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Center for Fundamental Theory Center for Theoretical and Observational Cosmology Center for Particle and Gravitational Astrophysics

The Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos is a multidisciplinary institute of Penn State researchers dedicated to the study of the most fundamental structure and constituents of the Universe.

News and Events

  • IGC is co-sponsoring this year's Frontiers of Science Lecture Series entitled "100 Years after Einstein's Greatest Discovery: New Science from General Relativity." The series will consist of 6 public lectures, held on consecutive Saturdays in 100 Thomas Building at the University Park Campus.

    January 24: "Understanding Einstein's Greatest Discovery," John Norton (Director, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh)

    January 31: "Sculpting the Universe," David Weinberg (The Henry L. Cox Professor and Distinguished Professor of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Ohio State)

    February 7: "The Warped Side of the Universe," Nergis Mavalvala (The Curtis and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics, MIT)

    February 14: "Capturing the Birth Cries of Black Holes," John Nousek (Director of Mission Operations at NASA's SWIFT Satellite)

    February 21: "Discovering Planets," Jason Wright (Astronomy and Astrophysics, Penn State)

    February 28: "Pushing Science Beyond Einstein," Eugenio Bianchi (Physics, Penn State)
  • Main results of a recent paper by Abhay Ashtekar, Beatrice Bonga and Aruna Kesavan (Class. Quantum Grav. 32, 025004) were highlighted by the British IOP on their website CQGplus PDF
  • Lucas Hackl has been selected to serve as the APS student representative on the Science and Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The coalition seeks to encourage the "science, engineering and health communities" to "embrace human rights as an area suitable for and deserving of robust inquiry, and become an influential voice in the defense of human rights."
  • The IceCube 2014 discovery of a 2 PeV cosmic neutrino event ("Big Bird") has been featured by APS as one of the Top 10 Physics News Stories in 2014.

Pierre Auger Observatory

The Pierre Auger Observatory is the world's largest cosmic-ray detector, aimed at the study of the most energetic particles in the Universe. These are extremely rare particles with energies from 1018eV to 1020eV and beyond (a billion to a trillion times the energy stored in the mass of a proton). How Nature accelerates particles to such enormous energies is still a mystery. To detect them with good statistical precision, physicists from 17 countries are deploying 1600 detectors (water Cherenkov counters) over a 3000km2 area of Western Mendoza Province, Argentina, as well as 24 nitrogen fluorescence telescopes that look at the sky over the large ground array on dark, moonless nights. Another similar array of detectors is planned for deployment in Colorado. Penn State faculty Stephane Coutu and Paul Sommers are involved in the project, with Sommers serving as Co-Spokesman of the international Auger Collaboration. For more information, see the official Auger Web site. You can also explore the Auger Observatory using Google Earth.




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