News: Research


50 years later, UChicago scientists continue to decode moon’s mysteries

July 19, 2019

astronaut on moon

50 years after the moon landing, researchers at the University of Chicago are still tackling questions about the moon's formation, age, and makeup.

New measure of Hubble constant adds to mystery about universe’s expansion rate

July 16, 2019

Illustration of Red Giant Stars in universe

Prof. Freedman and her team announced a new measurement of the Hubble constant using a kind of star known as a red giant. Their observations, made with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, indicate that the expansion rate for our corner of the universe is just under 70 kilometers per second per megaparsec—slightly smaller than their previous measurement.

Scientists use 3-D imaging and AI to examine questions around climate and biodiversity

July 16, 2019

images of shell fossils

Geophysical Sciences Prof. David Jablonski and statistician Tingran Gao lead an interdisciplinary initiative to create a 3-D image database of more than 3,000 shells of the bivalve class from around the world. Funded by a seed grant from UChicago’s Center for Data and Computing, this growing database will allow scientists to ask deeper questions about biodiversity both between and within species, and how climate change might affect the survival, distribution, and shape of organisms with ecological, economic and dietary importance.  

Chicago Quantum Exchange announces 5 new corporate partnerships

July 11, 2019

Postdoctoral Student in laboratory

David Awschalom, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering and Professor in the Department of Physics, states that the new Chicago Quantum Exchange partnerships with Boeing, Applied Materials Inc., ColdQuanta Inc., HRL Laboratories LLC, and Quantum Opus LLC "will help both academia and industry leverage each other's knowledge at the leading edge of quantum computing. " 

Scientists combine light and matter to make particles with new behaviors

July 9, 2019

Circles of circulating light rays against black background

By shaking electrons with lasers, researchers led by Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Simon were able to create electrons with 'doppelganger' features. Simon's published work could one day help create more powerful computers or virtually "unhackable" quantum communications.

UChicago research on microbes and microbiomes across the Great Lakes

July 9, 2019

Graduate student wearing red headlight examines tube containing a water sample.

The Chicago Tribune features Asst. Prof. Maureen Coleman's research, which seeks to better understand  what microbes are present in the Great Lakes and what role they play in the environment.

Postdoc discusses the search for Earth-like exoplanets with Cosmos Magazine

July 2, 2019

Image of multiple planets and galaxies with human silhouette sitting in bottom left corner.

Cosmos Magazine features postdoctoral researcher, Stephanie Olson, who elaborates on what it takes for an exoplanet to be habitable and the possibility of finding a planet more habitable than Earth itself.  

Scientists use X-rays from faraway galaxy cluster to reveal secrets of plasma

June 25, 2019

Intergalactic plasma shown in pink and purple, while an optical image of individual galaxies is in white.

University of Chicago astrophysicist, Irina Zhuravleva, led a study that provides a brand-new glimpse of the small-scale physics of intergalactic plasma. Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, scientists took a detailed look at the plasma in a distant galaxy cluster and discovered the flow of plasma is much less viscous than expected and, therefore, turbulence occurs on relatively small scales—an important finding for our numerical models of the largest objects in the universe. 


Using human genome, scientists build CRISPR for RNA to open pathways for medicine

June 24, 2019

Cartoon image of gloved hands removing strands of RNA with tweezers

A group of scientists from the University of Chicago has announced a breakthrough method to alter RNA—and instead of using a protein from bacteria, like CRISPR, the new system is built out of parts from the human genome. Announced June 20 in Cell, the discovery could open new pathways for treating diseases or injuries by temporarily altering how the genetic template is carried out in the cell. 

Scientists use atoms to simulate quantum physics in curved spacetimes

June 24, 2019

starburst in center with squiggly lines and thermometers

A team of physicists at the University of Chicago has built a quantum system to simulate the physics of Unruh radiation. The breakthrough advances our understanding of these complex physics—and could ultimately help us explain how the largest and smallest phenomena in the universe fit together. 

Scientists utilize Paleoproteomics to rewrite sloth classification

June 6, 2019

Picture of sloth in tree, eating a leaf

 In a recent study, Prof. Slater from Geophysical Sciences, along with Samantha Presslee (University of York) and Ross MacPhee (American Museum of Natural History), utilized Paleoproteomics to point out differences between two and three-toed sloths—effectively rewriting sloth classification. 

Scientist’s work on knotted vortices featured by PBS host of Physics Girl, Dianna Corwen

May 31, 2019

Picture of Knotted Vortex taken in Irvine Lab

William Irvine, professor of physics, appears on Physics Girl to explain the process of creating knotted vortices, a phenomenon that occurs with airplanes during takeoff, by accelerating 3D-printed models in water. 

Scientists recreate a cell division outside a cell for first time

May 31, 2019

Picture of heart muscle cell with bundles of actin filaments and bands of myosin

Margaret Gardel, professor of physics at the University of Chicago, led an innovative new study, which for the first time recreates the mechanism of cell division—outside a cell. The experiment published May 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, helps scientists understand the physics by which cells carry out their everyday activities, and could one day lead to medical breakthroughs, ideas for new kinds of materials or even artificial cells. 

UChicago physicists to study macroscopic quantum phenomena as part of the Simons Collaboration

May 28, 2019

Physical Sciences data map logo

Dam T. Son, University Professor in the Department of Physics, and Michael Levin, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics, have been awarded a Simons Foundation grant as part of the newly established Simons Collaboration on Ultra-Quantum Matter.

Scientists discover ancient seawater preserved from the last Ice Age

May 24, 2019

Clara Blättler with ancient seawater

Assistant professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences, Clara Blättler, led a study that recently announced the discovery of the first-ever pockets of seawater dating to the last Ice Age, about 20,000 years ago, tucked inside rock formations in the middle of the Indian Ocean.