Workshops & Events
Daniel Holz, UChicago, "GW170817: Hearing and Seeing a Binary Neutron Star Merger"
February 1, 2018 | KPTC 106 | 4:00 PM | Event
Artist's impression of the collision of two neutron stars, the source of the latest gravitational waves detected.
Credit: National Science Foundation/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet
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With the discovery of GW170817 in gravitational waves, and the discovery of an associated short gamma-ray burst, and the discovery of an associated optical afterglow, we have finally entered the era of gravitational-wave multi-messenger astronomy. I will discuss LIGO/Vigo's detection of this binary coalescence, and explore some of the scientific implications, including confirmation of the kilonova model and implications for the origin of gold and platinum in the universe, tests of general relativity, and the first standard siren measurement of the Hubble constant. GW170817 represents a momentous development in gravitational-wave astronomy, and the birth of gravitational-wave cosmology.

Winter 2018 Postdocs Symposium
February 23, 2018 | ERC 401 | 1:00 PM | Event
1:00 PM
Lunch
2:00 PM
Lightning talks
3:40 - 4:00 PM
Break
4:00 PM
Talks
5:00 PM
Dinner and networking/socializing

GeoSci Seminar: Vikram Dwarkadas, "Investigating a Stellar Wind Origin for High 26Al and Low 60Fe in the Early Solar System"
March 1, 2018 | Hinds 176 | 12:30 PM | Event
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A critical constraint on solar system formation is the high 26Al/27Al abundance ratio of 5e-5 at the time of formation, which was about 17 times higher than the average Galactic ratio, while the 60Fe/56Fe value was about 2e-8, lower than the Galactic value of 3e-7. This challenges the assumption that a nearby supernova was responsible for the injection of these short-lived radionuclides into the early solar system. We show that this conundrum can be resolved if the Solar System was formed by triggered star formation at the edge of a Wolf-Rayet (W-R) bubble. Aluminium-26 is produced during the evolution of the massive star, released in the wind during the W-R phase, and condenses into dust grains that are seen around W-R stars. The dust grains survive passage through the reverse shock and the low density shocked wind, reach the dense shell swept-up by the bubble, detach from the decelerated wind and are injected into the shell. Some portions of this shell subsequently collapses to form the dense cores that give rise to solar-type systems. The subsequent aspherical supernova does not inject appreciable amounts of 60Fe into the proto-solar-system, thus accounting for the observed low abundance of 60Fe. We discuss the details of various processes within the model using numerical simulations, as well as nucleosynthesis modelling, and analytic and semi-analytic calculations. We conclude that it is a viable model that can explain the initial abundances of 26Al and 60Fe.

Astronomy & Astrophysics Open House
March 2, 2018 | ERC 5th floor | 9:00 AM | Event
9:00 - 10:30 am
Welcome and Presentation
Speakers: Profs. Fausto Cattaneo, John Carlstrom, Brad Benson, Dan Fabrycky, Damiano Caprioli, Rich Kron
ERC 545
10:30 - 12:00 pm
Meetings
12:00 - 1:15 pm
Student Panel Discussion w/lunch
ERC 545
1:30 - 3:00 pm
Meetings
3:00 - 3:30 pm
Outreach Presentation - Maria Weber
ERC 545
3:30 - 4:00 pm
Graduate Program Talk - Julia Brazas and Laticia Rebeles
ERC 545
4:00 - 4:30 pm
Diversity and Inclusion Talk - Mike Gladders, Nora Shipp, Gourav Khullar
ERC 545
4:30 - 6:00 pm
Wine and Cheese Reception
ERC 5th Floor Lounge

EFI seminar: Nahee Park, University of Wisconsin, "Probing high energy particle dynamics in our Galaxy with multimessenger observations"
March 14, 2018 | PRC 201 | 2:00 PM | Event
Cosmic rays, high energy particles originating from outside of the solar system, are believed to be dominated by particles from our Galaxy at least up to the energy of 10^15 eV. Since their discovery in 1912, the origin, acceleration, and propagation of these high energy particles have remained as open questions. In the last few years, new results from space-borne experiments, such as the rise of the positron flux and hardening of the light nuclei, have begun to challenge our understanding of these particles. Complementing this, indirect observations of the cosmic rays via very high energy gamma rays have started to shed light on the various particle accelerators in our Galaxy with discoveries of over a hundred Galactic sources. With the recent detection of astrophysical neutrinos by IceCube, the first unequivocal view of pure hadronic accelerators in our Universe became available. I will present what we have learned about the acceleration of high energy particles with gamma-ray observations based on the Galactic gamma-ray measurements from the VERITAS experiment, an imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescope. I will show what we can learn from the future neutrino experiment IceCube Gen-2 and the future gamma-ray observatory CTA. Finally, I will highlight how these multimessenger observations come together to lead us toward a more coherent and complete picture of high energy particles in our Galaxy.

Workshop: Towards Dark Matter Discovery
April 11 - 13, 2018 | Chicago, IL | Event
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Website
The Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting the "Towards Dark Matter Discovery" workshop, which will be held from 11th to 13th April 2018 in the Eckhardt Research Center (ERC) on the University of Chicago campus.

The workshop will explore new directions on the path toward discovering the nature of dark matter. The invited speakers are encouraged to share their expertise in the fields of primordial black holes, thermal relic dark matter, nonthermal relic dark matter, ultralight dark matter, superheavy dark matter, kinda-chubby dark matter, new strategies for direct detection, newer strategies for direct detection, avant-garde strategies for direct detection, and axions. During the three day workshop, we will host approximately 20 talks of 30 minutes each with generous time remaining for discussion.

Visitors to the University of Chicago are invited to spend the entire week at the university.

Broader Horizons: Matthew Lightman, data scientist lead at JPMorgan Chase in Chicago
April 12, 2018 | ERC 576 | 5:00 PM | Event
Organizer: Andrew Neil

Please join us for our next Broader Horizons talk this Thursday, April 12 at 5 PM in ERC 576. Our speaker is Matthew Lightman, currently data scientist lead at JPMorgan Chase in Chicago. Matthew holds a Ph.D in physics from Columbia University, where his research focused on particle physics simulations.

Broader Horizons is a talk series that explores opportunities outside of academia for physics and astronomy PhDs. Following the talk, there will be a Q&A session and discussion.

Speak Up for Science
April 14, 2018 | Field Museum, Chicago | 1:00 PM | Event
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Website
Speak Up for Science! On Saturday April 14, The Field Museum is holding a science fair and rally to advocate for science, its advancement, and its protection. Share your voice with legislators and demonstrate how important science is in your life. The Museum is offering free basic admission to Illinois residents all day. Soapbox Science Chicago, an outreach group led by Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Maria Weber, will be on hand at the Community Science Fair. Soapbox Science is an international effort to champion women in STEM by helping them to share their message and work with the public through conversation and scientific debate.

Spring 2018 Postdocs Symposium
May 11, 2018 | ERC 401 | 12:30 PM | Event
12:30 Lunch
13:00 Start of talks (5 x 10+5 min)
  • 13:00 - 13:15 Eric Oberla: Radio Arrays for Ultra High Neutrino Detection at the South Pole
  • 13:15 - 13:30 Rito Thakur: Playing with Sub-mm Photons
  • 13:30 - 13:45 Dan Scolnic: Host Galaxy Issues for Type Ia Supernova Cosmology
  • 13:45 - 14:00 Faustin Carter: Wirebonds? Really? For Ten Minutes?
  • 14:00 - 14:15 Chihway Chang: Cosmic Shear Archaeology
14:30 Coffe break
15:00 Other talks (5 x 10+5 min)
  • 15:00 - 15:15 Kimmy Wu: Fitting LCDM to SPT-SZ and SPTpol Data
  • 15:15 - 15:30 Andrew Long: It All Decays - The Depressing Fate of Life, the Universe, and Everything
  • 15:30 - 15:45 Ryan Thomas: Work on the DAMIC Project at Chicago
  • 15:45 - 16:00 Nicole Larsen: Mini-Broader Horizons Talk
16:15 Snacks and drinks

Richard Ellis, "Let There Be Light: The Observational Quest for the First Galaxies"
May 17, 2018 | School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 112 South Michigan Ave., MacLean Ballroom | 6:00 PM | Event
Richard Ellis, 2018 Brinson Lecturer
Richard Ellis is Professor of Astrophysics at the University College London. Until recently he was the Steele Professor of Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He was awarded the 2011 Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. Ellis works primarily in observational cosmology, considering the origin and evolution of galaxies, the evolution of large scale structure in the universe, and the nature and distribution of dark matter. He worked on the Morphs collaboration studying the formation and morphologies of distant galaxies. Particular interests include applications using gravitational lensing and high-redshift supernovae. He was a member of the Supernova Cosmology Project whose leader, Saul Perlmutter, shared the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics for the team's surprising discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe. His most recent discoveries relate to searches for the earliest known galaxies, seen when the Universe was only a few percent of its present age.

2018 Brinson Lecture: "Let There Be Light: The Observational Quest for the First Galaxies"
Video
The first billion years after the Big Bang is widely regarded as the final observational frontier in assembling a complete picture of cosmic history. During this period early stars and galaxies formed and the Universe became bathed in light for the first time. Hydrogen clouds in the space inbetween galaxies transformed from an atomic gas to a fully ionized medium consisting of detached protons and electrons. How and when did this 'cosmic reionization' occurred and were early star-forming galaxies the primary agents? Recent progress has raised the exciting prospect that we will soon be able to directly witness this dramatic period when the Universe emerged from darkness and the first galaxies began to shine. Professor Ellis will review the rapid progress being made with current facilities, and the prospects with upcoming ones, including the James Webb Space Telescope and extremely large ground-based telescopes now under construction. The motivation is fundamental: the origin of starlight begins the process of chemical evolution which ultimately leads to our own existence in this remarkable Universe.

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

Broader Horizons: Jennifer Helsby, Freedom of the Press Foundation
May 24, 2018 | ERC 401 | 5:00 PM | Event
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Organizer: Andrew Neil

Jennifer is Lead Developer of SecureDrop at the non-profit organization Freedom of the Press Foundation. SecureDrop is an anonymous whistleblowing platform used by dozens of major news organizations for safe communications between journalists and their sources. Prior to joining Freedom of the Press Foundation in 2016, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Data Science and Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she worked on applying machine learning methods to problems in public policy. She will discuss her transition from cosmology to public interest technology.

KICP/A&A Education and Public Outreach Celebration and Open House
May 29, 2018 | ERC 401 | 3:00 PM | Event
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Join us on Tuesday May 29 from 3-4:30pm in ERC 401 to celebrate the contributions of KICP and A&A members in the wide variety of Education and Public Outreach (EPO) programs that take place within our departments. Looking to get involved in EPO, or want to volunteer for more? Great! We will have representatives present from all of our initiatives.

Come mingle, eat, drink, share your EPO stories, and find out more about how you can volunteer for our EPO programs. Drop in at any time.

Workshop: Joint SPT-DES Analysis
June 20 - 22, 2018 | Chicago, IL | Event
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Website
The Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting the "SPTxDES Joint Analysis" workshop, which will be held from 20th to 22nd June 2018 in the Eckhardt Research Center (ERC) on the University of Chicago campus.

This workshop focuses on the science at the intersection of two leading cosmology experiments---the Dark Energy Survey (DES) and the South Pole Telescope (SPT) - with the goal of optimal extraction of cosmological constraints from these two surveys.

The workshop would serve as both a forum for discussions on current analyses as well as an incubator for future ideas. The meeting will cover two main themes: galaxy clusters and wide-field science. While these topics cover a broad spectrum, we will target the workshop such that it accelerates joint work on these key areas of synergy between the two collaborations.

Workshop: Near-Field Cosmology with the Dark Energy Survey's DR1 and Beyond
June 27 - 29, 2018 | Chicago, IL | Event
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Website
Stars in our Milky Way and galaxies in our Local Group contain the fossils and clues on stellar evolution and supernovae, the formation and evolution of star clusters and dwarf galaxies, and the formation of large spiral galaxies. Rapid progress in this field -- usually called Galactic Archeology -- was enabled by large-area imaging and spectroscopic surveys of old stellar components of the Milky Way and dwarf galaxies, together with simulations of chemical and dynamical evolution. The field of Near-Field Cosmology extends the scope of these studies to probe the formation and evolution of galaxies and the nature of dark matter.

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is releasing its DR1, with catalogs and images from the first three years of DES operations early in 2018, including 400M objects (100M stellar sources in grizY band to r of 24th magnitude at 10 sigma) over 5000 square degrees mostly in the Southern Galactic cap. This survey is about 2 magnitudes fainter than SDSS at the same S/N. In addition to DES, many other DECam community surveys, such as DECaLS, DECaPS, SMASH, MagLiteS, BLISS, etc, have already had or will soon have the public data release.

Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago will host a 3-day workshop on June 27-29 to explore uses of the DES DR1 for near field cosmology studies in conjunction with other DECam public data. Furthermore, the workshop will explore possible synergies with other spectroscopic surveys as well as Gaia DR2.

The 3-day workshop will include presentations and discussion on the first two days and a hack day on the last day. Talks on ideas or science results related to DES/DECam data, or synergies with other programs are encouraged. Abstracts can be submitted at registration. On the hack day, we will hack on DES DR1 data and associated data sets (like Gaia DR2) in a collaborative format. Specific hack topics can be submitted at registration.

Topics in this workshop includes:
  • Dark Matter and Near-Field Cosmology
  • Milky Way satellite galaxies - satellites of satellites, planes of satellites, dark matter particle physics
  • Stellar streams and halo overdensities -- constraints on Milky Way dark matter halo
  • First stars; Reionization; Chemical Evolution -- r-process variation
  • Time series photometry and RR Lyrae stars -- distant structure tracers
  • Local Group and Nearby Galaxies -- Ultra-Diffuse Galaxies
  • Synergy with Gaia DR2 and other spectroscopic programs/surveys.
  • Synergy with other DECam surveys and/or other imaging surveys.

Soapbox Science
July 21, 2018 | Navy Pier | 12:00 PM | Event
Organizer: Maria Weber

Soapbox Science is an international, grass-roots science outreach organization that brings cutting edge research to urban settings while also promoting the visibility of women in science. We place inspirational female speakers on soapboxes (literally!) and encourage them to engage in and start conversations with the public about their work. This is a free event where our female scientists will interact with visitors to Navy Pier, busker style, telling them about everything from ecology to mathematics to astrophysics.

This summer, 30 Soapbox Science events are being held across the world. Chicago will be the first ever United States location. Our event will occur on Saturday July 21 from 12-3pm at Chicago's iconic Navy Pier. We have selected 12 outstanding Chicago-based early career women in STEM, who are ready to wow Chicagoland with their ground-breaking research.

Soapbox Science is not just about the speakers. Without a supportive team of committed, enthusiastic people, a Soapbox event simply cannot happen. Each event relies on an animated team of up to 20 volunteers. Volunteers play a crucial role in rounding up the public, chatting to them informally about science, and supporting the speakers by managing props. But perhaps the most important role of the volunteers is gathering data so we can effectively monitor the success of the event: volunteers carry out the bulk of our streamlined evaluation process, through interviews, observations and counting footfall.

KICP Summer Institute: City of Tomorrow
July 29 - August 4, 2018 | Chicago, IL | Event
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Mission
Our world is changing rapidly. What will tomorrow look like? As we strive to take care of this planet, we also look to the stars, to other planets. We explore the far reaches of space for our curiosity, for discovery - also, possibly for another home for our species. How would we provide energy for a civilization on another planet? How do we approach ethics and justice in this new civilization? This year, teams of student researchers will design unique proposals for energy infrastructure on three kinds of extraterrestrial systems - a planet, a moon, and a space ship.
Activities and Events
- Study and design technologies for the generation and distribution of power for a civilization.
- Perform a Model United Nations and discuss the social impacts of resource allocation.
- Visit Adler Planetarium and Museum of Science and Industry for research
- Work alongside physicists, geophysicists, and astrophysicists.
- Experience the University of Chicago campus.
Facilitators and Organizers
- Faculty and Students from University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP)
- Office of Special Programs