Assistant Professor Clara Blättler holding a vial of seawater dating from the last ice age.Learn More Spotlight Archive
Nigel Brauser is a graduate student who studies the materials of the Earth’s core using diamond anvil cell experiments coupled with computer models.Learn More Spotlight Archive
May 27, 2022
Scientists at the University of Chicago and the University of Leeds have assembled the largest and most comprehensive family tree of the order primates, including both living and extinct species.
Covering more than 900 species—about half living and half extinct—the new tree can help scientists understand the history of monkeys, apes, gorillas and humans, and how species originated and spread around the globe.
May 26, 2022
Undergrads need a day in the spotlight. Late in each spring quarter, students present their work to the department in 15 minute talks. It was an all around success thanks to Lilja Carden, Shannon Davis, Kate Ferrera, James Hu, Emily Neal, Jessica Rodriguez, Ashley Simonoff, and Alex Vinarov. We laughed, we cried, we learned.
May 19, 2022
Beneath our feet, the ground is made up of different layers laid down over eons. These might range from soft clay to brittle shale. Each react differently during an earthquake—for example, more flexible layers can absorb some movement, while others amplify it. The depth and intensity of a quake as well as the surrounding geography can play a role, too, causing waves to ricochet. All of these factors combine to make predicting earthquake damage extremely difficult.
Scientists can use computers to try to model what happens, but it’s imperfect. “Simulating all of this is really hard to do, not only because it’s computationally intensive, but we don’t know enough about the physics at small scales—that is, down to the level of a mile across or less,” Park explained. “For example, if there are aquifers filled with water or magma chambers, how do those affect waves? We don’t know very well.”
Here's a chance to learn more about it from Sunyoung 'Sunny' Park
May 18, 2022
Last summer, a deadly wave of heat struck the Pacific Northwest, causing temperatures to soar more than 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal and killing more than a thousand people.
A new study has uncovered the sequence of events that precipitated the disaster, providing information that could further our understanding of heat formation on the North American continent. A cyclon spawned an “anticyclone,” which combined to produce and then trap heat near the surface of the region.