A simulated night sky provides a background for the LSST facilities building on Cerro Pachón. The LSST will carry out a deep, 10 year imaging survey in six broad optical bands over the main survey area of 18,000 square degrees. Penn physicists play important roles in the leadership and anticipated dark energy science that will come from LSST.
Dark Energy Studies
Professor Masao Sako uses Type Ia supernovae to study the expansion history of the universe. The graphs show (left and middle) Hubble diagrams from a simulated 5-year Type Ia sample from the Dark Energy Survey. The right graph shows the 95% confidence limits on dark energy parameters.
Topology and Liquid Crystals
Liquid crystal molecules can be molded into shapes which resemble a Hopf fibration, a complex shape from topology resembling a series of linked rings wrapped into a torus. This fascinating shape has applications in mathematics, quantum physics, and computer graphics.
From the lab of Bryan Gin-Ge Chen, former grad student of Prof. Randy Kamien.
LaBr3 detector modules for Next Generation PET scanners
On the left is a schematic of adjacent modules with overlapping photomultiplier tubes while the right is a photograph of a single module with PMT's and 8-mm thick light guide. Improvements in timing resolution for time-of-flight PET is the research of Adjunct Prof. Joel Karp in Penn Radiology.
DNA-Carbon Nanotube Hybrid
Single-stranded DNA and carbon nanotubes are chemically compatible and readily self-assemble into DNA-carbon nanotube hybrids (pictured here). These materials have applications in nanoelectronics, medicine, environmental safety and homeland security. Dr. Robert R. Johnson of the University of Pennsylvania has used computer simulation to study the structure of these nanomaterials.
The World Science Festival’s annual salon series offers in-depth conversations with leading scientists, extending the discussion of the Festival’s premier public programs to graduate students, postdocs, faculty and well-informed members of the general public.
Check out the Events list to find more information on this global science venue.
Kamien has found that many problems in soft condensed matter theory can be formulated very naturally as geometry or topology problems. “We look at problems where often the solution is about drawing a picture or building a tinker toy model of what we’re trying to understand,” explains Kamien.