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Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth’s mantle

Deep inside the Earth exist pockets of water, but the liquid there isn’t like the water on the surface. When exposed to unimaginably high temperatures and pressures, water exhibits all sorts of weird phases and properties, from remaining a liquid at temperatures 10 times higher than the boiling point to existing as a liquid and a solid at the same time. This strange world is still not fully understood, but a team of University of Chicago scientists ran quantum simulations to develop a new model...

UChicago scientists build trap to make tiny packages of light ‘collide’

The universe is illuminated via photons, the tiny individual particles that make up light, but they don’t interact with each other. To make them see the light, a team of University of Chicago physicists built a trap to help photons bounce off each other. Their photon collider, described in the March 19 edition of Nature Physics, is the latest effort to make photons behave like other particles such as electrons—a step toward greater understanding and control of quantum systems, which may one day...

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

The human brain largely remains a black box: How the network of fast-moving electrical signals turns into thought, movement and disease remains poorly understood. But it is electrical, so it can be hacked—the question is finding a precise, easy way to manipulate electrical signaling between neurons. A new University of Chicago study shows how tiny, light-powered wires could be fashioned out of silicon to provide these electrical signals. Published Feb. 19 in Nature Nanotechnology, the study...

UChicago scientists use gyroscopes to find unusual state of matter

You don’t have to be perfectly organized to pull off a wave, according to University of Chicago scientists. Using a set of gyroscopes linked together, physicists explored the behavior of a material whose structure is arranged randomly, instead of an orderly lattice. They found they could set off one-way ripples around the edges, much like spectators in a sports arena—a “topological wave,” characteristic of a particularly unusual state of matter. Published Jan. 15 in Nature Physics , the...

Q&A: Council co-chairs discuss goals and challenges of graduate students

For more than a year, the Graduate Council has increased its programming, advocacy and awareness as the representative body for graduate students. Comprised of an executive team and 17 representatives chosen by the various professional and graduate divisions, the council has been heavily involved in planning and executing programming aimed at the graduate community while also serving as an intermediary between graduate students and the administration. UChicago News recently spoke with the new...

Fieldwork takes UChicago researchers across the globe

When classes let out for the summer, it’s time for many UChicago faculty to head into the field to conduct research. Their destinations ranged from the mountains of Nepa l to street markets in Afghanistan to inside Brazilian prisons. As Autumn Quarter approaches, five UChicago scholars share how they spent their summer “vacations” this year. Understanding sharing in Cambodia Humans share a unique capacity for pro-social behavior, like sharing and a sense of fairness. But Jean Decety, the Irving...

Graduate students in biological sciences attend computation bootcamp

As biology increasingly transforms into a discipline driven by ever-expanding datasets and computational analysis, students need new forms of training to follow best practices and build a successful research career. With a new award from the National Science Foundation , the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division will test an innovative curriculum, which it piloted at the Marine Biological Laboratory , that focuses on hands-on learning in computational methods and how to use these...
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