News

2021

UChicago workshop highlights internet frontiers and opportunities

December 3, 2021

Portrait of Vickie Robinson of Microsoft

A gathering hosted by the University of Chicago and the University of California, Santa Barbara, brought together experts from industry, government, and academia for panels and conversations around internet equity and access.


Beads of glass in meteorites help scientists piece together how solar system formed

December 3, 2021

Most meteorites are made of tiny beads of glass that date back to the earliest days of the solar system, before the planets were even formed. Scientists in the Dauphas Origins Lab have published an analysis laying out how these beads, which are found in many meteorites, came to be—and what they can tell us about what happened in the early solar system.


Physics Prof. Yau Wah, recent APS inductee, reflects on his research and academic career

December 2, 2021

Prof. Yau W. Wah

Prof. Yau W. Wah from the Dept. of Physics was one of three UChicago professors inducted into the American Physical Society (APS) this October for his notable contributions to the fields of quantum and particle physics. The Chicago Maroon interviewed him about his research and academic career.


To understand biology, scientists turn to the quantum world

December 2, 2021

An artistic representation of a method to use nano-sized particles to take a temperature reading inside a cell.

University of Chicago chemistry professor and director Greg Engel discusses the potential of the new $25 million Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Quantum Sensing for Biophysics and Bioengineering (QuBBE)—ranging from tracking a drug through the membrane and across the cytoplasm of a single cell, to precise demarcation of tumor margins during surgery.


Clam fossils help scientists find errors in evolutionary tree calculations

December 2, 2021

By examining fossilized clams scientists including David Jablonski, the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Service Professor of Geophysical Sciences, and postdoctoral researcher, Nick Crouch, found that a commonly used protocol hides the true extent of how species live and die through major extinctions. Clams previously assumed to originate before the last great extinction actually originated in a burst of diversification in the aftermath.


Wearable device that changes perception of softness wins best paper at UIST 2021

December 1, 2021

A fingertip haptic device built in a human computer integration lab shows a person comparing the softness of a teddybear and a hunk of metal

A new wearable technology designed by researchers in the Human Computer Integration laboratory at UChicago Computer Science can fool fingertips, changing the user’s perception of an object’s softness. The research describing the project, led by predoctoral student Yujie Tao, received a Best Paper Award at the 2021 ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology and the Best Demo Award from the UIST Jury.


Web of Science recognizes highly cited researchers of 2021

December 1, 2021

PSD against a white and turquoise background

Eight current University of Chicago Physical Science Division faculty were named in Web of Science's 2021 report of highly cited researchers. Researchers on the list have demonstrated significant and broad influence in the past decade, with highly cited papers ranking in the top 1% by citation for a chosen field or fields.


Watch Prof. Marcela Carena, Dept. of Physics, deliver the Harper Lecture, “The Unseen Universe”

November 30, 2021

Portrait of Prof. Marcela Carena and logo for Harper Lecture series

Marcela Carena is a professor of physics at the University of Chicago and a member of the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. On Oct. 26, she delivered the virtual Harper Lecture, “The Unseen Universe: How It Impacts the World We See,” with introductions from Dean Angela V. Olinto.


ScaleStuds project receives $5 million to build foundations for massive computation

November 29, 2021

The timber frame of a building under construction, which relates to an article about computer scientists building new software for massive clusters from the studs.

With a $5 million LARGE grant from NSF, computer science professors Haryadi Gunawi, Shan Lu, and Hank Hoffmann will lead a group of researchers to develop a new pipeline of tools, software, and systems that allow software developers to write robust new software for massive clusters, even without direct access to these expensive systems, thus building foundations for correctness checkability and performance predictability at scale.


How the Earth and moon formed, explained

November 29, 2021

Illustration of an object crashing into the proto-Earth

How and when did the Earth and moon form? The latest entry in the UChicago News "Core Knowledge" explainer series explores these origins, and other questions scientists are still asking.


PSD in the News - November

November 18, 2021

PSD against a white and turquoise background

This month PSD researchers have been featured for their efforts to invent chemical haptics, to detect internet censorship in real time, and to extract water from the air of even the driest deserts.


Unlocking the secrets of black holes, with Andrea Ghez

November 18, 2021

Andrea Ghez

The UChicago podcast Big Brains interviews Nobel-winning scientist and Lab alumna Andrea Ghez about examining the monster at the center of our galaxy—and how we got here.


Second Annual PSD Staff Awards honors three members for dedication and hard work

November 18, 2021

11 PSD members shown clapping at an awards ceremony on Zoom

On Tuesday, November 16, members of the University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division attended the Second Annual PSD Staff Awards. The virtual gathering honored staff members nominated by their divisional peers, colleagues, students, and supervisors for their dedication, hard work, and commitment to the PSD. Winners included Mat Wimberly, Dept. of Mathematics, Out of the Box Award; Sierra Sterling, Dean of Students Office, Bridgebuilder Award; and Karin Czaplewski, Dept. of Computer Science, Keystone Award.


Modifying molecules is complicated—so UChicago chemists found a simpler way

November 18, 2021

UChicago postdoctoral researcher Zhao Wu

A new study by University of Chicago chemists offers a more efficient way to let researchers rearrange the components of a molecule—in particular, a key component called carbonyl groups that appears in many pharmaceutical drugs and other useful chemicals.


Statistics breakthrough helps calculate likelihood of worst-case scenarios

November 18, 2021

A black swan figurine surrounded by white swan figurines

Scientists including Joel Cohen, a visiting professor in the Department of Statistics, have announced a new way to tease out information about events that are rare, but highly consequential—such as pandemics and insurance payouts.