News: Faculty


Machine learning provides a shortcut to simulate interactions in materials for solar energy harvesting

August 25, 2021

Professor of Chemistry Giulia Galli is among a team of scientists at Argonne National Laboratory using machine learning to speed up development of materials that can harness energy from sunlight. The team was able to simplify the solution of the quantum mechanical equations that describe how light is absorbed by a solid, liquid or molecule.

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.

New startup from CS Prof. Fred Chong and Pranav Gokhale, PhD’20, builds software to make quantum computing faster

August 18, 2021

Just out of stealth, Seymour Goodman Professor of Computer Science Fred Chong and Pranav Gokhale, PhD’20, have a new startup for software that makes quantum computing faster. Part of Duality, the first accelerator in the U.S. for quantum startups, is building software to power next-gen quantum computing.

How a genetic breakthrough could address global hunger, podcast with Chuan He

August 9, 2021

The University of Chicago podcast network interviews PSD biochemist Chuan He about his breakthrough discovery manipulating RNA for higher yields and greater drought resistance in rice and potatoes, for "Big Brains Podcast: How a genetic breakthrough could address global hunger."

Noel Swerdlow, one of the ‘greatest scholars’ of the history of science, 1941-2021

August 2, 2021

Prof. Emeritus Noel M. Swerdlow of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, a distinguished historian of science and the world’s foremost expert on Ptolemy and Copernicus, died July 24. He was 79.

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.

Chicago Quantum Exchange adds new international and regional partners

August 2, 2021

The Chicago Quantum Exchange, a growing hub for the research and development of quantum technology that is based at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, has added to its community two world-leading research institutions at the forefront of quantum information science and engineering: the Weizmann Institute of Science and The Ohio State University.

Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Jack Szostak to join University of Chicago faculty

July 27, 2021

Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Jack Szostak will join the Department of Chemistry faculty, effective Sept. 1, 2022. A pioneering scholar of genetics who examines the biochemical origins of life, Szostak shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009. He will become the 24th person to hold a University Professorship, and the 11th active faculty member holding that title.

Neubauer Prof. Ben Zhao discusses online privacy and de-anonymization on MSNBC

July 26, 2021

The outing of a top Catholic official using supposedly anonymous data from his cell phone is raising questions about privacy. NBC’s Joshua Johnson asks Ben Zhao, Neubauer Professor of Computer Science, to explain the practice of de-anonymization and whether or not you need to be concerned about your data.

Blase Ur and Daniel Fabrycky recommend summer reading, alongside other teaching award winners

July 26, 2021

In an annual summer reading list, Assistant Professor Blase Ur and Associate Professor Daniel Fabrycky recommend summer reading, alongside other 2021 teaching award winners.

RNA breakthrough creates crops that can grow 50% more potatoes, rice

July 22, 2021

Manipulating RNA can allow plants to yield dramatically more crops, as well as increasing drought tolerance, announced a group of scientists from the University of Chicago, Peking University and Guizhou University. The discovery of the exciting and simple modification was co-led by John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Chuan He.

Event Horizon Telescope takes pioneering image of massive jet spewing from black hole

July 20, 2021

UChicago-led South Pole Telescope has helped pinpoint the location of a supermassive black hole in galaxy Centaurus A. Contributing to the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, the new imagery reveals how a gigantic jet is being born. Most remarkably, only the outer edges of the jet seem to emit radiation, which challenges our theoretical models of jets.

To catch deep-space neutrinos, astronomers lay traps in Greenland’s ice

July 15, 2021

High on Greenland’s ice sheet, particle astrophysicists like Cosmin Deaconu are searching for the cosmic accelerators responsible for the universe’s most energetic particles. By placing hundreds of radio antennas on the ice surface and dozens of meters below it, they hope to trap elusive particles known as neutrinos at higher energies than ever before. Deaconu, a senior researcher with Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, spoke to Science from Greenland’s Summit Station: “It’s a discovery machine, looking for the first neutrinos at these energies.”

Duality quantum accelerator accepts six startups into inaugural cohort

July 14, 2021

Duality, a first-of-its-kind accelerator for quantum companies, has accepted into its inaugural cohort six startups from across the United States and abroad. The 12-month program will provide training from the University of Chicago, as well as opportunities from Duality’s other founding partners. Read more about the six startups who join with UChicago to unlock the potential of quantum technology.

Argonne, UChicago researchers create method to dramatically reduce data processing time for LIGO detections

July 13, 2021

Scientists at Argonne and UChicago used a new artificial intelligence framework that allows for accelerated, scalable and reproducible detection of gravitational waves. Ian Foster, the UChicago Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science and director of Argonne’s Data Science and Learning division, comments on their creation of a method to dramatically reduce data processing time for LIGO detections.