Department News

Fakhri Zahedy wins a Harper Dissertation Fellowship
May 21, 2018
Congratulations to Fakhri Zahedy for winning a Harper Dissertation Fellowship. The intent of the award is two-fold: to recognize significant achievement and to facilitate completion of the doctoral degree. This award, one of the University of Chicago's highest honors, recognizes significant achievement during graduate studies and professional promise.

Related:
Department members: Hsiao-Wen Chen
Department students: Fakhri Zahedy

Adler Planetarium's "Fabric of the Universe" display
May 14, 2018
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Former garduate student (and current Harvard postdoc) Benedikt Diemer has collaborated with Isaac Facio from the Art Institute to create the Adler Planetarium's new "Fabric of the Universe" display.

Related:
Department students: Benedikt Diemer

Congratulations to Al Harper
April 12, 2018
Prof. Doyal "Al" Harper, Director of Yerkes Observatory
Al Harper will receive the Norman Maclean Faculty Award.

The award honors "extraordinary contributions of senior faculty to teaching and to the student experience of life within the University community."

Al will receive the award during Alumni Weekend in June, and he will be recognized at the June Convocation.

Please join me in congratulating Al.

- John E. Carlstrom
Subramanyan Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor and Chair Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Related:
Department members: John E. Carlstrom, Doyal ''Al'' Harper

Paolo Privitera has been awarded an Advanced Grant by the European Research Council
April 9, 2018
Prof. Paolo Privitera
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Paolo Privitera has been awarded a 4 M$ Advanced Grant by the European Research Council to search for light dark matter particles with DAMIC. DArk Matter In CCDs experiment (DAMIC) is designed to detect the tiny signals produced by the interaction of dark matter with the bulk silicon of ~mm-thick charge-coupled devices. The kg-size DAMIC detector to be installed at the Laboratoire Souterrain de Modane in France will search for low-mass dark matter particles with unprecedented sensitivity. The European Research Council "selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality to run projects based in Europe", with Principal Investigators of Advanced Grants identified as "exceptional leaders in terms of originality and significance of their research contributions."

Related:
Department members: Paolo Privitera
Scientific projects: Dark Matter In CCDs

Congratulations to Nora Shipp!
April 5, 2018
Nora Shipp, graduate student
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Nora won the DOE SCGSR Fellowship and a URA Visiting Scholars Program award to work with Fermilab scientists on using stellar streams to learn about dark matter in the Milky Way.

"Nora Shipp has carried out an analysis of the wide-field distribution of stars in the Dark Energy Survey (DES) footprint on the sky and identified several known stellar streams and discovered new streams. Stellar streams are an "archeological" record of the accretion history of the Milky Way and can be used as probes of properties of dark matter and of the Milky Way gravitational potential.

This project resulted in a paper that presented one of the most spectacular scientific results of the first year DES data and the results were a subject of a number of press releases and were widely covered in the media. In collaboration with DES scientists at Fermilab, Nora is continuing to characterize the streams analyzed in the DES and is planning to search for gaps in the streams and to model them using techniques developed by a former KICP student, Denis Erkal, as part of his postdoc work with Vasily Belokurov at Cambridge. Nora also plans to carry out N-body simulations for more detailed modeling of the streams. This program can potentially provide a new and unique probe of existence of dark matter clumps of mass $approx 10^6-10^7$ solar masses in the Milky Way, thereby constraining properties of dark matter itself, and to constrain properties of the Milky Way potential itself. DoE and URA fellowships that Nora received will help to carry out the first stages of this longer term PhD thesis program."

- Andrey Kravtsov, scientific advisor

Related:
Department members: Andrey V. Kravtsov
Department students: Nora Shipp

UChicago activities at Yerkes Observatory to end in 2018
March 7, 2018
Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis.
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The University of Chicago has announced plans to wind down its activities at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis., over the next six months and to formally cease on-site operations by Oct. 1, 2018.

"Science at Yerkes in the 20th century led to key discoveries and advances in the field of astronomy, when the observatory helped build the foundation for modern astrophysics," said Edward (Rocky) Kolb, dean of the Division of the Physical Sciences and a professor in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. "It is an important part of the history of the University, and we hope it will become, in some form, a valuable resource to the surrounding community and visitors to the Lake Geneva area."

Read more

Related:
Department members: Edward ''Rocky'' W. Kolb

Congratulations to Dan Hooper
March 5, 2018
Prof. Dan Hooper
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Please join me in congratulating Dan Hooper on his promotion to Professor [part-time] in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Congratulations Dan!

John E. Carlstrom
Subramanyan Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor and Chair Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Related:
Department members: John E. Carlstrom, Dan Hooper

Henry Luce Foundation Grant to Support Science Professorships for Women
February 27, 2018
Clare Boothe Luce
Photo courtesy of the National Archives
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A grant from the Henry Luce Foundation will support an initiative to significantly increase the gender diversity of faculty members across the Physical Sciences Division by 2023.

The five-year, $500,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation will fund three Clare Boothe Luce Professorships for women in the Departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics. Additional financial and programmatic support from the Physical Sciences Division and the Office of the Provost will ensure the success of the three new faculty members at the University.

"We are proud to partner with the Henry Luce Foundation and the Office of the Provost to support women in fields where they are underrepresented," said Dean Rocky Kolb. "Supporting faculty from a range of backgrounds will increase the rigor of our science, foster new approaches and ideas and enable more discoveries."

"The Clare Boothe Luce grant from the Henry Luce Foundation will enable the University to build on its commitment to provide a supportive environment for women in STEM," said Young-Kee Kim, Chairperson and the Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor of Physics.

Clare Boothe Luce, the widow of Henry R. Luce, was a playwright, journalist, ambassador to Italy, and the first woman elected to the US Congress from the state of Connecticut. The Clare Boothe Luce program, established at the Luce Foundation in 1987, offers research awards and tuition support to prepare young women to study and teach in the STEM disciplines, as well as five-year professorships for women early in their academic careers.

The Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Department of Physics will immediately begin searches for Clare Boothe Luce Assistant or Associate Professors. More information about the positions can be found at the University of Chicago academic careers website:
  • Assistant Professor in Physics
  • Associate Professor in Physics
  • Assistant Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Associate Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination. Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-0287 or email ACOppAdministratoruchicago.edu with their request.

Related:
Department members: Edward ''Rocky'' W. Kolb

Joshua Frieman will become the Head of Particle Physics Division at Fermilab
February 19, 2018
Prof. Joshua Frieman
Joshua A. Frieman, Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, will become the Head of Particle Physics Division (PPD) at Fermilab on April 1, 2018. "Josh's scientific stature and deep understanding of the interconnected nature of particle physics will make him a strong advocate for the broad program of exciting research tied to the lab," said Joe Lykken, Fermilab's Deputy Director. As Head of PPD, Frieman will oversee the Lab's involvement in the CMS experiment at CERN's LHC, all its astrophysics activities, the muon program and the Lab's theory groups, and new technology development, engineering and technical support for particle physics research. UChicago partners in many of Fermilab's astrophysics programs, including the Dark Energy Survey, which is led by Frieman, several dark-matter experiments, and the SPT-3G and CMB-S4 cosmic microwave background experiments. "All of us wish Josh well in this important leadership position at Fermilab, and we look forward to working with him to further strengthen ties between UChicago and Fermilab," said Michael Turner, Bruce V. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor. Frieman, whose UChicago appointment dates back to 1989, added, "while my primary focus will be shaping and ensuring Fermilab's bright future, I will also maintain my UChicago connections, albeit a reduced level for the next few years."

Related:
Department members: Joshua A. Frieman, Michael S. Turner
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey, South Pole Telescope

Congratulations to Dr. Zubair Abdulla!
February 8, 2018
Dr. Zubair Abdulla
Congratulations to Dr. Zubair Abdulla for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Sunyaev Zel'dovich Effect Observations of X-ray Cavities in Galaxy Clusters".

"Zubair has done it all, from building 10 ultra-sensitive receivers, commissioning them on CARMA, developing the data reduction pipeline, to imaging and analyzing the first Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect imaging of x-ray cavities in galaxy clusters. His thesis places tight constraints on the nature of plasma within the cavities and mechanisms for heating of the inter cluster medium."
- John Carlstrom, Ph.D. advisor

Related:
Department members: John E. Carlstrom
Department students: Zubair Abdulla

2018 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Awarded to Eugene Parker
February 2, 2018
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On February 1, 2018 in Washington, DC, the American Physical Society awarded the 2018 Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research to Eugene Parker, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago. Parker, 90, is recognized for his "many fundamental contributions to space physics, plasma physics, solar physics and astrophysics for over 60 years."

Related:
Department members: Eugene N. Parker

The 2017 Science Magazine Breakthrough of the Year
January 4, 2018
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The Prof. Daniel Holz and his research group and the Dark Energy Survey, led by the Prof. Joshua Frieman played key roles in the discovery of a pair of coalescing neutron stars, the 2017 Science Magazine Breakthrough of the Year.

Learn More

Related:
Department members: Joshua A. Frieman, Daniel E. Holz
Scientific projects: Dark Energy Survey, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory

Open faculty positions
January 1, 2018
The Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Department of Physics at The University of Chicago are conducting open searches at the rank of Assistant and Associate Professor. We welcome applications from candidates across all areas. A goal of these searches is to increase the diversity of the faculty. We particularly welcome applicants who come from groups that are historically underrepresented in our disciplines, such as women, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, or Alaskan Native. Women will be considered for a Clare Booth Luce Professorship supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Applicants must apply online through the University of Chicago academic careers websites upload a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, a statement of research, a statement of teaching philosophy, and contact information for at least three references. Review of applications will begin on January 15, 2018. Full consideration will be given to applications completed by February 15, 2018.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity / Disabled / Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Congratulations to Stephan Meyer!
December 19, 2017
Prof. Stephan S. Meyer
Congratulations to the WMAP experimental team, including Prof. Stephan Meyer, who were awarded the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. The prize recognizes major insights into the deepest questions of the universe and was awarded "For detailed maps of the early universe that greatly improved our knowledge of the evolution of the cosmos and the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies."

The prize with be shared among the entire 27-member team, including the following five team leaders: Charles L Bennett; Gary Henshaw; Norman Jarosik; Lyman Page, Jr.; and David N. Spergel.

Learn more

Related:
Department members: Stephan S. Meyer

Open research position: Provost's Postdoctoral Fellowship in Astronomy & Astrophysics
November 28, 2017
The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at The University of Chicago invites applications for the Provost's Postdoctoral Fellowship. We seek to include in our department scientists who will lead creative research programs aligned with the broad interests of our colleagues, and who have a desire to participate in the vibrant intellectual life of the Department and the University. The Fellow will have access to the University's substantial research resources. This fellowship program supports early-career scholars from diverse backgrounds, including groups historically underrepresented in faculty appointments, such as women, black/African American, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Hispanic/Latino scholars (see Provost's Postdoctoral Fellows Program).

Applicants will be early in their careers, with a Ph.D. in hand and without a tenure track appointment. Start date is negotiable, with a target of October 1, 2018. The successful candidate will be appointed as a Provost's Fellow with an initial two-year tenure-track appointment at the rank of Instructor. At the end of the fellowship period, the Fellow will be considered for promotion to Assistant Professor. A competitive salary will be offered, plus benefits. Research funds are also available. Consideration of applications will begin 15 December 2017, and short-listed applicants will be contacted in early 2018 to schedule on-campus interviews.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae with a list of publications and statements of research and teaching interests through the University's Academic Careers website.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity / Disabled / Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Congratulations to Donald Lamb!
November 21, 2017
Donald Q. Lamb,
Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus
Dear Colleagues,

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has awarded the distinction of Fellow to Don Lamb in recognition of his contributions to science and technology, scientific leadership and extraordinary achievements.

Congratulations Don!

John E. Carlstrom
Subramanyan Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor and Chair Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Related:
Department members: John E. Carlstrom, Donald Q. Lamb

Congratulations to Daniel Holz and Dan Hooper!
October 20, 2017
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The Department professors Daniel Holz and Dan Hooper have been elected to become APS Fellows.

Daniel Holz
Citation: For contributions to relativistic cosmology including the effect of gravitational lensing of distant SNe on measuring cosmic distances, the use of standard sirens to precisely determine cosmic distances, and his significant role in LIGO discovery of gravitational waves.
Nominated by: Division of Gravitational Physics

Dan Hooper
Citation: For pursuing the identity of dark matter by combining careful analysis of observational data with theoretical ideas from both particle physics and astrophysics.
Nominated by: Division of Astrophysics

Related:
Department members: Daniel E. Holz, Dan Hooper
Scientific projects: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory

Gravitational Waves Events
October 13, 2017
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I am pleased to let you know about three special, late-breaking news events that will take place on campus this coming Monday and Tuesday.

FIRST, On Monday, October 16th at 09:00 CDT, the National Science Foundation will host a press briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., bringing together scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo collaborations, as well as representatives from some 70 observatories. This will be live-streamed and we will set up a live viewing with some of the involved University of Chicago scientists in the lobby of ERC, as well as in room 201 of the Physics Research Center.

The press briefing will begin with an overview of new findings from LIGO, Virgo and partners that span the globe, followed by details from telescopes that work with the LIGO and Virgo collaborations to study extreme events in the cosmos.

The discovery of gravitational-waves by LIGO opened a new window to the Universe and involved several UChicago scientists. This year's Nobel Prize in Physics recognized three scientists for their contributions to the LIGO detector and the first observation of gravitational waves.

SECOND, there will be a special, more technical colloquium on the topic Monday, October 16th at 4:00 p.m. CDT in ERC 161, featuring University scientists Daniel Holz and Joshua Frieman, followed by discussion and comments by Holz, Frieman, Hubble Fellow Dan Scolnic, University Professor Wendy Freedman, and students and postdocs involved in the new findings. Following the discussion there will be a reception in the atrium.

THIRD, there will be an event on Tuesday, October 17th from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. in Kersten Physics Teaching Center (KPTC 120), consisting of about 5 short presentations by graduate students and postdocs and a Q&A/discussion. This will be geared more to the general public and university undergraduates.

I encourage you to join us for any of these special gatherings.

Rocky Kolb,
Dean of the Physical Sciences
The University of Chicago

Related:
Department members: Wendy L. Freedman, Joshua A. Frieman, Daniel E. Holz, Edward ''Rocky'' W. Kolb
Department students: Maya Fishbach
Scientific projects: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory

2017 Nobel Prize in Physics
October 3, 2017
Left to Right: Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne, who won the Nobel Physics Prize 2017 for gravitational waves, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced October 3, 2017 in Stockholm.

Molly Riley/AFP/Getty Images
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The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Rainer Weiss and to Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves".

Kip was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Chicago in 2008. And of course, our very own Daniel Holz is a member of the LIGO collaboration, so we congratulate him as well!

Related:
Department members: Daniel E. Holz
Scientific projects: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Florian!
October 3, 2017
Dr. Michael Florian
Congratulations to Michael Florian for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Measurements of Morphology in Strongly Lensed Galaxies in the Image Plane".

"Michael has been working at the interface of simulations and observations to develop statistical methods to quantify the morphology of strongly lensed galaxies, in the image plane. Such techniques bypass the extensive effort (both in analysis, and additional data) required to model strong lensing systems and generate source plane images. His work in particular sets a standard for upcoming space missions such as JWST, Euclid and WFIRST; he will be leaving us to go to take a NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship working the JWST group at Goddard Space Flight Center."
- Michael Gladders, Ph.D. advisor

Michael has received a NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship at Goddard Space Flight Center.

Related:
Department members: Michael D. Gladders
Department students: Michael Florian

Dr. Ellen Zweibel joins Astro department as visiting faculty for 2017-18 academic year
September 25, 2017
Dr. Zweibel is a theoretical astrophysicist with a speciality in Plasma Astrophysics. She is the William L. Kraushaar Professor of Astronomy and Physics and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Congratulations to Prof. Hsiao-Wen Chen!
July 26, 2017
Prof. Hsiao-Wen Chen
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Dear Colleagues,

It is my great pleasure to announce that Professor Hsiao-Wen Chen has been promoted to Full Professor.

Please join me in congratulating Professor Chen!

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

Related:
Department members: Hsiao-Wen Chen, Angela V. Olinto

Congratulations to Dr. Alessandro Manzotti!
July 24, 2017
Dr. Alessandro Manzotti
Congratulations to Alessandro Manzotti for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Unveiling the early Universe: delensing the Cosmic Microwave Background with galaxy surveys".

"Alessandro led the team that carried out the first 'de-lensing' of the polarization in the cosmic microwave background. Using data from the South Pole Telescope, the team used software to undo what billions of years of propagation through the clumpy universe has done: distorted the pattern of polarization. This first demonstration is the harbinger of what will ultimately become an essential tool in analyses of future SPT CMB-Stage 4 data."
- Scott Dodelson, Ph.D. advisor

Alessandro has received a Lagrange Fellow position at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris.

Related:
Department members: Scott Dodelson
Department students: Alessandro Manzotti
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope

Congratulations to Dr. Laura Mocanu!
July 21, 2017
Dr. Laura M. Mocanu
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Congratulations to Laura Mocanu for successfully defending her Ph.D. dissertation on "Measuring the cosmic microwave background gravitational lensing potential and its power spectrum with SPTpol".

"Monica has make many important contributions to the analysis of South Pole Telescope CMB data. For her thesis she has used SPTpol temperature and polarization data to produce the most sensitive CMB lensing reconstruction of the mass distribution in the universe, paving the wave for SPT-BICEP B-mode delensing and other cosmological analysis."
- John Carlstrom, Ph.D. advisor

Laura has received a Postoctoral fellowship at the University of Oslo.

Related:
Department members: John E. Carlstrom
Department students: Laura Mocanu
Scientific projects: South Pole Telescope

John Carlstrom becomes the new Chair of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics
July 13, 2017
Prof. John E. Carlstrom
I am very pleased to share the news of Department Chair appointment in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Effective October 1, 2017, John Carlstrom will become the Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics. His scientific excellence will serve the department well in the coming years.

I thank Angela Olinto for her excellent service as Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

I look forward to working closely with John as he takes on leadership of the Department. Please join me in congratulating him on this appointment.

Rocky Kolb,
Deanof the Physical Sciences Division

Related:
Department members: John E. Carlstrom, Edward ''Rocky'' W. Kolb, Angela V. Olinto

Congratulations to Dr. Dylan Hatt!
July 7, 2017
Dr. Dylan Hatt
Congratulations to Dylan Hatt for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "On the Population II Distance Scale: The Tip of the Red Giant Branch Distances to Local Galaxies".

"Currently there is a tension in values of the Hubble constant as measured in the local universe compared with estimates from the cosmic microwave background. Dylan Hatt's thesis uses an alternative method to classical Cepheids for measuring the local distance scale, a technique that holds promise for resolving the current disagreement.."
- Wendy L. Freedman, Ph.D. advisor

"Dylan's thesis work explores a technique for measuring distances to galaxies that is independent of the Cepheid distance scale. The thesis work involved new measurements of many thousands of giant-branch stars in several Local Group galaxies. Ultimately the project will help refine the distance scale and the value of the Hubble constant."
- Richard G. Kron, Ph.D. advisor

Related:
Department members: Wendy L. Freedman, Richard G. Kron
Department students: Dylan Hatt

Congratulations to Dr. Sean Mills!
July 7, 2017
Dr. Sean M. Mills
Congratulations to Sean Mills for successfully defending his Ph.D. dissertation on "Detecting and Interpreting the Dynamical Evolution of Transiting Multiplanet Systems".

"Mills' thesis is a tour-de-force of planetary dynamics. Using data from NASA's Kepler mission, Mills explored sub-Neptunes in resonant orbits, Mars-mass planets in dynamically packed orbits, and gas giants torquing each other's orbits. To top it off, Mills has interpreted statistical trends in their orbits and their atmospheres that point to planetary evolution from their formation to today."
- Daniel Fabrycky, Ph.D. advisor

Sean has received a Postdoctoral Scholar position in Astronomy, California Institute of Technology.

Related:
Department members: Daniel Fabrycky
Department students: Sean M. Mills

Congratulations to Dr. Megan Bedell!
July 7, 2017
Dr. Megan Bedell
Congratulations to Megan Bedell for successfully defending her Ph.D. dissertation on "Illuminating the Origins of Planets with Solar Twins".

"Megan's work has dramatically advanced the state-of-the-art for using stellar abundances to understand the formation and diversity of planets. In particular, her remarkable discovery of the chemical homogeneity of Sun-like stars has implications for the compositions of rocky planets beyond our solar system and their suitability for life. Megan also led the observations and analyses for an international exoplanet search program that has already resulted in the discovery of multiple planets."
- Jacob L. Bean, Ph.D. advisor

Megan has received a Flatiron Research Fellow position at the Simons Center for Computational Astrophysics.

Related:
Department members: Jacob L. Bean
Department students: Megan Bedell

Cameron Liang wins a Harper Dissertation Fellowship
June 16, 2017
Cameron Liang, graduate student
Congratulations to Cameron Liang for winning a William Rainey Harper Dissertation Fellowship for the 2017-18 academic year. The intent of the award is two-fold: to recognize significant achievement and to facilitate completion of the doctoral degree. This award, one of the University of Chicago's highest honors, recognizes significant achievement during graduate studies and professional promise.

Congratulations Cameron!

Related:
Department members: Andrey V. Kravtsov
Department students: Cameron Jia Liang

Megan Bedell was awarded the Josephine de Karman Fellowship
June 15, 2017
Megan Bedell, graduate student
This 2016-2017 academic year Megan Bedell was awarded the Josephine de Karman Dissertation Fellowship for her work "Illuminating the Origins of Planets with Solar Twins". Established in 1954 by the late Dr. Theodore von Karman, world renowned aeronautics expert and teacher and first director of the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, in memory of his sister, Josephine, who died in 1951. The purpose of this fellowship program is to recognize and assist students whose scholastic achievements reflect professor von Karmans high standards.

Congratulations Megan!

Related:
Department members: Jacob L. Bean
Department students: Megan Bedell

Space Explorers Program Evaluation and Experiments Featured at the 2017 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Meeting Los Angeles, CA
June 15, 2017
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Randall H. Landsberg presented "Space Explorers: 25 Years of Inner-city Students Out of School Time Explorations" as part of the "mission possible" thread at the NSTA national conference. The talk included data on how students in the program are out preforming their peers and exemplar, hands-on, inquiry based experiments. The experiments both involved measurements but in very different realms: the size of the universe and the response rates of rods compared to cones in the human eye.

Presentation Abstract:
Since 1991 Space Explorers has offered first generation, low income inner-city students and university astrophysics researchers the opportunity to explore together (with over one hundred contact hours a year). An external evaluation probed the impacts of this program on the hundreds of students and instructors involved. We will examine the evaluation findings, which map well to the recent NRC study on out of school time programs. We will also explore some of our favorite lab activities, hear about taking students to Yerkes Observatory for residential science institutes, and discuss best practices for university and community based organization partnerships. Take home new ideas for student labs and partnerships.

Related:
Department members: Randall H. Landsberg

Congratulations to Prof. Daniel Fabrycky!
June 14, 2017
Prof. Daniel Fabrycky
I am very pleased to inform your that Daniel Fabrycky has won the Division of Dynamical Astronomy of the AAS inaugural Early Career Award, the Vera Rubin Prize. We are very happy for Daniel and wish him the very best for a successful future career.

Congratulations Daniel!

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

Related:
Department members: Daniel Fabrycky, Angela V. Olinto

Congratulations to Laura Kreidberg and Jacob Bean!
June 13, 2017
Laura Kreidberg
Former graduate student Laura Kreidberg has won the best PhD prize from the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for her PhD Thesis "Glimpses of Faraway Places: Intensive Atmosphere Characterization of Extrasolar Planets" (PhD Advisor: Prof. Jacob Bean).

Last year the IAU announced the creation of a new award, the IAU PhD Prize, to recognise outstanding scientific achievement in astronomy by PhD students around the world. The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 10 000 professional astronomers from almost 100 countries. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

Related:
Department members: Jacob L. Bean
Department students: Laura Kreidberg

Congratulations to Dr. Hsin-Yu Chen!
June 12, 2017
Dr. Hsin-Yu Chen
Congratulations to Hsin-Yu Chen for successfully defending her Ph.D. dissertation on "Multi-messenger Astronomy with Advanced LIGO-Virgo".

"Hsin-Yu's work is helping set the stage for the new era of gravitational-wave astronomy. She has played an active role within the LIGO collaboration in the analysis of our first detections, while also becoming a leader in the field of multi-messenger astronomy."
- Daniel E. Holz, PhD advisor

Hsin-Yu has received a postdoc position at the Black Hole Initiative (Harvard).

Related:
Department members: Daniel E. Holz
Department students: Hsin-Yu Chen

Congratulations to Maya Fishbach for winning an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!
June 6, 2017
Maya Fishbach
The NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship program, honors and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social science disciplines.

Maya's research is focused on gravitational wave astronomy and she is currently working with Prof. Daniel Holz on interpreting gravitational wave data to study the population of black hole binaries.

Related:
Department members: Daniel E. Holz
Department students: Maya Fishbach