News: Awards


University awards PSD alumnae Katherine Freese, PhD’84, and Zhenan Bao, SM’93, PhD’95, for professional achievements

September 2, 2021

The University of Chicago will award two PSD alumnae for their professional achievements in a Nov. 5 ceremony. Katherine Freese, PhD’84, is a professor of physics at the University of Texas at Austin—where she holds the Jeff and Gail Kodosky Endowed Chair in Physics—and professor of physics at Stockholm University in Sweden. Zhenan Bao, SM’93, PhD’95, is department chair and K.K. Lee Professor of Chemical Engineering, and by courtesy, a professor of chemistry and a professor of material science and engineering at Stanford University.

U.S. Department of Energy funds center to build a foundation for quantum chemistry

September 2, 2021

UChicago chemists specializing in mathematical physics, materials chemistry, and physical chemistry are part of a team of scientists who have received $3 million in funding to support three years of quantum information science research. Working with Harvard University and Purdue University, the collaboration will try to build the foundations for using quantum computers to model molecules at the atomic level—yielding not only insights that could lead the way to new chemical discoveries, but potentially laying the groundwork for quantum computing as a whole.

2011 paper co-authored by Prof. Hank Hoffmann receives Test of Time honor

August 24, 2021

In 2011, a team of MIT researchers including UChicago associate professor Hank Hoffmann (then a graduate student) proposed a “loop perforation” algorithm that gave computers a generalizable option to go off-script and sacrifice accuracy in favor of performance. Though the paper was controversial when originally presented at FSE (The ACM Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering), its tradeoff principles have since become widespread in computer science. To celebrate this forward-thinking research, FSE recently awarded Hoffmann and his co-authors Stelios Sidiroglou, Sasa Misailovic, and Martin Rinard the honorable mention in their annual Test of Time award.

UChicago researchers excel in IBM Quantum Open Science Challenge

August 3, 2021

Two UChicago-affiliated researchers came out on top at the IBM Quantum Open Science Challenge — Alexey Galda for the graph state challenge and Pranav Gokhale for the SWAP gate challenge. The first-of-its-kind challenge presented two targets to the research community and offered prize money and experimental time on their quantum computer as rewards. 

PSD in the News - July 2021

August 2, 2021

This month PSD researchers have been featured for their efforts to understand how manipulating RNA can allow plants to yield dramatically more crops and increase drought tolerance, explain why planets with oxygenated atmospheres like ours could host alien life, and extol what billionaires mean for the changing arc of aerospace history. And, a Nobel-winning biochemist, Jack Szostak, will join the faculty in 2022.

Paul Alivisatos and Robert J. Zimmer receive named distinguished service professorships

July 1, 2021

Incoming President Paul Alivisatos has been named the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry, the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and the College, effective Sept. 1. President Robert J. Zimmer has been named the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Mathematics and the College.

Postdoc Kate Smith receives IEEE Early Career Award in Microelectronics

July 1, 2021

Kate Smith, a postdoctoral researcher in the research group of Professor Fred Chong and the Chicago Quantum Exchange’s IBM Postdoctoral Trainees Program, received the Kenneth C. Smith Early Career Award in Microelectronics from the IEEE Computer Society, Technical Committee on Multiple-Valued Logic (IEEE TC MVL).

PSD in the News - June 2021

June 28, 2021

This month PSD researchers have been featured for their efforts to transform plastics, electronics, and transportation, experiment with materials that can 'remember,' and contribute to the most precise look yet at the universe's evolution.

Physicist awarded grant as part of Simons Collaboration on Categorical Symmetries

June 24, 2021

Clay Córdova, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, has been awarded a Simons Foundation grant as part of the Simons Collaboration on Categorical Symmetries. The collaboration, directed by Constantin Teleman of the University of California, Berkeley, is supported under the Simons Collaborations in Mathematics and Physical Sciences program, which aims to "stimulate progress on fundamental scientific questions of major importance in mathematics, theoretical physics and theoretical computer science."

Prof. Laura Gagliardi awarded Royal Society of Chemistry Prize

June 10, 2021

Professor Laura Gagliardi has been named the winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Faraday Lectureship Prize, celebrating the most exciting chemical science taking place today. She was cited for contributions to the development of multireference quantum chemical approaches to describe catalysis and excited state phenomena. The prize awards £3000 and a medal.

CCAM student awarded Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

June 8, 2021

Abigail Poteshman, a graduate student in the Committee on Computational and Applied Mathematics, has been awarded a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. “I plan to develop mathematical and computational techniques to improve the accuracy and efficiency of computational simulations of materials from first principles. In particular, I plan to focus on the thermal properties of materials for applications in sustainable energy technologies,” she said.

Four named to DOE Early Career Research Program

May 27, 2021

Four PSD members are among 83 scientists selected for the DOE Early Career Research Program, awarding $150,000 annually for five years. Sarah King of Chemistry, Chihway Chang and Brian Nord of Astronomy & Astrophysics, and Lindsey Bleem, PhD'13, of KICP.

Graduate students recognized for exceptional teaching of undergraduates

May 27, 2021

A graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, Frank Gao, has been named among the 2020 winners of the Wayne C. Booth Prize for Excellence in Teaching, awarded annually to graduate students for outstanding instruction of undergraduates. Additionally, three graduate students have been awarded the Physical Sciences Teaching Prizes for 2020-21: Gourav Khullar of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Sean Lee of the Department of Chemistry, and Victor Zhang of the Department of Physics. Read more about what inspires their teaching.

PSD in the News - May 2021

May 26, 2021

This month PSD researchers have been featured for their efforts to theorize non-reciprocal interactions, push the frontiers of human computer interaction, and cut nitrogen atoms from molecules, opening up avenues for constructing molecules.

Chemistry professor Weixin Tang named 2021 Searle Scholar

May 25, 2021

Neubauer Family Assistant Professor Weixin Tang of the Department of Chemistry has been named a 2021 Searle Scholar, which supports the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry. She will be awarded $300,000 to pursue research on sequencing and epigenetics to understand biological processes critical to cellular functions.