News: 2021


Prof. Laura Gagliardi awarded Royal Society of Chemistry Prize

June 10, 2021

Professor Laura Gagliardi has been named the winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Faraday Lectureship Prize, celebrating the most exciting chemical science taking place today. She was cited for contributions to the development of multireference quantum chemical approaches to describe catalysis and excited state phenomena. The prize awards £3000 and a medal.

In special send-off to graduates, PSD students perform “Novi Scientiam”

June 9, 2021

As a special send-off to the 2021 graduates, students of the PSD came together to perform “Novi Scientiam,” a 21-part song composed by Dean Olinto’s husband, Sérgio Assad, and inspired by the “Alma Mater” Convocation theme of University of Chicago. The student musicians featured practiced during remote learning and submitted their recorded parts to be woven together into a film, debuting at the ceremony June 9.

Meet physics student, Kyle Kawagoe

June 9, 2021

Kyle Kawagoe was born and raised in Reedley, California. Before coming to University of Chicago, he was an undergraduate in The College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara. He has been a graduate student at UChicago for five years in the Department of Physics. His field of study is theoretical hard condensed matter physics and the physics of topological phases of matter. When the COVID-19 lockdowns started in the United States, he pivoted to theoretical biophysics, doing research on epidemiological modeling.

CCAM student awarded Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

June 8, 2021

Abigail Poteshman, a graduate student in the Committee on Computational and Applied Mathematics, has been awarded a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. “I plan to develop mathematical and computational techniques to improve the accuracy and efficiency of computational simulations of materials from first principles. In particular, I plan to focus on the thermal properties of materials for applications in sustainable energy technologies,” she said.

The first nuclear reactor, explained

June 7, 2021

In 1942, the Manhattan Project needed to create a chain reaction—a crucial step toward proving that it would be possible to make an atomic bomb. The scientists achieved this sustained nuclear reaction, the first created by humans, on Dec. 2, 1942, in a squash court under the stands of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago.

Nicknamed “Chicago Pile-1,” the world’s first nuclear reactor kicked off the Atomic Age and has a complicated legacy, including the rise of both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

Big Brains Podcast: Solving the biggest mysteries of our universe, with Dan Hooper

June 3, 2021

Prof. Dan Hooper discusses what happened after the Big Bang, ‘breaking’ the Standard Model of Physics

Dark Energy Survey releases most precise look yet at the universe’s evolution

June 1, 2021

The Dark Energy Survey, an international collaboration coordinated through the University of Chicago-affiliated Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, surveyed almost one-eighth of the entire sky over six years, cataloguing hundreds of millions of objects. The new results announced May 27 draw on data from the first three years to create the most precise maps yet of the distribution of galaxies in the universe at relatively recent epochs.


UChicago STEMEd offers high schools free finEDge Financial Education Curriculum

May 28, 2021

Do you know a high school teacher who wants to bring financial literacy into the classroom? Applications are open to high school educators nationwide for complimentary access to finEDge Financial Education Curriculum from UChicago STEMEd.

Profs. Rich Kron and Chihway Chang comment on new DES analysis of largest ever map of dark matter

May 28, 2021

Profs. Rich Kron and Chihway Chang of DES comment on “a smoother Universe” that is less dense than previously thought, based on an analysis of the largest ever map of dark matter created using light from 100 million galaxies.

Four named to DOE Early Career Research Program

May 27, 2021

Four PSD members are among 83 scientists selected for the DOE Early Career Research Program, awarding $150,000 annually for five years. Sarah King of Chemistry, Chihway Chang and Brian Nord of Astronomy & Astrophysics, and Lindsey Bleem, PhD'13, of KICP.

Graduate students recognized for exceptional teaching of undergraduates

May 27, 2021

A graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, Frank Gao, has been named among the 2020 winners of the Wayne C. Booth Prize for Excellence in Teaching, awarded annually to graduate students for outstanding instruction of undergraduates. Additionally, three graduate students have been awarded the Physical Sciences Teaching Prizes for 2020-21: Gourav Khullar of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Sean Lee of the Department of Chemistry, and Victor Zhang of the Department of Physics. Read more about what inspires their teaching.

PSD in the News - May 2021

May 26, 2021

This month PSD researchers have been featured for their efforts to theorize non-reciprocal interactions, push the frontiers of human computer interaction, and cut nitrogen atoms from molecules, opening up avenues for constructing molecules.

Sheila Hohmann, scientific business administrator, 1946-2021

May 25, 2021

Sheila Hohmann, a revered scientific business administrator who completed 42 years of service at the University of Chicago, died at 74. She rose to become the financial expert for the Division and the first woman Associate Dean of the Physical Sciences. Honing a sharp business acumen and a talent for managing complex research and planning efforts, she devoted herself to promoting the University to a world-class destination for scientific research. 

Chemistry professor Weixin Tang named 2021 Searle Scholar

May 25, 2021

Neubauer Family Assistant Professor Weixin Tang of the Department of Chemistry has been named a 2021 Searle Scholar, which supports the independent research of exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry. She will be awarded $300,000 to pursue research on sequencing and epigenetics to understand biological processes critical to cellular functions.

Two computer science alumni named to 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list

May 24, 2021

Forbes 30 Under 30 recognized Leslie Jones-Dove, AB’19, and Devshi Mehrotra, AB’19, who met as computer science majors, for their contributions to social impact. The pair took their capstone project for an “Entrepreneurship in Technology" class and built it out into a public defense software called JusticeText.