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Physics & Astronomy Colloquium
January 25, 2017 @ 3:45 pm - 5:00 pm
Speaker: John Pretz
Title: Multi-TeV Astrophysics with HAWC
A century ago we made the curious observation that ionizing radiation increased at higher altitudes, that the Earth was being bombarded by high-energy particles. Today, armed with the tools of modern particle physics, we study the origin of these high-energy extraterrestrial particles, revealing the physics of astrophysical particle accelerators and constraining fundamental physics.
With the High Altitude Water Cherenkov observatory (HAWC), in operation since March 2015, we are mapping the sky in the highest energy gamma rays ever detected, up to 100 TeV. HAWC is unique for its continuous, unbiased observation of the entire overhead sky yielding unique sensitivity to the highest energy gamma rays, to flaring sources, and to large regions of gamma-ray emission.
HAWC data will address some of the biggest questions in particle astrophysics today: the origin of the TeV-PeV astrophysical neutrino population in IceCube, the origin and acceleration mechanism of galactic cosmic rays, the particle nature of dark matter, and others. I will describe the design and sensitivity of HAWC instrument, discuss results from the first year of operation, and summarize anticipated future developments.
The colloquia will be preceded by light refreshments in GL227 from 3:30 – 3:45p.m.