News: 2021


James Webb Space Telescope to offer humanity an unprecedented look at universe

December 21, 2021

Illustration of JWST

UChicago scientists hope launch of James Webb Space Telescope will help explore previously ‘unanswerable’ questions.

UChicago faculty receive named, distinguished service professorships

December 21, 2021

Brent Doiron

Brent Doiron has been named the first Heinrich Kluver Professor of Neurobiology, Statistics and the College. Doiron uses advanced mathematics to understand how networks of neurons process information about sensory inputs. His research focuses on a combination of nonlinear dynamics and statistical mechanics, with an emphasis on the genesis and transfer of variability in neural circuits. He has developed core theoretical insights that have contributed to both neural coding and network learning. He works closely with experimental neuroscientists who work in the electrosensory, olfactory, somatosensory, auditory and visual systems.

Suzuki Postdoctoral Fellowship Award 2021-2022

December 21, 2021

Aleksandr Lykhin and Koushambi Mitra

Two postdocs, Aleksandr Lykhin and Koushambi Mitra, have been named recipients of the 2021-2022 Suzuki Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. Yuji Suzuki, SM’70, a longtime supporter and former Council member of the Physical Sciences Division, established the Yuji and Lorraine Suzuki Postdoctoral Research Fund in 2016 to recognize outstanding postdoctoral researchers.

To find energetic particles from space, a new detector will soar over Antarctic ice

December 16, 2021

A rendering of what PUEO may look like when deployed. Each white dish is a radio antenna; the signals from each antenna are combined in order to pick up signals from high-energy neutrinos passing through Antarctic ice.

University of Chicago physicist Abby Vieregg is leading an international experiment that essentially uses the ice in Antarctica as a giant detector to find extremely energetic particles from outer space. Recently approved by NASA, the $20 million project called PUEO will build an instrument to fly above the Antarctic in a balloon, launching in December 2024.

Earthside assistance: Dave Fischer, AB’87, of Astroscale helps declutter space

December 16, 2021

An illustration demonstrating that there was no space trash surrounding planet earth in 1950 and there is 100 million pieces of it by 2019.

UChicago Magazine catches up with Dave Fischer, AB’87, who works for the Japanese company Astroscale launching solutions to help declutter the 100 million pieces of human-made debris floating in space.

In ‘Creative Machines’ class, students design and make instruments from scratch

December 16, 2021

A student holds a small hand-built machine in open palms

A new class taught by experimental physicists Professor Emeritus Stephan Meyer and Professor Scott Wakely is teaching students how to design, build and calibrate their own devices. Called “Creative Machines and Innovative Instruments,” the class has students writing code, 3D printing their designs and learning the challenges of making something entirely new from scratch.

Parker Solar Probe touches the sun for the first time, bringing new discoveries

December 15, 2021

Artist’s impression of Parker Solar Probe approaching the Alfvén critical surface, which marks the end of the solar atmosphere and the beginning of the solar wind.

For the first time in history, a spacecraft has touched the Sun. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has now flown through the Sun’s upper atmosphere—called the corona—sampling particles and characterizing magnetic fields in this dynamic environment. The new milestone marks one major step for the probe named for Professor Emeritus Eugene Parker—and one giant leap for solar science.

University of Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago partner to increase diversity in science careers

December 14, 2021

A new partnership between UChicago and the City Colleges of Chicago will help strengthen STEM education and career opportunities and create a more diverse field of professionals entering the sciences. The collaboration will include a CCC degree program in

The University of Chicago and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) are joining forces at an institutional level to strengthen STEM education and career opportunities and create a more diverse field of professionals entering the sciences. The institutional partnership will spark new collaborations and programs to advance inclusion in the growing field of data science.

Prof. Juan de Pablo appointed Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories and Global Initiatives

December 9, 2021

Prof. Juan de Pablo

Prof. Juan de Pablo has been appointed Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories and Global Initiatives at the University of Chicago, effective immediately.

Board work: A photographer captures the beauty of mathematicians’ chalk experiments

December 9, 2021

The chalkboards of UChicago mathematicians Benson Farb and Amie Wilkinson

A new book by photographer Jessica Wynne called Do Not Erase: Mathematicians and Their Chalkboards (Princeton University Press, 2021) features 110 images of chalk-based investigations by mathematicians around the world—several affiliated with UChicago—alongside their reflections on blackboards as a medium.

Peering at the universe from the bottom of the Earth

December 8, 2021

Lindsay Bleem and Clarence Change, polar scientists

Argonne scientists Lindsey Bleem, PhD’13, and Asst. Prof. Clarence Chang, Dept. of Astronomy and Astrophysics, talk about what it’s like to look for signals from the early universe onsite at Antarctica's South Pole Telescope.

MICCoM center, directed by Prof. Galli, leads to award-winning computational science

December 7, 2021

Prof. of Chemistry Giulia Galli and a student collaborate on writing equations with markers on a window.

The Midwest Center for Computational Materials (MICCoM) is one of five centers in the US where scientists focus on developing software to help predict materials for energy conversion technologies and quantum information science. The team of 34 scientists, led by Professor of Chemistry Giulia Galli, has been recognized with several prestigious awards this year.

The ambitious idea to study the evolution of a comet

December 6, 2021

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope snapped this picture of the Centaur LD2 as it orbited near Jupiter.

The Smithsonian Magazine explores T.C. Chamberlin Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences Darryl Seligman’s idea to send a spacecraft near Jupiter to join up with a chunk of rock and ice as it is flung toward the sun.

Dean Angela V. Olinto elected to Brazilian Academy of Sciences

December 6, 2021

Dean of Physical Sciences, Angela V. Olinto

Angela V. Olinto, Dean of the Physical Sciences and the Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College, was elected as Corresponding Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences by their General Assembly on December 2, 2021. She will be admitted on January 1, 2022.

UChicago workshop highlights internet frontiers and opportunities

December 3, 2021

Portrait of Vickie Robinson of Microsoft

A gathering hosted by the University of Chicago and the University of California, Santa Barbara, brought together experts from industry, government, and academia for panels and conversations around internet equity and access.