News: 2021


2021 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

April 2, 2021

four portraits in two rows: Antares Chen, Jasmine Jefferson, Lauren Weiss, and Melissa Adrian, against a maroon background with a UChicago shield

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

Taylor Swift publicity photo

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.

Profs. Mark Rivers and Stephen Sutton of GeoSci awarded 2021 APSUO Arthur H. Compton Award

April 1, 2021

Mark Rivers and Stephen Sutton

Professors Mark Rivers and Stephen Sutton of the Department of the Geophysical Sciences have been awarded the 2021 APSUO Arthur H. Compton Award. The two scientists co-directed the design, construction, and operation of the GeoSoilEnviroCARS (GSECARS) Sector 13 at the Advanced Photon Source, which provides users with high-pressure diffraction and spectroscopy, x-ray microprobe, x-ray absorption spectroscopy, and microtomography research techniques.

Prof. Rebecca Willett, Departments of Computer Science and Statistics, named SIAM Fellow

April 1, 2021

Rebecca Willett

Prof. Rebecca Willett, Departments of Computer Science and Statistics, selected as a SIAM 2021 Fellow. She was recognized for her contributions to mathematical foundations of machine learning, large-scale data science, and computational imaging.


Incoming geophysical sciences postdoctoral researcher selected for the Heising-Simons Foundation 51 Pegasi b Fellowship

March 31, 2021

Ellen Price

Incoming postdoctoral researcher in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences, Ellen Price, Harvard'21, has been selected for the Heising-Simons Foundation 51 Pegasi b Fellowship. The fellowship provides $375,000 in support for her research focused on protoplanetary disks—the birthplaces of planets.

PSD in the news - March 2021

March 29, 2021

PSD against a white and turquoise background

This month, PSD community members have been featured for their work to confirm the third-nearest star with a planet, prove that bacteria know how to exploit quantum mechanics, and recreate how magnetic fields grow in clusters of galaxies. In case you missed it, review our news headlines from March 2021.

Midway3 takes off, fueling computational discovery of all stripes at UChicago

March 26, 2021

Close up of a server cluster, wires plugged into an intricate panelboard

Midway3 takes off, fueling computational discovery of all stripes at UChicago. The new campus high-performance computing cluster, optimized for deep learning, goes into production this month—providing both power and the latest approaches for enabling discovery and innovation.

Max S. Bell, prolific educator and author of definitive math curriculum, 1930–2021

March 26, 2021

Prof. Emeritus Max S. Bell, pictured in Quito, against a desert scene with a wide brim hat

Pioneering educator and longtime UChicago faculty member, Max S. Bell, AM’58, AMT’59, was the co-author of the definitive math curriculum, Everyday Mathematics. He and his wife and research partner, Jean, used the royalties to help establish what would become UChicago STEM Ed. He died Mar. 6, at age 90.

Why Oumuamua, the interstellar visitor, looks eerily familiar

March 24, 2021

illustration of Oumuamua

Why Oumuamua, the interstellar visitor, looks eerily familiar. Deptartment of Geophysical Sciences postdoctoral fellow, Darryl Seligman, comments for the New York Times.

Neil Shubin to discuss ‘Your Inner Fish’ in University of Chicago Ryerson Lecture

March 23, 2021

Neil Shubin in a paleontology collection

Prof. Neil Shubin, a pioneering University of Chicago paleontologist and evolutionary biologist and bestselling author, has been selected to give this year’s Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture.

Method for determining electron beam properties could help future ultraviolet, X-ray synchrotron light sources

March 18, 2021

The Integrable Optics Test Accelerator ring at the Fermilab used for high energy physics experiments

Fermilab user and University of Chicago physics student Ihar Lobach explains how his team used Fermilab’s IOTA electron storage ring to glean insights that can be difficult to obtain on an electron beam and how this proof of principle could benefit the Advanced Photon Source Upgrade at Argonne National Laboratory.

NASA Hubble-Sagan Fellow Jennifer Bergner awarded AAS Laboratory Astrophysics Division 2021 Dissertation Prize

March 18, 2021

Jennifer Bergner

Jennifer Bergner, the NASA Hubbell-Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences, has been awarded the LAD 2021 Dissertation Prize for the dissertation, “Tracing Organic Complexity During Star and Planet Formation,” which she wrote under Professor Karin Öberg at Harvard University. Bergner is being cited “for the discovery of new, cold pathways to complex molecule formation and for creative, interdisciplinary explorations of the origins of organic molecules during planet formation.” She will give an invited lecture at a meeting of the Laboratory Astrophysics Division.

Research plumbs the molecular building blocks for light-responsive materials

March 16, 2021

Diagram of photovoltaic measurements from a paper from LuPing Yu

New studies by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and UChicago Professor of Chemistry LuPing Yu shed light on organic frameworks for advanced solar cells and detectors.

Assistant Professor Chao Gao receives 2021 IMS Tweedie New Researcher Award

March 16, 2021

Chao Gao

Assistant Professor Chao Gao receives 2021 IMS Tweedie New Researcher Award for "groundbreaking contributions to robust statistics, including establishing connections with generative adversarial networks, network analysis, and high-dimensional statistical inference.” 

Asst. Prof. Edwin Kite finds exoplanets may have water-rich atmospheres

March 15, 2021

An artist's illustration of the exoplanet WASP-121b, which appears to have water in its atmosphere.

Assistant Professor of the Geophysical Sciences Edwin Kite has co-authored a paper finding there might be many planets with water-rich atmospheres. His study finds way that hot, rocky planets in other systems could form and keep atmospheres.