News: 2021


Celebrate Earth Week at the University of Chicago

April 14, 2021

Join UChicago this Earth Week for programming around sustainability and environmental research, education and awareness initiatives. Also, learn about the new UChicago ECo.

PSD climate grants foster belonging while socially distanced

April 13, 2021

The Physical Sciences Division funded creative efforts to impact climate and foster belonging with the Inclusive Climate Grants program administered by the EDI Office. Four winning projects found innovative ways to further the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion on campus during the pandemic.

Your unique muscle response could become a new approach to digital authentication

April 13, 2021

The SAND Lab (Security, Algorithms, Networking and Data) at the University of Chicago has created a novel technique for user authentication that takes advantage of an individual’s unique response to stimuli. By providing a variety of gentle electrical stimuli to the muscles of the forearm and measuring the resulting finger movements, users can be robustly and uniquely identified.

CDAC Discovery Challenge awardees train data science on medicine, clean water, and education

April 13, 2021

The CDAC Discovery Challenge awardees will train data science experts from across the UChicago campus, its national laboratory partners, and government, non-profit, and industry collaborators, to run projects that target transformative impact in medicine, public health, molecular engineering, genomics, and education. 

UChicago, Fermilab physicists build a quantum bit that can search for dark matter

April 13, 2021

UChicago and Fermilab physicists, including Assoc. Prof. David Schuster, have built a quantum bit that can search for dark matter. In the team’s new technique, qubits are designed to detect the photons that would be produced when dark matter particles interact with an electromagnetic field.

Esya Labs provides novel research assays to accelerate drug discovery efforts

April 8, 2021

Professor Yamuna Krishnan and CEO Dhiyva Venkat's startup, Esya Labs, provides novel research assays to accelerate drug discovery efforts. Their effort, made possible in part by funding from UChicago Polsky, is profiled for

A tiny particle’s wobble could upend the known laws of physics

April 8, 2021

An international team of 200 physicists from seven countries found that muons did not behave as predicted when shot through an intense magnetic field at Fermilab. The Muon g-2 results will set the agenda for physics moving forward: to find forms of matter and energy vital to the nature and evolution of the cosmos that are not yet known to science. Cosmologist Gordan Krnjaic and Prof. Marcela Carena, of Fermi and KICP, comment on the importance of the observations.

Nation’s first quantum startup accelerator, Duality, launches at Polsky Center and CQE

April 7, 2021

UChicago and CQE announced Duality, a program to leverage the region’s quantum ecosystem, including the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Argonne National Laboratory, and P33, that will help startups bring their innovations to the marketplace.

Oceans and atmospheres: geophysical sciences professor with a passion for climate change

April 7, 2021

David Archer, professor in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago, became a passionate advocate for educating students and the public alike about the oceans, the climate, and the significance of global warming. At least five thousand students have taken his course on climate change over the years, and more than 40,000 more have taken his free online course. 

Physics & Contemporary Art public lecture series returns

April 7, 2021

A top flight of architects and structural engineers will present public lectures on some of the most innovative work being done in contemporary structural design as part of a unique physics undergraduate course offered this Spring Quarter at the University of Chicago, Physics & Contemporary Architecture (PHSC11800) taught by Professors Sid Nagel and Heinrich Jaeger. Enrolled undergraduate students, as well as the interested public, can join online for free Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. CST.

Most of Earth likely formed during the solar system’s first million years, study finds

April 7, 2021

Prof. Fred Ciesla of the Department of the Geophysical Sciences and colleagues at Caltech, the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota laid out a history of carbon in the formation of the solar system. By examining carbon, they found most of Earth likely formed during the solar system’s first million years—much earlier and more precise than the previous estimate of sometime within the first 150 million years.

With CAREER Award, Asst. Prof. Pedro Lopes explores human-computer integration

April 6, 2021

Computer Science Asst. Prof. Pedro Lopes explores what’s possible with technologies that sit on the body: wearable devices that influence a user’s motion and perception. His vision of human-computer integration creates new interactive devices that “borrow” parts of the user’s body for input and output to expand potential and accessibility. With a new NSF CAREER grant, Lopes will embark upon the next phase of that mission, inventing and testing technologies that interface with smell, touch, temperature, and other senses.

Pandemic helps stir interest in teaching financial literacy

April 5, 2021

Rebecca Maxcy, director of the UChicago Financial Education Initiative, tells the NYT courses need to go beyond writing a check or filing taxes, to discuss financial systems and how personal values and attitudes about money influence behavior.

2021 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

April 2, 2021

Four Physical Sciences Division students have been awarded 2021 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships: Jazmine Jefferson in astronomy, Antares Chen in computer science, Lauren Weiss in physics, and Melissa Adrian in statistics. Honorable mentions were awarded to Patrick Kelly in chemistry and George Iskander in physics. Each fellowship provides three years of support during a five-year fellowship period. For each of the three years of support, NSF provides a $34,000 stipend and $12,000 cost of education allowance to the University.

Astrophysicists get buzz for April 1 Python algorithm to detect emotional trends in Taylor Swift

April 2, 2021

Postdoctoral fellow Darryl Seligman and student, Megan Mansfield, of the Department of the Geophysical Sciences, published an April Fools paper on arXiv that uses a Python algoritm to detect "emotional trends in the repertoire of Taylor Swift" and are receiving national attention, including mentions in Business Insider and The New York Post.