Department News

Congratulations to Louis Abramson for becoming a James W. Cronin Graduate Fellow!
July 16, 2014
Louis Abramson is the first recipient of the James W. Cronin Graduate Fellowship in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Congratulation to Louis!

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

Department members: James W. Cronin, Michael D. Gladders, Angela V. Olinto
Department students: Louis Abramson

Vivian Hoette, Yerkes Observatory, wins the Thomas J. Brennan Award
June 16, 2014
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), one of the oldest and most respected science education organizations in the U.S., has announced the recipients of its prestigious annual awards recognizing individuals for their leadership in and advancement of astronomy and space science.

Thomas J. Brennan Award for exceptional achievement relating to the teaching of astronomy at the high school level to Vivian Hoette in recognition of her innovative work in education, outreach, and teacher professional development. Since 1975, Hoette has introduced space and earth science to high school students in the classroom and via education programs at Lawrence Hall of Science, Adler Planetarium, and Yerkes Observatory. As a tireless and inspirational educator, she is known as the “go to” person in astronomy education in Illinois and Wisconsin. Deeply involved in launching Yerkes’ Hands-On Universe project in high schools, Hoette has also designed and delivered professional development programs for high school teachers across the country.

Read more

Congratulations to Wayne Hu for being appointed the Horace B. Horton Professor!
June 13, 2014
Dear Colleagues,

Please join me in congratulating Wayne for being appointed the newest Horace B. Horton Professor (effective 1 November 2014)!

A well deserved honor and a continuing tradition of excellence in the Department. (The current Horace B. Horton Professor is our own Don York.)

Congratulation Wayne!
And the best wishes,

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

Department members: Wayne Hu, Angela V. Olinto, Donald G. York

Congratulations to Louis Abramson for winning a Harper Dissertation Fellowship!
June 12, 2014
Dear Colleagues,

Please join me in congratulating Louis Abramson for winning a William Rainey Harper Dissertation Fellowship for the 2014-15 academic year. One of the University of Chicago's highest honors, the award recognizes significant achievement during graduate studies and professional promise.

Congratulations Louis!!

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

Department members: Michael D. Gladders, Angela V. Olinto
Department students: Louis Abramson

Congratulations to Vinicius Miranda for winning a Nathan Sugarman research award!
June 4, 2014
Fermi Institute announces recipients of Nathan Sugarman research awards.
Vinicius Miranda, a doctoral student in astronomy and astrophysics, was cited "for his thorough and careful work in elucidating the effect of inflationary features on cosmic microwave background anisotropy and non-Gaussianity." Miranda was nominated by Wayne Hu, professor of astronomy and astrophysics.

Nathan Sugarman, SB’37, PhD’41, was a charter member of the Enrico Fermi Institute and a longtime professor in chemistry.

Department members: Wayne Hu
Department students: Vinicius Miranda Braganca

Congratulations to Ian Remming for winning a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!
April 17, 2014
Ian Remming is a second-year graduate student and a doctoral candidate. His research is focused on modeling magneto-hydrodynamical thermonuclear explosions in magnetized degenerate plasma in collaboration with Prof. Alexei Khokhlov.

Department members: Alexei M. Khokhlov
Department students: Ian Remming

SPT Google Trekker Photos
April 9, 2014
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.

Department members: John E. Carlstrom
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope

Congratulations to Prof. Nick Gnedin for becoming a Fellow of the American Physical Society!
March 17, 2014
Congratulations to Prof. Nick Gnedin for becoming a Fellow of the American Physical Society!

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

Congratulations Nick!!!

Angela V. Olinto
Department Chair

His Fellowship will be celebrated at the April APS meeting in Savannah, Georgia,April 5-6, 2014.
New Fellows of the Division of Astrophysics.

Department members: Nickolay Y. Gnedin, Angela V. Olinto

Congratulations to Dr. Bradford Benson!
March 13, 2014
Congratulations to Dr. Bradford Benson, Associate Scientist at Fermilab, who joins the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics as a new Assistant Professor. Welcome Brad!

Department members: Bradford A. Benson

Congratulations to Prof. D. Fabrycky!
February 18, 2014
Please join me in congratulating Daniel Fabrycky, who was selected as a 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow!

Angela V. Olinto,
Department Chair

Department members: Daniel Fabrycky, Angela V. Olinto

Congratulations to Hannah Diamond-Lowe!
February 17, 2014
Hannah Diamond-Lowe, an undergraduate student working with Prof. Jacob Bean, has received the BEST POSTER AWARD for her poster "A New Look at the Thermal Inversion of HD209458b" at the Exoclimes III conference in Davos, Switzerland.

Department members: Jacob L. Bean

New CCD detector system shipped to Carnegie Observatories
January 23, 2014
A new detector system developed and built by the group of Prof. Jacob Bean in collaboration with Fermilab has been shipped to Carnegie Observatories today. The CCD detector offers an unprecedented infrared sensitivity and will enable new science with the LDSS3 spectrograph at the 6.5m Clay telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile where the system will be installed in March of this year.

Department members: Jacob L. Bean, Andreas Seifahrt
Scientific projects: Magellan Telescopes

Congratulations to Angela Olinto!
December 6, 2013
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

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

Applications for the graduate program now being accepted for the 2014-2015 academic year
November 6, 2013
Take the next step to becoming a graduate student at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Chicago!

To apply for the graduate program visit the University of Chicago Graduate Admissions website. Under, Find Your Graduate Program and Apply, we are the Physical Sciences. The deadline for applications: January 6, 2014.

Required materials:
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement
  • GRE and Physics GREs
  • TOEFL for International Students

Prof. Michael Gladders is the new Assistant Chair for Academic Affairs
October 2, 2013
Michael Gladders, an Associate Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, just started his term as Assistant Chair for Academic Affairs replacing Prof. Donald York who has been an Assistant Chair for Academic Affairs for four years.

Department members: Michael D. Gladders, Donald G. York

Congratulations to Dr. Alissa Bans!
September 26, 2013
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.

Department members: Arieh Konigl
Department students: Alissa Bans

Congratulations to Dr. Abigail Crites!
August 30, 2013
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.

Department members: John E. Carlstrom
Department students: Abigail Crites
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope

The GMT mirror casting was a huge success
August 27, 2013
Dear GMT partners:

A warm thank you to all of you for making Friday's GMT Partner Retreat a success, and for all of your ongoing support and encouragement for the project. With the third mirror now in production, we are continuing to reach major milestones, and to keep on target for our construction start in early 2014.

The mirror casting was a huge success, as was the media interest. The casting story was picked up by the CBS evening news last evening.

A video made by Robin and Todd Mason (of Journey to Palomar fame) was sent to the press in advance of the mirror casting. It was picked up by NPR and now has over 19,000 hits and is still climbing.

The story was also picked up by the LA Times, Arizona Daily Wildcat, Canberra Times, Houston Chronicle, Washington Post, CNN, and USA Today, amongst many others.
Overall, a huge success.

With best regards,

Wendy L. Freedman
Crawford H. Greenewalt Chair
Director, Carnegie Observatories
Chair, GMT Board of Directors

Scientific projects: Giant Magellan Telescope

Congratulations to Dr. Christopher Sheehy!
August 14, 2013
Congratulations to Christopher Sheehy for successfully defending his PhD dissertation on "Progress towards a detection of inflationary B-modes with the BICEP2 and KECK array polarimeters."

Christopher has received a fellowship position at the KICP.

Department students: Christopher Sheehy

Congratulations to Sean Johnson!
August 12, 2013
Sean Johnson has been selected the Brinson-Carnegie Pre-Doctoral Fellow for academic year 2013-14. The fellowship will support his work at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California under the supervision of Prof. Hsiao-Wen Chen.

Department members: Hsiao-Wen Chen
Department students: Sean Johnson

Paolo Privitera receives $225,000 in collaborative seed grant
August 7, 2013
Three teams of University and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory researchers - one group that includes a researcher from Argonne National Laboratory - recently received $225,000, collectively, in Strategic Collaborative Initiative (SCI) seed grants from the University following a rigorous competition managed by Fermilab and the University. One of the teams received second-year funding. The FY 2013 recipients include:

* "An advanced, five orders of magnitude dynamic range, wafer-scale pixel system for X-ray science", University of Chicago Investigator: John Keith Moffat, Louis Block Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Fermilab Investigator: Grzegorz Deptuch, Engineer IV, Particle Physics Division; Argonne Investigator: Robert Bradford, Assistant Physicist, X-ray Science Division.

* "Development of low noise electronics for the first direct Dark Matter search using CCDs" (funded for a second year), University of Chicago Investigator: Paolo Privitera, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics; Fermilab Investigators: Juan Estrada, Scientist II, Participles Physics Division and Gustavo Cancelo, Engineer IV, Scientific Computing Division.

* "SCENE: SCintillation Efficiency of Noble Elements", University of Chicago Investigator: Luca Grandi, Assistant Professor of Physics; Fermilab Investigator: Stephen Pordes, Scientist II, Particle Physics Division.

The Strategic Collaborative Initiatives Program began in 2006 when the University renewed its contract with the DOE to manage Argonne. The SCI program includes collaborative research projects, strategic joint appointments, and joint institutes. The University extended the program to Fermilab when it became co-manager of the lab in 2007.

Department members: Paolo Privitera