KICP News



 
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)
 
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
 
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
 
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)
 
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
 
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
 
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 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
 
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
 
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
 
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)
 
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)
 
Congratulations to Stephan Meyer!
December 19, 2017
Prof. Stephan S. Meyer
Prof. Stephan S. Meyer
Congratulations to the WMAP experimental team, including the KICP's Stephan Meyer, who were awarded the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. The prize with be shared among the entire 27-member team, including the following five team leaders: Charles L Bennett; Gary Henshaw; Norman Jarosik; Lyman Page, Jr.; and David N. Spergel. The prize recognizes major insights into the deepest questions of the universe and was awarded "For detailed maps of the early universe that greatly improved our knowledge of the evolution of the cosmos and the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies."

Learn more

Related Links:
KICP Members: Stephan S. Meyer
Scientific projects: Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)
 
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.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Daniel M. Scolnic
 
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.

Read more >>

Related Links:
KICP Members: Eric Dahl
Scientific projects: COUPP/PICO
 
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.


Read more >>

Related Links:
KICP Members: Scott Dodelson
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey (DES)
 
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)
 
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)
 
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 M. Scolnic
KICP Students: Zoheyr Doctor; Maya Fishbach
Scientific projects: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO)
 
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
 
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 >>
 
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)
 
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)
 
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
 
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 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)
 
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. 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
 
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
 
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
 
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)
 
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 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 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.

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KICP Members: Joshua A. Frieman
 
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.

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KICP Members: Angela V. Olinto
 
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".)

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KICP Members: Chihway Chang; Andrey V. Kravtsov; Surhud More
KICP Students: Eric J. Baxter; Benedikt Diemer; Phil Mansfield