BCCP talks

Tuesday, March 31

Location: UC Berkeley, Campbell Hall, 131A, 1:10 pm
Speaker: Andrew Pontzen, UCL
Title: “How the large-scale Lyman-alpha forest will tell us about the galaxy luminosity function”
Abstract:  I will introduce a surprising relationship between the Lyman-alpha forest large-scale power spectrum and the luminosity function of galaxies and quasars [arXiv 1402.0506]. The forest is generally assumed to be a tracer of total matter on large scales but I will show how the assumed link between the dark and observable universe is substantially modified by radiative transfer effects. Future dark energy surveys like DESI will therefore present novel opportunities to learn more about the source of ionising photons in our universe [arXiv 1407.6367].


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: bccp.berkeley.edu. 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: https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF00562.  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 useljak@berkeley.edu, Oliver Zahn at zahn@berkeley.edu and Saul Perlmutter at saul@lbl.gov. For inquiries of an administrative nature, contact Melissa Barclay at mbarclay@berkeley.edu.

Salary and Benefits: Salary will be commensurate with experience. For information on UC Postdoc benefits, please visit: http://www.garnett-powers.com/postdoc/index.htm. 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: http://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/forms/pdf/complete-health-benefits-guide-for-employees.pdf


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.

BigBOSS Gets a Kick-Start From the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation December 4, 2012

A $2.1 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to the University of California at Berkeley, through the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics (BCCP), will fund the development of revolutionary technologies for BigBOSS, a project now in the proposal stage designed to study dark energy with unprecedented precision. BigBOSS is based at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

“BigBOSS is the next big thing in cosmology,” says Uroš Seljak, Director of the BCCP, who is a professor of physics and astronomy at UC Berkeley and a member of Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division. “It would map millions and millions of galaxies, allowing us to measure dark energy to high precision – and would yield other important scientific results as well, including determining neutrino mass and the number of neutrino families.”

Dark energy is the unknown something that appears to account for almost three-quarters of the mass-energy of the universe and is the cause of its accelerating expansion. The discovery of the accelerating universe, announced in 1998 by two teams, resulted in the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, divided between Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter, leader of the Supernova Cosmology Project, and Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess of the competing High‑z Supernova Search team.

“After we won the Nobel Prize, the question we all heard most was, ‘Now that you’ve discovered dark energy, what comes next?’” says Perlmutter, who is the Executive Director of the BCCP as well as principal investigator for the Moore Foundation’s BigBOSS grant. “The answer is pretty clear: we have to find out what dark energy is. There’s no end of theories. To know which are possible, what we need most is the kind of accurate observational evidence that only BigBOSS and other advanced experiments can give us.”


Scientists Measure the Reionization of the Early Universe

New data from the South Pole Telescope indicates that the birth of the first massive galaxies that lit up the early universe was an explosive event, happening faster and ending sooner than suspected.

Extremely bright, active galaxies formed and fully illuminated the universe by the time it was 750 million years old, or about 13 billion years ago, according to Oliver Zahn, a postdoctoral fellow at the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics (BCCP) at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the data analysis.