News: 2019


Chemistry students win American Vacuum Society national doctoral research awards

November 25, 2019

Becca Thompson and Ross Edel hold AVS awards

Graduate students Becca Thompson and Ross Edel won two of the five named national awards at the 66th Annual American Vacuum Society (AVS) Meeting for their doctoral research. Becca won the Nellie Yeoh Whetten Award, while Ross won the Dorothy M. and Earl S. Hoffman Scholarship, both for their “outstanding achievement in vacuum science and technology.”

Meet Adam Antoszewski, chemistry student

November 22, 2019

Headshot of Adam Antoszewski in front of colorful mural

Adam Antoszewski was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He holds a BS in both physics and chemistry from the University of Virginia. He’s now in his third year of pursuing a PhD in chemistry at the University of Chicago. 

PSD Spotlight: Mitzi Nakatsuka

November 19, 2019

headshot of Mitzi Nakatsuka

PSD’s December spotlight is Mitzi Nakatsuka, who works as a web developer in the Department of Statistics. She has been at the University for 42 years and hails from the south side of Chicago.

Renovations completed on graduate student space in Ryerson

November 19, 2019

Image shows rows of two rows of orange desks and historic beams

Renovations on the new student space on the fourth floor of Ryerson Laboratory are now complete. The space has been remodeled to accommodate first and second year graduate students in the Department of Mathematics. The renovated space includes breakout rooms, a kitchenette, individual workstations for 35 students, and more.

Big Brains Podcast: The hunt for alien life and exoplanets

November 18, 2019

headshot of David Charbonneau wearing black t-shirt and smiling.

David Charbonneau, astronomer at Harvard University and recipient of an honorary degree from UChicago, has made it his life’s goal to search the stars for habitable planets and alien life. On this episode of Big Brains, he tells his fascinating story about the history of exoplanetary research, his journey as a planet hunter and the stunning discoveries he’s made along the way. 

Scientists at Fermilab break ground on beamline for pioneering DUNE experiment

November 15, 2019

An ambitious experiment at UChicago-affiliated Fermilab called DUNE will investigate the nature of ghostly particles called neutrinos.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and its international partners on Nov. 14 broke ground on an innovative experiment that aims to answer some of the biggest questions about the universe.

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility will one day produce the world’s most intense, high-energy neutrino beam, sending trillions of particles 1,300 kilometers underground to South Dakota as part of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. Hosted by Fermilab, a U.S. Department of Energy lab affiliated with the University of Chicago, DUNE brings together more than 1,000 people from 30-plus countries to tackle questions that keep physicists awake at night: Why is the universe full of matter and not antimatter, or no matter at all? Do protons, one of the building blocks of atoms (and of us), ever decay? How do black holes form? 

​Neutrinos lead to unexpected discovery in basic math

November 15, 2019

From left: Xining Zhang, Peter Denton and Stephen Parke in front of the formula they discovered.

Quanta Magazine highlights three physicists--Stephen Parke of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Xining Zhang of the University of Chicago and Peter Denton of Brookhaven National Laboratory—who discovered a new mathematical formula while studying neutrinos. 

How hackers could use Wi-Fi to track you inside your home

November 15, 2019

Illustration that shows how inexpensive devices can turn Wi-Fi signals into motion detectors.Illustration contains two sections, Near and Far. Both sections contain an anchor (WiFi Anchor), an individual, a couch, and a sniffer.

A new study from University of Chicago and University of California, Santa Barbara researchers finds that external attackers can use inexpensive technology to turn Wi-Fi signals into motion detectors, monitoring activity inside a building without being detected themselves. 

 With only a small, commercially available Wi-Fi receiver, an attacker from outside the target site can measure the strength of signals emitted from connected devices and monitor a site remotely for motion, sensing whether a room is occupied. The research, led by leading UChicago computer scientists Heather Zheng and Ben Zhao, reveals the technique of these attacks as well as potential defenses. 

Celebrating a half-century of revolutionary scientific research

November 12, 2019

Prof. Michael Coates, chair of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology, pictured with multiple samples of vertebrates

The Committee on Evolutionary Biology—an interdivisional and interinstitutional graduate training program—will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a two-day event Nov. 21-22, featuring scholars, students and alumni of the program discussing their groundbreaking research and scientific achievements. 

​Invention of teeny-tiny organic films could enable new electronics

November 8, 2019

Illustration of joined organic molecules into a smooth flat film

Scientists at the University of Chicago, in collaboration with researchers at Cornell University and Argonne National Laboratory, have discovered an easy, efficient way to grow extremely thin films of organic materials. The findings, published Nov. 7 in Science, could be a stepping-stone to future electronics or technologies with new abilities. 

​Mathematician named Fellow of the AMS

November 5, 2019

Lek-Heng Lim, Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics, has been named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) for "contributions to applied mathematics, particularly numerical linear algebra." The Fellows of the AMS designation recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics. 

UChicago chemistry student runner-up in Nature essay contest

November 5, 2019

Headshot of Zajac wearing blazer and glasses in front of laboratory.

Matthew Zajac, graduate student in the Department of Chemistry at UChicago, was runner-up in Nature's Young Scientist Essay Competition. Reproduction, rethought, his essay about the desire for science to develop same-sex reproduction technology, has been published online. 


Mathematician wins 2020 Levi L. Conant Prize

October 31, 2019

Headshot of Amie Wilkinson

Prof. Amie Wilkinson has won the 2020 Levi L. Conant Prize for the "best expository paper published in either the Notices of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) or the Bulletin of the AMS in the preceding five years."

UChicago CS professors named ACM Distinguished Members

October 31, 2019

Physical Sciences data map logo

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has named Profs. Shan Lu and Heather Zheng as Distinguished Members. This designation recognizes members for educational, engineering, and scientific contributions to computing.

UChicago researcher part of $4 million collaboration to combine English, computational literacy

October 31, 2019

Headshot Diana Franklin

With a $4 million grant over five years, a team of researchers including Prof. Diana Franklin, research associate professor at UChicago CS and director of computer science education at UChicago STEM Education, will develop, pilot, and implement a new curriculum designed to promote both computational thinking and language arts in young students.