KICP News



 
"On the Future: Prospects for Humanity" with physicist Martin Rees
August 11, 2018
Prof. Martin Rees
Prof. Martin Rees
World-renowned scientist Martin Rees offers his look at the future of humanity and science in this talk based upon his new book On the Future: Prospects for Humanity. Rees argues that humanity's future is bound to the future of science, and our prospects hinge on how successfully we harness technological advances to address the challenges to our collective future. If we are to use science to solve our problems while avoiding its dystopian risks, Rees shows how we must think rationally, globally, collectively, and optimistically about the long-term future. Advances in biotechnology, cybertechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence - if pursued and applied wisely- could empower us to boost the developing and developed world and overcome the threats humanity faces on Earth, from climate change to nuclear war. Rees offers fascinating insights into cutting-edge science and technology while providing a unique perspective on the critical issues that will define the future of humanity on Earth and beyond.

Presented in collaboration with the Chicago Public Library.

Doors to the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium open at 5 p.m. and seating is available first come, first served. The event is free but registration is recommended. Books are available for purchase from Seminary Co-op Books and the author will autograph books at the conclusion of the program.

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Congratulations to Brad Benson
July 26, 2018
Bradford A. Benson, KICP senior member
Bradford A. Benson, KICP senior member
Please join me in congratulating Brad Benson on his promotion from Associate Scientist to Scientist at Fermilab. The Scientist appointment is parallel to that of an Associate Professor with tenure at a university.

Congratulations Brad!

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

Related Links:
KICP Members: Bradford A. Benson; John E. Carlstrom
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Congratulations to Mike Gladders
July 25, 2018
Prof. Michael D. Gladders, KICP senior member
Prof. Michael D. Gladders, KICP senior member
Please join me in congratulating Mike Gladders on his promotion to the rank of Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Congratulations Mike!

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

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Michael D. Gladders
 
Congratulations to Dr. Ross Cawthon
July 18, 2018
Dr. Ross Cawthon
Dr. Ross Cawthon
Congratulations to Ross Cawthon for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Effects of Redshift Uncertainty on Cross-Correlations of CMB Lensing and Galaxy Surveys".

Ross has received a position of Research Associate at the Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Joshua A. Frieman
KICP Students: Ross Cawthon
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey (DES); South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Honoring Rocky Kolb for his service as Dean of the Physical Sciences
June 27, 2018
Honoring Rocky Kolb for his service as Dean of the Physical Sciences
President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Daniel Diermeier hosted a reception honoring Rocky Kolb for his service as Dean of the Physical Sciences Division. Friends, colleagues, and family all celebrated his many successes and wished him well as he returns to being a full-time faculty member at the KICP.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Edward W. Kolb
 
Congratulations to Daniel Holz
June 18, 2018
Prof. Dan Holz
Prof. Dan Holz
Please join me in congratulating Dan Holz on his promotion to Full Professor.

Congratulations Dan!

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

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Daniel E. Holz
 
Congratulations to Dr. Cameron Liang
June 15, 2018
Dr. Cameron Liang
Dr. Cameron Liang
Congratulations to Dr. Cameron Liang for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Multiphase Gaseous Halos around Galaxies".

Related Links:
KICP Members: Andrey V. Kravtsov
KICP Students: Cameron Liang
 
Angela V. Olinto has been appointed Dean of the Division of the Physical Sciences
June 7, 2018
Angela V. Olinto, KICP senior member
Angela V. Olinto, KICP senior member
We are pleased to announce that Angela V. Olinto, Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College, has been appointed Dean of the Division of the Physical Sciences, effective July 1, 2018.

Angela brings depth of University experience and scholarly expertise to this leadership role, making her an excellent choice as dean. She joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1996, and served as chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics from 2003 to 2006, and from 2012 to 2017. Her research interests are in astroparticle physics and cosmology. Recently, she has focused on understanding the origin of high-energy cosmic rays, gamma rays, and neutrinos.

Angela's leadership has extended to large and complex projects. She is the leader of the POEMMA and EUSO space missions and a member of the Pierre Auger Observatory. These international projects aim to discover the origin of high-energy cosmic rays. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and was chair of the APS Division of Astrophysics in 2013. She was a trustee of the Aspen Center for Physics, and serves on many advisory committees for the National Academy of Sciences, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and NASA. Among numerous other awards and honors, Angela received the Chaire d'Excellence Award of the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche in 2006, the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2011, and the Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring in 2015.

Angela's appointment was informed by the recommendations of an elected committee of faculty in the Division of the Physical Sciences, chaired by Stuart A. Kurtz, Professor in the Department of Computer Science. We want to express our appreciation to the committee for their thoughtful work and their commitment to the Division of the Physical Sciences.

We would also like to thank Rocky Kolb for his leadership of the Division of the Physical Sciences over the past five years. Under Rocky's leadership, the Division of the Physical Sciences built important initiatives, enhancing its historic strengths as a leading center of scientific discovery and education, and expanded and renovated the Physics Research Center. Rocky will be returning to his full-time work on the faculty at the end of his term as Dean.

Please join us in congratulating Angela on this appointment and thanking Rocky for his service.

Robert J. Zimmer, President, and Daniel Diermeier, Provost

Related Links:
KICP Members: Edward W. Kolb; Angela V. Olinto
Scientific projects: Pierre Auger Observatory (AUGER)
 
Congratulations to Dr. Pavel Motloch
June 4, 2018
Dr. Pavel Motloch
Dr. Pavel Motloch
Congratulations to Dr. Pavel Motloch for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Topics in Gravitational Lensing of the Cosmic Microwave Background".

Pavel has recieved a Postdoctoral Fellow position at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical
Astrophysics.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Wayne Hu
KICP Students: Pavel Motloch
 
Xenon1t 1 year of data
June 1, 2018
Xenon1t 1 year of data
Results from XENON1T, the world's largest and most sensitive detector dedicated to a direct search for Dark Matter in the form of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), are reported today (Monday, 28th May) by the spokesperson, Prof. Elena Aprile of Columbia University, in a seminar at the hosting laboratory, the INFN Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS), in Italy. The international collaboration of more than 165 researchers from 27 institutions, has successfully operated XENON1T, collecting an unprecedentedly large exposure of about 1 tonne x year with a 3D imaging liquid xenon time projection chamber. The data are consistent with the expectation from background, and place the most stringent limit on spin-independent interactions of WIMPs with ordinary matter for a WIMP mass higher than 6 GeV/c². The sensitivity achieved with XENON1T is almost four orders of magnitude better than that of XENON10, the first detector of the XENON Dark Matter project, which has been hosted at LNGS since 2005. Steadily increasing the fiducial target mass from the initial 5 kg to the current 1300 kg, while simultaneously decreasing the background rate by a factor 5000, the XENON collaboration has continued to be at the forefront of Dark Matter direct detection, probing deeper into the WIMP parameter space.
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UChicago, Luca Grandi's group

"I am really happy with the performance of the XENON1T detector" said Luca Grandi. "XENON1T displays an impressive sensitivity to WIMP spin-independent interaction, about 7 times better than the concurrent leading experiments in the field (for WIMP masses above 6 GeV/c^2). This result shows the potential of combining multi-tonne detectors with low background techniques. Despite this accomplishment, dark matter remains still to be discovered. The search continues!".

The contributions of Grandi's group to the XENON projects included several activities. After the initial contribution to the construction and assembly of the XENON1T Time Projection Chamber, the group worked hard to make UChicago the single analysis hub serving the entire international collaboration. The system, developed in collaboration with Robert Gardner and Benedikt Riedel at the UChicago Computational Institute, allows for easy access both to remote grid resources (needed to process the large data volume produced by XENON1T) and local resources available at the UChicago Research Computing Center. The latter, thanks to the support from Runesha Birali and KICP, have been intensively used in these last several months to converge on the results presented in the paper. The UChicago group, with its postdoc Jacques Pienaar and graduate students Katrina Miller and Evan Shockley, contributed to several aspects of the presented analysis, including the development of the neutron background models and Monte Carlo simulations and the study of the response and efficiency of the detector at low energy. The group will continue its involvement in XENON1T analysis by searching for alternative dark matter candidates.

In the meanwhile Grandi's group is also heavily involved in the upgrade of the detector to the next phase, known as XENONnT, which will feature a fiducial target mass about 4 times larger and is expected to start data taking in about one year from now. The group, with support from Ben Stillwell at the Enrico Fermi Institute, is leading the design of the new Time Projection Chamber, coordinating its production and assembly, as well as preparing the upgrade of the data processing infrastructure to allow the handling of the even larger data volumes. The larger fiducial mass and the implementation of new innovative techniques will enable further suppression of the already ultra-low background levels, and will allow XENONnT to further explore the WIMP paradigm and improve its sensitivity by about an order of magnitude. "Dark Matter is still out there" Grandi concludes "... and we will do our best to continue to stay on the front line of this uncharted territory!"

Related Links:
KICP Members: Luca Grandi; Jacques Pienaar
KICP Students: Katrina Miller; Evan Shockley
Scientific projects: XENON1T
 
Congratulations to Chihway Chang
May 29, 2018
Chihway Chang, KICP fellow
Chihway Chang, KICP fellow
Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to report that Chihway Chang will be an Assistant Professor with the Astronomy & Astrophysics Department and a senior member of the KICP, starting October 1, 2018.

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

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Chihway Chang
 
Adler Planetarium's "Fabric of the Universe" display
May 14, 2018
Adler Planetarium's
Former KICP student (and current Harvard postdoc) Benedikt Diemer has collaborated with Isaac Facio from the Art Institute to create the Adler Planetarium's new "Fabric of the Universe" display.

Related Links:
KICP Students: Benedikt Diemer
 
Kavli Foundation profiled by Inside Philanthropy
May 4, 2018
Fred Kavli (center) visits the KICP in 2004
Fred Kavli (center) visits the KICP in 2004
In the later years of Fred Kavli's life, the Norwegian-born entrepreneur built a small foundation with a big reputation for funding basic science. When Kavli passed away in 2013, it was clear that legacy would grow with additional wealth from his estate, but it wasn’t clear how much was on the way.

Turns out, it was a lot....

Read more >>
 
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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Joshua A. Frieman
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey (DES)