News: Research


Massive, colliding black holes may expand along with the universe

November 17, 2021

An illustration showing a merger between two black holes.

A team of scientists that includes Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics Hubble Fellow Michael Zevin may have solved the mystery of how most massive black holes are formed. The team proposes that black holes with masses that were previously unexplainable could be growing hand-in-hand with the accelerating expansion of the Universe. The phenomenon could be an example of what the team calls "cosmological coupling."

Future VR haptics may use chemicals on the skin to make you feel

November 12, 2021

A woman is shown using a robotic haptic feedback device on her arm and a virtual reality headset

Researchers from the Human Computer Integration Lab have developed an entirely new approach called chemical haptics, which directly triggers receptors in human skin in different ways.

A new theory for systems that defy Newton’s third law

November 12, 2021

A lego vehicle with a motor

Quanta Magazine coverage of UChicago condensed matter physicists Prof. Vincenzo Vitelli, postdoc Ryo Hanai, and Prof. Peter Littlewood, who study the mathematical objects called exceptional points that have been found to control phase transitions in nonreciprocal systems.

Data scientists aim to detect internet censorship in real time

November 10, 2021

An illustration of a person in front of a computer with traffic signs floating above the desk, to demonstrate Internet censorship

A new multi-institutional study led by University of Chicago Prof. Nick Feamster will build new AI and data science tools to monitor and detect internet censorship, develop new statistical techniques to identify censorship with greater levels of confidence, and ultimately create a “weather map” for certain types of nation-state interference and control of online information.

Astrophysicists unveil glut of gravitational-wave detections

November 9, 2021

black holes merge

Professor Daniel Holz, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, comments on the latest bounty of 35 events reported via gravitational wave detections, including patterns in black hole mergers.

Priorities for next 10 years of astronomy include exoplanets, early days of universe

November 5, 2021

On Nov. 4, the National Academy of Sciences released its Astro2020 decadal survey, "Pathways to Discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 2020s," which outlines a strategy and vision for a decade of transformative science at the frontiers of astronomy and astrophysics. Several University of Chicago projects were endorsed by the report and will lead the field for the next decade and beyond.

US Extremely Large Telescope Program ranked as top Astro2020 initiative

November 5, 2021

Giant Magellan Telescope illustration

Astro2020 ranked the US Extremely Large Telescope Program (US-ELTP) as the top frontier project for ground-based observatories, recommending federal support for the final construction stages of the Giant Magellan Telescope. The recommendation detailed that building an extremely large telescope “is absolutely essential if the United States is to maintain a position as a leader in ground-based astronomy.”

Prof. David Awschalom discusses the quantum revolution on NPR

November 5, 2021

David Awschalom

Prof. David Awschalom discusses the quantum revolution on WBEZ 91.5 FM Chicago prior to the opening of the fourth annual Chicago Quantum Summit.

Using chemistry to extract water from the air, even in the desert

November 3, 2021

Desert scene

Laura Gagliardi, the Richard and Kathy Leventhal Professor in chemistry, and a team of scientists developed a device to extract water out of air. The breakthrough can work even in dry climates like deserts, and could have implications for water shortages associated with climate change.

Technique opens ‘new window’ to understanding planets in other solar systems

October 29, 2021

An artist’s concept of a planet in another solar system that is as large as Jupiter, but close enough to its sun to be very hot.

An international team of scientists using the Gemini Observatory telescope in Chile has found a way to measure the amount of both water and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of a planet in another solar system, roughly 340 light years away.

PSD in the News - October 2021

October 28, 2021

PSD against a white and turquoise background

This month PSD researchers have been featured for their efforts to create materials that can move and block heat, use a massive accelerator to analyze dust from an asteroid, and build wearable devices for signing ASL and playing piano.

Chicago Quantum Summit will gather leaders Nov. 4 to help build quantum ecosystems

October 28, 2021

Illustration of high energy physics at the quantum scale

On Nov. 4, the fourth annual Chicago Quantum Summit will bring together academic, government, and industry leaders to discuss how the field can strengthen and expand the quantum ecosystem, on local and global scales.

MicroBooNE’s new findings provide clues on longtime mystery in neutrino physics

October 27, 2021

A scientist stands inside the tunnel chamber of MicroBooNE neutrino detector at Fermi National Lab

Four complementary analyses released by the international MicroBooNE collaboration at Fermi National Laboratory show the same thing: no sign of the theoretical particle known as the sterile neutrino. Instead, the results align with the Standard Model of Particle Physics prediction: there are only three kinds of neutrinos.

Scientists find strange black ‘superionic ice’ that could exist inside other planets

October 25, 2021

Scientists using diamonds and an X-Ray beam to recreate the conditions deep inside planets

Vitali Prakapenka, Research Professor with Center for Advanced Radiation Sources (CARS), GSECARS, is among a group of beamline scientists who have seen a new state of matter at high temperature and pressure called superionic ice. With the help of several powerful tools, they have found a way to reliably create, sustain, and examine the ice, which will inform new understandings of planetary formation.

Quantum biosensing: medicine at the smallest scales

October 22, 2021

illustration of photons entering a molecule to demonstrate a system for biosensing

Chemistry professor and director of the new QuBBE initiative, Greg Engel, explains the convergence between the sensitivity that is possible with quantum measurement and the absolute need in biology to understand things on exactly these scales, a combination that makes quantum biosensing the frontier of biological measurements.