Workshops & Events
A&A Open House for Prospective Students
March 6 - 7, 2020 | ERC 5th Floor | 8:30 AM | Event
March 6
8:30 - 9:00 am Continental Breakfast ERC 545
9:00 - 10:30 am Welcome and Presentation (John C. and Faculty) ERC 545
10:30 - 12:00 am Meetings
12:00 - 1:30 pm Student Panel Discussion (Lunch)/ Campus Tour (weather permitting)(Phil M.) ERC 545
1:30 - 3:00 pm Meetings
3:00 - 3:30 pm Outreach talk (Erik S.)
3:30 - 4:00 pm Graduate Program (Julia B., Brent B., Laticia R.) ERC 545
4:00 - 4:30 pm Diversity and Inclusion (Irina Z.) ERC 545
4:45 - 6:30 pm Wine and Cheese Reception ERC 5th Floor Lounge (501)
7:00 pm Student Only Dinner (Social hour/s)
March 7
10:00 am Gather in Hotel Lobby
10:30 - 12:00 pm Adler Planetarium | 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
12:30 pm Signature Room | 875 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Jeffrey Silverman, "From Astrophysics to Data Science"
March 27, 2020 cancelled | ERC 401 | 5:00 PM | Event
Click on the image to enlarge

Host: Andrew Neil

We are truly in the era of Big Data. The number of data science and analytics job openings has grown rapidly over the past several years and demand looks to continue to be very strong in the years to come. Masters and PhD scientists (from all quantitative fields) are extremely well-qualified for such positions. I will discuss the basics of what data science is and what data scientists do, as well as how scientists in academia can become successful candidates for these positions in the tech industry. I'll also share my personal path from NSF astronomy postdoc to gainfully-employed data scientist.

Student presentations (session 1): ASTR133 class
May 5, 2020 | Zoom Room (online) | 2:00 PM | Event
Zoom Room

● Finding Exo-Planets with Kepler/TESS etc.
Hannah Skobe, Charlie Willard, Ruoyang Tu, Carmen Choza

● Formation of the Solar System
Simon Mork, Aster Taylor, Alex Masegian, Rowen Glusman

● The Physics of Supernova
Marcos Tamargo, Amanda Muratore, Juhun Baek, Sanjana Viswanathan

● The Event Horizon Telescope and Blackholes
Alexa Bukowski, Ross Marsh, Joalda Morancy, Sebastian Martinez

● JWST and Galaxy/Planetary System Formation
Naren Kasinath, Devin Hoover, Grace Wagner, Angelo Ruperti

Student presentations (session 2): ASTR133 class
May 7, 2020 | Zoom Room (online) | 2:00 PM | Event
Zoom Room

● Studying Galaxy Evolution with the Eagle Simulation
Aidan Cloonan, Explorer Pan, John Kennick, Savannah Pinedo

● Astronomical Tests for Dark Matter
Devon Delgado, Diego Garza

● Measuring the Cosmic Acceleration
Frederick Wehlen, Drew Morris, Rodrigo Sanchez de Lozada, Marya Tawam

● The CMB Legacy from the Planck Satellite
Nathalie Chicoine, Yibo Pan, Krish Suchak, Shannon Sheu

● Gravitational Waves and LIGO
Lily Ehsani, Izzy Martino, Hamilton Lavin, Jaidyn Catherall

Carlos Frenk, University of Durham, "How our universe was made: all from nothing"
May 14, 2020 cancelled | SAIC MacLean Ballroom | 112 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago | 6:00 PM | Event

Carlos S. Frenk, 2020 Brinson Lecturer
Professor Carlos S. Frenk is Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology, Durham University's world-renowned theoretical cosmology research group. Along with collaborators from all over the world, he builds model universes in state-of-the-art supercomputers, trying to understand how the structures in our Universe evolved from simple beginnings to the complex structures composed of stars and galaxies that we see today.

2020 Brinson Lecture: "How our universe was made: all from nothing"
Cosmology addresses some of the most fundamental questions in science. How and when did our universe begin? What is it made of? How did galaxies and other structures form? There has been enormous progress in the past few decades towards answering these questions. For example, recent observations have established that our universe contains an unexpected mix of components: ordinary atoms, exotic dark matter and a new form of energy called dark energy. Gigantic surveys of galaxies reveal how the universe is structured. Large supercomputer simulations can recreate the evolution of the universe in astonishing detail and provide the means to relate processes occurring near the beginning with observations of the universe today. A coherent picture of cosmic evolution, going back to a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, is beginning to emerge. However, fundamental issues, like the identity of the dark matter and the nature of the dark energy, remain unresolved.Large supercomputer simulations can recreate the evolution of the universe in astonishing detail and provide the means to relate processes occurring near the beginning with observations of the universe today. A coherent picture of cosmic evolution, going back to a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, is beginning to emerge. However, fundamental issues, like the identity of the dark matter and the nature of the dark energy, remain unresolved.

2020 Sugarman Award Ceremony
May 26, 2020 | Zoom Room (online) | 12:00 PM | Event
The Enrico Fermi Institute is inviting you to the 2020 Sugarman Awards Ceremony.

Keir Adams, undergraduate student
"For his groundbreaking computational astrochemistry, which led him to a solution of the decades-old spectroscopic mystery of the Red Rectangle nebulae and organic molecules."
- Takeshi Oka

Philip Mansfield, graduate student
"For substantial research contributions to our understanding of properties and clustering of dark matter halos forming in Cold Dark Matter scenario, as well as exemplary efforts in education, outreach, and mentoring high-school and undergraduate students."
- Andrey Kravtsov

Karthik Ramanathan, graduate student
"For his contributions to the development of the DAMIC experiment andnovel analysis methods to search for light dark matter particles."
- Paolo Privitera

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 commitmentthrough its annual awards for student achievements in research.

2020 LAD Laboratory Astrophysics Prize: Prof. James Truran
June 2, 2020 | Online | 10:00 AM | Event
Dear All,

Our wonderful esteemed colleague emeritus professor Jim Truran will recognized at the tomorrow (Tuesday June 2) with the awarding of the AAS Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) Prize, which was announced in January. It is the highest prize given
by LAD, for the pioneering research in nuclear astrophysics carried out across Jim's
50-year career.

BS Astrophysics Honors Thesis Presentation: Elias Oakes
June 4, 2020 | Zoom Room (online) | 4:00 PM | Event
Elias Oakes, "The Distance to the Fornax dSph via the Tip of the Red Giant Branch and Horizontal Branch Stars"

Host: Rich Kron

Abstract: The Hubble constant (H0) tension stands at a more than 4σ discrepancy between measurements from the local distance ladder and the cosmic microwave background, with no physical explanation in sight. This tension motivates the development of an independent path to H0, to cross-reference existing distance measurements and control for systematics. The Carnegie-Chicago Hubble Program (CCHP) is approaching this problem by using Population II stars to establish an accurate and precise cosmic distance scale that is independent of, but parallel to, the well-established and commonly known Population I path using Cepheid variables. In this work, we determine the distance to the Fornax dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxy using three independent Population II distance methods: the Tip of the Red Giant Branch (TRGB), RR Lyrae period-luminosity and period-Wesenheit relations, and the magnitude of the Zero-Age Horizontal Branch (ZAHB) envelope. Using wide-field, ground-based imaging data, obtained at the Magellan 6.5m telescope at Las Campanas, Chile, we measure a TRGBbased distance modulus of μTRGB = 20.84 ± 0.06 mag, RR Lyrae distance modulus of μRRL = 20.75 ± 0.1 mag using archival variable star surveys, and ZAHB distance modulus of μZAHB = 20.81 ± 0.02 mag. Averaging these measurements yields a combined distance modulus of μ = 20.80±0.04 mag, which is consistent with an extensive catalog of published distance measurements to Fornax.

June 13, 2020 | Online | 9:15 AM | Event
The 533rd Convocation of the University of Chicago will take place virtually on Saturday, June 13, 2020. During the ceremony the University President Robert J. Zimmer will confer degrees to all candidates.

LNGS seminar: Evan Shockley, University of Chicago, "Search for New Physics with Electronic-Recoil Events in XENON1T"
June 17, 2020 | Online | 9:00 AM | Event
Chair: Stefano Ragazzi (LNGS Director)

We report results from searches for new physics with low-energy electronic recoil data recorded with the XENON1T detector. With an exposure of 1042 kg x 226.9 days and an unprecedented low background rate of (76 2) events/(tonne x year x keV) between 1-30 keV, the data enables the most sensitive searches for new physics such as solar axions, an enhanced neutrino magnetic moment using solar neutrinos, and bosonic dark matter.

Journal of Plasma Physics colloquium: Irina Zhuravleva (UChicago), "Physics of the hot plasma in galaxy clusters with present and future X-ray observations"
June 17, 2020 | Zoom (online) | 10:00 AM | Event
The Journal of Plasma Physics has organized a world-wide colloquium series on topics in the frontiers of plasma physics. This Wed. June 17 at 10 am, Irina Zhuravleva will be giving a talk at 10 am as part of the series.

Irina Zhuravleva, UChicago, "Physics of the hot plasma in galaxy clusters with present and future X-ray observations"

The intracluster medium (ICM) between galaxies in galaxy clusters is in a form of hot, X-ray-emitting plasma, permeated by weak magnetic fields. Although the magnetic fields are energetically subdominant, they modify the transport properties of the plasma, and, thereby, many large-scale phenomena in the ICM: from feedback processes to cluster mergers and subsequent energy flow and heating. The large sizes and relative simplicity of galaxy clusters make them ideal laboratories for measuring fundamental properties of such plasma, which are inaccessible by other means. In this talk, I will review how high-resolution imaging and spectroscopic data from X-ray observations are used to probe turbulence, gas viscosity, and thermal conduction in the ICM. I will present recent constraints on the effective gas viscosity in the bulk intergalactic plasma based on the observed density fluctuations on the Coulomb mean free path scale. At the end of the talk, exciting possibilities to probe plasma physics with near-future XRISM observatory will be discussed.

Early career job market
June 23, 2020 | Zoom Room (online) | 12:00 PM | Event
Dear KICP, EFI, and A&A members,

We are all going through a very stressful time with recent events at home and across the globe. Among other things, a particular point of anxiety for our early career members is how the academic job landscape will be reshaped as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic.

To start the dialogue we, along with the IDEA group and directors of the KICP, EFI, A&A, would like to invite you to a townhall meeting on Tuesday, June 23 at 12-1pm CT via the KICP Zoom Room . Although the discussion will be informal and we encourage contributions from all in attendance, the conversation will be lead by student/postdoc moderators and faculty panelists:

Abby Vieregg (Physics, KICP, EFI)

Alex Drlica-Wagner (A&A, KICP, Fermilab)

Tom Crawford (A&A, KICP)

Young-Kee Kim (Physics Chair, EFI, DPF Chair)

Fully recognizing that no one will have all of the answers, our goal is to provide a space where both early career members can ask questions about postdoc/faculty hiring and senior members can better understand how to adjust their mentorship strategies. With this foundation, we can all feel more empowered to prepare for the future and address resources that can help support our decisions.

To give our panel preparation material, we will collect anonymous questions/thoughts via form. This poll will close on Monday, June 15. Please stay well and hope to see you there!

Yours sincerely,

Danielle Norcini (KICP, EFI, & Physics)

Gourav Khullar (A&A, KICP)

Webinar: LIGO-Virgo Finds Mystery Object in "Mass Gap" (GW190814)
June 25, 2020 | Online | 9:00 AM | Event
In August of 2019, the LIGO-Virgo gravitational-wave network witnessed the merger of a black hole with 23 times the mass of our sun and a mystery object 2.6 times the mass of the sun. Scientists do not know if the mystery object was a neutron star or black hole, but either way it set a record as being either the heaviest known neutron star or the lightest known black hole.

You can find the paper at or in ApJL at

A&A Coffee, Cookies and Conversation
July 31, 2020 | Zoom Room (online) | 2:30 PM | Event
Please join us today for Coffee, Cookies and Conversation in the Zoom Room.

11th CMB-S4 Workshop: Cosmology and Astrophysics in the Next Decade
August 10 - 14, 2020 | hosted by the University of Chicago and held remotely | Event
Click on the image to enlarge
Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the CMB-S4 workshop will be held entirely remotely, August 10 - 14, 2020. The meeting is open to everyone interested in the broad range of cosmology and astrophysics that CMB-S4 will impact. Registration is free.

This, the 11th workshop in the series of twice yearly CMB-S4 workshops, will focus on the CMB-S4 science case in conjunction with other experiments and probes. A key goal of the workshop is to engage with the broad community that is addressing science topics similar to those being pursued with CMB-S4, but using different techniques. We will discuss how CMB-S4 measurements can be used to advance these science topics in unique and complementary ways, and work on exploring powerful joint analysis of CMB and other probes.

Special Thunch: H0 Summer 2020
August 27, 2020 | Zoom Room (online) | 12:00 PM | Event
Hi all,
We will join for a remote Thunch this week on Thursday 12pm CT via Zoom. Our friends from the particle-astro journal club are also invited.
Please vote for papers you'd like to discuss on or send us an email.
Thanks very much and see you all then! - Yiming, Jose, Victor, & Danielle

KICP Coffee, Cookies and Conversation
September 8, 2020 | Zoom Room (online) | 3:00 PM | Event
Dear KICP and A&A colleagues,
Please join us for Coffee, Cookies and Conversation today at 3pm in the Zoom Room.
We look forward to seeing you there.