Announcement: Public Talk by Dr. Kirsten Tollefson, Michigan State University on HAWC: A New Gamma Ray Observatory to Study Nature˜s Highest Energy Particle Accelerators


Dr. Kirsten Tollefson (a Gustavus alum), Michigan State University will speak on, HAWC: A New Gamma Ray Observatory to Study Nature˜s Highest Energy Particle Accelerators on Monday, September 30th at 4:30 p.m. in Olin 103.

This talk will general audience discuss the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) experiment is currently under construction at Sierra Negra, Mexico and consists of a 22,500 square meter area of water tanks instrumented with light-sensitive photomultiplier tubes. The experiment is used to detect energetic secondary particles reaching the ground when a 50 GeV to 100 TeV cosmic ray or gamma ray interacts in the atmosphere above the experiment. HAWC complements existing Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes (IACTs) and space-based gamma-ray telescopes with its extreme high-energy reach and its large field-of-view. The HAWC instrument will be used to study particle acceleration in astrophysical sources as well as search for more exotic phenomena such as dark matter annihilation and primordial black holes. I will present an overview of how HAWC works and what we hope to accomplish over the next few years.