KIPAC Newsletter, Fall 2019

Recent Science Highlights

Opportunities and Announcements

We are looking for new pictures to spiff up the walls in PAB and FKB, please send your favorite scientific image from your work to Ziba.

The CASPEN program (Cosmology and Astroparticle Student and Postdoc Exchange Network) is open to KIPAC students and postdocs to pursue short term research projects at UCL(London), CCA (New York), ICC (Durham), Oskar Klein Center (Stockholm), and CCAPP (Ohio State), with a rolling application date.  Please consider applying!

Our website is in need of an update!  If you are interested in helping with this please email Lori and Risa.  We also welcome specific suggestions about text related to your area.  Lori will be in touch with many of you to help with this soon!

KIPAC Open House (Community Day) 

KIPAC has a long tradition of a very popular annual open house which includes outreach to the general public and local community.  KIPAC and SLAC are joining forces for this year’s open house event, called Community Day, on October 19th, from 5-9pm at SLAC. This will allow us to serve a larger number of participants, provide more activities, and share the various responsibilities with SLAC Communications group.  We have a large number of activities scheduled and welcome your participation! If you are interested please contact Ziba if you have not done so already. 

Welcome to our new KIPAC Postdoctoral Fellows!

  • Dominic Beck, Neil Goeckner-Wald and Yi-Han Wu will be joining this fall to work on CMB experiments with Chao-Lin Kuo. Neil received his Ph.D in 2019 from UC Berkeley and Yi-Han received his Ph.D from National Tsing Hua University in 2019.  

  • Simon Birrer has joined us as a Kavli Fellow, after a first postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA.. Simon brings expertise in strong lensing, and is currently involved with DES, LSST DESC, and the STRIDES project.  Simon received his Ph.D in 2017 from Eidgenossische Technische Hoch.

  • Andrew Bradshaw did his graduate work at UC Davis, working with Tony Tyson on both LSST CCDs and Deep Lens Survey data.  He will be working with the LSST group on Camera construction and commissioning and cosmology with early LSST data.

  • Micah Buuck will be joining as a member of LZ’s operations team and will work on new computing paradigms for LZ simulations and analysis. Micah received his PhD in July 2019 from University of Washington, where he worked on the background model of the Majorana neutrino experiment.

  • Tanmoy Chattopadhyay joined the X-ray Astronomy and Observational Cosmology group in July 2019 and is working on the development of integrated readout electronics for next generation X-ray detectors, both for future NASA missions and the ESA-led Athena satellite. Tanmoy received his Ph.D. in 2016 from the Physical Research Laboratory in India and was previously a postdoc in the High Energy Astrophysics Group at Penn State.

  • Johannes Lange has started his position as the first joint Santa Cruz-Stanford Cosmology Fellow.  He will start his position at Santa Cruz but will be a regular KIPAC visitor during his first two years there. Johannes’ received his PhD this year at Yale; his research focus is modeling the connection between galaxies and dark matter halos as well as cosmological probes from small-scale structure.

  • Meredith Powell has recently joined us as a Porat Fellow to continue her research into the multiwavelength properties of active galactic nuclei and their connections to the evolution of large scale structure.  Meredith also received her PhD this year at Yale.

  • Martijn de Vries will be working with Roger Romani and Steve Allen on topics in high energy astrophysics, including the physics of pulsar wind nebulae, radio galaxies and galaxy clusters.  Martijn received his Ph.D from University of Amsterdam in 2019.  

KIPAC Innovation Grants

KIPAC recently put out a call for innovative programs to enhance community and collaboration and / or establish new research directions or capabilities.  We got a number of excellent proposals and thank everyone who submitted great ideas. We will be supporting two programs in each area:

  • PAVES (Program for Astrophysics Visitors Exchange at Stanford) is a new initiative that aims to build ties and foster collaborations with scientists from countries and institutes around the world that have limited resources for travel. The program provides funding for these international visitors to spend time at Stanford, and work on scientific projects with KIPAC members.  Please fill out this form if you are interested in being a mentor for the program.

  • A new KIPAC-LSST Early Science Group will explore early opportunities for the full breadth of  LSST science. Weekly meetings to build up expertise and community are planned soon.  Participation is open to all KIPAC members; contact Roger Blandford for more information.

  • The QCD axion is an excellent candidate for cosmological dark matter.  Chao-Lin Kuo and collaborators have new ideas to investigate improvements in resonant cavities that can make this search more efficient.  They will design and prototype high quality factor (Q), large-volume resonant cavities suitable for direct DM axion searches in the 20-100 ueV mass range, which is a particularly interesting range for a post-inflation axion candidate.  

  • The HydroX (Hydrogen in Xenon) experiment, currently in an R&D phase, aims to detect low mass dark matter (mass below the proton mass) using hydrogen-doped xenon. Alden Fan and collaborators will develop a small Time Projection Chamber to measure the response of liquid xenon to low energy proton recoils which is a key step toward this full program.

KIPAC Workshops

As always we welcome proposals from any KIPAC members to host small workshops.  A template for the proposal can be found here.


Our last workshop was held on August 28 - August 30; organized by Yoannis Liodakis, Roger Romani, Roger Blandford, and Greg Madejski on the topic of "Understanding Blazars Through Multiwavelength Variability". The workshop gathered about 40 experts from the US and around the world to discuss recent developments in blazar science covering a wide range of topics from theory and simulations, to multiwavelength observations of black holes and their jets, as well as what the future brings with upcoming facilities like the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer and the Cherenkov Telescope Array.

Public Lectures

On October 2, Shep Doeleman, PI of the Event Horizon Telescope gave the 36th Bunyan Lecture, "Seeing the Unseeable: Capturing an Image of a Black Hole"   A number of past KIPAC lectures are available on our youtube channel, this one will be posted soon.