Giant Magellan Telescope https://mag.uchicago.edu/tags/giant-magellan-telescope en Star witness https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/star-witness <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1506_Searcy_Star-witness.jpg" width="1600" height="743" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Fri, 06/26/2015 - 11:21</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>(Photography by John Zich)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/maureen-searcy"> <a href="/author/maureen-searcy"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Maureen Searcy</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/inquiry" hreflang="en">Inquiry</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Spring/15</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Wendy Freedman calculated when the universe began. Now she wants to see it happen.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><a href="https://astro.uchicago.edu/people/wendy-freedman.php" target="_blank">Wendy Freedman</a> grew up in Northern Ontario and has early memories of dark skies filled with stars. “It never occurred to me when I was young, though, that I would end up a professional astronomer,” says Freedman. “That happened in university.” Now an acclaimed observational cosmologist, her career was built on peering into the dark skies with ever-advancing technology.</p> <p>Freedman <a href="http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2014/08/07/wendy-freedman-world-leading-astronomer-joins-uchicago-faculty" target="_blank">joined</a> the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics as a University Professor this past September, following 30 years at the <a href="https://obs.carnegiescience.edu" target="_blank">Carnegie Observatories</a> in Pasadena, California—starting as a postdoctoral fellow in 1984, becoming the first woman on the observatories’ permanent scientific staff in 1987, and becoming the Crawford H. Greenewalt Director in 2003.&nbsp;</p> <p>She also has chaired the board of directors of the <a href="http://www.gmto.org" target="_blank">Giant Magellan Telescope</a> (GMT) Organization since its 2003 inception. The GMT, expected to reach completion in 2021 at the <a href="http://www.lco.cl" target="_blank">Las Campanas Observatory</a> in Chile, “is on schedule to be the first of the next generation of big telescopes on the air.” One of the most powerful telescopes ever built (see “<a class="more-link" href="#sidebar">When Stars Align</a>”), the GMT will have seven mirrors, forming a segmented but incredibly accurate surface 80 feet across.</p> <p>Astronomers will use the GMT to collect light from the earliest objects in the universe. “There’s a spectrograph on this telescope that will allow us to take hundreds or maybe in some cases thousands of spectra, where you disperse the light of the faintest and the most distant galaxies,” says Freedman. Looking farther out also means looking further back in time, and astronomers will get to <em>watch</em> galaxies forming. “We’ll actually be able to see that directly rather than just surmise.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Freedman’s own research relies on the ability to look as far out and back as possible. She co-led the <a href="http://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/Sept01/Freedman/Freedman_contents.html" target="_blank">Hubble Space Telescope Key Project</a>, using the telescope launched in 1990 to measure distances to other galaxies for the first time. “We set out to measure the current expansion rate of the universe—the Hubble constant,” says Freedman, “one of the most important parameters in cosmology that sets the age and size scale of the entire observable universe.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The project began in the mid-’80s and concluded in 2001, when the team determined the universe to be 13.7 billion years old, with a 10 percent uncertainty. Now she’s leading the <a href="http://arxiv.org/abs/1208.3281" target="_blank">Chicago Carnegie Hubble Project</a>, using the <a href="http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu" target="_blank">Spitzer Space Telescope</a>, the <a href="http://hubblesite.org" target="_blank">Hubble Space Telescope</a>, and the Chile-based Magellan telescopes to reduce that uncertainty to just a few percentage points.&nbsp;</p> <p>To determine expansion rate, explains Freedman, “you need both a distance and a velocity.” <a href="https://www.spacetelescope.org/about/history/the_man_behind_the_name/" target="_blank">Edwin Hubble</a>, SB 1910, PhD 1917, discovered in 1929 that there was a relationship between the two. “It’s the slope of that correlation that we measure,” Freedman says.&nbsp;</p> <p>Velocity can be determined mathematically by measuring cosmological redshift—when an astronomical object’s spectrum, like the light from a star, shifts into longer, redder wavelengths as it moves farther away, carried by expanding space. It’s similar to the Doppler effect, when an object’s motion changes its observed wavelength.&nbsp;</p> <p>Distance can be measured by several methods, and with increasing accuracy as telescopes become more powerful and incorporate new detectors. The anchor of the distance scale, stellar parallax, uses an observational effect and simple high school geometry to measure distances to stars within our galaxy (see right). But Freedman’s work requires the ability to measure much greater distances.&nbsp;</p> <p>When observing stars far outside the Milky Way, astronomers must consider the difference between brightness (how much light we detect on Earth) and luminosity (how much light an object emits from its surface). Are they seeing a nearby dim star or a far-off bright one?&nbsp;</p> <p>The Hubble Key Project measured Cepheids, stars with pulsating atmospheres that follow a period-luminosity relation, varying in brightness at regular intervals directly related to how much light they emit. More luminous Cepheids have longer intervals, or periods. Astronomers compare the luminosities of Cepheids to their periods to determine distance using another principle—the inverse square law for light.</p> <p>When Cepheids become too faint because they’re too far away, “we use supernovae,” says Freedman—“really bright explosions of stars at the end of their lifetime.” Type Ia supernovae are exploding white dwarf stars, which all reach about the same luminosity at the peak of their explosion and follow a dimming curve. Similar to Cepheids, distance is measured by comparing luminosity to how fast the supernovae dim with time.&nbsp;</p> <p>Freedman’s current projects measure both Cepheids and supernovae. The Chicago Carnegie Hubble Project makes new observations of Cepheids to continue refining the universe’s current expansion rate, she says, “but we will tie into the nearby sample of supernovae, which we’re observing with the Carnegie Supernova Project.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The supernova project, which Freedman cofounded in 2004, uses the du Pont, Swope, and Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile to measure objects farther out in the universe, and therefore calculate historical expansion rates. By comparing past rates to the current local expansion rate, Freedman can study the universe’s acceleration—which in turn contributes to the study of dark energy, the hypothetical explanation for cosmic acceleration.&nbsp;</p> <p>When astronomers discovered in the late 1990s that the universe was accelerating, most cosmologists had expected the opposite—that the universe was decelerating. Although evidence for acceleration was compelling, “there was still a question of whether something in the universe was making the supernovae appear dimmer,” says Freedman, such as dust particles in the regions between stars, which can absorb radiation and cause errors in expansion calculations.</p> <p>The success and credibility of future experiments on acceleration and dark energy rely on the most accurate distance measurements possible. The Carnegie Supernova Project uses infrared spectroscopy to obtain such accuracy—dust doesn’t affect infrared light as much as visible radiation, Freedman says. Her team uses spectroscopy to study supernovae chemical composition as well, which also could affect the visible part of the spectrum.&nbsp;</p> <p>Although Freedman’s research focuses mostly on the expansion and acceleration of the universe, she is also interested in the possibility of discovering new physics. “Since Galileo turned a telescope to the sky in 1609, every time there’s been a jump in capabilities or that next generation of telescopes, we’ve made discoveries, without exception,” says Freedman. “One of the most interesting and exciting things is what we just don’t know.” The GMT is poised to answer questions astronomers never thought to ask.</p> <p>&nbsp;<br /> <a name="sidebar"></a></p> <p> <h3>When the stars align: GMT by the numbers</h3> </p> <p>Supergiant earth-based telescope<br /> <strong>1</strong></p> <p>Altitude, Las Campanas Observatory, Chile<br /> <strong>2,516 meters</strong></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Mirrors total when complete, each 8.4 meters across<br /> <strong>7</strong></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Mirrors needed to start collecting data<br /> <strong>4</strong></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Time to cast one mirror<br /> <strong>4 years</strong></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Weight of oone mirror<br /> <strong>15,875.7 kilograms</strong></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Resolution of Hubble Space Telescope<br /> <strong>10x</strong></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Resolution of Magellan Telescopes<br /> <strong>4x</strong></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Distance from which you could see a dime's details<br /> <strong>321.9 kilometers</strong></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Year predicted for first data<br /> <strong>2021</strong></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Year for all mirrors and instruments to be in place<br /> <strong>2025</strong></span></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">International partners in GMT consortium<br /> <strong>10&nbsp;</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong> To learn more about big glass, please contact Brian Yocum at 773.702.3751 or <a href="mailto:byocum@uchicago.edu">byocum@uchicago.edu</a>.</strong></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/science-medicine" hreflang="en">Science &amp; Medicine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/astronomy" hreflang="en">Astronomy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/astrophysics" hreflang="en">Astrophysics</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/giant-magellan-telescope" hreflang="en">Giant Magellan Telescope</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/chile" hreflang="en">Chile</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/hubble-space-telescope" hreflang="en">Hubble Space Telescope</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/physical-sciences-division" hreflang="en">Physical Sciences Division</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedstories field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“<a href="../science-medicine/small-universe-big-glass" target="_blank">Small Universe, Big Glass</a>” (<em>University of Chicago Magazine</em>, Mar–Apr/15) “<a href="http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2011/10/13/uchicago-launches-search-distant-worlds" target="_blank">UChicago Launches Search for Distant Worlds</a>” (University of Chicago News Office, October 13, 2011) “<a href="http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-02/rogue-steppenwolf-planets-could-harbor-life-even-without-stars-sustain-them-astrophysicists-say" target="_blank">Rogue 'Steppenwolf Planets' that Have Escaped from Their Suns Could Harbor Alien Life, Astrophysicists Say</a>” (<em>Popular Science</em>, February 9, 2011) “<a href="http://www.uchicago.edu/features/20110118_gmt/" target="_blank">Giant Telescope Could Solve Deep Mysteries</a>” (University of Chicago News Office, January 18, 2011) "<a href="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1102/features/first_light.shtml" target="_blank">First Light</a>" (<em>University of Chicago Magazine</em>, Jan–Feb/11)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedlinks field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Learn more: <a href="http://www.gmto.org" target="_blank">Giant Magellan Telescope</a> Give now: <a href="http://campaign.uchicago.edu/priorities/psd/astronomy-and-astrophysicsbig-glass/" target="_blank">Support the Physical Sciences Division</a>     <img src="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/2015_Summer_Inquiry-cover.jpg" width="140" /></p> <h5>This article originally appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of <em>Inquiry</em>, the biannual publication produced for University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division alumni and friends.</h5> <div class="issue-link" style="font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal;"><a href="../inquiry-archive" target="_self">VIEW ALL <em>INQUIRY</em> STORIES</a></div> <div class="issue-link" style="font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://mag.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/Inquiry_Summer2015.pdf">DOWNLOAD THE LATEST ISSUE (PDF)</a></div> <div class="issue-link" style="font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://physical-sciences.uchicago.edu/news/archive" target="_blank">READ ADDITIONAL PSD NEWS</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/star-witness" data-a2a-title="Star witness"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fscience-medicine%2Fstar-witness&amp;title=Star%20witness"></a></span> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:21:26 +0000 jmiller 4788 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Small universe, big glass https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/small-universe-big-glass <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1504_Searcy_Friedman.jpg" width="1600" height="743" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/jmiller" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">jmiller</span></span> <span>Wed, 03/04/2015 - 13:33</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Outside Kersten’s rooftop observatory, Freedman turns her eye to the sky. (Photography by John Zich)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/maureen-searcy"> <a href="/author/maureen-searcy"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Maureen Searcy</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/university-chicago-magazine" hreflang="en">The University of Chicago Magazine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Mar–Apr/15</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Leading cosmologist Wendy Freedman trains a telescopic lens on the biggest questions in the universe.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Last September, observational cosmologist <a href="https://astro.uchicago.edu/people/wendy-freedman.php" target="_blank">Wendy Freedman</a> <a href="http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2014/08/07/wendy-freedman-world-leading-astronomer-joins-uchicago-faculty" target="_blank">joined</a> the <a href="http://astro.uchicago.edu/index.php" target="_blank">Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics</a> as a University Professor. Freedman’s appointment follows 30 years at the <a href="https://obs.carnegiescience.edu" target="_blank">Carnegie Observatories</a> in Pasadena, California, where she became the first woman on the observatories’ permanent scientific staff in 1987 and the Crawford H. Greenewalt Director in 2003. The Chicago-Carnegie connection puts her in good company with <a href="http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/centcat/fac/facch04_01.html" target="_blank">George Ellery Hale</a>, founder of UChicago’s astronomy and astrophysics department, and <a href="http://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/archive/hubble/overview/hubble_bio.html" target="_blank">Edwin Hubble</a>, SB 1910, PhD 1917.</p> <p>Freedman first rose to prominence leading the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project, which measured the universe’s current expansion rate—the Hubble constant—and thus determined the age of the universe more precisely. The project began in the mid-80s. In 2001 the team announced that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, with an uncertainty of 10 percent. Previously cosmologists could estimate only that the universe was between 10 and 20 billion years old.</p> <p>Now she leads the Chicago Carnegie Hubble Project, which aims to reduce that uncertainty even further—to within 3 percent—using the <a href="http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu" target="_blank">Spitzer Space Telescope</a>, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Magellan telescopes. Freedman also is a cofounder of the <a href="http://csp.obs.carnegiescience.edu" target="_blank">Carnegie Supernova Project</a>, which uses the 100-inch and Magellan telescopes at <a href="http://www.lco.cl" target="_blank">Las Campanas Observatory</a> in Chile to study the universe’s acceleration—which in turn contributes to the study of dark energy, the hypothetical explanation for cosmic acceleration.</p> <p>Freedman has served as chair of the board of directors of the <a href="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1102/features/first_light.shtml" target="_blank">Giant Magellan Telescope</a> (GMT) Organization since its inception in 2003. This super giant earth-based telescope, which will start construction this year, also in Las Campanas, will have 10 times Hubble’s resolution. To function, it requires a minimum of four of its seven mirrors to be in place. Production of the fourth, which will take several years, begins in late March. Freedman expects the GMT to provide its first data by 2022, and that all mirrors will be in place by 2025.</p> <p>The <em>Magazine</em>’s interview with Freedman is edited and adapted below.</p> <h3>Women in science then and now</h3> <p>I notice a big difference from when I was a graduate student at the <a href="http://www.utoronto.ca" target="_blank">University of Toronto</a>. The number of women entering into graduate classes and getting positions as professors at major universities across the United States now has increased. And the opportunities for women to become directors of major observatories—those were opportunities that didn’t exist just a few decades ago. I always felt I was born at the right time. A lot of women before me, it was their efforts that allowed a younger generation to succeed.</p> <p>I’ve seen a lot of change, but that isn’t to say there aren’t still issues and difficulties. We need to start early in encouraging girls to pursue careers in science and technical fields. It’s still unusual. It’s not something that many girls even think about. I had my share of teachers who were very encouraging and others who weren’t. I had a physics teacher once who would say, “The girls don’t have to listen to this.” That’s when I was growing up. I feel really pleased at all the progress, but watching my own daughter and hearing some of the comments that were made in her science classes, I still think there is a ways to go.</p> <h3>Art of science</h3> <p>Science isn’t a textbook where you just read and memorize things. Science is a way of looking at the world and first and foremost testing ideas. It’s a human enterprise. Parts of it are fascinating, parts are beautiful and elegant, parts are mysterious and complex, and you see the whole range of human effort and creativity. Part of what makes us human is our curiosity and learning about the world. I think as a field sometimes we let people down in not being able to communicate the excitement of science.</p> <h3>Window on the past</h3> <p>Cosmology asks questions on the big scale of what is our universe, what’s it made of, how’s it behaving, how’s it changing with time, and those are questions that fascinate me. We can make measurements and actually learn something about the universe. We can peer back in time; because light has a finite speed, as you look farther back in distance you’re also looking further back in time. It’s an incredible opportunity that you don’t have in many sciences.</p> <h3>Measuring distances within our galaxy ...</h3> <p>You look up in the sky with a telescope at the direction of the star. Then as Earth is going through its annual motion around the sun, if you look six months later from the opposite side of its orbit, you end up with a triangle with the diameter of Earth’s orbit as its base. Then it’s just high school geometry, ordinary Euclidean geometry; you can solve for the distance. That anchors what we call the zero point, and then you can measure relative distance.</p> <h3>... and beyond</h3> <p>You need to know how bright objects actually are, as opposed to how bright they appear. Something can appear faint because it’s far away, or that might be the nature of the object. You have to be able to determine what the brightness of an object is to calibrate its absolute distance. So we use pulsating stars called Cepheid variables to do that.</p> <p>The upper atmosphere of a Cepheid variable is moving in and out, which changes the star’s brightness, and the rate at which it’s changing is directly related to how bright the star is. That’s called a period luminosity relation, which was discovered by an astronomer named Henrietta Leavitt. She worked at the Harvard College Observatory in the early 1900s, and she discovered this relationship, which we’re now calling the Leavitt relation. She received very little recognition for her work, but all of modern cosmology rests on that relationship. That is the pillar for our ability to measure distances.</p> <p>So we use these Cepheid variables, and when they become too faint as they’re too far away, we use supernovae, these really bright explosions of stars at the end of their lifetime. In that way we can chart the distance scale of the universe.</p> <h3>Mirror, mirror</h3> <p>The GMT is comprised of seven 8.4-meter mirrors, six in a circle and one in the center. The mirrors take four years apiece from the beginning of the casting; they have to be cooled very slowly over a period of several months. Then they’re taken out and the back sides and front sides are polished. They have to be tested, so they move between a polishing machine and a test tower. Each phase in that process is about a year. One of the big decisions I made early on as chair of the board was to go ahead with the first mirror, even though we had only a small fraction of the funding, because I knew if we didn’t demonstrate technically that it was feasible, we would never be in a position to build the project. Without knowing that you could solve the technical challenges, you wouldn’t begin construction of this billion-dollar project. The first mirror took seven years.</p> <h3>What we might see</h3> <p>If someone were on the moon and lit a candle, we’d see it. The GMT is sensitive enough to detect that. The power is quite extraordinary. In terms of resolution, the example I like to give is, you look at the surface of a dime and you can hold it up and see the detail and read the writing. With the GMT you can go 200 miles away and see that kind of detail.</p> <h3>What we might find</h3> <p>A real niche for the GMT will be the ability to study planets outside of our solar system. Because of this high resolution and sensitivity, it will be possible to measure masses and densities, and so characterize the properties of planets that are as low-mass as Earth. Right now it’s possible to do that for planets that are many times the mass of Earth, and certainly for the Jupiters and Saturns and Neptunes.</p> <p>If there are nearby planets that have life in a form similar to what we’re familiar with, we would be able to take spectra of the atmospheres of those planets and actually look for the biological signatures, as opposed to chemical signatures in the atmospheres.</p> <p>Since Galileo turned a telescope to the sky in 1609, every time there’s been a jump in capabilities or that next generation of telescopes, we’ve made discoveries, without exception. So it’s that possibility for discovery that’s really exciting—what we can’t anticipate at all.</p> <p><strong>You can help ensure UChicago astronomers’ continued access to “big glass,” including the Giant Magellan Telescope, and the discoveries it makes possible. Visit <a href="http://campaign.uchicago.edu/priorities/psd" target="_blank">campaign.uchicago.edu/priorities/psd</a>.</strong></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/science-medicine" hreflang="en">Science &amp; Medicine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/giant-magellan-telescope" hreflang="en">Giant Magellan Telescope</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/astronomy" hreflang="en">Astronomy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/astrophysics" hreflang="en">Astrophysics</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/campaign" hreflang="en">Campaign</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/physical-sciences-division" hreflang="en">Physical Sciences Division</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/uchicago-campaign" hreflang="en">UChicago Campaign</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refformats field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/formats/glimpses" hreflang="en">Glimpses</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedstories field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“<a href="http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2011/10/13/uchicago-launches-search-distant-worlds" target="_blank">UChicago Launches Search for Distant Worlds</a>” (University of Chicago News Office, October 13, 2011) “<a href="http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-02/rogue-steppenwolf-planets-could-harbor-life-even-without-stars-sustain-them-astrophysicists-say" target="_blank">Rogue 'Steppenwolf Planets' that Have Escaped from Their Suns Could Harbor Alien Life, Astrophysicists Say</a>” (<em>Popular Science</em>, February 9, 2011) “<a href="http://www.uchicago.edu/features/20110118_gmt/" target="_blank">Giant Telescope Could Solve Deep Mysteries</a>” (University of Chicago News Office, January 18, 2011) "<a href="http://magazine.uchicago.edu/1102/features/first_light.shtml" target="_blank">First Light</a>" (<em>University of Chicago Magazine</em>, Jan–Feb/11)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-relatedlinks field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Learn more: <a href="http://www.gmto.org" target="_blank">Giant Magellan Telescope</a> Give now: <a href="http://campaign.uchicago.edu/priorities/psd/astronomy-and-astrophysicsbig-glass/" target="_blank">Support the Physical Sciences Division</a></p> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/small-universe-big-glass" data-a2a-title="Small universe, big glass"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fscience-medicine%2Fsmall-universe-big-glass&amp;title=Small%20universe%2C%20big%20glass"></a></span> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:33:50 +0000 jmiller 4475 at https://mag.uchicago.edu Envision: The future of PSD https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/envision-future-psd <div class="field field--name-field-letter-box-story-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/1410_Searcy_Envision.png" width="700" height="325" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/profile/mrsearcy" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">mrsearcy</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/17/2014 - 20:09</span> <div class="field field--name-field-caption field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>This rendering shows how the Giant Magellan Telescope’s six large mirrors will encircle a seventh. (Rendering courtesy the Giant Magellan Telescope Project)</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refauthors field--type-entity-reference field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field--label sr-only">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"> <div about="/author/maureen-searcy"> <a href="/author/maureen-searcy"> <div class="field field--name-name field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Maureen Searcy</div> </a> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refsource field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/publication-sources/inquiry" hreflang="en">Inquiry</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-issue field--type-text field--label-hidden field--item">Fall/14</div> <div class="field field--name-field-subhead field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The Physical Sciences Division looks to the future.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>In October UChicago formally launched the public phase of the University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact, a $4.5 billion fundraising campaign expected to last through 2019. The quiet phase has already raised more than $2 billion, including 182,000 gifts from alumni and friends.</p> <p>The campaign serves as an important moment for the division, says dean <a href="https://president.uchicago.edu/directory/edward-rocky-kolb">Rocky Kolb</a>. “We pioneer scientific discovery; philanthropists provide us the means, and in doing so become an integral part of the work we do.”</p> <p>As part of the campaign, the <a href="https://physical-sciences.uchicago.edu/">Physical Sciences Division</a> is raising funds to advance a set of ambitious goals, focusing on:</p> <blockquote><strong>pursuits</strong>—developing ambitious research agendas and programs, maintaining and fostering the division’s tradition of discovery;</blockquote> <blockquote><strong>people</strong>—attracting and supporting the best students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty by building and advancing core facilities and equipment and promoting a strong collaborative community;</blockquote> <blockquote><strong>place</strong>—serving as an intellectual destination where researchers from around the globe present and hone their breakthroughs.</blockquote> <p>These initiatives, Kolb says, will continue—and bolster—the PSD’s history of producing research and scientists that push boundaries, ask difficult questions, and create new fields of study.</p> <p>Below are the division’s departmental campaign priorities.</p> <hr /><h2><strong>Big glass</strong></h2> <p><strong>Astronomy and Astrophysics</strong>: Telescopes are time machines, and the biggest and most advanced telescopes bring us ever closer to the big bang. Construction is expected to be complete by 2020 on the <a href="http://www.gmto.org/">Giant Magellan Telescope</a>, a segmented-mirror scope in the Chilean Andes Mountains with more than 12 times the light-gathering area of the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona, currently the world’s largest telescope. The University of Chicago has pledged a significant stake in the GMT as well as in the two existing Magellan telescopes, ensuring that UChicago astronomers and astrophysicists have access to the best observational equipment in the world.</p> <h2><strong>Systems research and innovation hub</strong></h2> <p><strong>Computer Science</strong>: Computing devices have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, yet computer systems are still wasteful, fragile, and insecure. The goal of the computer science department’s new <a href="http://ceres.uchicago.edu/">CERES Center</a> is to engineer “unstoppable computing” by exploring hardware and software architectures that exceed current energy efficiency and function, building resilience to large-scale failure, and achieving total defense against malicious attacks.</p> <h2><strong>Planet habitability</strong></h2> <p><strong>Geophysical Sciences</strong>: Understanding planet habitability—the ability to develop and sustain life—is crucial to human existence here and the search for life out there. The geophysical sciences department studies the complex dynamics among life, rocks, oceans, and atmospheres on Earth and creates models for potential exoplanet habitability, which can then be tested with increasingly powerful telescopes.</p> <h2><strong>Kadanoff Center</strong></h2> <p><strong>Physics</strong>: Condensed matter physics deals with the physics of everyday and exotic materials. The <a href="https://kctp.uchicago.edu/">Kadanoff Center for Theoretical Physics</a>, which has historically focused on particle physics, aims to strengthen its efforts in condensed matter physics, uniting experts in string theory, general relativity, condensed matter physics, and hydrodynamics to study problems shared by both fields.</p> <h2><strong>Math labs and postdoctoral instructorships</strong></h2> <p><strong>Mathematics</strong>: The mathematics department seeks to revolutionize the way math is researched and taught by establishing math laboratories. The department also plans to create a cadre of postdoctoral instructors—recent PhDs who have exhibited exemplary teaching skills—who will provide expert-level education for its growing undergraduate mathematics population.</p> <h2><strong>Data analysis</strong></h2> <p><strong>Statistics</strong>: Computation is vital for the future of all research, the humanities and social sciences as well as physical and life sciences. The PSD is providing undergraduates with training to understand and use computation in their post-College lives. Based on student input and demand, the College has approved a new major in computation and applied mathematics that includes course work in the departments of statistics (which leads the initiative), mathematics, and computer science.</p> <h2><strong>Project Prometheus</strong></h2> <p><strong>Chemistry</strong>: Project Prometheus represents the next step in a decades-long chemical research revolution. Solar energy could eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels, but today’s methods of harvesting and storing it are inefficient and incomplete. The project focuses on capturing sunlight, storing energy in chemical bonds, and chemically converting artificial photosynthesis products.</p> <hr /><p><em>For more information, a complete list of campaign goals, and information on how to give to the PSD, visit <a href="http://campaign.uchicago.edu/">campaign.uchicago.edu</a>.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-reftopic field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/topics/science-medicine" hreflang="en">Science &amp; Medicine</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/giant-magellan-telescope" hreflang="en">Giant Magellan Telescope</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/planet-habitability" hreflang="en">planet habitability</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/project-prometheus" hreflang="en">Project Prometheus</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-refuchicago field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/campaign" hreflang="en">Campaign</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/physical-sciences-division" hreflang="en">Physical Sciences Division</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/uchicago-campaign" hreflang="en">UChicago Campaign</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="https://mag.uchicago.edu/science-medicine/envision-future-psd" data-a2a-title="Envision: The future of PSD"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_google_plus"></a><a class="a2a_button_print"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share_save" href="https://www.addtoany.com/share#url=https%3A%2F%2Fmag.uchicago.edu%2Fscience-medicine%2Fenvision-future-psd&amp;title=Envision%3A%20The%20future%20of%20PSD"></a></span> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:09:07 +0000 mrsearcy 4265 at https://mag.uchicago.edu