Talks & Events
Workshops & Events: 2020
Current & Future
Physics colloquium: Angela Olinto, "Space Observatories of the Highest Energy Particles: POEMMA & EUSO-SPB"
What are the mysterious sources of the most energetic particles ever observed? What are the sources of energetic cosmic neutrinos? How do particles interact at extreme energies? Building on the progress achieved by the ground-based Auger Observatory in studying cosmic particles that reach 100 EeV, an international collaboration is working on space and sub-orbital missions to answer these questions. The Extreme Universe Space Observatory (EUSO) on a super pressure balloon (SPB) is designed to detect ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) from above. EUSO-SPB1 flew in 2017 with a fluorescence telescope. EUSO-SPB2 is being built to observe both fluorescence and Cherenkov from UHECRs and neutrinos. These sub-orbital missions lead to POEMMA, the Probe Of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics, a space mission designed to discover the sources of UHECRs and to observe neutrinos above 20 PeV from energetic transient events. POEMMA will open new Multi-Messenger windows onto the most energetic events in the Universe, enabling the study of new astrophysics and particle physics at these otherwise inaccessible energies.
Physics Seminar: Marcos Santander, University of Alabama, "Neutrinos and Gamma Rays as Unique Probes of Extreme Astrophysics"
The combined observation of neutrinos and gamma rays can provide unique insights into the violent processes that take place within distant astrophysical sources. The discovery of high- energy astrophysical neutrinos in the TeV-PeV energy range by IceCube has triggered a broad observational effort aimed at identifying the sources of these energetic cosmic particles. Gamma rays in particular provide a powerful tool in this search as both particles are produced in high-energy hadronic interactions. The detection and study of neutrino sources would not only signify the start of a new kind of astronomy, but could also solve long-standing questions in astrophysics such as the origin of cosmic rays. This talk will summarize recent highlights from the study of astrophysical neutrinos, present a road map towards fully enabling multi-messenger astrophysics with neutrinos and gamma rays in the coming decade, and introduce the instruments that will make this a reality: the IceCube-Gen2 neutrino telescope and the Cherenkov Telescope Array gamma-ray observatory.
Physics colloquium: Meg Urry, Yale University, "Equity and Inclusion in Physics and Beyond"
Many decades after anti-discrimination laws were passed here and abroad, practitioners of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics still look very different than the general population. Women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, military veterans, and other "outsider" groups lag far behind, with large differences by sub-field and by country indicating the role of culture and expectation. Demographic data and social science research confirm that ability is not the issue; rather, the driver is lower expectations and evaluations of outsiders as leaders, thinkers, do-ers. Sexual harassment is also a serious problem. After a review of the above, I offer some ideas about how to mitigate obstacles to equal participation, full utilization of available talent being critical to the health of STEM professions.
Joaquin Vieira, UIUC, "The Universe Seen In The Far-Infrared"
I will present an overview of observations, technologies, and facilities observing the evolution of the Universe in the (far-)infrared, from 2 to 2000 microns (um) in wavelength. I will begin with current efforts to study the cosmic microwave background (CMB, 1000-4000um), the relic radiation left over from the Big Bang. I will present an overview of the rich scientific questions currently being pursued by CMB experiments, which ties together the most disparate scales possible in science: quantum mechanics and cosmology; the beginning of the universe to the present day. I will transition to studies of high-redshift galaxy evolution with the Atacama Large millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA 450-3000um) and the future with the James Webb Space Telescope (2-30um). Understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies is one of the foremost goals of astrophysics and cosmology today and these two facilities are, and will be, providing exciting new insights into these key questions. The far-infrared (50-500um) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum provides a unique window into the evolution of the Universe and, while difficult, far-infrared spectroscopy is crucial for studies of the interstellar medium, galaxy evolution, and the high-redshift Universe. I will also discuss new instruments on the ground and in space which will significantly expand our discovery reach with the (far-)infrared into the coming decades.
Winter 2020 Postdocs Symposium
A&A Open House for Prospective Students
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)
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"
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
● 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
● 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"
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
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
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
BS Astrophysics Honors Thesis Presentation: Elias Oakes
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.
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"
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"
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
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!
Danielle Norcini (KICP, EFI, & Physics)
Gourav Khullar (A&A, KICP)
Webinar: LIGO-Virgo Finds Mystery Object in "Mass Gap" (GW190814)
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 https://arxiv.org/abs/2006.12611 or in ApJL at https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/ab960f.
Special Thunch: The latest from LIGO
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 chicago-kicp.voxcharta.org or send us an email.
Thanks very much and see you all then! - Yiming, Jose, Victor, & Danielle
A&A Coffee, Cookies and Conversation
Please join us today for Coffee, Cookies and Conversation in the Zoom Room.
KICP Coffee, Cookies and Conversation
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.
11th CMB-S4 Workshop: Cosmology and Astrophysics in the Next Decade
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.