Graduate Students Awarded Fellowships

April 1, 2014

Congratulations to Khalida Hendricks and Tom Holoien who recently have been awareded graduate student fellowhips!

Khalida won the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), which is a program that recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in fields within NSF's mission. The GRFP provides three years of support for graduate education.
[Learn More about the Fellowship]

Tom won the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF) , which provides outstanding benefits and opportunities to students pursuing doctoral degrees in fields that use high-performance computing to solve complex science and engineering problems. The DOE CSGF provides four years of support for graduate education.
[Learn More about the Fellowship]

ccapp logo

OSU Campus Campaign

Dear CCAPP members and friends,

The 2014 Campus Campaign is on until 30 April. When you are considering university and department funds to invest in, I encourage you to help CCAPP expand its student- and public-oriented activities.

Thanks in part to generous contributions from donors like yourself, we have been able to increase such activities, and we are eager to do more like the following:

+ Graduate education: providing funds to help make it possible for graduate students to attend conferences where they present their work.
+ Public lectures: bringing internationally-known experts like our recent visitors Lloyd Knox to Ohio State to give lectures and interact with students.
+ Outreach: hosting events for young people like the Breakfast of Science Champions for middle-schoolers.

Donating is easy and tax-deductible. Just click the Give Now button below, or if you're an OSU employee and would like to give via payroll deduction, please search for CCAPP in the Campus Campaign web page.

We are grateful for the generosity of those who have already donated. Even modest donations help financially and send a message to the university about appreciation of CCAPP activities.

Thank you for your consideration. We welcome hearing ideas for new initiatives.

Best regards,
John Beacom
(CCAPP Director)

2014 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

March 7, 2014

Todd Thompson was surprised today in Astronomy Coffee by President Alutto and others, who presented him with the 2014 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Todd kept his wits about him and made some great remarks about how the collaborative, student-focused culture of the Astronomy Department and help from other faculty were essential to his success in teaching. Congratulations to Todd on this important and well-deserved award!

The Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching honors a maximum of ten faculty members for their teaching excellence. Recipients are nominated by present and former students and colleagues and are chosen by a committee of alumni, students, and faculty. They receive a cash award of $3000, made possible by contributions from the Alumni Association, friends of Ohio State, and the Office of Academic Affairs. They also receive a $1,200 increase in their base salaries from the Office of Academic Affairs. The recipients will be inducted into the university's Academy of Teaching, which provides leadership for the improvement of teaching at Ohio State.

Q&A with an Astrophysicist from Stanford's Particle Accelerator

March 4, 2014

Former CCAPP Grad student, Andrea Albert hung out at Gizmodo for an afternoon and answered questions from anybody who has them. Curious about dark matter? Got questions about gamma rays? Ever wonder what a particle accelerator smells like?

See her responses on Gizmodo

Student looking through telescope in hallway

Breakfast of Science Champions for Astronomy

February 19, 2014

CCAPP co-hosted with Astronomy two classes of eighth grade students from Berwick and Dominion Columbus city schools on OSU's campus to learn about science through a series of hands-on activities to get them excited about a career in science, math or engineering. Students spent the morning on campus enjoying breakfast with faculty, researchers and graduate students from Physics and Astronomy, gave them a planetarium show, and led them in four activities designed to teach them about astronomy and the type of work that professional astronomers do.

Prior to the event, select researchers also did pre-visits to the two schools to introduce the students to the concepts they would be learning more about at the actual event and get them excited for their visit.

Astronomy/CCAPP Event Pictures
Read more about Breakfast of Science Champions

CCAPP Faculty Wins Top Prize for Young Astronomers

January 15, 2014

Christopher Hirata, professor of astronomy and physics, received this year's Helen B. Warner Prize for observational or theoretical research from the American Astronomical Society - the premier award for young astronomers. Hirata is cited for his remarkable cosmological studies, particularly his observational and theoretical work on weak gravitational lensing, one of the most important tools for assessing the distribution of mass in the universe. His work on cosmological recombination, structure formation, and dark energy and cosmic acceleration, and the extraordinary depth of understanding he brings to these subjects is facilitating the next generation of important cosmological experiments.

About the AAS Warner Prize
OSU Arts and Sciences News Release
OnCampus Article

A One-Percent Measure of the Universe

January 8, 2014

Researchers from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) that include CCAPP scientists announced this week that they have measured the distances to galaxies more than six billion light-years away to an unprecedented accuracy of just one percent. The measurements utilized so-called "baryon acoustic oscillations (BAOs)", subtle periodic ripples in the distribution of galaxies, as a standard ruler to measure the cosmic distance to these galaxies. Their measurements place new constraints on the properties of the mysterious "dark energy" thought to permeate empty space, which causes the expansion of the Universe to accelerate. In addition, the team tested the gravity theory at cosmological scales with 10% precision by measuring the velocity fields of the galaxies that were induced by gravity.

Kavli IPMU News Release
SDSSIII New Release

Dark Matter 'Wind' May be Warped by the Sun

January 8, 2014

"As WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles) stream through the solar system, the gravitational pull from the sun alters their individual trajectories, changing their direction and speed," says Samuel Lee of Princeton University.

The sun's pull on dark matter is called gravitational focusing, because the sun acts like a lens to focus the paths of WIMPs toward it. The new study suggests the pattern would be strongly affected by the gravitational effects of the sun, which have so far been dismissed as insubstantial.

CCAPP Faculty, Annika Peter collaborated on this with the three researchers from Princeton (Samuel Lee, Ben Safdi, and Mariangela Lisanti).

Scientific American Article
New Scientist Article
American Physical Society Article

CCAPP Faculty Speaks about Supernovae

December 26, 2013

In today's Academic Minute, Dr. Christopher Kochanek of Ohio State University calculates the odds of a visible supernova occurring in the coming decades.

Read more or Listen to the program


John Beacom Named 2013 APS Fellow

December 17, 2013

John Beacom, Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (CCAPP) has been elected as an American Physics Society Fellow for 2013. Each year APS elected fellows number no more than 1/2 of 1% of Society membership. A fellowship election is a distinct honor because the evaluation process, conducted by the Fellowship committees of individual divisions, topical groups and forums, is done entirely by one's professional peers.

Click here to learn more

CCAPP Grad Student Wins Scholarship

November 25, 2013

Rebecca (Becca) Reesman, has been recently awarded the 2013 Bunny and Tom Clark Graduate Student Scholarship. Becca is a student of Professor Terry Walker. Her research focuses on using gamma-rays to probe the extragalactic background light and new physics.

Congratulations Becca!

[Research] Stars Align

November 18, 2013

Unlimited collaborative possibilities at CCAPP attract young faculty researchers like magnets - the latest, a powerhouse couple from Caltech - Christopher Hirata, professor of physics and astronomy; and Annika Peter, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, arrived in August 2013.

"CCAPP has built an extremely strong research program exploiting the synergies at the interface between astronomy and fundamental physics. Annika and Chris embody this idea, reflected in their style of work and in their research on dark matter and dark energy, and I'm sure CCAPP was pivotal in their decision to come to Ohio State." - David Weinberg

"I like that the physics and astronomy departments are so closely connected - my research straddles the line of physics and astronomy, so a lot of places do not know how to classify me, but here, my research interests fall squarely in the research mission of CCAPP. It's nice to fit in!"
- Annika Peter

Read the full ASCENT Article


Possible Visibility of Milky Way Supernova in Next 50 Years

October 31, 2013

Astronomers at The Ohio State University have calculated the odds that, sometime during the next 50 years, a supernova occurring in our home galaxy will be visible from Earth.

The good news: they've calculated the odds to be nearly 100 percent that such a supernova would be visible to telescopes in the form of infrared radiation.

The bad news: the odds are much lower-dipping to 20 percent or less-that the shining stellar spectacle would be visible to the naked eye in the nighttime sky.

Click here to learn more


CCAPP Outreach: STEAM Tailgate

October 19, 2013

John Beacom, Director of CCAPP, did an outreach event on 10/19/13. During the event, Beacom showed demonstrations of universal gravitation in the Oval at OSU. This was a joint effort with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) to put on a tailgate party for the OSU vs. Iowa Football game; Combining fun, food, and physics to provide a good time for public and students alike.


CCAPP Outreach: STEAM Factory

September 28, 2013

John Beacom, Director of CCAPP, did an outreach event on 9/28/2013 at a farmers' market at 400 West Rich, a formerly abandoned warehouse in Franklinton that is being converted into space for artists and tinkerers. The event was put on by STEAM Factory (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), a great group of people. Beacom performed a bunch of demos about gravity and forces and answered questions about physics and astronomy.

Learn more about the event

Learn more about STEAM Factory


Rebecca Reesman Wins LBL TAUP 2013 Poster Contest

September 9, 2013

Rebecca won the theory poster competition at the LBL TAUP2013 summer school, held in Asilomar, CA. The school is for roughly 50 graduate students and postdocs working in particle astrophysics and cosmology. Her poster was on her work on measuring the opacity of the Universe with TeV gamma ray sources.

Learn more about the competition


New CCAPP Hires

Annika Peter is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy. She had previously worked at UC-Irvine before coming to OSU. Her research focus is theoretical particle astrophysics, especially dark matter.

Chris Hirata is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy. He had recently worked at Caltech before coming to OSU. He is currently studying problems dealing with dark energy, and hopes to tie dark energy to fundamental theories of the universe.

Hee-Jong Seo has accepted a CCAPP Fellow position with Professor Chris Hirata for one year, starting in September 2013. She was previously at Berkeley, and will be starting a faculty position at Ohio University at the end of her year with CCAPP. Her research interests are in Large-Scale Structure and Cosmology.

Jonathan Blazek has accepted is a CCAPP Fellow position with Professor Chris Hirata, starting in October 2013. He was previously at Berkeley. His research interests are in Large-Scale Structure, Cosmology, weak gravitational lensing, and galaxy formation.


CCAPP Outreach: Portal to the Public

Arts and sciences researchers have teamed up with Columbus' COSI (Center of Science and Industry) to introduce current scientific research and its applications to general audiences as part of COSI's new Portal to the Public Initiative.

The Portal to the Public Initiative was launched by Pacific Science Center in 2007 to assist informal science education institutions in bringing scientists and public audiences together and through hands-on activities promote appreciation and understanding of scientific research. The program model was implemented and evaluated at eight museums and science centers during 2007-2011, with support from a National Science Foundation grant. COSI became a Portal to the Public member in spring 2013.

Learn more about Portals to the Public


Dark Energy Survey Begins five-year Mission to Map Southern Sky in
Tremendous Detail

Tonight, as the sun sinks below the horizon, the world's most powerful digital camera will once again turn its gleaming eye skyward. Tonight, and for hundreds of nights over the next five years, a team of physicists and astronomers from around the globe will use this remarkable machine to try to answer some of the most fundamental questions about our universe.

On Aug. 31, the Dark Energy Survey (DES) officially began. Scientists on the survey team will systematically map one-eighth of the sky (5000 square degrees) in unprecedented detail. The start of the survey is the culmination of 10 years of planning, building and testing by scientists from 25 institutions in six countries.

The survey's goal is to find out why the expansion of the universe is speeding up, instead of slowing down due to gravity, and to probe the mystery of dark energy, the force believed to be causing that acceleration.

Read more at Interactions' Website
Or Read the Symmetry Magazine Article


OSU Astronomy has Open Questions Night at Local Bar

On July 29th, the Astronomy Department held Astonomy on Tap, a night of games, fun, and learning at the Brothers Drake Meadery & Bar. Demitri Muna from OSU Astronomy stated, "We had about 40 people show up, and the audience was interested in the talks and had lots of questions for us. I also wanted to thank the astronomers who turned up, who at the end were all brought up on stage to answer random astronomy questions at microphone-point."

The event organizer at the bar was extremely pleased with the turnout and the content and is more than happy to have the event there on a monthly basis.

For more information, or dates on upcoming Astronomy events visit Astronomy on Tap's Facebook Page


CCAPP Reaches Out to Kids

CCAPP Director John Beacom and CCAPP's Todd Thompson spoke at Grandview Heights Kids' Club on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 . "We spoke to two big groups of kids, answering their questions about space, planets, stars, galaxies, the universe, as well as gravity, black holes, the speed of light, and aliens. Even after an hour with each group, we couldn't wear them out. All of their questions were great, and some of them showed detailed knowledge. We also talked about how kids are naturally scientists: they observe, wonder, play with, and test things. That spirit of exploration and experimentation is the foundation of scientific research."

Read more


ASAS-SN Discovers its First Supernova

Even in the present day, only human eyes fully survey the sky for the transient, variable and violent events that are crucial probes of the nature and physics of our Universe. The "All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae" (ASAS-SN or "Assassin") project plans to change this by (eventually) automatically surveying the entire visible sky every night down to about 17th magnitude, more than 10,000 times deeper than human eye.

Recently, on June 6th, 2013 , The ASAS-SN Project discovered its first supernova, and has just discovered another candidate . You can find the image of the first supernova and article in the Astronomers Telegram below.


ASAS-SN Project Homepage


OSU Astronomer Partners with New York Artist

You can find astronomer David Weinberg's research on galaxy clustering, black holes and other cosmological wonders in the Astrophysical Journal and other prestigious publications. For the most part, his students and colleagues know Weinberg as a distinguished professor of mathematical and physical sciences at Ohio State University and a theorist specializing in galaxy formation, among other things.

But Weinberg is a whole lot more than that.

For about a decade, Weinberg has collaborated with glass artist Josiah McElheny on five artistic projects — massive sculptures that depict theoretical cosmic events, such as the Big Bang

Read More


New Dark Energy Survey Photo Blog

What would it be like to peer billions of years into the past, viewing hundreds of millions of galaxies, some billions of light years away? What would it feel like to be part of a team trying to uncover the secrets of our universe?

Starting this week, the Dark Energy Survey team invites you to find out by following their new photo blog, Dark Energy Detectives. The name refers to the DES collaboration's ongoing hunt for the mysterious stuff known as dark energy, according to post-doctoral researcher Brian Nord, who helped design the new site.

Read More

John Beacom

CCAPP Director John Beacom Featured in Article

Scientists speak a different language to present issues, argue points and convey information. B efore many of these equations make it into a research journal or textbook, they are written in marker, chalk or ink. They are scratched out, erased and rewritten until they speak a universal truth backed by laws of mathematics or physics. We wanted to know what it is like to speak this language, to get lost in an equation. So we asked scientists from three Ohio universities to translate. Read More


Credit: NASA/Swift
Skyworks Digital/Dana Berr

Young Intern Co-Authors Paper

While working with Astronomy Grad student Ben Shapee, Alex Talabere, a junior at Metro High School, finished out his internship with CCAPP by being a co-author of the astronomical telegram, "ASAS-SN Discovery of 3 Cataclysmic Variables", along with other scientists from the US, Chile and Poland. The CCAPP internship allowed Alex to contribute to the ongoing ASAS-SN project (All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae). This survey is designed to look for the bright supernovae explosions in the nearby universe. This is the first systematic all-sky search for nearby supernovae. This survey uses four wide-field cameras with 20-cm lenses located in Chile and Hawaii. This project is being conducted to gain insight into the progenitor stars of supernovae, and to allow scientists to make the first complete census and detailed characterization of the brightest supernovae in a volume-limited sample of galaxies. Along the way, ASAS-SN will find many other transient objects, including the new cataclysmic variables that Alex helped discover.

Learn More...


Dark energy coffee

Coffee Drives CCAPP

Since its beginnings, CCAPP scientists have been fueled by tens of thousands of espresso shots, brewed with Luck Bros' Coffee. Locally owned and independently operated, Luck Bros' has recently honored this connection with a special roasting, aptly titled "Dark Energy".

The first iteration of Dark Energy is a blend of Central America coffees roasted to different levels and then combined for a complex and balanced experience of brightness, deep lingering notes of chocolate and caramel, and a rich heavy mouth feel. This versatile blend is a solid choice for brewing espresso or drip coffee and best used for cold brewing. Stop in CCAPP for a tasting, or better yet stop by Luck Bros' and say hi to the originator of Dark Energy, owner Andy Luck.


Super Computer

Researchers celebrate 25 years of using bigger, faster servers to solve mysteries of the universe

April 7, 2013

Chris Orban, an Ohio State University astrophysicist, has used the supercomputer to model theories on how dark matter particles can help form galaxies in an expanding universe. Read Article


Amy Connolly

Physicist's NSF CAREER Award Assists Search for "Ghost" Particles

March 6, 2013

  • Amy Connolly's recent five-year, $650,000 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will help support her search for high-energy neutrinos, a type of elementary particle, traveling at the speed of light, which can travel cosmological distances unabated, existing all across the universe.

  • These are sometimes called "ghost particles" because they are very hard to find due to their remote chance of ever interacting with regular matter. Only sophisticated experiments can catch and measure their properties.

  • The NSF awards recognize and encourage the careers of exceptional young researchers whose work shows promise of significant ongoing contributions to their fields.

  • The assistant professor of physics joined the department in 2010, "because of the strength of the particle astrophysics group and the Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics."
  •
Spectroscopy graphic

Spectroscopy in 60 sec
(by Honscheid and Huff)

Spectroscopy is a technique that astronomers use to measure and analyze the hundreds of colors contained in the light emitted by stars, galaxies and other celestial objects.

Ordinary telescopes show the directions in which objects are located but offer no information on how far away these objects are.

Spectroscopic surveys make use of the fact that, as light travels to us from distant galaxies, it gets stretched out by the expanding universe and appears redder. By measuring the light spectrum of a galaxy, scientists can determine its redshift and thus its distance.

The largest spectroscopic survey to date is the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, which is being carried out at the Sloan telescope and will record the spectra of 1.5 million galaxies by the time it's completed in 2014. BOSS will offer insight into one of the biggest mysteries of the universe: dark energy, the enigmatic force that has accelerated the universe's expansion over the last 5 billion years.

An even more ambitious spectroscopic survey to measure the redshifts of 20 million galaxies is now being developed. In a few years, when this new spectroscopic survey experiment goes online, we will finally realize the massive scale of cosmic cartography necessary for truly sensitive measurements of dark energy.

NASA's Chandra Shows Milky Way is Surrounded by Halo of Hot Gas
Smita Mathur Quoted (Prof of Astronomy, CCAPP/OSU)

Astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to find evidence our Milky Way Galaxy is embedded in an enormous halo of hot gas that extends for hundreds of thousands of light years. The estimated mass of the halo is comparable to the mass of all the stars in the galaxy.

"Our work shows that, for reasonable values of parameters and with reasonable assumptions, the Chandra observations imply a huge reservoir of hot gas around the Milky Way," said co-author Smita Mathur of Ohio State University in Columbus. "It may extend for a few hundred thousand light-years around the Milky Way or it may extend farther into the surrounding local group of galaxies. Either way, its mass appears to be very large."

Read Full Article...

Ohio State Physicist Leads Team in Developing World's Most Powerful Digital Camera - DECam

Klaus Honscheid, professor of physics, led a team that developed the software to run a powerful new camera designed to answer one of the biggest mysteries in physics. The Dark Energy Camera (DECam), located on a mountaintop in Chile, took its first photos of the night sky this week. The camera will help researchers involved in the Dark Energy Survey (DES) to explore why the expansion of the universe is speeding up. Honscheid's team also designed a web-based user interface allowing astronomers to operate DECam from around the world, along with the instrument control system that monitors and records every operating parameter of the camera.
Read Full OSU Article...

The most powerful sky-scanning camera yet built has begun its quest to pin down the mysterious stuff that makes up nearly three-quarters of our Universe.
Read more about DES and its first light:

Dark Energy Camera Snaps First Images Ahead of Survey (BBC)
Dark Energy Telescope Snaps First Cosmic Photos (CBS)
Dark Energy Camera Sees First Light (Discovery News)
Dark Energy Camera, New Mega-Eye on the Sky, Probes Ancient Mystery (Los Angeles Times)
Astrophysicists Get First Images for Dark Energy Camera (R&D)
Dark Matter Survey Camera: Looking Through the Lens (Marketplace Tech Report)

Ice Cream Social with Jill Tarter, Nov 7, 2012

While in Columbus for CCAPP's 6th Annual Biard Lectureship in Cosmology and Astrophysics, Jill Tarter from SETI met with local middle school age kids for an ice cream social and scientific discussion.

In sharing her story and experiences about how she got into searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, her message to the kids was to never stop learning and to always take advantage of opportunities presented to them along the way.

Annika Peter and Chris Hirata Accepted Faculty Positions at OSU/CCAPP

Annika Peter and Chris Hirata have accepted OSU faculty offers in Physics with joint appointments in Astronomy. Their affiliations started in Fall 2012, though their arrivals will not be until about one year later. We have begun integrating them into the scientific life here, including having them visit frequently and we welcomed Annika to the CCAPP Science Board.

Annika's research focus is theoretical particle astrophysics, especially dark matter, and Chris's focus is theoretical cosmology, especially dark energy.
Based on their research interests and their interactive styles, they will each be great matches to Physics, Astronomy, and CCAPP and we are looking forward to great new things!

Gary Steigman Retires with over 40 years as Faculty

Gary Steigman retired this summer, after a long and distinguished career at OSU and other institutions. He will remain an active member of CCAPP and continue with his research while enjoying saying "Nothing!" when asked what he is teaching this year.

Physics, Astronomy, and CCAPP hosted a reception honoring his scientific career over 40 years as a faculty member and his important role over 26 years as faculty member at OSU in shaping the strong groups we have in both departments today.

The reception was held on August 24, 2012 in the Physics Research Building with special guests by President Gee, Dean Joe Steinmetz, and colleague Bob Scherrer.

As a surprise to Gary, CCAPP held a special seminar given by Bob Scherrer, now Chair at Vanderbilt, and formerly faculty at Ohio State. In the second part of his talk, he presented "The Life and Times of Gary Steigman", discussing Gary Steigman's contributions to cosmology, and place them in their historical and intellectual context. He also showed some funny pictures of Gary.

CCAPP Faculty Answer Astronomy Questions at the 5th Annual GRASP Summer Camp

The annual GRASP (Girls Reaching to Achieve in Sports and Physics) Summer Camp, hosted by the Ohio State University Department of Physics Undergraduate Studies Office in coordination with physics faculty, staff, and students, began June 11, 2012.

The GRASP Summer Camp is a 5 day long day camp for 30 middle school age girls. Each day consists of hands-on, interactive physics demonstrations and projects followed by a physical activity that shows how physics relates to everyday phenomena. Ohio State staff, undergraduate students and graduate students are present at all sessions, to supervise and share their understanding and love of physics with the GRASP participants.

CCAPP Faculty Amy Connolly, John Beacom and Todd Thompson hosted an Astronomy Q&A session giving the girls an opportunity to ask anything they wanted about astronomy.

Read more about the GRASP Summer Camp...

If you would like to Give to GRASP, fund 313987...

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) in Astrophysics

The Department of Astronomy and the Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (CCAPP) sponsor a summer research program for Ohio State undergraduates. This program offers full-time, paid summer research positions in astrophysics with a faculty member of the Department of Astronomy and/or Physics.

This past summer, 2012, CCAPP postdoc Carsten Rott hosted undergraduate Zachary Hartman.

Read more about the Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Astrophysics...

2012 CCAPP Price Prize Winners Announced

The Dr. Pliny A. and Margaret H. Price Prize of the Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics (CCAPP, is supported by generous gifts from Steve Price and Jill Levy, and is named after Steve's parents. Steve and Jill reside in Westerville and are admirers of the study of this science.

The Price Prize recognizes graduate students who have shown outstanding promise in areas of research closely connected to those of CCAPP. The selection, which is extremely competitive, is made by the CCAPP Science Board from nominations from around the world.

The 2012 awardees are Charlotte Strege of Imperial College, London and Chris Williams of the University of Chicago. Each will visit CCAPP in Autumn 2012 for about a week and will give a special seminar. The prize covers their expenses and provides an honorarium of $1500. The continued generosity of the donors made it possible to offer two prizes this year.

Strege is a theorist; she is probing the unknown particle properties of dark matter through combining results from astrophysical, underground, and collider experiments. Williams is an experimentalist; he is working on new techniques to detect the highest-energy particles in the universe, seeking clues to their unknown origins.

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Incoming Postdocs

Several new postdocs are starting or have recently started in CCAPP. We are excited about their scientific work to date and look forward to the results of their ongoing work.

Eric Huff from Berkeley has accepted our CCAPP Fellow offer and will begin in Fall 2012.

Kohta Murase has accepted our CCAPP Senior Fellow offer for the time between his Japan Society of the Promotion of Science International Fellowship in CCAPP and his Hubble Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey; he will be in this role from May to September 2012.

Carl Pfendner has accepted a postdoctoral position with Professor Amy Connolly and has been a CCAPP Visiting Fellow since Winter 2012.

Ralph Schoenrich brought his Hubble Fellowship to Ohio State and has been a CCAPP Visiting Fellow since Fall 2011.

Paul Sutter is a CCAPP Visiting Fellow from the University of Illinois and the Paris Institute of Astrophysics, where he works with Professor Ben Wandelt, and he has been spending part of his time here since Fall 2011.

Zhaoyu Yang has accepted a joint postdoctoral position with Professor Richard Hughes and Brian Winer of the Fermi Group and CCAPP. She began Summer 2011.

ccapp logo

Outgoing Postdocs

Several CCAPP Fellows are moving on to new jobs. We congratulate them on their successful careers here and on their excellent new jobs.

Basudeb Dasgupta has accepted a postdoc at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy which starts November 2012.

Tim Eifler has accepted a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania. He was offered the job in the previous season, but he deferred his start until April 2012.

Shunsaku Horiuchi was awarded a Japan Society of the Promotion of Science (JSPS) International Fellowship, which he will take to the University of California, Irvine, Fall 2012.

Michael Mortonson has accepted a postdoc at UC Berkeley which starts Fall 2012.

Kohta Murase was awarded a Hubble Fellowship, which he will take to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, Fall 2012.

Beacom portrait

Beacom Elected to APS Office

John Beacom, Professor in the Departments of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP), has been elected to a four-year term in the Chair line of the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society.

The Division of Astrophysics represents scientists working in many fields of astrophysics and cosmology within the American Physical Society (APS), the principal professional society in physics. The Chairs of APS divisions are chosen through votes of all division members. Members elected to the Chair line progress through the top offices in the division. Beacom will serve as Vice Chair in 2012-2013, Chair-Elect in 2013-2014, Chair in 2014-2015, and Past Chair in 2015-2016.

Ohio State has been well-represented in the APS leadership. Ohio State Physics faculty recently elected to the Chair line in other APS Divisions include Lou DiMauro, the Dr. Edward E. and Sylvia Hagenlocker Chair and Professor of Physics (Division of Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics), and John Wilkins, Ohio Eminent Scholar and Professor of Physics (Division of Condensed Matter Physics).

Beacom's research is centered on neutrinos, nearly-noninteracting and nearly-massless elementary particles, and especially on neutrinos from astrophysical sources. The fundamental goal of Beacom's work is to help turn "neutrino astronomy" from a near-oxymoron into a observational science and to develop its theoretical consequences for both physics and astronomy.

Carsten in front of skyline

Rott appointed a co-conveneer of the IceCube Dark Matter Working Group

Carsten Rott, a CCAPP Senior Fellow, has been appointed a co-convenor of the IceCube Dark Matter Working Group. Carsten will join Carlos de los Heros (Uppsala University) as a co-lead.

The IceCube dark matter working group is actively pursuing various analyses to search for dark matter annihilation signals from the Galactic Center, Milky Way Halo, Dwarf Spheriodal Galaxies, Galaxy Clusters, as well as signals from the center of the Earth and the Sun.

The indirect search for dark matter is one of the core science topics of IceCube. Data collected with the partially instrumented detector has already been used to produce the world's best constraints on spin-dependent scattering of dark matter particles on nucleons. The full IceCube detector, active since May 2011, provides significantly improved sensitivity to dark matter signals.

New DES Camera to Help Solve Mysteries of the Universe in 3D

An international team of more than 120 scientists will take the next step Monday toward solving the mystery of dark energy, one of physics' most perplexing conundrums. The farther an object in the universe is from Earth, the faster it moves away. T. Eifler, a CCAPP Postdoc and DES project collaborator, says to understand the concept, think of throwing a baseball.

Physicists said the new camera will provide information to help them better understand the composition of dark energy and the laws that govern it.

The Dark Energy Camera (photo on left) will photograph almost 300 million galaxies over the next five years. The camera is a crucial component in the Dark Energy Survey.

Read Full Article...

An element that's rare on Earth is found far, far away

Tellurium detected for the first time in ancient stars.

Jennifer Johnson, an associate professor of astronomy at Ohio State University, says tellurium has been a "tough" element to detect, since it absorbs light in the ultraviolet spectrum, which is impossible for ground-based telescopes to spot. The team's findings, she says, are a first step in identifying some of the most elusive elements in the universe.

Read Full Article...

A New Phase of CCAPP

  • CCAPP, its leadership, and its administration have entered a new phase.
  • From 2006-2011, CCAPP was supported primarily by Targeted Investment in Excellence (TIE) funds won in a university-wide competition. The Director was Professor Terry Walker and the Program Coordinator was Yavonne McGarry. The CCAPP community thanks them for their dedicated and successful service.
  • Beginning in Autumn 2011, CCAPP will be supported by funds from the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences and from a large endowment to CCAPP from a private donor. The new Director is Professor John Beacom and the new Program Coordinator is Lisa Krehnovi.

2011 CCAPP Price Prize Winners Announced

The Dr. Pliny A. and Margaret H. Price Prize of the Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics (CCAPP) is supported by generous gifts from Steve Price and Jill Levy, and is named after Steve's parents. Steve and Jill reside in Westerville and are admirers of the study of this science.

The Price Prize recognizes graduate students who have shown exceptional accomplishments and promise in areas of research closely connected to those of CCAPP. The selection, which is extremely competitive, is made by the CCAPP Science Board from nominations from around the world.

The 2011 awardees are Sayan Chakraborti of the Tata Institute and Michele Fumagalli of Santa Cruz. Each will visit CCAPP in 2012 for about a week and will give a special seminar. The prize covers their expenses and provides an honorarium of $1500. The continued generosity of the donors made it possible to offer two prizes this year.

Chakraborti works on the mechanisms and consequences of supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. Fumagalli works on how galaxies and their stars form across cosmic time. An unusual aspect of their work is that each has worked on both theory and observation.

Before supernovea and after

A Star's Signal of Impending Doom

A binary star system in the Whirlpool Galaxy has brought OSU astronomers tantalizingly close to their goal of observing a star just before it goes supernova.

Carsten at Antarctica

Rott Awarded Antarctica Service Medal

C. Rott, a CCAPP Senior Fellow, was awarded the Antarctica Service Medal from the National Science Foundation.

2011 Nobel Physics Prize for Dark Energy

The 2011 Nobel Physics Prize was awarded this week to Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Riess for their surprising discovery in 1998 that type Ia supernovae indicate that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

Prior to this finding, most models of the universe predicted that the gravitational pull of matter should cause the expansion of space to slow down over time. The data collected by the Supernova Cosmology Project led by Perlmutter and the High-z Supernova Search Team led by Schmidt and Riess revealed that the most distant supernovae appear fainter than expected, implying that space is actually expanding at an increasing rate. Attempts to explain this phenomenon, which require either assuming the existence of a strange new substance with negative pressure or altering Einstein's theory of gravity, are generically termed "dark energy."

The discovery of cosmic acceleration ushered in over a decade of efforts to reveal the nature of dark energy using not only larger samples of supernovae but also a variety of novel methods to measure the cosmic expansion history. As a result, there are now many lines of evidence showing that dark energy makes up about 70 per cent of the energy density of our universe, but exactly what the dark energy is remains an open question.

Researchers at CCAPP are participating in several ongoing programs that aim to significantly improve our knowledge of dark energy's role in the evolution of the universe, including the Dark Energy Survey and the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey. As these surveys map out the universe with increasing precision over the next few years, the data they provide will enable us to narrow down the range of possible explanations for cosmic acceleration and perhaps lead to another breakthrough in our understanding of cosmology and fundamental physics.

onCampus - Ask the Expert:
"Why has the Space Shuttle Program Ended?

M. Stamatikos, a CCAPP Postdoctoral Researcher, speaks on the subject discussing the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, its legacy and the future of human space exploration.

Read the full onCampus article...

Scientists model physics of a key dark-energy probe

Ohio State University researchers are leveraging powerful supercomputers to investigate one of the key observational probes of "dark energy," the mysterious energy form that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate over time.

The OSU project, led by Chris Orban, a graduate research fellow in physics at Ohio State's Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics, focuses on simulations created on Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) systems to simplify and better characterize a subtle dark matter clustering feature.


INSA logo

CCAPP Postdoc Wins INSA Award

CCAPP Postdoc B. Dasgupta is 1 of 30 scientists to win the 2011 Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Young Scientists Award. He is being recognized for his discovery of unusual and interesting effects of large neutrino densities in supernova cores.

The award of an Academy medal to a Young Scientist is made in recognition of notable contributions to any branch of science or technology, recognized by the Academy, on the basis of work carried out in India. Any citizen of India who has not attained the age of 35 years is eligible.
Read more about the INSA Young Scientist Award...

Einstein Fellowship logo

JSG Awarded Einstein Fellowship

CCAPP is very proud to announce that CCAPP postdoc Jennifer Siegal-Gaskins has been awarded a prestigious Einstein Fellowship which she plans to take to Cal Tech. Jenny was one of 10 Einstein Fellows awarded this year, and she joins Eduardo Rozo and Matt Kistler as CCAPP recipients.
Read More about the Einstein Fellowship...
Learn More about Jenny and this year's Recipients...

Julia Robinson

Symposium Public Lecture Featured in OnCampus

The space shuttle program may be drawing to a close, but science aboard the International Space Station (ISS) isn't slowing down, according to ISS Program Manager Julia Robinson.
Read the OnCampus Article...

Ohio State Researchers Use Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope to Explain How Universe Works

Researchers at Ohio State are using the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope to locate gamma ray bursts, the most energetic objects in the universe. Learn how their observations are being used to help explain how the universe works and what it is made of.

Read More, OnCampus Article...

The Price Place

CCAPP is very pleased to announce the establishment of Price Place, a state-of-the-art facility designed as a gathering spot for CCAPP postdocs, students, and visitors. Located in Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics, Price Place will serve as a home to CCAPP's many visitors, both long and short term, giving young scientists a competitive advantage as they pursue forefront research.

Sponsored by a generous donation from Steve Price and Jill Levy, Price Place continues their focus on fostering the development of young researchers in cosmology and astroparticle physics.

The room is scheduled to be completed by May 2011.

Astrophysicists Shine Bright with Award - The 2011 Rossi Prize

The American Astronomical Society's High Energy Astrophysics Division has awarded a prestigious prize to eight Ohio State scientists. All are part of the research team for the Large Area Telescope, an instrument on board the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, which scans the skies for the most energetic form of radiation. Among their discoveries: Einstein was right about the structure of space-time.

Read More OnCampus...

In deep galaxy surveys, astronomers get a boost — from gravity

As many as 20 percent of the most distant galaxies currently detected appear brighter than they actually are, because of an effect called "strong gravitational lensing," according to a new study that involves Haojing Yan, postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics at Ohio State. The discovery could change astronomers' notions of how galaxies formed in the early universe. Yan is part of an international team of astronomers who are using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to probe the distant universe.

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