Talks & Events
Workshops & Events: 2012
Broader Horizons: Jeff Bezaire, Jump Trading
The Broader Horizons talk series aims to educate members of the department, especially students and postdocs, on what career options lie outside of academia by bringing those with astronomy and physics PhDs to speak about their careers.
Next week as part of this series, we'll be hosting Jeff Bezaire from Jump Trading who will be speaking about his work as a quantitative trader.
As a "quant" working at an electronic trading firm, I develop models and strategies for fully automated, computerized trading of futures and equities in electronic markets around the world. In this talk I'll describe what I do, different roles for quants in finance and trading (and in particular in Chicago), and why physics/astrophysics grads are particularly good at it. The short answer - teasing causal relationships out of large datasets with time-varying, non-Gaussian noise, horrible non-stationary correlated systematics, from telemetry of questionable quality, where understanding what's going on at the hardware level is important... and making it all run fast too.
Meg Urry, Yale University, "Women in Science: Why So Few?"
The PSD Women in Science, the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, and the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics invite you to a seminar by Prof. Meg Urry from Yale University on: Women in Science: Why So Few?
on Wednesday January 18th, at 12pm noon at Kent 120.
Talk: Women in Science: Why So Few?
Women continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The gender imbalance is particularly large in Physics, where fewer than 20% of college physics majors are women. Decades of research suggest this is due in large part to lower expectations and evaluations of women as leaders, thinkers, do-ers. I discuss the experimental data and outline steps that can be taken to mitigate these obstacles. Fuller participation is better for the field and better for everyone.
Speaker: Prof. Meg Urry
Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Chair, Department of Physics
Director, Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics
SWIP Pizza with Professors
The Society of Women in Physics (SWIP) at the University of Chicago is partnering with the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) to hold a dinner for undergraduate students interested in physics. Professors and Postdocs will join students for a pizza dinner and roundtable discussion about the joys and stresses of pursing a career in physics.
Broader Horizons: Kim Coble, Chicago State University, " Teaching and Research at an Urban Comprehensive University"
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a faculty member at a minority-serving institution? A teaching-focused university? A state-funded organization? I will describe what led me to become interested in such a position, some of the thrills and challenges, as well as the requirements for landing the job and earning tenure. As a member of the AAS astronomy education board, I will provide tips and information on how to make your astronomy teaching more engaging and effective. Finally, I will briefly discuss the importance of astronomy education research and what led me to become involved in a project targeting student understanding of cosmology.
Astronomy Open House
Please note that you are all invited to the Wine and Cheese Reception which begins
at 4:30 pm.
We will have 12 visitors, visiting with us tomorrow. They are as follows:
Kate Alexander (Brown University)
Megan Bedell (Haverford College)
Ross Cawthon (Carleton College)
Emily Cunningham (Haverford College)
Michael Eastwood (William Marsh Rice University)
Adam Greenberg (Columbia University)
Xinyi Guo (Pomona College)
Lea Hirsch (Cornell University)
Jia Liang (UCSD)
Sean Mills (Caltech)
Ian Remming (University of Rochester)
Evan Sinukoff (McMaster University)
EFI Colloquium: Rainer Weiss, MIT on behalf of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, "Current State and Prospects for LIGO"
The talk will include:
Winter 2012 Postdocs Symposium
On Thursday 15 March, we will host the next Postdoc symposium in the LASR conference room. It will take place from 1.30 pm to 5 pm. There will be food and snacks in the beginning and pizza at the end.
KICP Supernova Hub workshop: "Photometric Identification of Supernova"
The workshop will focus on methods for identifying type Ia Supernvae (SNIa) without spectroscopy. The emphasis will be on using these photometric SNIa for Hubble Diagram analyses in PannStarrs, the Dark Energy Survey (DES) and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST).
Blowing up a mountain for the GMT
Construction continues on the Giant Magellan Telescope. The next event is the first blasting for the leveling of the top of the mountain to prepare the site for the telescope.
On Friday, March 23, at 01:00 PM, Chilean Time, (11 am Central time), the First Blast (Big Bang event), will take place at Las Campanas Observatory.
The live streaming is provided thanks to the courtesy and close collaboration of the US Embassy in Chile.
A&A @ 2012 NSTA National Conference on Science Education "At the Crossroads for Science Education"
EFI Colloquium: Don Lamb, Enrico Fermi Institute and the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, "Scientific Discovery Through Large-Scale Computer Simulations: Type Ia Supernovae and High Energy Density Physics Experiments"
The Flash Center for Computational Science is the developer of FLASH, a highly capable, fully modular and extensible radiation-hydrodynamics/MHD community code that scales to well over a hundred thousand processors. FLASH is currently being used to simulate phenomena range of scientific fields, including astrophysics, cosmology, computational fluid dynamics, plasma physics, and high energy density physics (HEDP). I first describe the challenges of exascale computing, and the Center's strategic plan for taking FLASH to the exascale. I then describe the Center's discovery of an entirely new explosion mechanism for Type Ia (thermonuclear-powered) supernovae, and its program to validate current models of these events using simulations and high-quality observational data from the SDSS Supernova Survey and the Dark Energy Survey. Finally, I describe the Center's collaboration with the High Energy Density Laboratory Astrophysics Group at the University of Oxford to use FLASH to help design, execute, and analyze HEDP experiments that are transforming our understanding of the generation and amplification of cosmic magnetic fields, and the properties of matter in the interiors of planets.
Chicagoland and Midwest Dark Matter Workshop
Argonne, Fermilab and KICP will host a one day Chicagoland and Midwest Dark Matter Workshop with the goal of bringing together the collider, indirect and direct DM communities. The workshop is geared towards persons interested in Dark Matter who live within a 4-5 hr drive of Chicago. The workshop will be held in the Curia II conference room in Wilson Hall at Fermi National Laboratory.
Questions to discuss:
* What are the strengths and weakness of each approach to DM?
* Where do the different approaches complement each other in a way that provides more information than each individually?
* What are the prospects for making progress with each technique over the next decade?
* How can we build a larger community that can argue effectively for DM experiments leading up to the Snowmass 2013 meeting?
Dan Bauer, Karen Byrum, Juan Collar, Dan Green, Salman Habib, Dan Hooper, Alexander Paramonov, Carlos Wagner, Ben Zitzer.
"Non-Gaussianity Hub" workshop
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago will host Non-Gaussianity Hub workshop on April 19-21, 2012. We plan to bring together theorists and data analysts in this 3-day workshop on non-Gaussianity to consolidate the recent progress and discuss future efforts. We expect attendance by about 30 worldwide leaders in the field of non-Gaussianity.
Come to the workshop with your constraint on f_NL not worrying about systematics or uncertainties in the other cosmological parameters and work on the analysis of simulations:
* How would the systematics enter?
* What about inflationary input?
* Model -> observables?
John Carlstrom, "Exploring the Universe from the Bottom of the World"
Astronomy Lecture presented by Dr. John Carlstrom
We are in the middle of a revolution in our understanding of the Universe. We can finally begin to answer questions such as "How old is the Universe? How did it start? What is the Universe made of? Cosmologists at the University of Chicago have been searching for answers to these questions in one of the most forbidding places on Earth: the high Antartica plateau. Dr John Carlstrom will speak about new measurements being carried out with the 10-m South Pole Telescope to test the inflation theory of the origin of the Universe and to investigate the nature of Dark Energy. The South Pole Telescope studies the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, the fossil light from the Big Bang, providing a direct view of the Universe as it was 14 billion years ago.
John E. Carlstrom is the Subramanyan Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and the deputy director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988. Dr. Carlstrom is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He has received several awards including a MacArthur Fellowship.
Cafe Scientifique: Brad Benson, "The Ends of the Earth & the Beginning of the Universe: The Big Bang, Dark Energy & the South Pole"
One hundred years ago humans first arrived at South Pole and for the past 20 or so years scientists have traveled there to build telescopes to study the early Universe. These experiments measure light left over from the Big Bang, the cosmic microwave background (CMB). They provide a unique snapshot of the infant Universe at a time when it was only ~400,000 years old, or 0.003% of its current age. These measurements and other evidence tell us that the Universe began with a Big Bang about 14 billion years ago, and that it contains only 4 percent "ordinary" matter (e.g., stars and galaxies, you and me, etc.). The rest of the Universe consists of two mysterious dark components: Dark Matter and Dark Energy. We will discuss evidence for the Big Bang, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy; the latest results from the South Pole, and what its like to work at the bottom of the world.
HEP seminar: Maria Monasor, University of Chicago, "Recent Results from the Pierre Auger Observatory"
The Pierre Auger Observatory is the largest instrument (with an extension of 3000 km2) ever built to study ultra-high energy cosmic rays. The observatory, completed in 2008, has already accumulated the world's largest data set of extensive air showers developed by ultra-high energy cosmic rays using a hybrid technique that exploits the advantages of two well-stablished detection procedures. Latest results including measurements of the energy spectrum, anisotropy in the arrival directions, mass composition and hadronic interactions will be presented.
RogerFest: Roger Hildebrand Colloquium
Please join us as we honor Roger Hildebrand on the occasion of his 90th birthday with a special EFI Colloquium and reception to be held Monday, May 7, 2012. The event will begin at 4:00 pm with coffee/tea/cookies in room 206 of the Kersten Physics Teaching Center, 5720 South Ellis Avenue, followed by a series of short presentations in the large lecture hall, KPTC 106, about different aspects of Roger's career. We will wrap up with a reception* following the talks. We hope you and your guest will be able to join us in celebrating Roger on this occasion.
Women in Science Symposium 2012: Big Ideas, Big Impact
Women in Science 2012: Big Ideas Big Impact, builds on the successful 2010 Women in Science: Building an Identity, during which more than 200 women scientists attended an exciting day of plenary talks, panel discussions and breakout sessions.
Specifically the Women in Science Symposium 2012 will focus on:
* Highlighting innovative, game-changing women in diverse science and engineering fields
* Discussing modern approaches to research practice, work-life balance, entrepreneurship and administration
* Providing meaningful opportunities for discourse and networking
Who should attend? This event will convene women scientists and engineers interested in sharing ideas and learning from leading women in - academia, industry, government, business and the nonprofit sectors - to share ideas and experiences critical for the 21st century.
Friday, May 11, 2012
School of the Art Institute of Chicago; 112 S. Michigan Avenue - 1st Floor Ballroom
5:30PM - 7:30PM Reception & Registration
7:00pm - Key Note Speaker - Alice Huang Senior Faculty Associate in Biology at the California Institute of Technology, and Past President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Northwestern University - Lurie Medical Center; 303 E Superior St., Chicago, IL
8:30am - 9:30am Registration & Continental Breakfast
9:30am - 4:00pm Full-Day Symposium
"The 4th Neutrino" workshop
The 4th Neutrino workshop will take place from Friday May 18th to Saturday May 19th in Chicago, IL. The workshop is being hosted by the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) in the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR) building at the University's of Chicago main campus in Hyde Park.
The main topics of the workshop are:
* Neutrino and Cosmic Microwave Background
* Neutrino and Big Bang Nucleosynthesis
* Current bounds on N_nu and Sum m_nu from cosmology
* Sterile Neutrinos in the Early Universe
* Sterile Neutrinos in Astrophysics
* Terrestrial "hints" for sterile neutrinos: short-baseline anomalies
* Reactor Neutrino Experiments
* Theoretical understanding of neutrinos from nuclear reactors
* Theoretical Models of neutrino mass
Broader Horizons: Francis Slakey, Georgetown University
Francis Slakey is the Upjohn Lecturer on Physics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and an Associate Director at the American Physical Society, where his focus is the intersection of science and society. The founder and co-director of the Program on Science in the Public Interest, a Lemelson Associate of the Smithsonian Institution, and a MacArthur Scholar, Dr. Slakey has been featured by NPR, National Geographic, and others, and his writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Slate, and Scientific American. In recognition of his adventures, he carried the Olympic Torch from the steps of the U.S. Capitol as part of the 2002 Olympic Games. In July of 2009 he became the first person to summit the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean.
"The Dark Energy Spectrometer" workshop
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago will host The Dark Energy Spectrometer workshop on May 30-31 to discuss DESpec, a conceptual next generation dark energy project to enable massive spectroscopic surveys in the southern hemisphere. It would naturally synergize with the Dark Energy Survey (DES), which will start taking data later this year, and with LSST in the longer term. The goal of this meeting is to review past and present work on DESpec and to make plans for how to proceed. We will briefly review the current state of the instrument design and then identify the next steps in the project, including describing the R&D necessary to proceed with theory, survey strategy, and instrument definition. The goal of the workshop will be to begin to assemble the DESpec team, define the project's mission statement, and plan how to proceed in the coming year.
Spring 2012 Postdocs Symposium
On Friday June 1, we will host the Spring Postdoc symposium in the LASR conference room. It will take place from from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM followed by lunch.
* Yuko Kakazu, "Deep Spectroscopy of High-redshift (4 < z < 6) galaxies in the COSMOS field"
* Suman Bhattacharya, "Dark Matter Halo Profiles of Massive Clusters: Theory vs. Observations"
* Jeff Grube, "VERITAS observations of Galactic particle accelerators"
* Maria Monasor, "Microwave detection of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays"
* Brad Benson, "SPT-3G: Building the Science Case and the Design for the Next Generation Camera on SPT"
* Stephen Hoover, "The Birth of SPTpol"
Special colloquium: Geoff Marcy, Honorary Degree Recipient, "ExoPlanets: From Jupiters to Earths"
New observations reveal the properties of exoplanets, from Jupiter-size to Earth-size. Observations give the distribution of planet sizes, their orbital distances, and their occurrence rate around stars of different types. Over 300 multiple-planet systems have recently been discovered, offering information on the structure and gravitational interactions within planetary systems. The Kepler space telescope is now detecting planets as small as Earth, and smaller. The detection of habitable planets having temperatures suitable for biology, 0-100C, is in reach.
Science in the Second City
You are cordially invited to attend the Chicago Council on Science and Technology's 2nd Annual Fundraiser "Science in the Second City"
The Evening's Events Include:
"Discovering Alien Worlds" by Astrophysicist Edward "Rocky" Kolb, Award Ceremony, Silent Auction, Cocktails and Plated Dinner.
* Tammie Souza, Meteorologist /Fox News
* Edward "Rocky" Kolb, Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Chicago
with special guest
Jacob Bean, Assistant Professor, Department of Geophysical Sciences and the College, University of Chicago
Summer School: Dark Matter Detectors
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago will host a Summer School on Dark Matter Detectors from July 11th to July 21st 2012. The aim of the School is to expose a select group of 15 to 20 graduate students to the challenges of designing, building, and operating both current and future dark matter detectors for searches conducted at underground laboratories. The School will provide the students a full-immersion, hands-on experience, with several labs exploring experimental techniques for dark matter detection. Planned experiments that students will be able to perform include: calibration of photon detectors, characterization of ultra-pure Germanium detectors, radiopurity determination through spectroscopic measurements, the art of fighting electronic noise, shielding techniques, measurement of a scintillator's quenching factor, particle detection with a bubble chamber and CCDs, and measurement of electroluminescence in noble gases. Data acquisition and simulation techniques will also be covered.
The School will be held in the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR) at the University of Chicago. A visit to Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), where the students will become familiar with noble liquid, bubble chamber and cryogenic detectors, is also included.
9th International Conference "Identification of Dark Matter"
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago will host the 9th International Conference "Identification of Dark Matter, 2012" in Chicago, USA on July 23-27, 2012. The conference will take place in downtown Chicago at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza.
The main topics of the conference are
* Dark matter candidates
* Dark matter direct searches
* Dark matter indirect searches
* Connections with accelerator searches
* Halo models and structure formation
* Weak lensing
* Neutrino physics
* Cosmology and dark energy
The conference will include both invited and contributed talks as well as a few more specialized sessions.
NASA Teleconference About Record-Breaking Galaxy Cluster
NASA will hold a media teleconference to discuss an extraordinary galaxy cluster that is smashing several important cosmic records.
The panelists are:
* Michael McDonald, Hubble Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
* Bradford Benson, astrophysicist, University of Chicago
* Megan Donahue, professor of astronomy, Michigan State University, East Lansing
* Martin Rees, professor of cosmology and astrophysics, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Bradford Benson: "The Ends of the Earth & the Beginning of the Universe: The Big Bang, Dark Energy & the South Pole"
One hundred years ago humans first arrived at South Pole and for the past 20 or so years scientists have traveled there to build telescopes to study the early Universe. These experiments measure light left over from the Big Bang, the cosmic microwave background (CMB). They provide a unique snapshot of the infant Universe at a time when it was only ~400,000 years old, or 0.003% of its current age. These measurements and other evidence tell us that the Universe began with a Big Bang about 14 billion years ago, and that it contains only 4 percent "ordinary" matter (e.g., stars and galaxies, you and me, etc.). The rest of the Universe consists of two mysterious dark components: Dark Matter and Dark Energy. I will discuss evidence for the Big Bang, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy; the latest results from the South Pole, and what its like to work at the bottom of the world.
Cosmology Short Course "Dark Matters"
The past twenty years have brought enormous advances in our understanding of the Universe. Evidence from multiple forms of investigation including: precise measurements of the CMB, supernovae, statistical studies of the structures of the Universe, gravitational lensing, baryon acoustic oscillations, theory and phenomenalogical simulations all point to the same concordance model: a Universe that started with a big bang and then went through a brief period of superluminal growth (i.e. inflation); which is currently expanding at an accelerated rate and has a matter energy composition of:
However nice and neat this picture is, it remains full of unknowns. This short course will explore in depth one of the major mysteries on which this model rests: dark matter. It will provide you with the current big cosmological picture, gritty details of the on going searches for dark matter, stories from the forefronts of research and resources that will help you to bring dark matter back to your home institution in a meaningful way. You will meet the individuals behind the headlines and the course format will provide abundant time for informal interactions with them and your peers.
Beyond the big picture and how dark matter fits into this picture, we will delve much deeper into this mysterious stuff that comprises almost a quarter of the universe. We will explore the evidence for the existence of dark matter, what models and experimental evidence point to as potential candidates for the particles that compose dark matter, and how dark matter might be detected. Dark matter detection and detector hardware will be a special focus of this course. We will explore direct detection, indirect detection, accelerator searchers (i.e.., producing it in an accelerator and then detecting the decay particles) and the hardware that makes these searchers possible.
EFI Colloquium: Fred Ciesla, "Planetesimal Collisions During the Birth of the Solar System"
Collisions between small bodies were frequent and energetic events during planet formation. Our recent work has shown that such events likely played important roles in the early physical and chemical evolution of asteroids and meteorite parent bodies. By understanding how impacts shaped meteorite parent bodies, we may be able to constrain the early dynamical evolution of the solar system and models for terrestrial planet formation.
2012 Brinson Lecture: David Charbonneau, "The Fast Track to Find an Inhabited Exoplanet"
David Charbonneau, 2012 Brinson Lecturer
David Charbonneau is a professor of astronomy at Harvard University. He led the first studies of the compositions of exoplanets and of their atmospheres, and he is a member of the NASA Kepler Mission to find Earth-like planets. Dr. Charbonneau has received numerous awards for his research, including the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and he was named Scientist of the Year by Discover Magazine.
2012 Brinson Lecture: "The Fast Track to Find an Inhabited Exoplanet"
Are there inhabited worlds other than our own? Although humans have pondered this for generations, this is the first time that we have the technological ability to answer it. In the past year astronomers have found the first Earth-sized worlds orbiting other Suns, and the first exoplanets with the right temperature for liquid water. If we can study the atmospheres of such planets, we can search for the telltale molecular fingerprints of life.
This event is co-sponsored by the University of Chicago and the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum.
Annual Gala Astronomy Welcome Reception
Friends and family are invited.
76th Compton Lecture Series: Thomas Davison, "Constructing the Solar System: A Smashing Success"
The history of the Solar System is one of the oldest subjects studied by scientists - and one in which we still don't have all the answers. We now have a reasonable understanding of how the Sun and the planets formed, but there are still some parts of the story that are unexplained. Recent advances in numerical modeling, experimental techniques and astronomical observations are leading to a more thorough understanding of our Solar System's origins. Dr. Davison will discuss the current state of our understanding of the formation and evolution of the Solar System, with a particular emphasis on the fundamental role of high velocity impact processes. This is a diverse subject that encompasses elements of physics, chemistry, geology and astronomy. The discussions will cover the formation of our Sun, the building of the planets, and the effects of impacts throughout the history of the Solar System.
KICP Welcome Reception
Join the KICP as we welcome the start of a New Academic Year.
John Carlstrom, "Exploring the Universe from the Bottom of the World"
Speaker: John Carlstrom, PhD., Professor at the Departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Physics, and the Enrico Fermi Institute; and Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago
Abstract: Our quest to understand the origin, evolution and make-up of the Universe has undergone dramatic and surprising advances over the last decades. Much of the progress has been driven by measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation, the fossil light from the big bang, that provide a glimpse of the Universe as it was 14 billion years ago. By studying tiny variations in the background radiation, cosmologists have been able to test theories of the origin and evolution of the Universe, as well as determine that ordinary matter (the stuff that makes up stars and humans alike) accounts for a mere 4% of the density of the Universe, that the mysterious dark matter accounts for six times that amount, and that a still-elusive and poorly understood “dark energy” is required to make up the remaining 70% of the Universe. After reviewing how we have arrived at such startling conclusions, this talk will focus on new measurements being carried out with the 10-meter South Pole Telescope to test theories of the origin of the Universe and to investigate the nature of mysterious dark energy.
Webcast with Josh Frieman, "Can a New Camera Unravel the Nature of Dark Energy?"
ONE OF THE MOST AMBITIOUS astronomical surveys in history will soon begin to answer perhaps the biggest question in cosmology: Why is the universe expanding at an ever accelerating rate? On Sept. 12, a new powerful camera on the Victor M. Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile saw First Light. The milestone paves the way for survey operations to begin in December.
The Dark Energy Camera, constructed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois and equipped with 570 megapixels, is expected to image 300 million galaxies, 100,000 galaxy clusters and 4,000 supernovae as far as 8 billion light years away during the five-year Dark Energy Survey. The multinational project will use the data it collects to study four probes of dark energy, the mysterious and unexplained force driving the accelerated expansion of the universe. They include the study of galaxy clusters, supernovae, the large-scale clumping of galaxies and weak gravitational lensing - the phenomenon by which the light from distant galaxies is stretched and magnified by foreground clusters of galaxies. More than 120 scientists from 23 institutions in the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Germany are involved in the Dark Energy Survey. On Friday Oct. 12, science writer Bruce Lieberman will ask questions from the public about the survey and the new camera that will drive it in a roundtable interview with Joshua Frieman, director of the survey and a member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago, and Brenna Flaugher, project manager at Fermilab for the Dark Energy Camera.
Sackler colloquium: "Dark Matter Universe: On the Threshhold of Discovery"
Organized by Michael S. Turner, Roger D. Blandford, Edward W. Kolb, and Maria Spiropulu
Co-Sponsored by the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago
The dark matter problem today is central to astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics. The leading particle candidates for the dark matter are the Weakly Interacting Massive Particle or WIMP and the ultra-light axion. The WIMP is strongly motivated by supersymmetry and detectable by three separate means: production at a particle accelerator, direct detection of the WIMPs that comprise our Galactic halo, and indirect detection by the annihilation products of WIMPs.
With the ramping up of LHC operations, the increased sensitivity of direct detection experiments and new "telescopes" like Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS, IceCube, and the Payload for Antimatter-Matter Exploration and Light nuclei Astrophysics PAMELA that can detect WIMP annihilation products, the next decade is set to be the time of truth for the WIMP hypothesis. Foreshadowing this, there have been recent claims of detection by both the direct and indirect methods spurring new theoretical ideas, much discussion and productive confusion! This timely symposium will bring together the astronomers and physicists, the observers and the experimenters, the phenomenologists and the theorists to assess the present situation and plan for the future.
Cafe Scientifique: Elbert Huang, "Healthcare Reform: The Intersection of Science and Money"
Will health reform make us healthier & happier? Will it reduce costs? The design and study of health care policies.
Grad student mini-conference
The second year graduate students in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics will be presenting some of their recent and proposed research projects in a mini-conference Wednesday Dec 5 from 9:30 to 12:30. You are all invited to come participate in this event.
The talks will be in the LASR conference room. The talks will be 25 min with a few minutes for questions. Note there will be coffee, tea, and light snacks during a break from 10:30 to 11:00. It is perfectly fine to plan to pop in and out as your schedule allows.
Fall 2012 Postdocs Symposium
On Thursday 6 December, we will host the Fall 2012 Postdoc symposium in the LASR conference room. It will take place from 10AM pm to 12:30PM. After the talks, we will all have pizza for lunch.
(20-minute talk, with ~5 minutes for questions)
Physics with a Bang
Students, families, teachers and especially the curious are invited to attend our annual Holiday Lecture and Open House. See fast, loud, surprising and beautiful physics demos performed by Profs. Heinrich Jaeger and Sidney Nagel. Talk to scientists about their latest discoveries. Participate in hands-on activities related to their research.
Lecture repeated at 11am and 2pm
Open House and Demo Alley from 12pm-4pm
Joe Carson, College of Charleston, "Discovery and Characterization of the 'Super-Jupiter' Around the Late B-Type Star Kap And"
I present the direct imaging discovery, and follow-up characterization, of the 'Super-Jupiter' around the B9-type star Kap And. Orbiting at a projected separation of 55 AU, the newly discovered super-Jupiter has a model-dependent mass ~12.8 Jupiter masses, and a temperature ~1700 K. The object was discovered over the course of the Subaru SEEDS survey. The host star's estimated mass (2.4-2.5 Msun) places it among the most massive stars ever known to harbor an extrasolar planet or low mass brown dwarf. In addition to summarizing system characteristics, I discuss some of the implications for planet formation as well as ongoing photometric and spectroscopic observations.
Special EFI Seminar: Duncan Brown, Syracuse University "Gravitational Waves: A New Frontier in 21st Century Astrophysics"
Special EFI Seminar: Pedro Facal, University of Chicago, "Radio-detection of ultra high energy cosmic rays"
The detection of ultra high energy cosmic rays using microwave radiation is a promising technique that could be used to complement and expand the capabilities of cosmic ray observatories. The Pierre Auger collaboration is running an ambitious R&D program to study the microwave emission in air showers and to determine if it will be a viable road for a future observatory expansion. I will review this program, focusing on MIDAS, our prototype telescope that, after a successful run at Chicago, is now installed at the Auger Observatory in Malargue. I will also show how what we have learned in R&D projects for ultra high energy cosmic rays can be put to good use for the study of lower energy cosmic rays and, especially, gamma rays.
Special EFI Seminar: Abigail Vieregg, Harvard University "Exploring the Ultra-High Energy Universe through Radio Detection Techniques"
Special EFI Seminar: Stefan Ballmer, Syracuse University "Promise and Challenges of Future Gravitational-Wave Observatories"
Special EFI Seminar: Naoko Kurahashi Neilson, University of Wisconsin "Searches for Astronomical Neutrino Sources with IceCube"
Yerkes Winter Institute: Vision
Lab Instructors: Dylan Hatt, Alissa Bans, Juan Collar, Walter Glogowski, Randy Landsberg, Tongyan Lin, Sean Mills, and Denis Erkal (lab development).
The 2012 Yerkes Winter Institute focused on the eye and how the world is perceived through vision. Three daytime laboratories that explored different aspects of human vision formed the core of the institute:
Critical Flicker Factor,
Stop Motion Video,
In the Critical Flicker Factor lab the students investigated the differences between rods and cones, the two types of photoreceptors within the eye; this included the perception of color and detail, and the minimum response time to notice a changing stimulus. The Stop Motion Video lab explored this finite response time and how it influences our perception of motion. In the lab, students determined the limits of frame rates and applied this to the creation of stop-motion videos based on scientific principles and phenomena (see videos). While human vision encompasses only a small portion of electromagnetic spectrum, some animals can take advantage of a greater range, which students studied through experiments with the infrared and ultraviolet in the Alien Vision lab. Poor weather did not permit telescope observations but everyone enjoyed other evening activities including a video showcase of the students' own stop motion productions.
Nineteen (19) Space Explorers and seven (7) instructors were in residence at the Institute, and thirty-five (35) parents, siblings and family members joined the last day of the institute for the student presentations and the closing ceremony.