In 2004 the Supernova Cosmology Project based at Berkeley Lab used the Hubble Space Telescope to find a tantalizing supernova that appeared to be almost 10 billion light-years distant. But researchers had to wait years until a new camera was installed on the Hubble before they could confirm SN SCP-0401’s identity as the supernova furthest back in time for doing precise measurements of the expansion history of the universe. David Rubin of the Physics Division presented the findings Wednesday at a press conference at the American Astronomical Society’s meeting in Long Beach, with Saul Perlmutter on hand to moderate. More>
Posts Tagged ‘Physics Division’
In a Dec. 12 letter to Berkeley Lab’s Director Paul Alivisatos, DOE’s Office of High Energy Physics announced the selection of Berkeley Lab to manage the Mid-Scale Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (MS-DESI), which received DOE’s Critical Decision 0 (approval of mission need) last September. Berkeley Lab and Fermilab have each proposed advanced wide-field spectroscopic instruments fitting the MS-DESI description — named BigBOSS and DESpec respectively. Berkeley Lab is now charged with managing the instrument’s design and fabrication, as well as the subsequent survey of tens of millions of galaxies and quasars. Director Alivisatos has appointed Michael Levi of the Physics Division as the MS-DESI Project Director.
RedOrbit, a website founded 10 years ago to what it calls an underserved public hungry for news of space, science, technology, and related fields, has just premiered a series of interviews with leading scientists about cutting-edge research in everything from space travel to the origins of the universe. Who better to inaugurate the series than the Physics Division’s David Schlegel, principal investigator of the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS), who talks with redOrbit resident astronomer John Millis about how the discovery of dark energy surprised the cosmology community and the ongoing search to find out what it could be. Go here for the podcast.
The ATLAS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, for which Berkeley Lab scientists and engineers provided crucial elements of the inner detector and other key contributions, has joined Ernest Lawrence’s desk and other Lab milestones in the “museum” display in the lobby of Building 50, the Lab’s administration building. Well, not the actual ATLAS experiment, but a one-fiftieth scale model of it made entirely from 9,517 LEGO plastic bricks. It took 33 hours to assemble. Sam Vanecek of AFRD poses next to the model. More>
This a Public Service Announcement (OK, not really): Are you worried about the Mayan calendar prediction of the world ending Dec. 21? Don’t be. Our Lab cosmologist David Schlegel says the Maya didn’t actually predict that. But he also knows that the universe is full of mysteries that will keep cosmologists busy for eons. Go here to watch another Lab video featuring Nobelists George Smoot, Saul Perlmutter and others on the connections between Mayan astronomers and modern cosmologists.
A Berkeley Lab bumper crop of American Physical Society (APS) honorees — John Byrd, Derun Li, David Robin, and Carl Schroeder of the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division, Zoltan Ligeti of the Physics Division, and Howard Padmore of the Advanced Light Source — have been named APS Fellows for 2012. Their citations cover a range of contributions in fields from accelerator physics to theoretical physics to international cooperation. More>
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has made a $2.1 million grant, through UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics, to the BigBOSS project based in Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division. The grant supports key technologies needed to modify the four-meter Mayall Telescope on Kitt Peak to take in an order of magnitude greater area of the sky, plus a precision spectrograph able to handle 5,000 astronomical objects at once. The cutting-edge instrumentation will insure that BigBOSS could conduct an unprecedented study of dark energy by rapidly mapping tens of millions of galaxies and quasars over the entire Northern Hemisphere sky. More>
BOSS, the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey, has announced first major results from a new mapping technique reaching back over 10 billion years, probing the large-scale 3-D structure of the universe before dark energy began to accelerate its expansion. “No technique for dark energy research has been able to probe this ancient era before,” says BOSS principal investigator David Schlegel, one of several BOSS leaders in the Physics Division. BOSS used tens of thousands of distant quasars as backlights to illuminate otherwise invisible clouds of intergalactic hydrogen gas, extending the “standard ruler” of baryon oscillations farther back in time than ever before. More>
DOE’s Office of Science has announced Critical Decision-0 (CD 0)– recognition of a compelling scientific case — for a Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument to be mounted on a large, ground-based telescope, obtaining tens of millions of precision spectra from galaxies at high redshifts to measure the universe’s expansion history. CD-0 doesn’t name a specific experiment, but just such an instrument, BigBOSS, has been under intense development at Berkeley Lab and NSF’s National Optical Astronomical Observatory since early 2009. Michael Levi, BigBOSS program director, says,“Berkeley Lab and NOAO were the first to present a detailed, practical plan for a next-generation wide-field spectrographic instrument.” More>
It’s scratchy, lasts only 78 seconds and features the world’s first recorded blooper. The public can now listen to what experts say is the oldest playable recording of an American voice thanks to optical sound restoration tools developed by the Physics Division’s Carl Haber and the Engineering Division’s Earl Cornell in collaboration with the Library of Congress. The 1878 St. Louis Edison tinfoil was brought to Berkeley Lab this summer and digitally restored by Haber and Cornell. The results, announced Oct. 25 by the Schenectady Museum of Innovation and Science, have been featured on PBS NewsHour (above), the Associated Press, USA Today, the Atlantic, and other news outlets.