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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

  • Emily Grosholz is a philosopher of science and mathematics and has recently edited a special issue of Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics on time and cosmology. She is also a poet and will teach a three-day seminar on poetry and cosmology at a writers' conference, Writing the Rockies, this summer. Here she reads three of her poems related to physics in a podcast from Zeeya Merali's visit to the IGC. Blog post    Podcast
  • Donghui Jeong, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics and member of IGC, has been honored with the Outstanding Young Researcher Award from the Association of Korean Physicists in America. This award recognizes young Korean physicists working in North America who have the potential for making creative and substantive advances in their subfield of physics and achieving professional success as a physicist. Read more...
  • 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.

New Gamma-Ray Burst Smashes Cosmic Distance Record


The most distant cosmic explosion ever seen has been discovered by an international team, which includes astronomers at Penn State, using NASA's Swift satellite and several large telescopes at sites around the globe. The explosion, dubbed GRB 090423, is a gamma-ray burst from a star that died when the universe was 630 million years old - less than 5 percent of its present age.


"The burst most likely arose from the explosion of a massive star," said Derek Fox, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. "We're seeing the demise of a star - and probably the birth of a black hole - in one of the universe's earliest stellar generations." More....

Photo courtesy of NASA/Swift/Cruz deWilde

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