News: Faculty


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. 

Ka Yee C. Lee appointed provost of University of Chicago 

January 7, 2020

Ka Yee C. Lee, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and currently Vice Provost for Research, has been named the next provost of the University of Chicago, effective Feb. 1. President Robert J. Zimmer announced Lee’s appointment in a message to the campus community in which he praised her work with deans, faculty and researchers across the University. 

Four UChicago scientists speculate about science in the decade ahead 

January 3, 2020

Four UChicago scientists, including synthetic chemist, Bryan Dickinson, astrophysicist, Daniel Holz, and computer scientist, Marshini Chetty consider the possibilities—and pitfalls—their own fields could face in the decade ahead. 

PSD in the News - December 2019

January 3, 2020

This month, PSD researchers have been featured for finding 'dark patterns' that influence shoppers' decision-making, discovering materials that 'remember' past stresses as they age, and for offering an innovative explanation for why there aren't as many Neptune-sized exoplanets.

Prof. Daniel Holz discusses the top science stories of 2019 with WTTW

January 3, 2020

Prof. Daniel Holz, regular science contributor at WTTW, discusses the top science stories of 2019, including the first ever black hole image, gene-edited cells used to treat sickle cell, the Artemis moon mission, and climate change. 

PSD faculty members receive named professorships

January 2, 2020

Stuart A. Kurtz has been named the George and Elizabeth Yovovich Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the College. Kurtz is a theoretical computer scientist who studies computational logic, type theory, complexity theory and randomness. He also has made research contributions in biological computing, bioinformatics and constructive logic. 

Matthew Stephens has been named the Ralph W. Gerard Professor in the Departments of Statistics and Human Genetics and the College. Stephens’ research focuses on a wide variety of problems at the interface of statistics and genetics. His lab often tackles problems where novel statistical methods are required, or can learn something new compared with existing approaches. 


Asst. Prof. Moellering earns NSF CAREER Award

December 20, 2019

Asst. Prof. Raymond Moellering earned a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award for his project "Reactivity-Driven Metabolic Signaling: A Feature not a Flaw in Metabolic Regulation." Moellering's research aims to develop cellular probes, proteomic methods, and cellular models to illuminate the role of methylglyoxal, a reactive metabolite that is hypothesized to link cellular metabolism with cell stress response, inflammation and many diseases like diabetes, cancer and aging. With this award, Moellering hopes to identify proteins that serve as metabolic sensors, which transmit signals resulting in physical changes in cells and organisms.

Web of Science recognizes highly cited researchers

December 20, 2019

Ten current and former University of Chicago Physical Science Division scientists were named in Web of Science's 2019 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.

UChicago scientist appointed FCC Chief Technology Officer

December 20, 2019

The Federal Communications Commission Chairman announced the appointment of UChicago's Monisha Ghosh to serve as the agency's Chief Technology Officer. Ghosh is a research professor in PME and an associate member of computer science. She has also been serving as a rotating program director at the National Science Foundation since September 2017, in the Computer and Network System Division within the Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering. Ghosh will be the FCC's first female CTO.

Why some planets eat their own skies 

December 17, 2019

In a paper published Dec. 17 in Astrophysical Journal Letters, Asst. Prof. Edwin Kite and colleagues at Washington University, Stanford University, and Penn State University offer an innovative explanation for why there are proportionally fewer Neptune-sized exoplanets: The oceans of magma on the surface of these planets readily absorb their atmospheres once planets reach about three times the size of Earth. 

Physicist taps quantum mechanics to crack molecular secrets 

December 17, 2019

Giulia Galli, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering and professor of chemistry, uses computational models to figure out the behavior of molecules and materials. The focus of Galli’s studies is to understand and predict how to harness molecular behavior to improve technology, particularly in the areas of purifying water, speeding up computation and sensing with quantum technology, and perfecting renewable energy technology. 

Parker Solar Probe’s first discoveries: odd phenomena in space weather, solar wind 

December 4, 2019

In four papers published Dec. 4 in Nature, researchers describe a flood of new data from the Parker Solar Probe's landmark mission that will help us understand everything from the nature of stars to improving our forecasting of solar storms that can affect electronics on Earth.  In its first year, the Parker Solar Probe learned new information about two types of major space weather events. It also saw the first signs of the zone around the sun where cosmic dust disappears—predicted decades ago, but never seen—as well as an entirely new phenomenon: bizarre “switchbacks” in the solar wind that flows off the surface of the sun.  

Astronomers propose a novel method of finding atmospheres on rocky worlds 

December 4, 2019

In a series of four papers in the Astrophysical Journal, a team of astronomers, including Assoc. Prof. Jacob Bean, proposes a new method of using NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to determine whether a rocky exoplanet has an atmosphere. The technique, which involves measuring the planet’s temperature as it passes behind its star and then comes back into view, is significantly faster than more traditional methods of atmospheric detection like transmission spectroscopy.  

Chemists invent innovative way to create commonly used molecules called olefins 

December 4, 2019

UChicago chemists have discovered an efficient method to make tetra-substituted olefins, a kind of olefin with four different attachments—used in everything from medicines to new ways to store data. With the new method, they can easily and precisely select the four different attachments. Additionally, their catalyst cuts the number of steps to make the compounds from around seven to two or three.