News: Research


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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.  

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.

Researchers discover that materials ‘remember’ past stresses as they age

January 2, 2020

A new study by University of Chicago and University of Pennsylvania scientists shows that as materials age, they ‘remember’ prior stresses and external forces, which researchers can then use to create new materials with unique properties.    


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.

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.