KICP News



 
SPT Google Trekker Photos
April 8, 2014
SPT Google Trekker Photos
Virtually visit the South Pole Telescope and the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which is operated by the National Science foundation via panoramic in Google Street View format. SPT is supported by NSF-OPP and DOE.

Photos taken by Kyle Story.

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Related Links:
KICP Students: Kyle Story
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Congratulations to Prof. Nick Gnedin!
March 20, 2014
Congratulations to Prof. Nick Gnedin!
Congratulations to Prof. Nick Gnedin for becoming a Fellow of the American Physical Society!

Citation: "For pioneering work in computational cosmology, which has led to a deep understanding of the Lyman alpha forest and reionization of the universe."

Related Links:
KICP Members: Nickolay Y. Gnedin
 
Cosmic WOW: BICEP2 announces evidence for the gravity waves produced by inflation!
March 17, 2014
"BICEP2 I: DETECTION OF B-mode POLARIZATION AT DEGREE ANGULAR SCALES" by the BICEP2 Collaboration
BICEP2 Results Release | BICEP2 Article
KICP Faculty member Abigail Vieregg and KICP Fellow Christopher Sheehy are part of the BICEP2 Team that today announced evidence for the discovery of the CMB B-mode signature of gravity waves produced during inflation. KICP Director Michael Turner said that if this result holds up, it will be the biggest event in cosmology since the discovery of CMB anisotropy or the accelerated expansion of the Universe. Inflation-produced gravity waves are called the smoking' gun of inflation - and for good reason. Their amplitude reveals the expansion rate during inflation and the scale of inflation (about 10^-38 sec and 10^16 GeV respectively for the BICEP2 detection) and confirms the third key prediction of inflation. The first two predictions of inflation - almost scale-invariant density perturbations and a flat Universe - are almost postdictions, as both had been put forth as features of any sensible cosmological model before inflation was postulated in the early 1980s. Because of the large number of highly sensitive CMB experiments that are taking or analyzing data (including SPT and Planck), the BICEP result will be checked very soon. Read more Michael Turner's comments.

"What an amazing discovery. The BICEP2 results are truly fantastic. They provide -- at very high confidence -- evidence for the inflationary origin of our universe, probing physics at the energy scales of grant unified theories and the first instants of the universe. While the signal is tiny -- they measured the polarization of the cosmic microwave background with a sensitivity of 30 millionths of the 3 K background -- it is actually stronger than most cosmologists thought it would be. This means that BICEP2 data along with KECK Array and SPTpol data and upcoming BICEP3 and SPT-3G data all from the same region of the sky, will allow us to not only confirm the BICEP2 results, but also to constrain the inflation model further. it is a fantastic day for cosmology and indeed for all of physics."
- John Carlstrom



Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Christopher Sheehy; Michael S. Turner; Abigail Vieregg
Scientific projects: BICEP2/The Keck Array/BICEP3
 
KICP scientists make the case for annihilating WIMPs in the galactic center
March 6, 2014
KICP scientists make the case for annihilating WIMPs in the galactic center
KICP astrophysicists Dan Hooper and Tim Linden are co-authors on a recent study which makes a compelling case that the observed gamma-ray excess coming from the central area of our galaxy is due the annihilation of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles.

Article: "The Characterization of the Gamma-Ray Signal from the Central Milky Way: A Compelling Case for Annihilating Dark Matter"; Tansu Daylan, Douglas P. Finkbeiner, Dan Hooper, Tim Linden, Stephen K. N. Portillo, Nicholas L. Rodd, Tracy R. Slatyer [PDF]

Related Links:
KICP Members: Daniel Hooper; Tim Linden
 
The KICP will welcome 3 new Fellows in the Autumn of 2014
February 17, 2014
The KICP will welcome 3 new Fellows in the Autumn of 2014
Jason Henning will join us as a joint NSF AAPF and KICP Fellow after completing his degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he helped design and build the receiver and its detectors for the SPTpol CMB polarization experiment. As a KICP Fellow Jason will continue his work with SPT, lending his experience to the design of SPT-3G as well as placing new constraints on cosmological parameters using CMB polarization measurements.

Silvia Galli took her PhD between the University of Rome 'Sapienza' and the APC laboratory in Paris. She is now finishing her first postdoc at the IAP in Paris. In the last couple of years, Silvia mainly worked on developing the likelihood code and determining cosmological parameters for the Planck satellite. She is also interested in using cosmological probes, such as the CMB or clusters of galaxies, to constrain fundamental physics, such as the variation of fundamental constants or the annihilation of dark matter particles.

Dan Scolnic will join the KICP as a Fellow after receiving his degree from Johns Hopkins University. Dan's research focuses on observations of Type Ia supernovae to measure dark energy and other major components of the Universe. Dan has worked extensively on the Pan-STARRs science survey. At the KICP, Dan will continue his research as part of the Dark Energy Survey.

Related Links:
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey (DES); South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Congratulations to Angela Olinto!
December 6, 2013
Congratulations to Angela Olinto!
Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce that effective 1 January 2014, Angela Olinto will be the Homer J. Livingston Professor. This appointment is in recognition of Angela's contributions to scholarship, teaching, and the intellectual community of the University.

Please join me in congratulating Angela!

Rocky Kolb
Dean of the Physical Sciences

Related Links:
KICP Members: Edward W. Kolb; Angela V. Olinto
 
A peek at the the 4th floor of the William Eckhardt Research Center building
November 26, 2013
A peek at the the 4th floor of the William Eckhardt Research Center building
Slide show
The KICP's new home on the 4th floor of the William Eckhardt Research Center (WERC) as seen on November 8,2013.

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Related Links:
KICP Members: Michael S. Turner
 
Fred Kavli Friend and Benefactor of the KICP, 1927-2013
November 22, 2013
Fred Kavli with KICP faculty
Fred Kavli with KICP faculty
Fred Kavli was a powerful voice for the power of basic research to advance humankind and a dear friend of the KICP. His vision, passion and enthusiasm led to the creation and subsequent nurturing of the current family of seventeen Kavli Institutes. As we approach our 10th anniversary, we are very proud to be the third Kavli Institute established. We will miss Fred but have fond memories of our many interactions with him, especially his visits to Chicago and our Institute.

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom; Sean M. Carroll; James W. Cronin; Wayne Hu; Andrey V. Kravtsov; Stephan S. Meyer; Angela V. Olinto; Simon P. Swordy; Michael S. Turner; Monica Valluri; Bruce D. Winstein
 
Congratulations to Dr. Alissa Bans!
September 26, 2013
Dr. Alissa Bans
Dr. Alissa Bans
Congratulations to Alissa Bans for successfully defending her PhD dissertation on "Large-scale Magnetic Fields in Protoplanetary Disks."

Alissa has received a postdoctoral fellowship at the Adler Planetarium.

Related Links:
KICP Students: Alissa Bans
 
Congratulations to Dr. Abigail Crites!
August 30, 2013
Dr. Abigail Crites
Dr. Abigail Crites
Congratulations to Abigail Crites for successfully defending her PhD dissertation on "A Measurement of the Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization with SPTpol."

Abigail has received a KISS Postdoctoral Fellowship at Caltech.

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom
KICP Students: Abigail T. Crites
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Detection of B-mode Polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background with Data from the South Pole Telescope
July 23, 2013
FIG. 1: (Left panel): Wiener-filtered E-mode polarization measured by SPTpol at 150 GHz. (Center panel): Wiener-ltered CMB lensing potential inferred from CIB fluctuations measured by Herschel at 500 μm. (Right panel): Gravitational lensing B-mode estimate synthesized using Eq. (1). The lower left corner of each panel indicates the blue(-)/red(+) color scale.
FIG. 1: (Left panel): Wiener- filtered E-mode polarization measured by SPTpol at 150 GHz. (Center panel): Wiener- ltered CMB lensing potential inferred from CIB fluctuations measured by Herschel at 500 μm. (Right panel): Gravitational lensing B-mode estimate synthesized using Eq. (1). The lower left corner of each panel indicates the blue(-)/red(+) color scale.
Gravitational lensing of the cosmic microwave background generates a curl pattern in the observed polarization. This "B-mode" signal provides a measure of the projected mass distribution over the entire observable Universe and also acts as a contaminant for the measurement of primordial gravity-wave signals. In this letter we present the first detection of gravitational lensing B modes, using first-season data from the polarization-sensitive receiver on the South Pole Telescope (SPTpol). We construct a template for the lensing B-mode signal by combining E-mode polarization measured by SPTpol with estimates of the lensing potential from a Herschel-SPIRE map of the cosmic infrared background. We compare this template to the B modes measured directly by SPTpol, finding a non-zero correlation at 7.7 sigma significance. The correlation has an amplitude and scale-dependence consistent with theoretical expectations, is robust with respect to analysis choices, and constitutes the first measurement of a powerful cosmological observable.

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Related Links:
KICP Members: Bradford A. Benson; John E. Carlstrom; Clarence L. Chang; Thomas M. Crawford; Stephen Hoover; Jared Mehl; Stephan S. Meyer; Steve Padin; Kathryn K. Schaffer
KICP Students: Lindsey E. Bleem; Abigail T. Crites; Tyler Natoli; Kyle Story
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Congratulations to Dr. Christopher Williams!
June 25, 2013
Congratulations to Dr. Christopher Williams!
Congratulations to Christopher Williams for successfully defending his PhD dissertation on "A Search For Microwave Emission From Cosmic Ray Air Showers."

"The unsolved mystery of ultra-high energy cosmic rays demands a novel approach to the detection of these very rare particles. Chris - a natural-born experimentalist - has made an outstanding contribution with his thesis, by exploring the potential of microwave emission from extensive air showers through a series of careful and accurate measurements. He brought to life MIDAS, an exploratory detector currently taking data at the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, and MAYBE, an electron beam experiment at the Argonne National Laboratory. Measurements performed by these instruments are the most precise of a world-wide campaign to detect microwave emission from cosmic rays."
- Paolo Privitera, PhD advisor

Christopher has received a fellow position at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (Stanford).

Related Links:
KICP Members: Paolo Privitera
KICP Students: Christopher Williams
Scientific projects: Microwave Detection of Air Showers (MIDAS)
 
Daniel Grin will bring his NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship to the KICP
June 18, 2013
Daniel Grin will bring his NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship to the KICP
Daniel Grin is interested in a variety of topics in theoretical cosmology and astrophysics, including cosmological recombination, inflationary perturbations, distortions of the CMB blackbody, isocurvature fluctuations, primordial/non-primordial CMB non-Gaussianity and its optimal statistical estimation, the cosmic microwave background more generally, axions, dark matter halo profiles, dynamical processes near the galactic center, resonant friction/relaxation, nonstandard thermal histories for the early universe, modifications to general relativity, gravitational lensing, and Lyman limit absorbers.

Daniel received an undergraduate degree in Physics from Princeton University in 2003, a Master of Studies degree in Philosophy from Oxford in 2004, and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology in 2010, after which he has been a 3-year postdoctoral member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. As an NSF fellow Daniel will continue his research program and develop an astronomy outreach effort for Chicago senior citizens. When not doing physics, Daniel enjoys playing the cello, spending time outdoors, reading, exploring Chicago, and spending time with his wife and daughter.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Daniel Grin
 
Congratulations to Dr. Denis Erkal!
May 31, 2013
Congratulations to Dr. Denis Erkal!
Congratulations to Denis Erkal for successfully defending his PhD dissertation on "Investigating the Physics and Environment of Lyman Limit Systems in Cosmological Simulations."

"In his thesis Denis Erkal has modelled circumgalactic gas using state of the art cosmological simulations and compared model results with existing observations. Such comparisons provide unique and valuable information about how galaxies have assembled their baryonic mass and stellar feedback processes that accompany this assembly."
- Andrey Kravtsov, PhD advisor

Related Links:
KICP Members: Nickolay Y. Gnedin; Andrey V. Kravtsov
KICP Students: Denis Erkal
 
Kyle Story has been selected for a Dissertation Year Fellowship
May 31, 2013
Kyle Story has been selected for a Dissertation Year Fellowship
Kyle Story has been selected for a William Rainey Harper Dissertation Fellowship for the 2013-14 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, is given in recognition of your record of achievement and professional promise. The Harper Dissertation Fellowship provides a stipend of $10,000. The stipend will be disbursed in three equal parts at the start of the autumn, winter, and spring quarters.

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom
KICP Students: Kyle Story
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope (SPT)
 
Congratulations to Dr. Lindsey Bleem!
May 28, 2013
Congratulations to Dr. Lindsey Bleem!
Congratulations to Lindsey Bleem for successfully defending her PhD dissertation on "A Multi-Wavelength Study of Optically Selected Galaxy Clusters from the Blanco Cosmology Survey."

"After making critical contributions to every aspect of the 10m South Pole Telescope (SPT) program, from testing the initial detectors at Chicago, optimizing the performance of the telescope at the South Pole, analyzing the cosmic microwave background data and leading the optical follow up observations and analysis, Lindsey's thesis has taken the first major step in the joint analysis of the SPT and optical survey data sets. This work thoroughly explores the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich signal of an optical selected sample of galaxy clusters, laying the groundwork and identifying the challenges for obtaining precision dark energy constraints from the much anticipated joint analysis of the SPT data with the upcoming optical data from the Dark Energy Survey."
- John Carlstrom, PhD advisor

Lindsey has received a Director's Fellowship at the Argonne National Laboratory.

Related Links:
KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom
KICP Students: Lindsey E. Bleem
 
Congratulations to Dr. Matthew Becker!
May 16, 2013
Congratulations to Dr. Matthew Becker!
Congratulations to Matthew Becker for successfully defending his PhD dissertation on "CALCLENS: Weak Lensing Simulations for Large-Area Sky Surveys and Second-Order Effects in Cosmic Shear Power Spectra."

"Matt's thesis work, in which he has developed a novel algorithm of computing distorsions of galaxy images using data from cosmological simulations, significantly advances our ability to make realistic theoretical predictions for upcoming wide area surveys aiming to map matter distribution in the universe on large scales."
- Andrey Kravtsov, PhD advisor

Matthew has received a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University.

Related Links:
KICP Members: Andrey V. Kravtsov
KICP Students: Matthew Becker
 
The first COUPP-60 bubble at SNOLAB
May 1, 2013
The first COUPP-60 bubble at SNOLAB
Stereoscopic view of the first COUPP-60 bubble at SNOLAB. Visible on the sides are the strings of piezoelectric sensors used to discriminate between alpha radioactivity and nuclear recoils like those expected from dark matter interactions.

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Related Links:
KICP Members: Juan I. Collar
Scientific projects: Chicagoland Observatory for Underground Particle Physics (COUPP)