News: Research


The first nuclear reactor, explained

June 7, 2021

In 1942, the Manhattan Project needed to create a chain reaction—a crucial step toward proving that it would be possible to make an atomic bomb. The scientists achieved this sustained nuclear reaction, the first created by humans, on Dec. 2, 1942, in a squash court under the stands of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago.

Nicknamed “Chicago Pile-1,” the world’s first nuclear reactor kicked off the Atomic Age and has a complicated legacy, including the rise of both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

Big Brains Podcast: Solving the biggest mysteries of our universe, with Dan Hooper

June 3, 2021

Prof. Dan Hooper discusses what happened after the Big Bang, ‘breaking’ the Standard Model of Physics

Dark Energy Survey releases most precise look yet at the universe’s evolution

June 1, 2021

The Dark Energy Survey, an international collaboration coordinated through the University of Chicago-affiliated Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, surveyed almost one-eighth of the entire sky over six years, cataloguing hundreds of millions of objects. The new results announced May 27 draw on data from the first three years to create the most precise maps yet of the distribution of galaxies in the universe at relatively recent epochs.

UChicago STEMEd offers high schools free finEDge Financial Education Curriculum

May 28, 2021

Do you know a high school teacher who wants to bring financial literacy into the classroom? Applications are open to high school educators nationwide for complimentary access to finEDge Financial Education Curriculum from UChicago STEMEd.

Profs. Rich Kron and Chihway Chang comment on new DES analysis of largest ever map of dark matter

May 28, 2021

Profs. Rich Kron and Chihway Chang of DES comment on “a smoother Universe” that is less dense than previously thought, based on an analysis of the largest ever map of dark matter created using light from 100 million galaxies.

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.

Two computer science alumni named to 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list

May 24, 2021

Forbes 30 Under 30 recognized Leslie Jones-Dove, AB’19, and Devshi Mehrotra, AB’19, who met as computer science majors, for their contributions to social impact. The pair took their capstone project for an “Entrepreneurship in Technology" class and built it out into a public defense software called JusticeText.

A material with memory

May 21, 2021

A research team at the University of Chicago is now exploring the properties of a material found in cells which allows cells to remember and respond to environmental pressure. In a paper published on May 14, 2021 in Soft Matter, they teased out secrets for how it works—and how it could someday form the basis for making useful materials.

Ten papers at CHI 2021 flourish frontiers of HCI research at UChicago CS

May 18, 2021

Computer Science participated in CHI 2021, a Human Computer Interaction conference, with an emerging group of UChicago faculty and student researchers representing the many different corners of HCI. This year, ten UChicago papers were accepted to the prestigious conference, with one receiving a Best Paper Award (given to the top 1 percent of submissions) and three others receiving Honorable Mentions (top 5 percent).

Symposium highlights UChicago collaborations with leading French research center

May 18, 2021

An online symposium featured 11 presentations by student teams from UChicago and French universities affiliated with the French National Centre for Scientific Research, with questions and discussion from faculty supervisors. Attendees voted to choose the best presentations and awarded two prizes. PSD’s Yi Liu in the Department of Statistics (pictured) and Maria Douaihy of CNRS – U. Montpellier won second place for “Modeling Transcriptional Bursting in Space and Time.” First place was awarded to Marie Greaney of BSD and Maxime Lehman of CNRS – U. Paris-Saclay for “How is Sensory Information Transformed into Appropriate Motor Control?”

How a UChicago initiative fostered ‘synergy’ between art and science

May 18, 2021

The Arts, Science + Culture initiative seeks to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations between the arts and sciences, and is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. The many projects it has supported have encouraged PSD students to approach a research question interdisciplinarily. (Pictured) "Biophilia," co-led by Rossy Natale, a PhD student in integrative biology at UChicago.

Building molecules like Tinkertoys? A breakthrough study may pave the way

May 12, 2021

A new discovery from the group led by Asst. Prof. Mark Levin, Department of Chemistry, can easily cut nitrogen atoms from molecules. Similar processes currently in use generate a very toxic molecule—but Levin’s group instead adds a key reagent so nitrogen is released as two bonded nitrogens. As a new foundational method, the discovery opens up avenues for constructing molecules.

Physicists reveal how motion can be generated by frustration

May 3, 2021

An interdisciplinary team of UChicago physicists, including Michael Fruchart, Ryo Hanai, Peter Littlewood, and Vincenzo Vitelli, published a new theory for non-reciprocal matter in Nature. They describe how systems composed of many objects that have non-reciprocal interactions can evolve in surprising ways. This may underlie many phenomena we see around us, from neurons to bird flocks and quantum systems.

PSD in the News - April 2021

April 29, 2021

This month PSD researchers have been featured for their efforts to build a quantum bit that can search for dark matter, use muscle response for digital authentication, design 'nanotraps' to catch and clear coronavirus from tissue, and harness molecules into a single quantum state. 

In long-awaited breakthrough, physicists harness molecules into single quantum state

April 28, 2021

In a long-awaited breakthrough, Prof. Cheng Chin and graduate students in the Department of Physics have harnessed molecules into a single quantum state —one of the most important goals in quantum physics.