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BCCP talks

Tuesday, March 3

Location: UC Berkeley, Campbell Hall, 131A, 1:10 pm
Speaker: Simeon Bird (CMU)
Title: “What can DLAs and the Gas Around Galaxies Tell Us About Galaxy Formation?”
Abstract: The distribution and abundance of absorber systems contain a wealth of information on the way in which star formation within galaxies affects its environment. I will show how to reproduce several previously problematic properties of Damped Lyman-alpha systems, discuss their connection to metal absorbers, especially Sill and CIV, and show how the requirement to reproduce observations can act as a constraint on the imagination of theorists.

Tuesday, March 10

Location: UC Berkeley, Campbell Hall, 131A, 1:10 pm
Speaker: George Becker, STSCI
Title: “A Consensus Picture of Reionization?”
Abstract: When and how the intergalactic medium (IGM) became reionized carries fundamental implications for the formation of the first stars and galaxies. New results from the Planck satellite now suggest that the bulk of reionization occurred somewhat later than previously thought, potentially easing tensions with observed galaxy populations at high redshifts. A wide range of reionization histories are still allowed, however, and it is unclear whether the simplest models truly match observations. I will present new constraints on the ionizing output from galaxies and the timing of reionization based on quasar absorption line studies of the IGM over 2 < z < 7. The results help to clarify how and when reionization ended, but also pose significant challenges to current models.


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.