Events this week

Thursday, August 14
Physics Division RPM
Location: LBNL, 50A-5132 – 4:00 PM
Speaker: Flor de Maria Blasczyk (LSU)
Title: “A Journey from T2K TO LArIAT”
Abstract: The journey starts with the T2K (Tokai to Kamioka) long baseline neutrino oscillation experiment in Japan. The main topics addressed will be the measurement of the nm flux at the near detector withT2K’s first data as well as a possible implementation of pion formation zone reweighting. Also, brief feasibility studies for the calibration of the near detector tracker’s absolute momentum scale and the measurement of the neutral current single pion production cross-section in the p0 near detector will be shown. The second part of the talk will focus on LArIAT, a liquid argon time projection chamber that will be placed in a test-beam at Fermilab. The goals of the experiment and its online monitoring system will be presented.

Friday, August 15
INPA Seminar
Location: LBNL, 50-5026 – 12 p.m.
Speaker: David J. E. Marsh, Perimeter Institute (Waterloo, Canada)
Title: Quintessence in a quandary: on prior dependence in dark energy models
Abstract: The archetypal theory of dark energy is quintessence: a minimally coupled scalar field with a canonical kinetic energy and potential. By studying random potentials we show that quintessence imposes a restricted set of priors on the equation of state of dark energy. Focusing on the commonly-used parametrisation, $w(a)\approx w_0+w_a(1-a)$, we show  that there is a natural scale and direction on the $(w_0, w_a)$ plane that distinguishes quintessence as a general framework. We calculate the expected information gain for a given survey and show that, because of the non-trivial prior information, it is a function of more than just the figure of merit. This allows us to make a quantitative case for novel survey strategies.


Upcoming Events

Monday, August 18
Special Seminar
Location: LBNL, 50B-4205 – 11 a.m.
Speaker: Doron Kushnir, Institute for Advanced Study
Title: Supernova: Not What You Thought — The Majority of Type Ia Supernovae May Be the Result of WD-WD Direct Collision, and Core Collapse SNe May Be Thermonuclear
Abstract: Type Ia: I will show that the majority of type Ia SNe may be the result of direct collisions of typical field CO-WDs in triple systems. The supporting evidences are: 1. the rate of such collisions may be comparable to the SNe Ia rate, 2. in this case the nuclear detonation is due to a well understood shock ignition, devoid of commonly introduced free parameters such as the deflagration velocity or transition to detonation criteria, 3. the observed range of Ni56 among different explosions, including the tendency for faint SNe in elliptical galaxies and bright SNe in spirals, is explained as the result of the CO WDs mass range, 4. a unique feature of this model (doubly-peaked line profiles in nebular-phase spectra) has been found to be common among type Ia SNe. Core-collapse: I will demonstrate that ~10 seconds after core-collapse of a massive star, a thermonuclear explosion of the outer shells is possible for some initial density and composition profiles (assuming the neutrinos failed to explode the star). The explosion may lead to a successful supernova, as first suggested by Burbidge, Burbidge, Fowler and Hoyle (1957).

Wednesday, September 3
Particle Theory Seminar
Location: LBNL, 50A-5132 – 2 p.m.
Speaker: Kai Schmitz (IPMU)
Title: tba


Please check back in Fall 2014 when the regular seminar schedule will resume.



Visitors Program

We maintain an active program for visiting scholars. BCCP hosts visitors at all levels, from senior scientists to postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates. If you would like to visit BCCP, please fill out the form here.

Longer term visits involving collaborative activities with BCCP members are especially encouraged. BCCP can provide financial support for longer term visitors working with BCCP members on BCCP related projects. The applications are reviewed by a committee several times a year. All decisions are based on the availability of space and funding.

Summer 2014

  • Louis Garrigue (ENS-Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris) – March 17-July 11
  • Jeremy Tinker (NYU) – June 17-August 21
  • Tamara Davis (U of Queensland) – June 24-27
  • Geraint Lewis (U of Sydney) – June 26-27

Spring 2014

  • Evan Scannapieco (ASU) – January 3-May 31
  • Irshad Mohammed (University of Zurich) – January 9-June 30
  • Miguel Zumalacárregui (University of Heidelberg) – January 22-February 10
  • Paul Shellard (University of Cambridge) – February 6-7
  • Arka Banerjee (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) – February 9-22
  • Tong-Jie Zhang (Beijing Normal University) – February 27-May 27
  • Zvonimir Vlah (Univ of Zurich, ITP) – March 3-April 2
  • Louis Garrigue (ENS-Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris) – March 17-July 11
  • Neal Dalal (Univ of Illinois) – March 26-28
  • Steffen Hess (AIP, Leibnitz Inst for Astrophysics, Potsdam) – May 12-22

Fall 2013

  • Elizabeth Krause (U Penn) – September 10-11
  • Zvonimir Vlah (Univ of Zurich, ITP) – September 17-December 20
  • Michael Kopp (LMU) – October 28-November 2
  • Juliana Kwan (Argonne National Lab) – November 13-22
  • Amol Upadhye (Argonne National Lab) – November 13-December 20
  • Teppei Okumura (IEU Korea) – November 13-30
  • Jonathan Blazek (OSU) – December 5-13

Summer 2013

  • Azadeh M. Dizgah (SUNY-Buffalo) – May 16-July 16
  • Jeremy Tinker (NYU) – May 30-August 20
  • Sudeep Das (Argonne National Lab) – July 9-27
  • Daniel Holz (Chicago) – August 27-28
  • Neal Dalal (Illinois) – August 30,
  • Wayne Hu (Chicago) – August 29-30
  • Joel Johansson (Stockholm) – August 29-30

Spring 2013

  • Alireza Hojjati (IEU Korea) – January 14-February 5
  • Chris Blake (Swinburne) – January 14-February 5
  • Tamara Davis (Queensland) – January 14-18
  • Morag Scrimgeour (Western Australia) – January 14 -
  • Sudeep Das (Argonne National Lab) – January 28-31
  • Chiaki Hikage (Nagoya University) – February 10-16
  • Miguel Zumalacarregui (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid) – February 15-22
  • Jaiyul Yoo (Univ. of Zurich) – February 23 – April 27
  • Laura Baudis (Univ. of Zurich) – April 26-May 4

Fall 2012

  • Stephen Appleby (IEU Korea) – October 7-26, 2012
  • Roland de Putter (Caltech/JPL) – October 19-25, 2012
  • David Pietrobon (JPL) – October 19-26, 2012
  • Tobias Baldauf (ITP, University of Zurich) – September 12-December 9, 2012
  • Johan Samsing (DARK Cosmology Centre, Copenhagen) – February-December 2012
  • Masanori Sato (Nagoya University, Japan) – October 5 – November 22, 2012
  • Andreu Font (University of Zurich) – November-December 2012
  • Teppei Okumura (Institute for the Early Universe, Seoul, Korea) – November 5-December 21, 2012


BCCP Seminars

There are no BCCP seminars scheduled at this time. Seminars will resume Fall 2014. Please check back.

Have a great summer !


BCCP Lunches

BCCP Lunch Events

BCCP Lunch Events usually take place in Hearst Field Annex  (HFA) B-1 at noon. The venue and dates may be subject to change. To keep you notified, please contact Melissa Barclay ( to be added to the lunch mailing list.


Oliver Zahn


Zahn originally came to Berkeley as inaugural BCCP Fellow after undergraduate work at Max-Planck-Insitute for Astrophysics and NYU, as well as doctoral work at Harvard and Heidelberg.

He recently became the executive director of BCCP and as such oversees the centers’ cosmology program as well as its new interdisciplinary data science initiative. Zahn is a multipurpose cosmologist, advancing the understanding of the origin and evolution of structure in the Universe by applying a variety of statistical methods to complementary astrophysical observables. He connects data to theory through cutting edge numerical simulations of cosmological structure formation.

 Zahn frequently analyses terabyte surveys of the Cosmic Microwave Background, Galaxies, and Galaxy clusters for to generate insights into the workings of the cosmos. He has also been involved in studies exploring the redshifted 21 cm line as a new cosmological probe, and his research has acted as a driver for pushing a new generation of radio telescopes that might revolutionize studies of reionization, inflation, and dark energy/gravity theory.  By maintaining a data driven  approach,  Zahn has achieved several “firsts” and other important findings together with his working groups.