University scientists Daniel Holz and Joshua Frieman, 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. Following the discussion there will be a reception in the atrium.

THIRD, there will be an event on Tuesday, October 17th from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. in Kersten Physics Teaching Center (KPTC 120), consisting of about 5 short presentations by graduate students and postdocs and a Q&A/discussion. This will be geared more to the general public and university undergraduates.

I encourage you to join us for any of these special gatherings.

Rocky Kolb,
Dean of the Physical Sciences
The University of Chicago

Related Links:
KICP Members: Reed C. Essick; Wendy L. Freedman; Joshua A. Frieman; Daniel E. Holz; Edward W. Kolb; Daniel Scolnic
KICP Students: Zoheyr Doctor; Maya Fishbach
Scientific projects: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)
 
Congratulations to Dr. Bjorn Scholz!
October 16, 2017
Dr. Bjorn Scholz
Dr. Bjorn Scholz
Congratulations to Bjorn Scholz for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "First Observation of Coherent Elastic Neutrino-Nucleus Scattering".

"Bjorn's thesis contains a much coveted result in neutrino physics, the first observation of coherent neutrino-nucleus scattering. Bjorn performed an exquisitely careful detector calibration and analysis of the data, resulting in the extraction of just a couple of hundred events, in near-perfect agreement with the Standard Model predictions for this process. Bjorn's thesis marks the starting point of a new area of activity within neutrino physics, one that may lead to exciting discoveries."
- Juan Collar, Ph.D. advisor

Related Links:
KICP Members: Juan I. Collar
KICP Students: Bjorn Scholz
Scientific projects: Coherent Germanium Neutrino Technology (CoGeNT)
 
Congratulations to Daniel Holz and Dan Hooper!
October 20, 2017
Congratulations to Daniel Holz and Dan Hooper!
KICP senior members Daniel Holz and Dan Hooper have been elected to become APS Fellows.

Daniel Holz
Citation: For contributions to relativistic cosmology including the effect of gravitational lensing of distant SNe on measuring cosmic distances, the use of standard sirens to precisely determine cosmic distances, and his significant role in LIGO discovery of gravitational waves.
Nominated by: Division of Gravitational Physics

Dan Hooper
Citation: For pursuing the identity of dark matter by combining careful analysis of observational data with theoretical ideas from both particle physics and astrophysics.
Nominated by: Division of Astrophysics

Read more >>

Related Links:
KICP Members: Daniel E. Holz; Daniel Hooper
Scientific projects: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)
 
Kavli Roundtable: New Map of Dark Matter Puts the Big Bang Theory on Trial
October 31, 2017
The prevailing view of the universe has just passed a rigorous new test, but the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy remain frustratingly unsolved.

A NEW COSMIC MAP was unveiled in August, plotting where the mysterious substance called dark matter is clumped across the universe. To immense relief - and frustration - the map is just what scientists had expected. The distribution of dark matter agrees with our current understanding of a universe born with certain properties in a Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago.

But for all the map's confirmatory power, it still tells us little about the true identity of dark matter, which acts as an invisible scaffold for galaxies and cosmic structure. It also does not explain an even bigger factor shaping the cosmos, known as dark energy, an enigmatic force seemingly pushing the universe apart at ever greater speeds. Tantalizingly, however, a small discrepancy between the new findings and previous observations of the early universe might just crack open the door for new physics.

To discuss these issues, The Kavli Foundation turned to three scientists involved in creating this new cosmic map, compiled by the Dark Energy Survey.

The participants were:
  • SCOTT DODELSON - is a cosmologist and the head of the Department of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University. He is one of the lead scientists behind the Dark Energy Survey's new map of cosmic structure, which he worked on at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and as a professor at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago.
  • RISA WECHSLER - is an associate professor of physics at Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, as well as a member of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. A founder of the Dark Energy Survey, Wechsler is also involved in two next-generation projects that will delve even deeper into the dark universe.
  • GEORGE EFSTATHIOU - is a professor of astrophysics and the former director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. Along with his work on the Dark Energy Survey, Efstathiou is a science team leader for the European Space Agency's Planck spacecraft, which between 2009 and 2013 created a detailed map of the early universe.


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KICP Members: Scott Dodelson
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey (DES)
 
Congratulations to Eric Dahl!
November 2, 2017
Eric Dahl, former KICP fellow
Eric Dahl, former KICP fellow
Eric Dahl, former KICP fellow, has received the Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics.

Citation: "for fundamental contributions to the development of new techniques for the direct detection of dark matter, including the bubble chamber and xenon time projection chamber."


Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics
To recognize outstanding contributions made by physicists who are just beginning their careers, and to help promote the careers of exceptionally promising young physicists. The prize is given annually and will consist of $1,500 and a certificate citing the contributions of the recipient, plus an allowance for travel to an APS meeting to receive the award and deliver an invited lecture.

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KICP Members: Eric Dahl
Scientific projects: COUPP/PICO
 
Congratulations to Dan Scolnic!
November 8, 2017
Dan Scolnic, KICP fellow
Dan Scolnic, KICP fellow
Dan Scolnic selected as New Leader in Space Science by Space Studies Board of U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

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KICP Members: Daniel Scolnic