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BCCP talks

Tuesday, February 3

Location: UCB, 131A Campbell Hall, 1:10 pm
Speaker: Kam Arnold
Title: “Fundamental Physics with Cosmic Microwave Background Polarimetry”
Abstract: The polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) offers a unique window onto cosmology that can provide information about neutrinos, dark matter, dark energy, large-scale structure formation, and physics at 10^16 GeV energy scales. Several important measurements of CMB polarization were reported last year, including the first-season results from POLARBEAR. With those measurements, we showed the gravitational lensing of the CMB by large-scale structure using CMB polarization data alone, and a measurement of a non-zero B-mode polarization angular power spectrum. Going forward, our expansion of POLARBEAR – the Simons Array – will produce more precise observations in multiple spectral bands over a large fraction of the sky. The Simons Array, powerful as a standalone experiment, is also a technological pathfinder for both the CMB-S4 experiment described in the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel report, and for the LiteBIRD satellite, which we recently proposed to NASA as a partner mission with JAXA. Together, the Simons Array and LiteBIRD will measure the sum of the neutrino masses with the precision necessary to determine their mass hierarchy, and make a deep search for the inflationary B-mode signal, producing a detection with significance > 10 sigma of the B-modes predicted by all large-field inflation models.

Tuesday, February 10

Location: UCB, 131A Campbell Hall, 1:10 pm
Speaker: Michael Niemack
Title: “Probing fundamental physics and cosmic structure by measuring the CMB”
Abstract: The cosmic microwave background  (CMB) has proven to be a powerful probe of the physics and cosmology of our universe. CMB observations are helping to address fundamental questions, such as the nature of dark energy and dark matter, and are being used to probe the physics of inflation at energies a trillion times higher than the Large Hadron Collider. Recent measurements led to several exciting first detections, including CMB lensing, massive galaxy clusters, the large-scale velocity field, and the “B-mode” component of the polarization field. I will discuss these results, novel superconducting detector and optics instrumentation developed for the 6-meter Atacama Cosmology Telescope, and unique capabilities of the recently-funded Advanced ACTPol project. I will also describe the science potential of next generation observatories, including the ultimate “Stage-IV” CMB survey, and how superconducting detector arrays of the future could revolutionize photon-detection capabilities spanning eight orders of magnitude in wavelength.

For future BCCP talks, see this page.

BCCP Job Opportunities

Cosmology Data-Science Fellow positions at all levels from post-doctoral through more senior scientist available in new “Cosmology Data Science Initiative” at Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics.

The Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics (BCCP) at UC Berkeley is pioneering a new “Cosmology Data-Science Initiative,” with one or more positions available at all levels from post-doctoral through senior scientist, depending on experience. The members of this group will explore a novel approach to Cosmology Data Science (CDS): Each CDS Fellow will have half their research devoted to a specific cosmology project of the BCCP, working as a scientist in a research group with all of the expected goals of project planning, data collection, data reduction/analysis, publication, and conference-presentation of results. The other half of each CDS Fellow’s research will examine the data-science steps needed to accomplish these science goals, and look for approaches to redesigning these steps and make current and future science projects progress faster and more reliable. Questions that the CDS Initiative intends to address include: What are the current data science steps that are slowing down the scientists and/or distracting them from their primary science questions? What aspects make it difficult for a new member of a research team to come up to speed and begin contributing quickly? Why is it difficult to benefit from software that was written for a previous project, or by a previous member of the science team? For the data-science half of the CDS Fellow’s research, the Fellows will work not just individually, but also together as a CDS Initiative team, with the goal of finding or inventing common solutions to the problems and opportunities that they identify. The CDS team will also meet regularly with Data Science Fellows in other fields at UC Berkeley.

The CDS Fellows will have the opportunity to interact and work with the broad spectrum of cosmology researchers in the Berkeley Astronomy and Physics Departments, and at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). The experimental and observational cosmology programs at Berkeley include supernovae, galaxy clustering (including baryonic acoustic oscillations), weak lensing and cosmic microwave background, in addition to a broad theoretical cosmology research program. Information on the BCCP’s current activities and membership may be found at the BCCP’s website: The Fellows will also find a rich data-science environment at UC Berkeley and LBNL, with world- expert researchers in both computer science and domain science aspects of this emerging field.

We plan to make one or more new Cosmology Data-Science Initiative Fellow appointments, in addition to the existing three. The positions are for two years initially with the possibility of extension of up to three additional years, subject to a performance review. Further extensions beyond this may be possible subject to availability of funds. Salaries for these full-time positions will be commensurate with experience.

Basic qualifications: Candidate must have completed all Ph.D. (or equivalent) requirements in physics, astrophysics or a related field at the time of application (except for the dissertation or equivalent). Preferred qualifications: We are looking for individuals with strong scientific research experience, ideally in cosmology, as well as strong interest and experience in data science approaches. Additional qualifications: Must have received PhD or equivalent by start of appointment.

To apply, submit a copy of your curriculum vitae, bibliography, and statement of cosmology and data science research interests to:  To receive full consideration please send the material by December 1, 2014, but later applications may also be considered until all the positions are filled.  At least 3 letters of reference should also be submitted by the same date.  For further inquiries, contact BCCP directors Uros Seljak at, Oliver Zahn at and Saul Perlmutter at For inquiries of an administrative nature, contact Melissa Barclay at

Salary and Benefits: Salary will be commensurate with experience. For information on UC Postdoc benefits, please visit: UC Berkeley has an excellent benefits package as well as a number of policies and programs in place to support employees as they balance work and family. The Postdoctoral Scholar Benefits Plan (PSBP) provides a comprehensive program which offers Medical, Dental, Vision, Life and AD&D Insurance, Short-Term Disability Insurance and Voluntary Long- Term Disability Insurance. For a complete guide on UC Health Benefits for staff, please visit:


BCCP Workshop in January 2014

BCCP Workshop: 5th annual Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation Meeting

BCCP and the Instituto Avanzado de Cosmologia Mexico held the 5th annual Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation meeting January 13-17, 2014, popularly known as Cosmology on the Beach. The conference blends a winter school of lecture courses by world-leading scholars with plenary talks on hot research topics. This year, topics included CMB polarization, gravitational wave cosmology, particle physics, tests of gravity, and statistical and experimental methods.

For slides from the BCCP/IAC meeting Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation 2014 workshop, click here. They are also available on the Presentations Page.