Workshops & Events
The Future of Cosmological Physics: Rocky Kolb & Wayne Hu
January 6, 2016 | ERC 161 | 3:00 PM
Chicago scientists brought together the fields of particle physics and cosmology. This merger of the very big and the very small now underpins both disciplines. A series of special Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics colloquia addresses the future of cosmology and celebrates the opening of the Eckhardt Center and the 125th anniversary of the University of Chicago.

All talks will take place in the Eckhardt Auditorium, 3-5PM, with discussion and reception to follow.

October 7, 2015

October 14, 2015

January 6, 2016 | Video

March 30, 2016
  • Josh Frieman, "Cosmic Surveys"
  • Andrey Kravtsov, "Structure Formation"

June 1, 2016
  • Scott Dodelson, "Cosmic Coda"

Physics colloquium: Stephan Meyer, University of Chicago, "First results from the Fermilab Holometer testing space-time correlations at the Planck scale"
January 7, 2016 | KPTC 106 | 4:00 PM
I will describe the first measurement of high-frequency differential arm length fluctuations using the Fermilab Holometer, a pair of co-located 39 m long, high power Michelson interferometers. The instrument obtains differential position sensitivity to cross-correlated signal in a broad frequency band extending above the 3.8 MHz free spectral range of the apparatus. A model of universal exotic spatial shear correlations that matches the Plank scale holographic information bound of space-time position states is excluded to 4.6 sigma significance.

Science on the Screen: "The Martian" Film Screening and Discussion with UChicago planetary science experts
January 9, 2016 | Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall | 6:30 PM
Watch a screening of 'The Martian' and join the discussion afterwards about Mars, icy moons and exoplanets with University of Chicago geophysical and planetary scientists Edwin Kite and Mohit Melwani Daswani moderated by Andy Davis, Chair and Professor of the Department of Geophysical Sciences.

Following are some of the topics and questions the panel will address:

Galactic cosmic radiation
Why is the air thin? (dust storm; launch of Mars Ascent Vehicle)
Why Watney is on Mars? (sample return vs. in-situ analysis)
Soil chemistry (growing potatoes)
Robot-human interaction (do we need humans?)

Pedro M.P. Raposo, Adler Planetarium, "Astronomy between solemnity and spectacle: the Adler Planetarium and the Chicago world exhibitions of 1893 and 1933-4"
January 15, 2016 | John Hope Franklin Room (Social Sciences 224) | 4:00 PM
The Fishbein Workshop in the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science
Chicago hosted two epoch-making world exhibitions: the World´s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933-4. Astronomy was well represented at the Columbian Exposition, with an exhibit about the US Naval Observatory, and a significant number of astronomical instruments, photographs, drawings and publications on display at the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building. But it was even more prominent in the Century of Progress Exposition. The latter opened with a spectacular stunt in which light from the star Arcturus was used to turn on the lights of the exposition. A building named Hall of Science hosted exhibitions covering several branches of scientific knowledge, but astronomy had its focal point in the Adler Planetarium, which had been inaugurated in 1930. Concerned about the new institution becoming a mere venue for scientific entertainment, the founders of the Adler Planetarium had purchased a remarkable collection of antique scientific instruments. By doing so, they hoped that the Planetarium would rank alongside with the leading science museums in Europe. Century of Progress provided an opportunity for the Adler Planetarium to seek an appropriate balance between spectacle and cultural credibility, while affirming itself as a full-fledged astronomy museum. In this paper I will address the ways astronomy was presented in the 1893 and 1933-4 world exhibitions, in order to analyze i) the opportunities and challenges involved in the rise of modern planetaria, and particularly in the establishment of the Adler Planetarium, the first institution of its kind in America; ii) more generally, the role of planetaria and world exhibitions in shaping a public image for astronomy and astrophysics.

Pedro M. P. Raposo is a curator at Adler Planetarium, Chicago. He holds a doctoral degree in History of Science by the University of Oxford. Prior to his appointment at the Adler Planetarium, Pedro was an education and outreach officer at the Astronomical Observatory of Lisbon; a Magellan Scholar at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford; a research associate of the Oxford Museum of the History of Science; a post-doctoral fellow at the CIUHCT - Inter-University Centre for the History of Science and Technology, Lisbon; an associate lecturer at the University of Lisbon; and a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. Pedro’s current research interests include the history of celestial cartography, the history of modern planetaria, and the material culture of timekeeping.

Computations in Science Seminar: Carlo Graziani, University of Chicago, "The Biermann Catastrophe in Numerical MHD"
February 3, 2016 | KPTC 206 | 12:15 PM
The Biermann Battery effect is frequently invoked in cosmic magnetogenesis and in High-Energy Density laboratory physics experiments. Unfortunately, it has recently been noticed that direct implementations of the Biermann effect in MHD codes produce unphysical magnetic fields at shocks, whose value does not converge with resolution. This convergence breakdown, which has affected all Eulerian and Lagrangian MHD codes implementing the Biermann effect, is due to naive discretization, which fails to account for the fact that discretized irrotational vector fields have spurious solenoidal components that grow without bound near a discontinuity. I show that careful consideration of the kinetics of ion viscous shocks leads to a formulation of the Biermann effect that gives rise to a convergent algorithm. I also note a novel physical effect: a resistive magnetic precursor in which Biermann-generated field in the shock "leaks" resisti! vely upst ream. The effect appears to be potentially observable in experiments at laser facilities.

Francis Halzen, "Ice Fishing for Neutrinos"
February 9, 2016 | School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 112 South Michigan Ave., MacLean Ballroom | 6:00 PM
Francis Halzen, Principal Investigator for IceCube
Francis Halzen, 2015-2016 Brinson Lecturer

Francis Halzen is a theoretical physicist who works at the interface of particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. He is the Principal Investigator for IceCube, the world's largest neutrino detector, the Director of the Institute for Elementary Particle Physics, and the Hilldale and Gregory Breit Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Among his recent honours are the 2015 Balzan Prize, the European Physical Society Prize for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology in 2015; the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for Physical Sciences in 2014; the Physics World Breakthrough of the Year Award for making the first observation of cosmic neutrinos; and the International Hemholtz Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany.

2015-2016 Brinson Lecture: "Ice Fishing for Neutrinos"
IceCube is a strange telescope which looks down rather then up. It is located at the South Pole and it is BIG (a cubic kilometer) with eighty-six holes over 1.5 miles deep melted into the Antarctic icecap. IceCube recently discovered a flux of neutrinos reaching us from deep in the cosmos, with energies more than a million times greater then those humans can produce in accelerators. These energetic neutrinos are astronomical messengers from some of the most violent processes in the universe including: starbursts, giant black holes gobbling up stars in the heart of quasars and gamma-ray bursts, the biggest explosions since the Big Bang. We will explore the IceCube telescope, its recent scientific results, and working at the South Pole.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

LIGO update on the search for gravitational waves
February 11, 2016 | ERC 161 | 9:30 AM
Dear Colleagues,

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Albert Einstein's prediction of the existence of gravitational waves, which are ripples in the fabric of spacetime. The advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has been designed to search for these waves, and has just finished its first science run.

We will be hosting an event to provide an update on efforts to detect gravitational waves. The event will begin with a live stream of a press conference hosted by the National Science Foundation, immediately followed by a Q&A panel led by Associate Professor and LIGO member Daniel Holz and featuring Ben Farr, McCormick Postdoctoral Fellow in the Enrico Fermi Institute; Hsin-Yu Chen, graduate student in the Astronomy & Astrophysics; and Zoheyr Doctor, graduate student in Physics.

I hope you are able to join us for coffee and a live stream of a press conference and the discussion.

Rocky Kolb
*Dean of the Physical Sciences*

Physics colloquium: Daniel Holz, University of Chicago, "Update on LIGO and Gravitational Waves"
February 11, 2016 | KPTC 106 | 4:00 PM
Image credit: LIGO Laboratory
Physics Colloquium at 4 pm February KPTC 106: KICP member Daniel Holz will speak, "Update on LIGO and Gravitational Waves"

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Albert Einstein’s prediction of the existence of gravitational waves. The advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has been designed to search for these waves. We will provide an update.

C2ST Speakeasy: Ritoban Basu Thakur, "Dark Matter -- The Dark Path to our Being"
February 16, 2016 | Geek Bar Chicago, 1941 W North Avenue, 60622 Chicago, IL | 7:00 PM
Dr. Ritoban Basu Thakur
Everything we see today, our precious atoms and molecules, got here by traveling on swaths dark matter. From the oscillations of the hot plasma of the primordial universe, to the formation and dynamics of modern galaxies, dark matter plays a necessary role. The very construct in which we sit is defined by its abundance. Our universe’s evolution is controlled tightly by a cosmic tug-of-war between dark matter and dark energy. Thus understanding dark matter is not only important to explain the past and the present, but also the future trajectory of our universe. It has been over 80 years since its discovery, and we have yet to “see” dark matter directly. This talk will discuss how we came to know about dark matter and the multitude of concordant observations. Next, we will discuss our best ideas regarding the nature of dark matter and detection strategies being pursued world-wide.

Dr. Ritoban Basu Thakur is an experimental cosmologist at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP), at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on understanding early universe physics by precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background, and progressing experimental techniques toward terrestrial detection of dark matter. To this end, he is developing novel detectors and analyzing observational data collected via these detectors. Dr. Basu Thakur obtained his PhD in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. The crux of his PhD research, on dark matter, was carried out at the Fermilab Center for Particle Atrophysics. He was URA fellow and graduate student association officer at Fermilab. He got his B.S. in Physics, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa (liberal arts and sciences) from Dickinson College.

C2ST Speakeasy is held on the first and third Tuesdays of every month. Attendance is free, but registration is strongly encouraged. To register, click HERE. Seating is first come, first serve, and registration does not guarantee a seat.

This program is presented in partnership with Geek Bar Chicago

People under 21 are welcome at Geek Bar until 9:00pm. (See Geek Bar's age policy)

Food and beverages are available for purchase.

KICP workshop: "Cosmology Using Low Resolution Spectroscopy in the 2020s"
February 16 - 17, 2016 | Chicago, IL
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting a workshop "Cosmology Using Low Resolution Spectroscopy in the 2020s" on February 16-17, 2016. The goal of this workshop is to evaluate the cosmological impact of future wide field low-resolution spectroscopic surveys. All of the top surveys will be represented, and the many cosmological studies that these surveys will allow will be discussed.

Winter 2016 Postdocs Symposium
February 19, 2016 | ERC 401 | 9:00 AM
9:00 - 9:30
9:30 - 9:55
Elise Jennings
9:55 - 10:20
Faustin Carter
10:20 - 10:45
Austin Joyce
10:45 - 11:00
Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:25
Vinu Vikman
11:25 - 11:50
Nan Li, "Applications of the Simulations of Gravitational Lensing in Cosmology"
1:50 - 12:15
Toshihiro Fujii, "UHECR Astrophysics: Present and Perspectives"

KICP workshop: Next-Generation Techniques for Ultra-High Energy (UHE) Astroparticle Physics
February 29 - March 2, 2016 | Chicago, IL
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting a workshop this winter on the Next-Generation Techniques for Ultra-High Energy (UHE) Astroparticle Physics. The origin of the most energetic particles in the universe could be related to extremely energetic astronomical phenomena or other exotic processes, such as the decay of the super-heavy dark matter in the halo of our galaxy or topological defects created in an early phase of the development of the universe. In order to clarify their origin, it is essential to develop next-generation techniques for detection of their particles by large amounts of statistics. The workshop will address the road map and near-future prospects of cosmic rays and neutrinos above the PeV scale. Included topics are reviews of the latest results, upcoming detectors and techniques, and related theory topics. The anticipated structure is a series of presentations with ample time for discussion and working sessions.