Research Spotlight

Professor Sue Kidwell uses the fossil record from the last thousand years to understand changes in biological baselines due to human populations.

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Student / Alumni Spotlight

Megan Mansfield studies exoplanet atmospheres.

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Faculty Spotlight

Edwin Kite is a planetary scientist interested in Mars and rocky exoplanets.

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Geophysical Science News

  • T.C. Chamberlin Postdoctoral Fellowship

    September 08, 2023

    The T.C. Chamberlin Postdoctoral Fellowship allows early career scholars the opportunity to pursue their research interests within the department. We are happy to be accepting applications this autumn. Interested applicants can learn more here.

  • Open-rank cluster search for faculty to be associated with Climate Systems Engineering initiative

    July 27, 2023

    The University of Chicago invites applications from scholars who will make significant contributions to Climate Systems Engineering. The University is building a world-leading Climate Systems Engineering initiative with multiple faculty hires addressing solar geoengineering, open-system carbon removal such as enhanced weathering, and interventions to limit loss of glacial ice. We seek individuals who will lead research programs that will produce significant contributions to their field and to this research initiative.

    Applications are welcome from all relevant academic disciplines including physical and biological sciences, social sciences, engineering, and humanities at the rank of tenured Professor. Applications are welcome from scholars who have not previously worked on climate systems engineering and from scholars who focus on the physical or social risks of Climate Systems Engineering. Appointments will be made in an appropriate primary department based on field, with secondary appointment(s) in another unit possible.

    Research on Climate Systems Engineering is inherently interdisciplinary, so we seek individuals with a track record of collaboration beyond their discipline; the University’s culture is highly collaborative.


  • UChicago scientists study how bivalves evolved after the Cambrian Explosion

    May 31, 2023

    The research team, including Stewart Edie (PhD’18) with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Katie Collins with the U.K.’s Natural History Museum, and Sharon Zhou, a fourth-year undergraduate student at UChicago, went through the fossil record to get a picture of how the bivalves evolved new forms and ways of living. “For example, you can look at the shape of the shell and tell if they are likely digging into the seafloor sediment, because they become long and thin for burrowing,” explained Zhou.

    They pieced together a comprehensive picture of the bivalves’ evolution—and were surprised.

    “You might think that they would take immediate advantage of this new body design and go on to fame and biological fortune,” said David Jablonski, the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Service Professor of Geophysical Sciences at UChicago and co-corresponding author on the paper. “But they didn’t.”

    What kept them out of the evolutionary spotlight? Read here!

  • UChicago Prof. Tiffany Shaw: How piloting planes helped lead to climate science research

    May 16, 2023

    When she was just 16 years old, she got her pilot’s license. She did not realize then that having her head in the clouds was exactly where she would be in the future—predicting Earth’s future climate by studying the atmosphere and using the laws of physics. 

    As a professor at UChicago, Shaw’s research focuses on the physics of climate change. Her work involves a multi-pronged approach. She develops new theories for the response to climate change, models future climate using the laws of physics and quantifies emerging signals in observations related to climate change. 

    A major focus has been uncovering the role water plays in shaping atmospheric motions like the jet stream and storms that shape our day-to-day weather. Using this new perspective, her recent work explained for the first time why the Southern Hemisphere is stormier than the Northern Hemisphere.

    Click here for the full UChicago News report

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