2012 News

  • The aging of star clusters is linked more with their lifestyles than with how old they actually are, according to a new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope study coauthored by Steinn Sigurdsson, professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and member of the IGC. Full article.
  • An article “Quantum Gravity Extension of the Inflationary Scenario” by Ivan Agullo, Abhay Ashtekar and William Nelson appeared in Physical Review Letters as an Editor’s Selection and was featured in a Viewpoint article in the APS Journal “Physics – Spotlighting Exceptional Research.” Authors use loop quantum gravity techniques to extend the standard inflationary paradigm to the deep Planck regime. They also find a small window in the parameter space for which this pre-inflationary dynamics leaves an imprint that could be seen in future observations.More information: APS Physics – Spotlighting Exceptional Research  | Science Daily  | Deccan Herald
  • Mark Strikman was named distinguished Professor of Physics.
  • Max Besong, an undergraduate student who worked with Dr. Lee Samuel Finn, has created a Penn State gaming app. Max credits his work with Dr. Finn in teaching him how to code and he then decided to experiment with designing apps. More information….
  • Several IGC members were awarded major research grants in the New Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology Program led by the University of Chicago and funded by the Templeton Foundation. Sarah Shandera is a member of the team that won an award in the part Big Question I: What was the earliest state of the universe?. Parampreet Singh, a former post-doc at IGC and now at LSU, leads a team that also won a research grant in the same part. Steinn Sigurdsson is a member of the team that won an award in Big Question IV: Are we alone in the universe? More information available at
    http://www.newfrontiersinastronomy.org/research-grant-program-winners.html.
  • The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSSIII) has provided new insights into evolutionary history of the universe. Don Schneider plays a leading role in the collaboration. For more information, please see http://science.psu.edu/news-and-events/2012-news/Schneider3-2012
  • The Center for Fundamental Theory of the IGC will host a workshop on “Physics with a Positive Cosmological Constant” on May 9-11, 2012. Several participants of the KITP program “Bits, Branes, Black Holes” will join us from Santa Barbara through remote-conferencing.
    More information at http://www.gravity.psu.edu/events/ppcc/index.shtml.
  • Dietrich Muller, an eminent physicist from the University of Chicago known for his research on mysterious astrophysical particles called cosmic rays, will give a free public lecture on 20 March 2012 at 7:30 PM in 102 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park Campus.
  • Peter Méá and the Fermi Telescope (February 2012). For more information, please see http://live.psu.edu/story/57873#rss49.
  • Cover article featuring Loop Quantum Gravity appears in the December 2011 issue of La Recherche. PDF
  • The scientists of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), including Don Schneider and Niel Brandt of the Center for Theoretical and Observational Cosmology of IGC, have produced a new map of the universe that is in full color, covers more than one quarter of the entire sky, and is full of so much detail that you would need 500,000 high-definition TVs to view it all. “This map of the universe, constructed from observations over the past decade, is an unprecedented view of the distribution of stars, galaxies, and quasars and allows us to trace the evolution of the constituents of the universe over vast swaths of cosmic time,” said Donald Schneider. More….
  • John Groh, a physics sophomore (double majoring in math) and a Schreyer scholar, has won a prestigious CERN undergraduate research fellowship for summer 2012. John has been working with Stephane Coutu ‘s group on the NASA CREAM project. The CERN fellowship attracts about 800 international applications each year and only about 10 are awarded to US students.

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