Autumn 2021 Department of Physics Orientation

Welcome to the University of Chicago Department of Physics!

We are excited for you to join our department and the university community. This year, orientation will take place in-person and virtually as we ease into full resumption of campus activities, classes, and research. We have developed a schedule to facilitate your transition to graduate school, combining a welcome by the Department of Physics, information sessions, advising meetings, and research talks. As graduate students, you are an important part of the Department of Physics and we hope to do everything we can to help you transition into our community.

Newly Admitted Student Resources

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Students

Overview of vaccine requirements

Frequently Asked Questions - Vaccine Requirements

Step-by-step instructions to upload proof of vaccination


Orientation Week One: Monday, September 13, 2021 - Friday, September 17, 2021

Week One will consist of an introduction to the department, advising meetings, HR onboarding and information sessions.

Orientation Week Two: Monday, September 20, 2021 - Friday, September 24, 2021

Week Two will consist of required workshops and faculty presentations.

Campus tour is Wednesday September 15th. Location and details will be emailed. Here is the campus video tour as well as the neighborhood highlights (created by Louis Varriano).


WEEK ONE

Monday, September 13, 2021 

All sessions from 10:30 am - 11:30 am will be in KPTC 206.

10:30 am - 11:00 am Welcome from the Chair of the Department of Physics, Young-Kee Kim (In-person event) *attendance is mandatory

Young-Kee Kim is the Louis Block Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Physics, the Enrico Fermi Institute and the College. Beginning in the fall of 2016, she became the Chair of the Physics Department as well. As an experimental scientist, her research focuses on particle physics and exploring how the universe works at the most fundamental level by discovering and understanding the elementary particles and the forces acting among them.

11:00 am - 11:15 am Physics Welcome (In-person event) *attendance is mandatory

11:15 am - 11:30 am  Overview of Week One and Two (In-person event)  *attendance is mandatory

12:00 pm  Kick-off Launch Party (In-person event) *attendance is highly encouraged

KPTC Courtyard (west side of KPTC)

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm  Advising Meetings (via Zoom) *attendance is mandatory

Zosia will reach out about your scheduled meeting time and location.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 

10:00 am - 3:00 pm HR Onboarding Event (In-person event) *mandatory attendance

One-on-one appointment based event. Sign up instructions will be made available via email in the coming weeks.

KPTC 206

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm  Advising Meetings ( via Zoom) *attendance is mandatory

Zosia will reach out about your scheduled meeting time and location.

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm Women and Gender Minorities in Physics (WAGMIP) (hybrid event) *attendance is highly encouraged

Please join us for the Women and Gender Minorities in Physics (WAGMIP) welcome session for female-identifying and other gender minority students. This is a great time to meet current grad students and share ideas for the upcoming year!

Chloe Lindeman is a fifth-year grad student in experimental (and occasionally computational) soft matter physics working with Sid Nagel. She helps organize WAGMIP events and is part of the working group on anti-racism. 

KPTC Courtyard (west side of KPTC) or KPTC 206 (in case of inclement weather). Zoom link will be emailed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 

10:00 am - 11:00 am Advising Meetings (via Zoom) *attendance is mandatory

Zosia will reach out about your scheduled meeting time and location.

11:00 am - 12:30 pm  Campus Tour with Current Graduate Students (in-person event) *attendance is highly encouraged

KPTC Courtyard (west side of KPTC)

Here is the campus video tour and neighborhood highlights (created by Louis Varriano).

12:30 pm - 1:00 pm Information Session Group 1 (In-person event) *mandatory attendance for Hufflepuffs

This session will provide graduate students with information about the services and resources provided by the University, give an overview of the University of Chicago Physical Science Division policies and funding structures, and give an opportunity for students to ask questions about it all.

KPTC 206

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm  LGBTQIA+ Physicists Group (in-person event) *attendance is highly encouraged

The LGBTQIA+ Physicists Group, formed in 2020, meets occasionally for social events and is in the process of planning what other types of events and advocacy we want to do. The purpose of this group is to provide a space to socialize within the department and to advocate for the needs of LGBTQIA+ members of the physics community. This session will provide incoming students with a chance to meet some current LGBTQIA+ graduate students to learn about opportunities that exist within the department and university. You can join the mailing list here. Mailing list: lgbtqia_phys@lists.uchicago.edu 

Louis Varriano is a 5th-year graduate student in nuclear physics at Argonne National Lab. He works on radioactive ion traps for precision measurements of fundamental symmetries; his current work is on measuring the beta-neutrino angular correlation in the beta-decay of Li-8 and B-8 to place limits on the tensor contribution to the weak interaction.

Michael Hank is a fifth-year PhD student in experimental particle physics, working on the ATLAS experiment for Young-Kee Kim. His work focuses on using the Higgs boson as a tool to search for new physics.

Liza Mulder is a 5th year graduate student working in the Esser-Kahn Lab in the PME. She works on a project that seeks to probe the fundamentals of the innate immune system by using Fluidic Force Microscopy (FluidFM) to target single immune cells in culture. She is excited to be working on a project with the potential to both elucidate the fundamentals of a complex system and inform more applied research in the field. In addition to research, Liza is involved in several student groups in the physics department and on campus. 

KPTC Courtyard (west side of KPTC) or KPTC 206 (in case of inclement weather).

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm  UChicago Library (via Zoom) *attendance is highly encouraged

The Library offers access to physics journal subscriptions, books and other resources, most available online.   We also offer services such as paging and scanning of materials and assistance with questions about finding information and how to organize your work and data. More information about what is available and how to access our collections and services (both on and off campus) is in our physics guide.

Zoom info will be emailed.

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm  Advising Meetings (via Zoom) *attendance is mandatory

Zosia will reach out about your scheduled meeting time and location.

Thursday, September 16, 2021 

10:00 am - 11:00 am Advising Meetings (via Zoom) *attendance is mandatory

Zosia will reach out about your scheduled meeting time and location.

11:30 am - 12:00 pm Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) (In-person event) *attendance is highly encouraged

The Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) is a team of graduate students committed to building a diverse and strong community of scientists at UChicago. We focus on recruiting and retaining students from marginalized, underrepresented, and non-traditional backgrounds and work to promote equity, inclusion, and justice for these researchers by holding events and advocating for student interests. We operate with an explicitly and enthusiastically intersectional approach. Join us for a session to take a look at some aspects of navigating grad school.

Elise Hinkle is a second-year graduate student doing research with Professor Ed Blucher on experimental neutrino physics and is one of the GRIT physics cluster reps. Her favorite Chicago pandemic activities have been trying out/making up new recipes, going on morning runs along the lake, and learning to skateboard.

Lauren Weiss is a second-year graduate student in Professor Cheng Chin's lab and one of the GRIT physics cluster reps. Outside of physics, she enjoys playing on the physics softball team (go Bingo!) and swimming at Ratner. 

KPTC Courtyard (west side of KPTC) or KPTC 206 (in case of inclement weather).

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm Information Session Group 2 (In-person event) *mandatory attendance for Gryffindors

This session will provide graduate students with information about the services and resources provided by the University, give an overview of the University of Chicago Physical Science Division policies and funding structures, and give an opportunity for students to ask questions about it all.

KPTC 206

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Lab Safety Orientation with Chandra Man Karki and Ian Hoppie (in-person event) *attendance is mandatory

Overview of the safety departments as well as complete summary initial training that will be required to work in the labs. 

Please find more information on Lab Safety here.

KPTC 206

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm Advising Meetings (via Zoom) *attendance is mandatory

Zosia will reach out about your scheduled meeting time and location.

Friday, September 17, 2021

10:00 am - 11:00 am Advising Meetings (via Zoom) *attendance is mandatory

Zosia will reach out about your scheduled meeting time and location.

11:30 am - 12:30 pm The Working Group on Anti-Racism (via Zoom)  *attendance is highly encouraged

The Working Group on Anti-Racism was formed in June 2020 by students in the University of Chicago Department of Physics with the goal of creating and sustaining a department culture that incorporates anti-racist policies, embraces inclusive teaching practices, and supports and amplifies Black and underrepresented minoritized voices. We believe that it is the role of all members of the department to advocate for anti-racist policies and work to support their fellow scientists in order to create a more inclusive and equitable community.

Zoom info will be emailed.

12:30 pm - 1:00 pm Information Session Group 3 (In-person event) *mandatory attendance for Slytherins

This session will provide graduate students with information about the services and resources provided by the University, give an overview of the University of Chicago Physical Science Division policies and funding structures, and give an opportunity for students to ask questions about it all.

KPTC 206

1:00 pm - 1:30 pm Racial and Ethnic Minorities in Physics (REMiP) (In-person event)  *attendance is highly encouraged

Our department and university is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for racial and ethnic minorities. 

KPTC Courtyard (west side of KPTC) or KPTC 206 (in case of inclement weather).

1:30 pm - 2:00 pm GradInfluences (In-person event)  *attendance is highly encouraged 

The GradInfluences program is a graduate student organized program that pairs incoming physics graduate students with experienced students in the department who can help guide them through their first year. In addition to pairing mentors and mentees, GradInfluences also hosts social events for all mentors and mentees to meet together, in order to introduce first years to the wider physics graduate social life.

KPTC Courtyard (west side of KPTC) or KPTC 206 (in case of inclement weather).

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm Advising Meetings (via Zoom) *attendance is mandatory

Zosia will reach out about your scheduled meeting time and location.


WEEK TWO

Monday, September 20, 2021 

10:00 am - 11:30 am  Dean of Students (In-person event) *attendance is highly encouraged

The Division plans to host an informal orientation event in the outdoor space behind Eckhardt Research Center on September 20, 2021 from 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM. Students are welcome to arrive and leave any time within that time frame. In addition to meeting other incoming students, you will have the opportunity to meet the Dean of Students Office staff and other faculty and staff from the Division. We will be providing individually wrapped treats for incoming students and raffling off a few prizes for those who attend. This event is not required, but attendance is encouraged.

This event is open to all invitees regardless of vaccination status and, because of ongoing health risks to the unvaccinated, those who are unvaccinated are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures advised by public health officials (masking and social distancing, etc.) Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others, including venue staff, and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures.

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm  PHYS 300 Workshop on the Teaching and Learning of Physics (In-person event) *mandatory attendance

This workshop will provide students with tools to developing and utilizing skills to be a more effective Teaching Assistant. It is required for all Teaching Assistants to participate. Research Assistants and Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend so that you will be eligible to hold Teaching Assistantships in the future.

KPTC 120

3:00 pm - 3:50 pm Research Overview with Peter Maurer Pritzer School of Molecular Engineering)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance

Zoom info will be emailed. 

4:00 pm - 4:50 pm Research Overview with Arvind Murugan, Biophysics/Soft Matter Research (Department of Physics)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance

Zoom info will be emailed

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 

9:00 am - 11:00 am  PHYS 300 Workshop on the Teaching and Learning of Physics (in-person event) *mandatory attendance

This workshop will provide students with tools to developing and utilizing skills to be a more effective Teaching Assistant. It is required for all Teaching Assistants to participate. Research Assistants and Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend so that you will be eligible to hold Teaching Assistantships in the future.

KPTC 120

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm UChicago GRAD Orientation *attendance is highly encouraged

2:00 pm - 2:50 pm Research Overview with Andrew Cleland (Pritzer School of Molecular Engineering)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance

Zoom info will be emailed.

3:00 pm - 3:50 pm Research Overview with David Demille, AMO/Particle Physics Experiment (Department of Physics)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance

Zoom info will be emailed.

4:00 pm - 4:50 pm Research Overview with Jeff McMahon (Department of Physics)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance

Zoom info will be emailed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 

9:00 am - 11:00 am  PHYS 300 Workshop on the Teaching and Learning of Physics (in-person event) *mandatory attendance

This workshop will provide students with tools to developing and utilizing skills to be a more effective Teaching Assistant. It is required for all Teaching Assistants to participate. Research Assistants and Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend so that you will be eligible to hold Teaching Assistantships in the future.

KPTC 120

11:00 am - 11:55 am Break

12:00 pm - 12:50 pm Research Overview with Allison Squires (Pritzer School of Molecular Engineering) 

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance 

Zoom info will be emailed.

1:00 pm - 1:50 pm Research Overview with Philippe Guyot-Sionnest, Condensed-Matter Experiment (Department of Physics)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance

Zoom info will be emailed.

2:00 pm - 2:50 pm Research Overview with Shuolong Yang (Pritzer School of Molecular Engineering)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance 

Zoom info will be emailed.

3:00 pm - 3:50 pm Research Overview Tom Witten (Department of Physics)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance 

Zoom info will be emailed.

4:00 pm - 4:50 pm Research Overview with Margaret Gardel (Department of Physics)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance 

Zoom info will be emailed.

Thursday, September 23, 2021 

9:00 am - 11:00 am  PHYS 300 Workshop on the Teaching and Learning of Physics (in-person event) *mandatory attendance

This workshop will provide students with tools to developing and utilizing skills to be a more effective Teaching Assistant. It is required for all Teaching Assistants to participate. Research Assistants and Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend so that you will be eligible to hold Teaching Assistantships in the future.

KPTC 103 and 105

11:00 am - 11:55 am Break

12:00 pm - 12:50 pm Research Overview with Aaron Esser-Kahn (Pritzer School of Molecular Engineering) 

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance 

Zoom info will be emailed.

1:00 pm - 1:50 pm Research Overview with Laura Gagliardi (Department of Chemistry) 

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance 

Zoom info will be emailed.

2:00 pm - 2:50 pm Research Overview (Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance

More details to come.

3:00 pm - 3:50 pm Research Overview with Young-Kee Kim (Department of Physics)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance 

Zoom info will be emailed.

4:00 pm - 4:50 pm Research Overview (Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance

More details to come.

Friday, September 24, 2021 

9:00 am - 11:00 am  PHYS 300 Workshop on the Teaching and Learning of Physics (in-person event) *mandatory attendance

This workshop will provide students with tools to developing and utilizing skills to be a more effective Teaching Assistant. It is required for all Teaching Assistants to participate. Research Assistants and Fellows are strongly encouraged to attend so that you will be eligible to hold Teaching Assistantships in the future.

KPTC 103 and 105

11:00 am - 11:55 am Break

12:00 pm - 12:50 pm Research Overview with Kenneth Bader (Department of Radiology)

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance 

Zoom info will be emailed.

1:00 pm - 1:50 pm Research Overview with Linda Young  Atomic Physics (Department of Physics) 

(Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance 

Zoom info will be emailed.

2:00 pm - 2:55 pm Break

3:00 pm - 3:50 pm Research Overview (Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance

More details to come.

4:00 pm - 4:50 pm Research Overview (Faculty Presentation via Zoom) *optional attendance

More details to come.