Latest News and Announcements

Prof. Andrew Davis named 2018 AAAS fellow for his ‘distinguished contributions’ to field of planetary science

Andrew Davis is a professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences, and served as chair of the department from 2015 to 2018. His studies revolve around examining meteorites and space dust that have been carried to Earth by spacecraft or naturally for clues about the earliest history of the solar system and how elements are made in stars. Read more about his award here

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Professor Emeritus Don Q. Lamb's opinion piece on the impact of losing foreign university students published in Chicago Tribune

Fewer international students are attending colleges in the U.S.; this results in lost economic opportunities and a growing risk to our national security. Under current U.S. law, international students must have “single intent” — meaning they will only come here to study.

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Prof. Abigail Vieregg Receives Faculty Development Fellowship

Abigail Vieregg, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, EFI, and KICP, was awarded the J. and J. Neubauer Faculty Development Fellowship in the College for 2018-19. The fellowship recognizes innovative and effective teaching on the part of Assistant and Associate Professors who regularly participate in the College's instructional program.

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Professor Rocky Kolb remembers former colleague Leon Max Lederman, pioneer in particle physics

Leon Max Lederman passed away quietly on 3 October in Rexburg, Idaho. He was 96 years old. A pioneer in particle physics, Leon shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics. He was an influential public champion for science and science education, a transformational scientific leader, and a role model to generations of scientists young and old. Read more here.

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Better models could help markets, policymakers brace for impacts of crop loss

Droughts or heat waves have consequences that spread beyond farmers; these fluctuations in crop yields can send shockwaves through food supplies and prices. In a new study, researchers with NASA, the UChicago and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research added data on when specific regions plant and harvest crops—and found it was the single most effective way to improve the simulations. 

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Professor David Archer offers critique of 'band-aid' plan to curb global warming

Research by scientists at Harvard and Yale proposes using a technique known as stratospheric aerosol injection. However, as UChicago Geophysical Sciences Professor David Archer notes, "the problem with engineering climate in this way is that it's only a temporary band-aid covering a problem that will persist essentially forever..." 

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S. Courtenay Wright, D-Day witness and particle physicist, 1923-2018

Prof. Emeritus Courtenay Wright, a particle physicist who changed our understanding of the structure of protons and neutrons, died Nov. 22. Read more via UChicago News, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Sun Times.

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Justin Kasper, AB’99, once built a working nuclear reactor for Scav; now he’s built an equally impossible instrument for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe

Kasper heads a team that built a key instrument aboard NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which will fly closer to the sun than any previous craft. Most of its instruments will be safely tucked behind a heat shield. “And then there’s ours,” Kasper says—a tool to capture direct readings of the solar wind—“which stares directly at the sun 24/7 throughout the whole mission.” Read more here.

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UChicago Professor Andrey Kravstov shares his thoughts on the recent discovery of Antlia 2

Astronomers have discovered a dwarf galaxy, Antlia 2, that is one-third the size of the Milky Way. “It’s a very odd object and kind of exciting because we don’t know yet how to interpret all of its properties,” says UChicago Prof. Kravstov. 

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Riccardo Levi-Setti, physicist and trilobite collector, 1927-2018

Prof. Emeritus Riccardo Levi-Setti, a pioneering physicist and Holocaust survivor whose wide-ranging interests spanned cosmic rays to microscopy to trilobite fossils, died Nov. 8 in Chicago at age 91. Read more about his life here.

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New Prof. Rebecca Willett explores foundations, applications of data science

Joint Computer Science and Statistics Professor Rebecca Willett helps neuroscientists, physicians, astronomers, climate researchers, and even farmers avoid missteps in analysis and maximize the discovery potential of their data. Read more here

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Gravitational waves could solve a cosmological crisis within five years—or shake physics to its core

UChicago cosmologist Daniel Holz departed Hong Kong on Aug 17, 2017. When he landed, he learned that gravitational shockwaves from a collision of two titans had rippled through his plane.

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NASA's Parker Solar Probe has 'succeeded' after it whizzed past the Sun for the first time

After becoming the closest spacecraft to the Sun last monthNASA's Parker Solar Probe, named for UChicago physicist Eugene Parker, has gotten even closer; the probe has now come within 15 million miles.

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UChicago Professor Dr. Guangbin Dong and his team have designed a bond-breaking reaction that chops up wood chemical lignin.

Lignin gives wood its rigid structure. Although chemists would like to be able to transform wood into fuels or other useful chemicals, lignin proved very resilient to being chopped up into smaller molecules. A team around Guangbin Dong from the University of Chicago, US, has now designed a bond-breaking reaction that might be able to do just that. 

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Students help local organizations do more with data at annual 'scopeathon'

For the last four years, the annual Civic Scopeathon has helped Chicago organizations realize their potential by collaborating with UChicago students in a unique twist on the hackathon model. In this year’s installment, held October 12th and 13th, over 100 graduate and undergraduate students worked with 11 organizations, strategizing how data and technology could resolve their most difficult challenges. 

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Prof. Chien launches New CACM International Series with China Region Issue

Andrew A. Chien, William Eckhardt Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science at UChicago and editor-in-chief of Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery (CACM) debuted a new international section of the magazine, featuring the Chinese computing community, industry, academia, and government.

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Prof. Chuan He co-authors a study of genetic sequences that may impact learning and memory

In a new study published in Nature, scientists from the University of Chicago show how Ythdf1, a member of the YTH family that specifically recognizes m6A, plays an important role in the process of learning and memory formation. Read the full story. 

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Quantum Link: Building the U.S. Quantum Superhighway

The Quantum Link is an ambitious project by Argonne, Fermilab and the University of Chicago to bring the property of entanglement into the real world. Watch to learn more here.

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Universities, national laboratories join forces to push Chicago into lead on quantum technology

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is joining forces with the University of Chicago and Illinois’s two national laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, to make the Chicago area a national leader in quantum technology—a rapidly emerging field with revolutionary potential and growing backing from government and industry.

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Flash Center turns 20, welcomes new director

As the Flash Center for Computational Science celebrates its 20th anniversary, Petros Tzeferacos, research assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, will step into the role of director of the center. Read the full story.

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Chicago Quantum Summit set for Nov. 8-9

Leading experts in quantum research from industry, government and universities will gather at the University of Chicago on Nov. 8 and 9 for a summit on this emerging technology and the global race to develop quantum’s revolutionary potential.

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A small team of researchers has proven Zimmer's conjecture

Mathematicians Aaron Brown and Sebastian Hurtado-Salazar of UChicago and David Fisher of Indiana University solved what’s called Zimmer’s conjectureRead the article via Quanta. 

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PSD computer scientist discusses Amazon Go technology and privacy on WTTW

Heather Zheng, Neubauer Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, discussed Amazon Go technology and privacy on WTTW on October 24, 2018.  Watch the WTTW segment.

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UChicago CS Open House Introduces New Space and New Faces

On October 19th, the University of Chicago Department of Computer Science welcomed colleagues and collaborators for an open house at our new research and teaching facility in the John Crerar Library. Watch videos of the event.

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UChicago software group Globus seeks to automate science

Globus, a software service created and based at the University of Chicago, already helps scientists simplify their workflow by automating data transfer and synchronization tasks. Now, thanks to a $2 million National Science Foundation grant, Globus will introduce a broader set of automation services that make more comprehensive automation possible.

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Quantum network to test unhackable communications

Scientists are creating a network that will stretch between Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory that taps the principles of quantum physics to send information. Such a link could one day form the basis for a truly secure network, which would have wide-ranging impact on communications, computing and national security.

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Gravitational waves could soon provide measure of universe’s expansion

In a new paper published Oct. 17 in Nature, UChicago scientists estimate that they could use gravitational waves to produce a very accurate measurement of the Hubble constant within five to ten years. Read more via UChicago News or The Register.

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Big Brains podcast explores quantum technology

Prof. David Awschalom discusses how quantum technology could lead to breakthroughs in communication, encryption and medicine, and how he’s helping train the next generation of quantum engineers. Listen and subscribe now.

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Connections between metabolism and cell stress control may inform study of diabetes, cancer 

New UChicago research found a link between the process that handles glucose in cells and the one that regulates detoxification. This suggests a new understanding of a fundamental function in our bodies, and one that may provide new insights into disorders from cancer to diabetes. Hear more from Ray Moellering, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, via UChicago news.

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Astrophysicists turn to machine learning to manage increasingly larger data sets

Researchers are using artificial intelligence to help with a variety of tasks in astronomy and cosmology, from image analysis to telescope scheduling. Hear from UChicago physicist Brian Nord and Camille Avestruz, postdoctoral researcher at UChicago, via Symmetry.

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CS Postdoc Receives NetApp Fellowship to Enable Large-Scale Internet of Things Data Analytics

John Paparrizos -- a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Liew Family Chair of Computer Science Michael J. Franklin -- received a NetApp fellowship to build a unified approach to support several different analytic tasks on compressed data: indexing, classification, clustering, sampling, and visualization. Read more via the Department of Computer Science.

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Leon Lederman, Nobel-winning physicist and 'visionary' educator, 1922-2018

Prof. Emeritus Leon Lederman, a Nobel-winning physicist and scientific leader with a passion for science education, died on Oct. 3. With a career that spanned more than 60 years, Lederman, the Frank L. Sulzberger Prof. Emeritus of Physics, became one of the most important figures in the history of particle physics. Read more via UChicago news.

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CS professor wins award for studying password strength and usability

UChicago's Blase Ur, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, was awarded the IEEE Cybersecurity Award for Practice. According to IEEE, this year's recipients shed light on "how we can make passwords easier for users yet harder for attackers to guess." Read the IEEE announcement.

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First Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professorships Announced

Professorships for women aim to increase gender diversity in the physical sciences

The Physical Sciences Division at the University of Chicago, in partnership with the Henry Luce Foundation and the Office of the Provost, has named the first Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professors: Chihway Chang and Irina Zhuravleva of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics.

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UChicago to offer major in astrophysics

Scientists at the University of Chicago have been unraveling the secrets of the far-flung universe for more than a century, but starting in 2018-19, undergraduates will be able to formally declare a major in astrophysics. Read more about the major.

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UChicago postdoc to lead ‘Nuts and Bolts Cosmology’ beginning Sept. 29

A series of eight free lectures at the University of Chicago will discuss the history of observational cosmology, how telescopes work and the big questions scientists hope to answer experimentally in future. Learn more about the planned lectures.

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$22 million for quantum research at UChicago and national labs

Among the projects funded by the DOE, physicist Cheng Chin will build a system called a “quantum matter synthesizer,” designed to fully control individual atoms in a quantum system. This system will help scientists understand and harness the physics of quantum materials, as well as offer promising ways to process information using quantum technology. Read more about the award.

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Physicists elected 2018 Fellows of the American Physical Society

Mark J. Oreglia, Professor in the Department of Physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute, LianTao Wang, Professor in the Department of Physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute, and Vincenzo Vitelli, Professor of Physics and James Franck Institute, have been elected as 2018 Fellows of the American Physical Society. More information can be found here.

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First particle tracks seen in prototype for international neutrino experiment

The largest liquid-argon neutrino detector in the world has just recorded its first particle tracks. The enormous ProtoDUNE detector was built at CERN as the first of two prototypes for what will be a much, much larger detector for the DUNE project, hosted by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, which is affiliated with the University of Chicago.

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UChicago Magazine Interview with Dean Angela V. Olinto

Inquiry interviewed PSD Dean Angela V. Olinto about her research, how she became interested in astrophysics, and her goals for the year. Read the Q&A via UChicago Magazine.

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Scientists predict extinction risk for hard-to-track species

A new study from University of Chicago scientists offers a tool to predict extinctions for hard-to-count species. Their method takes advantage of the fact that while some species are hard to monitor while alive, many of them leave extensive fossil records. Read the full article.

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Giulia Galli receives 2018 MRS Materials Theory Award

Giulia Galli, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at the Institute for Molecular Engineering and professor of chemistry at UChicago and a senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, will receive the 2018 Materials Theory Award and the 2019 David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics.

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UChicago Physical Sciences Division announces new master’s program for computational and applied mathematics

The University of Chicago’s Physical Sciences Division will launch the Master’s Program in Computational and Applied Mathematics (MCAM) in the fall of 2019. The coursework will provide the pillars of computational and applied mathematics, including physics-based modeling, data-based modeling, and scientific computing. Read the full announcement.

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UChicago chemist receives 2019 Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Chemistry of Liquids

Gregory Voth, the Haig P. Papazian Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry, James Franck Institute, and Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, was awarded the 2019 Joel Henry Hildebrand Award in the Theoretical and Experimental Chemistry of Liquids, administered by the American Chemical Society. This award recognizes distinguished contributions to the understanding of the chemistry and physics of liquids. 

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Five UChicago CS Students Named Siebel Scholars in 2019 Class

UChicago computer science students studying quantum computing, data-driven public policy, distributed systems, computational complexity, and predictive modeling of police misconduct are among the 2019 class of Siebel Scholars, the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation. Meet the students and read more from the Siebel Foundation.

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No evidence from gravitational waves for extra spatial dimensions, UChicago scientists say

University of Chicago astronomers found no evidence for extra spatial dimensions to the universe based on the gravitational wave data. Their research, published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, is one of many papers in the wake of the extraordinary announcement last year that LIGO had detected a neutron star collision. 

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Distortion: Astrophysicist Brian Nord looks for lenses through AI eyes.

Astrophysicist Brian Nord writes about his work to create advanced algorithms that can generate images and scan for gravitational lenses, reflects on the responsibility of scientists who develop AI, and discusses the importance of connecting with people to help them see that science is a tool for them and not the "purview of some special group." Read the full essay in the UChicago Magazine.

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Data mind: Computer scientists mine data to study behavior and expose security flaws

Ben Zhao and Heather Zheng, Neubauer Professors of Computer Science, mine data to model and predict human behavior and scrutinize how data can be used safely and ethically. Blase Ur, a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in Computer Science, takes a human-centered approach to studying computer security and privacy, including analyzing how vulnerable an individual’s other accounts are after one account has been compromised. Read the full article.

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Scientists discover influenza protein behavior that could aid drug development

Researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Kent in the United Kingdom have discovered critical information about the behavior of the influenza A M2 protein, which facilitates the release of infectious particles, called virions, from the infected host cell. This discovery could lead to drugs that inhibit M2, thus blocking the virus from infecting other cells. Read more.

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Data science aims to find next El Niño

The new TRIPODS+Climate project, a collaboration that includes UChicago, will develop novel data science tools to improve our understanding of long-distance weather patterns and global climate. Researchers will apply data science methods such as machine learning, network analysis and predictive modeling to the growing flood of climate data.

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Next-gen camera for South Pole Telescope begins taking data on early universe

The South Pole Telescope, specially designed to measure the CMB, has recently opened its third-generation camera for a multi-year survey to observe the earliest instants of the universe. This latest upgrade, a collaboration led by UChicago, improves its sensitivity by nearly an order of magnitude—making it among the most sensitive CMB instruments ever built. Read full press release. 

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DUNE scientists receive NSF grant to tackle mass production of detector components for massive neutrino experiment

The NSF just awarded a $1.6-million grant to four U.S. universities, including UChicago, to develop a plan to build 150 particle detector assemblies in less than three years. DUNE will use four gigantic particle detector modules filled with a total of 70,000 tons of liquid argon to look for tracks created by neutrinos to learn more about these elusive particles and the role they play in the universe.

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UChicago-led collaboration Social MIND seeks to understand social systems through new models of machine learning.

While powerful methods in machine learning and computational social science improve at predicting the future, they often lack the ability to explain why those results occur, rendering these models less helpful for shaping interventions and policy. Social MIND, or Social Machine Intelligence for Novel Discovery, aims to reorient these models to emphasize prediction, explanation and intervention. Learn more.

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Geophysical scientists challenge idea that life requires ‘Earth clone’

The conditions for life surviving on planets entirely covered in water are more fluid than previously thought, opening up the possibility that water worlds could be habitable, according to a new paper from the University of Chicago and Pennsylvania State University. Read more.

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UChicago computational researchers to help analyze flood of new data from updated Large Hadron Collider

Meeting the intense data demands of the High-Luminosity LHC and enabling new discoveries will require innovative software and computing approaches for data analysis, organization and management. The new $25 million Institute for Research and Innovation in Software for High-Energy Physics, or IRIS-HEP, will meet these challenges by gathering researchers from 17 institutions, including researchers from UChicago's Enrico Fermi Institute and Department of Computer Science.

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Computer science student shares refugee experience at global conference

Hazam Avdal, an Iraqi refugee living in the US and undergraduate studying computer science at #UChicago, shares his story during the Global Conflict | Human Impact conference, hosted by The Pearson Institute at UChicago and The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute.

Watch now.

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Scientists detect most common way that Higgs bosons decay

The Large Hadron Collider collaborations ATLAS and CMS jointly announced the discovery of the Higgs boson transforming into bottom quarks as it decays. This new discovery is a big step forward in the quest to understand how the Higgs enables fundamental particles to acquire mass.

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Excavation begins on Giant Magellan Telescope site in Chile

UChicago is a founding member of the telescope, which is scheduled to see first light in 2024.

Read more about the Giant Magellan Telescope here.

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Ka Yee Lee named Vice Provost for Research

Ka Yee Lee, Professor in Chemistry, the James Franck Institute, the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics and the College, and the Senior Associate Vice President for Research, has been appointed Vice Provost for Research. 

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UChicago camp teaches middle-schoolers STEM skills and develops growth mindsets

Nearly 40 students from seven Chicago Public Schools attended UChicago STEM Education’s South Side STEM free day camp where they engaged with a curriculum designed to build confidence and excitement around mathematics, cryptography, and engineering.

Read more about the curriculum and its impact here.

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NASA Parker Solar Probe, named after UChicago scientist, begins historic mission

At 2:31 a.m. CDT on Sunday, Aug. 12, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe blasted off into the predawn darkness, on its way to explore the sun on a mission that will send it closer to our star than any previous spacecraft. With its liftoff, University of Chicago Prof. Emeritus Eugene Parker became the first person to witness the launch of a namesake spacecraft.

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UChicago Computer Science Part of $15 Million Effort to Build First Practical Quantum Computer

A new collaboration of seven universities, including the University of Chicago, will work together to create the pioneering hardware, software, and applications needed to realize the world’s first practical quantum computer. Fred Chong, the Seymour Goodman Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, will receive $3 million to lead the Software-Tailored Architecture for Quantum (STAQ) software team. Read the full article via UChicago's Department of Computer Science

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PSD Physicist Wins Dirac Medal for Work on Novel Phases in Many-Body Systems

Physicist Dam Thanh Son, University Professor at the University of Chicago, has been awarded the 2018 ICTP Dirac Medal for his contributions to revolutionizing human understanding of how quantum mechanics affects large groups of particles.

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Studies show why some internal clocks are like wristwatches and some hourglasses

In a new study, scientists studied mechanisms of two kinds of circadian “clocks” in organisms—one a “true” clock like a wristwatch and the other more like an hourglass, which needs to be reset with external daily cues.

Read more about circadian clocks here.

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Associate professor Charles Smart summits the Abelian sandpile

UChicago associate professor Charles Smart combined mathematical expertise with Lionel Levine, and Wesley Pegden to develop a precise explanation for the emergence of patterns in chaos.

Read more about the Abelian sandpile model.

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UChicago, Field Museum scientists find evidence of energetic particles from early sun

In a new study in Nature Astronomy by scientists with the University of Chicago, the Field Museum and ETH Zurich, ancient blue crystals trapped in meteorites reveal what the early sun was like.

Read more about the sun’s activity in its early life.

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World's Next Largest Telescope Hopes to Answer Question of Life Beyond Earth

Wendy Freedman, the John and Marion Sullivan University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, spoke with Chicago Tonight about the Giant Magellan Telescope, currently under construction in Chile. The telescope, slated to become the world's largest, will help to reveal the characteristics of exoplantets.

Watch the interview.

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Eckhardt Scholars Collaborate, Create, and Communicate

Launched in 2016, the Physical Sciences Division’s Eckhardt Graduate Scholars Program forms a collaborative environment among doctoral students and faculty to help the students prepare for careers creating and conducting the science of the future.

Read interviews with 27 Eckhardt Graduate Scholars.

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Electron Microscope Detector Achieves Record Resolution

A team of researchers from both Cornell and the University of Chicago have developed a method for achieving ultra-high resolution without the need for “corrective lenses” for their microscope. 

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UChicago Astrophysicist Eugene Parker Will Be First to Watch His Namesake Spacecraft Launch

On Aug. 6, the launch window opens for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to begin its journey to the corona of the sun, a mission that will bring a spacecraft closer to the sun than any ever before.

Read more about the mission and watch a video of Parker discussing solar winds.

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Twelve Women Researches to Explain Science on Soapboxes at Navy Pier

Maria Weber, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, organized Soapbox Science Chicago, the first Soapbox Science event in the United States. The tradition of speakers climbing on soapboxes to argue for civil liberties began in Victorian Britain and was revived in 2011 as a way to talk about gender equality in science.

Read an interview with event organizer, Maria Weber.

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Joshua Frieman Looks to Future as Head of Particle Physics Research at Fermilab

The role of director of the Dark Energy Survey has given Fermilab scientist and University of Chicago professor Josh Frieman, PhD’89, the opportunity to work with diverse groups of people toward a common goal, a skill that comes in handy as he takes on the role of Particle Physics Division head at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

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Geophysical Science Professor Wins Nicholas P. Fofonoff Award

Congratulations to Malte Jansen for earning the prestigious Nicholas P. Fofonoff Award from the American Meteorological Society. This early-career award recognizes research achievement in the field of physical oceanography.

Read more about Malte Jansen.

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UChicago, Argonne Scientists Find Atomic Explanation for Easing Electrons’ Paths

new study published in Nature Nanotechnology helps fill in the cracks for scientists trying to use nanocrystals to design better electronic and optoelectronic devices. According to research by University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory and Max Planck Institute for Iron Research scientists, inorganic links between the nanoparticles themselves are changing and reforming on the surface of the nanoparticles.

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Rain or Snow Likely Formed Martian Rivers

By comparing the patterns of rivers in different climates here on Earth, a new Science Advances study, coauthored by Edwin Kite, assistant professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences, adds to a growing body of evidence that river valleys on Mars were created by water flowing across the surface—the result of rain or snowmelt, not by slow leaks from underground. The answer provides clues to what Mars’ climate would have looked like eons ago when the rivers were flowing.

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Students and Argonne Scientists Turn Wrigley Field into Data Lab

As part an ambitious University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory initiative to "instrument the city," the Array of Things project installed sensors to measure sound, weather, and fan satisfaction at Wrigley Field.

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PSD Chemists Expand Possibilities for Building Complicated Molecules for Drugs, Agriculture

In a new paper published in Nature Chemistry, Guangbin Dong, professor of chemistry, and graduate student Jianchun Wang laid out a new approach that streamlines the process and expands the possibilities for building a class of molecules used in pharmaceutics, agriculture and materials. 

Read more about the new approach.

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Tiny Brushes that Make Surfaces Slippery May Not Work as Intended, Study Finds

A type of molecular surface thought to be extremely slippery may not stay that way under all conditions, according to new UChicago and Argonne research in Science. This discovery has implications for future technologies like joint replacements or anti-fogging surfaces.

Learn more about the research.

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Three PSD Scholars Receive 2018 Simons Foundation Awards

Three University of Chicago scientists have received 2018 awards from the Simons Foundation. Shinsei Ryu, associate professor of physics, and André Neves, professor of mathematics, were named Simons Investigators and will receive $100,000 of research support per year for five years. String theorist Emil Martinec was named a Simons Fellow in Theoretical Physics.

Read more about the awards.

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UChicago Activities at Yerkes Observatory to End in 2018

The University of Chicago has announced plans to wind down its activities at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis., over the next six months and to formally cease on-site operations by Oct. 1, 2018.

Despite its important history, the Yerkes facility and its instrumentation no longer contribute directly to the research mission of the University of Chicago, which has made major investments in the Magellan and Giant Magellan telescopes in Chile.

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Congratulations to Assistant Professor Blase Ur!

Blase Ur was recently named a winner of the ACM SIGCHI Outstanding Dissertation Award.  This award is given annually by the Special Interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction and “recognizes excellent thesis research by recent Ph.D. recipients in Human-Computer Interaction".  Up to three such awards are given in a year, and this year they gave only two.

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Congratulations to Assistant Professor Abby Vieregg!

Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) has named twenty-four top early career academic scientists  as 2018 Cottrell Scholars. UChicago's own Abby Vieregg has been named for her work in physics and her research searching for astrophysical ultra-high energy (UHE) neutrinos using radio detection techniques.

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Congratulations to Professors Alexander Beilinson and Vladimir Drinfeld!

Alexander Beilinson and Vladimir Drinfeld have won the 2018 Wolf Prize in Mathematics. The Israeli Wolf Prize will be awarded at the end of May to nine laureates in the fields of mathematics, agriculure, physics, chemistry, and music. Beilinson and Drinfeld will share the mathematics prize this year as their work has made significant progress "at the interface of geometry and mathematical physics."

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UChicago Postdoctoral Scholar named 51 Pegasi b Fellow by the Heising-Simons Foundation

University of Chicago scientist Thaddeus Komacek is one of eight postdoctoral scholars to be selected for the 2018 class of the prestigious Heising-Simons Foundation 51 Pegasi b Fellowship.

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Doomsday Clock Moves its Closest to Midnight Since the Height of the Cold War

Citing growing nuclear risks and unchecked climate dangers, the Doomsday Clock has been moved to two minutes before midnight—its closest point symbolically to total catastrophe since the height of the Cold War. This 30-second move forward is a direct reflection of nuclear tensions and the need for action combating climate change. 

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Scientists get Better Numbers on What Happens When Electrons get Wet

A crucial part of the chemical reactions that govern many of the processes around us is electrons striking water. Despite how common place these reactions are, scientists still have to estimate numbers for certain parts of the equation when they use computers to model them. 

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Siebel Foundation Names Inaugural Group of UChicago Computer Science Scholars

Three master's students studying computation and public policy were honored by the foundation, and thus, the University's Department of Computer Science joins a select group of international programs as the three students are the first in the University's computer science program to be selected. 

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Dark Energy Survey Finds Remains of 11 Galaxies Eaten by the Milky Way

Scientists have released the preliminary cosmological findings from the Dark Energy Survey -- research on about 400 million astronomical objects from distant galaxies to the stars we see in the night sky. Among these findings was the discovery of new stellar streams - remnants of smaller galaxies destroyed and essentially eaten by our own Milky Way. Read More

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Flash Center turns 20, welcomes new director

October marks the 20th anniversary of the Flash Center for Computational Science. The center is the home of FLASH, a community code with applications in fields ranging from astrophysics to engineering and biology. The center does more than develop software for simulations, however; it is also a hub for research on high-energy density physics and laboratory astrophysics. 

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UChicago Physical Sciences Division announces new master’s program for computational and applied mathematics

The University of Chicago’s Physical Sciences Division will launch the Master’s Program in Computational and Applied Mathematics (MCAM) in the fall of 2019. The coursework will provide the pillars of computational and applied mathematics, including physics-based modeling, data-based modeling, and scientific computing. 

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DUNE scientists receive NSF grant to tackle mass production of detector components for massive neutrino experiment

How can you build 150 particle detector assemblies in less than three years if the completion of one assembly takes almost two months?

This is one of the big questions that scientists and engineers working on the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment have to answer to meet the ambitious goal of starting data taking in 2026. And the National Science Foundation just awarded a $1.6-million grant to four U.S. universities, including the University of Chicago, to develop the plan. 

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Proton Hydration Structures are Asymmetric, Study Reveals

Research has implications for clean energy sources that use water as fuel

How water solvates and transports protons is a fundamental question facing chemists and biologists alike and is vital to our understanding of processes such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration. 

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Rogue Neutrino Likely Came from Supermassive Black Hole, Scientists Say

The VERITAS Collaboration, including scientists at the University of Chicago, has confirmed the detection of very high-energy gamma rays from the vicinity of a supermassive black hole. While such detections are relatively commonplace for VERITAS, this black hole is potentially the first known astrophysical source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos—a type of ghostly subatomic particle.

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Big Brains Podcast Explores how World’s Largest Telescope Might Glimpse Universe’s Birth

Big Brains is a new University of Chicago podcast in which some of the pioneering minds on campus discuss their groundbreaking ideas and the stories behind them.

Prof. Wendy Freedman spent much of her career measuring the age of the universe. Now she’s working on a project that may very well give scientists a chance to glimpse into its birth.

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UChicago Library Receives Medals and Papers of Nobel-Winning Physicist James Cronin

The University of Chicago Library has received the medals and academic papers of Nobel-winning physicist James Cronin, SM’53, PhD’55, the late UChicago scientist who made defining contributions to physics and astronomical observation.

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Josh Frieman Takes on Role of Fermilab Particle Physics Division Head

As director of the Dark Energy Survey, Fermilab scientist Josh Frieman leads more than 400 scientists from over 25 institutions across the world in the quest to unravel mysteries of the universe. The role, he says, has given him the opportunity to work with diverse groups of people toward a common goal, a skill that comes in handy as he takes on the role of Particle Physics Division head at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

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New $1.3 million Grant from the National Science Foundation for Science Formative Assessment in Grades 3-5

Drs. Liz Lehman and Meg Bates, along with collaborators at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Learning Sciences Research Institute, have received an award from the National Science Foundation’s Discovery Research PreK-12 program. The grant to UChicago STEM Education will support a 4-year project to develop assessments for formative use in elementary science classrooms and improve teacher capacity in science instruction and assessment.

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A Singular Loss

The world lost a brilliant scienfitic mind this March when Stephen Hawking died. However, his legacy and scientific contributions will continue to inspire and influence physicists and scientists for years. UChicago physicist Daniel Holz, SM'94, PhD'98, wrote an appreciation of Hawking's legacy explaining that when he applied quantum mechanics to the classical physics of black holes, they appeared to leak particles. 

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Through Thick and Thin: Researchers Solve Decades-Old Fluid Question

A team of nanoscientists and physicists from Argonne National Laboratory has unraveled the 30-year mystery of shear thickening by studying a shear-thickening fluid with X-rays. The study could lead to applications in 3-D printing, the chemical industry and the biomedical field.

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Postdoctoral Fellow Leads Physics Lectures on the Mysteries of Neutrinos

This spring’s free lectures series is named for pioneering University of Chicago physicist and Nobel laureate Arthur Holly Compton, who demonstrated that light can be both particle and wave. The lecture series will be held 11 a.m. Saturday mornings at the Kersten Physics Teaching Center through June 2 (except for Memorial Day weekend).

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Fifteen UChicago Faculty Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Fifteen faculty members at the University of Chicago have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. This year’s class also includes President Barack Obama, and from the PSD, Professors Henrich Jaeger, Laurie Butler, and Andrei Tokmakoff. 

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Learn, Observe, Control: UChicago to Commercialize a Generalized Software Optimization Framework

UChicago, in partnership with the Chicago Group, has begun the process of taking the Hoffmann Optimization Framework to the broader market. It ingests data and makes adujstments to how that system operates in order to maintain the best level of performance, even in adverse conditions. The framework is able to deliever performance guarantees formally proven with cold hard math. 

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UChicago Launches Center for Data Science and Computing Research

The University of Chicago is launching the Center for Data and Applied Computing, a research center for developing new methods in computation and data analytics and applying them to ambitious projects across the full spectrum of science and scholarship. The Center for Data and Applied Computing, which opens this summer, will provide computationally focused, interdisciplinary projects at the university.

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Research Suggests Water Appeared While Earth was Still Growing

A team including UChicago cosmochemist Nicolas Dauphas performed the largest study to date of oxygen isotopes in lunar rocks, and found a small but measurable difference in the makeup of the moon and Earth. The research proposes that Earth acquired the majority of its water during the main stage of its growth—which counters a popular theory.

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Scientists Confirm Water Trapped Inside Diamonds Deep Below Earth’s Surface

The discovery, which relies on extremely bright X-ray beams from the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, could change our understanding of how water circulates deep in the Earth’s mantle and how heat escapes from the lower regions of our planet. 

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Scientists Build Army of Metal-Organic Nanoflowers to Treat Cancer

Scientists with the University of Chicago have designed an army of tiny flower-shaped metal-and-organic nanoparticles that deliver a one-two punch—first boosting the effects of radiation at the tumor site and then jumpstarting the immune system to search out any remaining tumors.

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UChicago Scientists Build Trap to Make Tiny Packages of Light ‘Collide’

The universe is illuminated via photons, the tiny individual particles that make up light, but they don’t interact with each other. To make them see the light, a team of University of Chicago physicists built a trap to help photons bounce off each other. Their photon collider is the latest effort to make photons behave like other particles such as electrons—a step toward greater understanding and control of quantum systems.

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Genetic Analysis Uncovers the Evolutionary Origin of Vertebrate Limbs

A new study by researchers from the University of Chicago and the Andalusian Center for Development Biology in Spain shows how these creatures used an even more primitive genetic blueprint to develop their proto-limbs: the single dorsal, or back, fin common to all jawed fish.

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First Look at Jupiter’s Poles Show Strange Geometric Arrays of Storms

In the past two years, with NASA’s Juno spacecraft, found bizarre geometric arrangements of storms, each arrayed around one cyclone over both poles—unlike any storm formation seen in the universe. 

The study was authored by scientists from an international group of institutions including the University of Chicago.

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Student-Run Hackathons Use Uncommon Approaches to Educate and Inspire

Hackathons, daylong or overnight events in which teams work on a project in tech, data science or programming, have become a popular activity worldwide. In January, a UChicago student organization called compileHer gathered 70 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students from 50 schools across Chicago for an all-day hackathon at the Logan Center for the Arts.

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UChicago Scientists to Lead $10 Million NSF 'Expedition' for Practical Quantum Computing

Co-design of quantum achitectures, software helps realize promise of new technology sooner. 

University of Chicago computer scientists an “expedition” into the burgeoning field of quantum computing, bringing applications of the nascent technology for computer science, physics, chemistry and other fields at least a decade closer to practical use.

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Scientists use Tiny Diamond Anvils to Put Squeeze on Materials

Scientists have turned tiny bits of diamond and super-hard specks into “molecular anvils” that squeeze and twist molecules until chemical bonds break and atoms exchange electrons. They believe the method­ offers a new way to perform chemistry research at the molecular level that is greener, more efficient and much more precise.

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Henry Luce Foundation Grant to Support Science Professorships for Women

A grant from the Henry Luce Foundation will support an initiative to significantly increase the gender diversity of faculty members across the Physical Sciences Division by 2023.

The five-year, $500,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation will fund three Clare Boothe Luce Professorships for women in the Departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics. Additional financial and programmatic support from the Physical Sciences Division and the Office of the Provost will ensure the success of the three new faculty members at the University.

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