Department News
John Carlstrom has received 2015 Gruber Cosmology Prize
August 6, 2015
The 2015 Gruber Cosmology Prize awards ceremony was held at the opening session of the XXIX General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Honolulu, which included speeches by NSF Director France Cordova; David, Ige, the Governor of Hawaii; Kirk Caldwell, Mayor of Honolulu; and the IAU General Secretary, Thierry Montmerle. In the accompanying photo, Prof. of Astronomy & Astrophysics John Carlstrom is awarded his portion of the prize from Wendy Freedman (UChicago University Professor, previous Gruber Prize winner and Chair of the Gruber Advisory Committee). Patricia Gruber, Chairwoman of the Board of the Gruber Foundation is at the Podium. Carlstrom's co-winners of this year's prize, Jeremiah Ostriker (UChicago PhD '64) and Lyman Page share the stage.

Related:
Department members: John E. Carlstrom, Wendy Freedman
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope

Congratulations to Dr. Louis Abramson!
July 13, 2015
Congratulations to Louis Abramson for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Assessing and Understanding Diversity in Galaxy Star Formation Histories."

"Dr. Louis Abramson is an expert on the observation and phenomenological modeling of galaxy evolution, with a particular focus on the relationship between bulk statistical observables of galaxies, such as the distributions of star-formation-rate and mass over cosmic time, and the star formation histories of galaxies. His work during his Ph.D. has led to several new insights into the relationship between the passive (i.e., bulges) and actively star-forming components of galaxies, and led to a clear understanding that the scatter of galaxies across the so-called 'star forming main-sequence' is a critical observable to consider in further analyses, which he will continue as a postdoc at UCLA."
- Michael D. Gladders, Ph.D. advisor

Louis has received a Postdoctoral Scholar at the UCLA Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Related:
Department members: Michael D. Gladders
Department students: Louis Abramson

Laura Kreidberg wins a Harper Dissertation Fellowship
June 12, 2015
Dear Colleagues,

Please join me in congratulating Laura Kreidberg for winning a William Rainey Harper Dissertation Fellowship for the 2015-16 academic year. One of the University of Chicago's highest honors, the award recognizes significant achievement during graduate studies and professional promise.

Congratulations Laura!

Angela V. Olinto,
Homer J. Livingston Professor and Chair Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Related:
Department members: Jacob L. Bean, Angela V. Olinto
Department students: Laura Kreidberg

Congratulations to Dr. Ke Fang!
June 11, 2015
Congratulations to Ke Fang for successfully defending her PhD dissertation on "Newborn Pulsars as Highest-Energy Cosmic Accelerators."

Ke has received a joint postdoctoral position at the University of Maryland and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Related:
Department members: Angela V. Olinto
Department students: Ke Fang

Congratulations to Dr. Benedikt Diemer!
June 11, 2015
Congratulations to Benedikt Diemer for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "On the (non-)universality of halo density profiles."

"In his PhD thesis Benedikt Diemer has shown that radial density profiles of dark matter halos cannot be characterized only as a function of halo mass, as was thought previously, but also depend on the mass accretion rate of halos. The work has resulted in a new model that accurately describes halo profiles in simulations from small radii out to 10 virial radii. Likewise, Benedikt has shown that halo concentrations depend not only on the halo mass (or more precisely on halo peak height), but also on the local slope of the power spectrum. Overall, this thesis showed that previously believed "universality" of the halo profiles is limited. Beyond just criticizing previous models, new models were developed that take into account the extra dependencies of halo profile parameters on the mass accretion rate and power law slope."
- Andrey V. Kravtsov, Ph.D. advisor

Benedikt has received a fellow position at the Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC) at the Harvard University.

Related:
Department members: Andrey V. Kravtsov
Department students: Benedikt Diemer

Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Helsby!
June 11, 2015
Congratulations to Jennifer Helsby for successfully defending her PhD dissertation on "Clustering-based redshifts for the Dark Energy Survey."

"To constrain cosmology, and in particular to probe dark energy, from deep optical imaging surveys such as the Dark Energy Survey (DES), requires precise estimates of the redshifts of the distant galaxies they observe. Traditionally, these redshift estimates are made using galaxy colors, but this technique has known limitations and biases. Jennifer's thesis work involved the testing and implementation of a novel technique for estimating redshifts of galaxies, using the fact that they cluster in space with galaxies for which the redshifts may be known from spectroscopic measurements. Using simulations, Jen found that this "clustering redshift" technique accurately reconstructs the galaxy redshift distribution for a survey such as DES. She then applied this technique to determine the redshift distribution for several million galaxies in the first year of DES data, an important result that should prove extremely valuable for the cosmological analysis of these data."
- Joshua A. Frieman, PhD advisor

Jennifer has received a 2015 Data Science for Social Good Fellowship position at the University of Chicago.

Related:
Department members: Joshua A. Frieman
Department students: Jennifer Helsby
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey

Congratulations to Prof. Wendy Freedman!
June 10, 2015
Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that following approval by the Board of Trustees, Wendy Freedman has been named the John and Marion Sullivan University Professorship effective July 1, 2015.

Please join me in congratulating Wendy on this honor, which recognizes outstanding contribution to scholarship, teaching, and the intellectual community of the University.

Regards,

Rocky Kolb
Dean of the Physical Sciences
The University of Chicago

Related:
Department members: Wendy Freedman, Edward ''Rocky'' W. Kolb

Cameron Jia Liang has won a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship
June 3, 2015
Cameron Jia Liang, a third year graduate student who is working with Prof. Hsiao-Wen Chen, has won a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship. Cameron's research focuses on the impact of star formation & galactic environment on the circumgalactic medium.

This fellowship award is a recognition of his accomplishment so far and allows him to continue the effort in pursuing a better understanding of the baryon cycle between galaxies and their surrounding medium.

NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship
Awarded annually, NASA Earth and Space Sciences Fellowships are given to students pursing masters or doctoral degrees in Earth and space sciences or related disciplines. The mission of the fellowship program is to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines needed to achieve NASA’s primary scientific goals. Those goals include studying planet Earth from space to advance scientific understanding and meet societal needs; understanding the Sun and its effects on Earth and the solar system; advancing scientific knowledge of the origin and evolution of the solar system, the potential for life elsewhere, and the hazards and resources present as humans explore space; and discovering the origin, structure, evolution, and destiny of the universe and search for Earth-like planets.

Related:
Department members: Hsiao-Wen Chen
Department students: Cameron Jia Liang

Congratulations to Dr. Vinicius Miranda Braganca!
June 2, 2015
Congratulations to Vinicius Miranda Braganca for successfully defending his PhD dissertation on "Probing Inflation with the Cosmic Microwave Background."

Vinicius has received a Postdoctoral Fellow position at the University of Pennsylvania.

Related:
Department members: Wayne Hu
Department students: Vinicius Miranda Braganca

Sugarman Awards for Excellence in Student Research
June 2, 2015
The Enrico Fermi Institute Announces the winners of the 24th Annual Nathan Sugarman Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research:
  • Hsin - Yu Chen, Graduate Student
    "For her contributions to gravitational wave astrophysics, and in particular, for her research in the field of multi - messenger astronomy and the electromagnetic follow - up of gravitational wave sources."
  • Benedikt Diemer, Graduate Student
    "For the innovative contribution to our understanding of the origin and properties of density profiles of dark matter halos."


NATHAN SUGARMAN, Professor Emeritus in the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Department of Chemistry, was devoted to the Institute and to the education of its students. The Sugarman Award Fund honors this commitment through its annual awards for student achievements in research.

Related:
Department members: Andrey V. Kravtsov, Donald Q. Lamb
Department students: Hsin-Yu Chen, Benedikt Diemer

Angela Olinto wins a 2014-2015 Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring
June 1, 2015
Dear Colleagues,

Please join me in congratulating Angela Olinto for her selection as a winner of a 2014-2015 Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring. The award honors faculty members for their achievements in classroom teaching and for their special contributions in encouraging the work of graduate students. Given the great importance we place upon teaching and mentoring at the University, her recognition is a very high honor indeed.

The award will be presented to her at the Spring Quarter Convocation on Saturday, June 13, 2015, during the Division of the Physical Sciences Diploma and Hooding Ceremony. That ceremony will take place at noon at the Logan Center, Performance Hall. It will be a special pleasure for me to present it to her.

Sincerely,
Rocky Kolb
Dean of the Physical Sciences Division

Related:
Department members: Edward ''Rocky'' W. Kolb, Angela V. Olinto

Angela Olinto will serve a second consecutive term as Chair of Astronomy & Astrophysics
April 29, 2015
Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that following the recommendation of the department's Chair Search Committee, Angela Olinto will serve a second consecutive term as Chair of Astronomy & Astrophysics through September 30, 2018.

Angela has provided exemplary leadership during this current term, and her continued leadership will be crucial to advancing the many strategic initiatives of the department.

Please join me in congratulating Angela on her reappointment.

Regards,
Rocky Kolb
Dean of the Physical Sciences

Related:
Department members: Edward ''Rocky'' W. Kolb, Angela V. Olinto

Laura Kreidberg awarded a Plotnick Fellowship
February 19, 2015
Graduate student Laura Kreidberg is one of two students in the Physical Sciences Division chosen to receive a Plotnick Fellowship for the 2014-15 academic year. This is in recognition of her outstanding achievement in our graduate program. The fellowship is named for Harvey Plotnick, who provided funding for the award and who is a long-time friend of the Division, member of the PSD Visiting Committee, and member of the University of Chicago Board of Trustees.

Congratulations Laura!

Angela V. Olinto,
Homer J. Livingston Professor
Chair of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Related:
Department members: Jacob L. Bean, Angela V. Olinto
Department students: Laura Kreidberg

Our department got two INCITE allocations at Argonne this year
December 2, 2014
Nickolay Gnedin has recieved 74,000,000 processor hours (IBM Blue Gene/Q) for "Cosmic Reionization On Computers" project and Alexei Khokhlov has received 150,000,000 processor hours (IBM Blue Gene/Q) for "First-Principles Simulations of High-Speed Combustion and Detonation" project.

Related:
Department members: Nickolay Y. Gnedin, Alexei M. Khokhlov

Congratulations to Dr. Alan Zablocki!
November 11, 2014
Congratulations to Alan Zablocki for successfully defending his PhD dissertation on "Constraining Neutrinos and Dark Energy with the Angular Clustering of Galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey."

"Over the last decade, cosmological observations have placed increasingly stringent upper bounds on the masses of neutrinos, while observations of neutrino oscillations imply a lower bound. Alan’s thesis provides a detailed forecast of the constraints that the Dark Energy Survey (DES) will be able to place on neutrino mass in the next few years, accounting for uncertainties in dark energy and in the relative amplitude of galaxy clustering. He finds that DES has a good chance of shedding light on the pattern of neutrino masses (the mass hierarchy), an exciting possibility. His results will be of broad interest to cosmologists."
- Joshua A. Frieman, PhD advisor

Related:
Department members: Joshua A. Frieman
Department students: Alan Zablocki
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey

Prof. Craig Hogan has been awarded the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
November 10, 2014
Prof. Craig Hogan, member of the High-Z Supernova Search Team was awarded the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics!

Congratulations to Prof. Hogan!

The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics recognizes major insights into the deepest questions of the Universe. Citation: For the most unexpected discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, rather than slowing as had been long assumed.

The 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics is a shared honor with Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt, and Adam Riess leading a collaboration of 51 total prize recipients splitting the $3 million.

Read more

Related:
Department members: Craig J. Hogan

Congratulations to Vinicius Miranda for receiving the Schramm Fellowship
October 17, 2014
Vinicius Miranda , a doctoral student in Astronomy and Astrophysics, was awarded the Schramm Fellowship. Miranda was nominated by Wayne Hu, Professor of astronomy and astrophysics.

David N. Schramm, M.A.and S.B ‘67, Ph.D ‘71. was a professor for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Enrico Fermi Institute and Physics and was designated the Louis Block Professor of the Physical Sciences in 1982; as well as Vice President for Research in 1995

Jacob Bean wins a 2014 Packard Fellowship
October 15, 2014
Congratulations to Jacob Bean for winning a 2014 Packard Fellowship!

His Citation: By studying the atmospheres of planets beyond our solar system, also known as "exoplanets," Bean's goal is to gain a deeper understanding of planetary formation, physics, chemistry and ultimately, habitability. Using ground and space-based telescopes, Bean is interested in detecting and characterizing these worlds and eventually identifying other Earth-like planets.

The Packard Foundation established the Fellowships program in 1988 to provide early-career scientists with flexible funding and the freedom to take risks and explore new frontiers in their fields. Each year, the Foundation invites 50 universities to nominate two faculty members for consideration. The Packard Fellowships Advisory Panel, a group of 12 internationally-recognized scientists and engineers, evaluates the nominations and recommends Fellows for approval by the Packard Foundation Board of Trustees.

Angela V. Olinto
Department Chair

Related:
Department members: Jacob L. Bean, Angela V. Olinto