Workshops & Events, 2015
Dark Matter Hub meeting
February 17, 2015 | LASR conference room
We will host a dark matter hub meeting at KICP on Feb 17 (9 am - 1:30 pm).

The theme will be "beyond the simple WIMP" and focusing on a broader framework of the dark matter sector.

Dan Chung - "Dark matter in the early universe"
Bibhushan Shakya - "Neutrino Masses and Sterile Neutrino Dark Matter from the PeV Scale"
Francis-Yan Cyr-Racine - "Gravitational Detection of Self-Interacting Dark Matter"
Tongyan Lin - "CMB probes of WIMP and non-WIMP dark matter"
Dan Grin - "Axions in cosmology"
12:30 - 1:30
Lunch and discussion on dark sector, lead by Rocky Kolb

NSF's Google Hangout with KICP
March 9, 2015 |

NSF-funded Physics Frontiers Centers are pushing the frontiers of science across the disciplines of physics. The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) tackles the big questions in cosmology - dark matter, dark energy and how the Universe began. At 2 pm ET / 1 pm CT on Monday, March 9, the NSF Physics Division will host a live hour-long Google Hangout with KICP. We'll talk with the KICP Director and other members about the exciting science going on there including research on the cosmic microwave background and dark matter as well as the center itself and its innovative activities in graduate and postdoctoral education and programs that advance the broader understanding of science. You'll even be able to participate in the discussion using Twitter! No matter what your area of physics or the stage of your physics education or career, tune in to hear all about KICP and just what makes it a PFC.
  • MICHAEL S. TURNER - Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, as well as the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. Turner helped establish the interdisciplinary field that combines together cosmology and elementary particle physics to understand the origin and evolution of the Universe. His research focuses on the earliest moments of creation, and he has made contributions to inflationary cosmology, particle dark matter and structure formation, the theory of big bang nucleosynthesis, and the nature of dark energy.
  • ABIGAIL VIEREGG - Member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, and assistant professor at the University of Chicago, is interested in answering some of the most exciting and fundamental questions about the nature of the universe at its highest energies, through experimental work in particle astrophysics and cosmology. In particle astrophysics, her work is focused on searches for particles called neutrinos that come from the most energetic sources in the universe. These particles will help researchers determine the origin of the highest energy cosmic particles.
  • TIM LINDEN - Member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, and Einstein and KICP Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago, Linden's work has focused on methods for disentangling signals from dark matter annihilation at the center of the Milky Way galaxy from the many astrophysical background sources which are also present in this dense region of space.
  • RANDALL LANDSBERG - Director of Education & Outreach for the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago.

Winter 2015 Postdocs Symposium
March 19, 2015 | LASR conference room
9:00 - 9:30
9:30 - 9:55
Zhen Hou - "Reconstructing the cluster mass profile from CMB lensing"
9:55 - 10:20
Amy Bender - "SPT-3G readout electronics: design and commissioning"
10:20 - 10:45
Tongyan Lin - "Radiation from the dark sector"
10:45 - 11:00
Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:25
Ben Loer - "SuperCDMS status and plans"
11:25 - 12:15
Keith Bechtol and Alex Drlica-Wagner - "The search for Milky Way satellite galaxies: from optical to gamma rays"

Chicago Science Fest: The Mysteries of Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Universe
May 30, 2015 | 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, 12th Floor, Chicago, IL

Everyone knows there are things we can't see - the air we breathe, for example, or to be more exotic, a black hole. But what you may not know is that what we can see - a tree, a building or our planet - makes up only 5% of the Universe. The other 95% is totally invisible to us and its presence is discernible only by the weak effects it has on visible matter around it.

This invisible stuff comes in two varieties - dark matter and dark energy. One holds the Universe together, while the other tears it apart. (In 1998 was the astonishing revelation that the Universe is not only expanding, but doing so at an ever-quickening pace.) What these forces really are has been a mystery for as long as anyone has suspected they were there, but the latest discoveries of experimental physics have brought us closer to that knowledge. Particle physicist Dan Hooper and cosmologist Elise Jennings will explain some of the toughest ideas science has to offer and how they are working to discover what makes up our dark cosmos. Particle physics explores the fundamental nature of energy and matter, while cosmology is the science of the universe itself, including its composition, history and evolution.

Elise Jennings is a research associate in the astrophysics theory group at Fermi National Laboratory and an associate fellow at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Research at the University of Chicago. She is a computational cosmologist and interested in large scale structure measurements which can constrain dark energy and modified gravity models. In particular she has worked on simulations that allow us to determine the expansion history and growth rate of structure in the universe, which are important ways to test the standard model of cosmology.

Dan Hooper is an Associate Scientist in the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Previously, he was the David Schramm Fellow at Fermilab, and a postdoc at the University of Oxford. In 2003, he completed his Ph.D in physics at the University of Wisconsin. Dan's research focuses on the interface between particle physics and cosmology. He is especially interested in questions about dark matter, supersymmetry, neutrinos, extra dimensions and cosmic rays.

Graduate Student Symposium
June 12, 2015 | LASR conference room
11:30 - 12:00
Food and Coffee
12:00 - 12:05
12:05 - 12:20
Pavel Motloch - "Neutrino detection with transition radiation"
12:25 - 12:40
Laura Kreidberg - "Exoplanet Atmospheres"
12:45 - 1:00
Sasha (Alexander) Kaurov - "Effect of Dark Matter annihilations on reionization and recombination"
1:00 - 1:05
1:05 - 1:20
Alan Robinson - "Dark Matter Searches need Nuclear Physics"
1:25 - 1:40
Chen He - "Probing the Early Universe with the CMB"
1:45 - 2:00
Sean Mills - "Observed Resonance in Kepler Planets"

Alan Robinson, "Dark Matter Limits from a 2L C3F8 Filled Bubble Chamber"
August 31, 2015 | LASR conference room
Ph.D. Committee members: Luca Grandi, Dan Hooper, Philippe Guyot-Sionnest

"Alan's thesis goes beyond presenting new WIMP limits from our bubble chambers. In addition to that, he has provided the community of dark matter experimentalists with new tools that should generate a wide interest: revised cross-section libraries for neutron production and neutron scattering that can be employed to better assess the sensitivity of any WIMP detector."
- Juan I. Collar, Ph.D. advisor

Thesis Abstract: The PICO-2L C3F8 bubble chamber search for Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) dark matter was operated in the SNOLAB underground laboratory at the same location as the previous CF3I filled COUPP-4kg detector. Neutrons calibration using photoneutron sources in C3F8 and CF3I filled calibration bubble chambers were performed to verify the sensitivity of these target fluids to dark matter scattering. This data was combined with similar measurements using a low-energy neutron beam at the University of Montreal and in situ calibrations of the PICO-2L and COUPP-4kg detectors. C3F8 provides much greater sensitivity to WIMP-proton scattering than CF3I in bubble chamber detectors. PICO-2L searched for dark matter recoils with energy thresholds below 10 keV. Radiopurity assays of detector materials were performed and the expected neutron recoil background was evaluated to be 1.6$^{+0.3}_{-0.9}$ single bubble events during the 211.5 kg-day exposure. Twelve single bubble dark matter candidate events were observed. These events were not uniformly distributed in time, and were likely caused by particulates in the active volume. Despite this background, PICO-2L sets a world-leading upper limit to the WIMP-proton spin dependent scattering cross-section.

Jing Zhou, "Direct Dark Matter Detection with the DAMIC experiment at SNOLAB"
September 1, 2015 | LASR conference room
Ph.D. Committee members: Luca Grandi, Liantao Wang, Sidney Nagel

"Jing has made fundamental contributions to the DAMIC experiment in its crucial R&D phase. Her measurements of radiogenic backgrounds in silicon include novel powerful methods which make use of the excellent spatial resolution of the CCDs. These measurements put stringent limits on the presence of uranium and thorium and provide a first evidence for sizeable cosmogenic silicon 32 in the bulk of high-purity silicon, an important discovery for the present and next generation of dark matter silicon detectors. Also, she has measured the nuclear recoil ionization efficiency in silicon below 3 keV, an energy range so far unexplored and fundamental for the search of low mass WIMPs. The impact of these results goes beyond their application in DAMIC, and will influence any WIMP detector based on silicon."
- Paolo Privitera, Ph.D. advisor

Thesis Abstract: DAMIC (Dark Matter in CCDs) is a novel experiment with unique sensitivity to dark matter particles of masses below 10 GeV/c2. It employs the bulk silicon of scientific-grade charge-coupled devices (CCDs) as the target for coherent WIMP-nucleus elastic scattering. The extremely low noise of the CCD readout results in an unprecedentedly low energy threshold to ionization of a few tens of eV. DAMIC was installed at SNOLAB at the end of 2012, and is now completing the R&D phase required for the construction of a 100g detector, DAMIC100.

Calibration of low energy particle detectors
September 23 - 25, 2015 | Chicago, IL
Website | Photo Gallery

The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago is hosting a workshop on the calibration of the energy response of a wide range of different targets and technologies that are currently being implemented and/or explored for the detection of the lowest energy signals from dark matter and neutrino interactions. These include scintillating crystals, ionization and phonon solid state detectors, noble liquid scintillation and ionization detectors, and superheated detectors.

We aim to bring together a diverse group of scientists to report, propose and discuss the various calibration techniques.

Current research at KICP includes multiple efforts, on- and off-site, on the calibration of bubble chambers, charge-coupled devices, noble liquid time projection chambers, p-type point-contact Ge detectors and CsI crystals.

Fall 2015 Postdocs Symposium
October 30, 2015 | ERC 401
9:00 - 9:30
9:30 - 9:55
Adam Anderson: "Sterile neutrino searches with sounding-rocket-borne x-ray microcalorimeters"
9:55 - 10:20
Samuel Flender: "Simulations of the pairwise kinematic Sunyaev-Zeldovich signal"
10:20 - 10:45
Zhen Hou: "Study Gravitational Lensing of the Cosmic Microwave Background by Galaxy Clusters"
10:45 - 11:00
Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:25
Cosmin Deaconu: "Evaluating directional sensitivity of low-pressure CF4 dark matter Detectors"
11:25 - 11:50
Aurélien Benoit-Lévy: "Recent developments on CMB lensing"
11:50 - 12:15
David Staszak: "Measuring cosmic-ray electrons to TeV energies with VERITAS"

Dark Matter Hub workshop
November 16, 2015 | ERC 401
We will host a dark matter HUB meeting at KICP/EFI on Nov 16 (9 am - 1:30 pm) in Room 401 ERC.

Dan Hooper - "Dark Matter Indirect Detection with Subhalos"
Gordon Krnjaic - "Discovering or Falsifying Light Thermal Dark Matter"
Seyda Ipek - "Reducing Small Scale Structure via DM-Neutrino Interactions"
Coffee Break
Cosmin Deaconu - "Experimental Status of Directional Dark Matter
Andrey Kravstov - "Dark Matter Halo Structure: New Results and Insights"
Lunch and discussion