PSD in the News - January 2020

January 29, 2020

This month, PSD researchers have been featured for helping identify the first habitable exoplanet, discovering the oldest material on Earth, and finding evidence that RNA modulates how DNA is transcribed.

Fred T. Anderson, scientist who studied rocks to recreate volcanic eruptions, 1937-2020

January 28, 2020

A professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences for nearly 40 years, Alfred T. Anderson, Jr., died on Jan. 15. He made pioneering contributions to the field of volcanology—particularly how to reconstruct long-ago volcanic explosions using clues in the rocks left behind. He was 82. For years, he and his wife, Caroline, served as the resident masters for the Snell-Hitchcock residence hall. 

Prof. Dan Holz discusses ‘Doomsday Clock’ on WTTW 

January 27, 2020

The UChicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the 'Doomsday Clock' to 100 seconds to midnight, closer to global catastrophe than ever before. Prof. Dan Holz, a member of the Bulletin's Science and Security Board, joined Chicago Tonight to discuss the announcement. 

Doomsday Clock closer than ever before to apocalypse   

January 23, 2020

The hands of the Doomsday Clock are now at 100 seconds to midnight—the closest it has ever been to apocalypse since its creation following World War II. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which is housed at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and whose board includes several UChicago scientists, announced the change during a Jan. 23 event in Washington, D.C. 

Surprise discovery shakes up our understanding of gene expression 

January 23, 2020

A group of University of Chicago scientists has uncovered a previously unknown way that our genes are made into reality. 

Rather than directions going one-way from DNA to RNA to proteins, the latest study shows that RNA itself modulates how DNA is transcribed—using a chemical process that is increasingly apparent to be vital to biology. The discovery has significant implications for our understanding of human disease and drug design.  

How to feed 10 billion without wrecking the planet 

January 23, 2020

A study in Nature Sustainability led by researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) — and co-authored by UChicago CS postdoctoral researcher Jonas Jägermeyr — now suggests a comprehensive solution package for feeding 10 billion people within our planet’s environmental boundaries.  Jägermeyr contributed simulations of Earth’s biosphere and agriculture to the study. 

New quantum certificates program to retrain scientists and build the quantum workforce 

January 17, 2020

UChicago’s certificates program in Quantum Engineering and Technology is aimed at retraining scientists across their careers, particularly those who have been educated in classical physics, computer science, and other science and engineering fields, but who want to pursue a career in the growing quantum industries. The certificates program allows scientists and engineers to apply their existing knowledge to quantum applications without attaining another degree. While offered by the University’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) the certificates program will be managed by the Chicago Quantum Exchange. 

A look at the UChicago roots of the Doomsday Clock 

January 17, 2020

On Jan. 23, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will hold a news conference unveiling the 2020 update to the “Doomsday Clock,” which symbolizes how close humanity is to apocalypse.  The Doomsday Clock has its roots in the University Chicago, where a group of Manhattan Project scientists created the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in the aftermath of WWII. The group has been dedicated to informing the public about technologies “with the potential to end civilization" ever since. To this day, the Bulletin is housed at the University of Chicago, though its mission has expanded to address such global threats as terrorism, cyberattacks and climate change. 

Researchers discover new method to measure how photocurrents flow in a 2D material  

January 17, 2020

Quantum researchers at the University of Chicago have developed a new method to measure how photocurrents flow in a 2D material — a result that could have implications for developing quantum sensors and next-generation electronics. 

Adler Planetarium highlights student Andrea Bryant 

January 15, 2020

The Adler Planetarium interviewed graduate student, Andrea Bryant, as part of its Chicago's Black Women in STEAM blog series. Bryant spoke about what sparked her interest in astrophysics, her graduate experiences, her passion for music, and more. 

UChicago, Field Museum scientists discover oldest material on Earth: 7-billion-year-old stardust 

January 15, 2020

Scientists with the University of Chicago and Field Museum have discovered stardust that formed 5 to 7 billion years ago—the oldest solid material ever found on Earth. The grains of stardust were trapped inside meteorites long ago—even before the sun formed—where they remained unchanged for billions of years, until one such meteorite fell 50 years ago in Australia. These “time capsules” offer clues about what was going on in our patch of the universe before the sun formed; for example, the grains suggest a surprising boom in star formation. 

Asst. Prof. Orecchia earns NSF CAREER Award

January 15, 2020

For his work developing new methods for the large-scale optimization challenges that underlie many modern computing applications, UChicago CS assistant professor Lorenzo Orecchia received the NSF CAREER award. The CAREER program is one of the most prestigious NSF awards, supporting early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

PSD Spotlight: Stuart Kurtz

January 15, 2020

PSD’s February spotlight is Stu Kurtz, George and Elizabeth Yovovich Professor in the Department of Computer Science. Stu has been with UChicago for 38 years and is inspired by the opportunity to positively impact his discipline and the lives of people around him.

Meet physics student, Claire Baum

January 15, 2020

Claire Baum is from Mount Prospect, Illinois. She holds a BS in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She’s currently in her third year of pursuing a PhD in physics at the University of Chicago.

NASA’s TESS spacecraft discovers its first habitable planet, first world with two stars 

January 10, 2020

Scientists from the University of Chicago and other institutions around the world have discovered multiple new interesting worlds beyond Earth—including its first potentially habitable Earth-size world and another that is a ‘Star Wars’-type system with two suns.