Alumni: Thomas Crawford, 2003
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2003

Research Associate Professor, University of Chicago


I'm a Senior Research Associate Research Associate Professor in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. at the University of Chicago. For the past 12 years, I have worked on a single project: The 10-meter South Pole Telescope (SPT). The SPT is a millimeter-wave telescope designed to make sensitive measurements of diffuse, low-contrast emission, such as anisotropy in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The first camera on the SPT was equipped with a highly sensitive, kilo-pixel bolometer array capable of mapping the arcminute-scale anisotropy of the CMB to exquisite precision. The primary goal of this camera was to survey 2500 square degrees of the southern sky, using the CMB as a backlight to discover distant, massive clusters of galaxies through their interaction with the CMB, known as the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) effect. The full survey was completed in late 2011. In January, 2012, a new polarization-sensitive receiver was installed on the telescope. Two years of data has been collected with this receiver, and it is anticipated that the first year's data will lead to the first ever detection of B-mode polarization in the CMB. UPDATE: And it has! The result is now published in Physical Review Letters (see the article or the arxiv preprint). This result was named one of the top 10 breakthroughs in all of physics for 2013 by Physics World. As the data from this receiver continue to be collected, and exciting results continue to be published, we are simultaenously working on the third-generation receiver for the SPT. This camera will have over 15,000 polarization-sensitive detectors and will represent a fundamental step forward in our ability to characterize the CMB and the millimeter-wave sky.

University Of Chicago' Class Of 2003