Mathematics Explains How Giant Whirlpools Form in Developing Egg Cells

Simons Foundation, January 2021

Egg cells are among the largest cells in the animal kingdom. If moved only by the random jostlings of water molecules, a protein could take hours or even days to drift from one side of a forming egg cell to the other. Luckily, nature has developed a faster way: cell-spanning whirlpools in the immature egg cells of animals such as mice, zebrafish and fruit flies. These vortices enable cross-cell commutes that take just a fraction of the time. But until now, scientists didn’t know how these crucial flows formed.

Simons Foundation Selects Astrophysicist David Spergel as Next President

Simons Foundation, December 2020

The Simons Foundation today announces that David Spergel, an accomplished astrophysicist and winner of the prestigious Breakthrough Prize, will be the foundation’s next president, effective July 1, 2021. Spergel currently serves as director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Simons Foundation’s Flatiron Institute in New York City.

Molecular Processes in Kidney Cells May ‘Prime’ Diabetics for COVID-19 Infection

Simons Foundation, October 2020

People with diabetes — especially the 20 to 40 percent with diabetic kidney disease — are among the most at risk for serious complications and death from COVID-19. A new study of gene expression utilizing machine learning peered inside the kidney cells of COVID-19 patients and diabetic kidney disease patients and made a surprising discovery: Similar molecular processes were activated in both sets of patients, revealing potential avenues of viral vulnerability. The researchers report their findings in Kidney International.

Recent Research Lays Groundwork for New Generation of Galaxy Simulations

Simons Foundation, October 2020

You can’t understand the universe unless you understand the galaxies that comprise it. Galaxies are home to stars, black holes, dark matter halos and clouds of gas and dust. But insights into these galactic phenomena aren’t easily obtained. Astrophysicists have long struggled to develop a complete view of galaxies that spans the entire cosmic scale, from single stars to superclusters of thousands of galaxies.

Astrophysicist Blakesley Burkhart Named a 2020 Packard Fellow

Simons Foundation, October 2020

Blakesley Burkhart, whose research investigates the role of turbulence in astrophysical environments, has been awarded a 2020 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Burkhart is an associate research scientist at the Flatiron Institute‘s Center for Computational Astrophysics and an assistant professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

New Material Pushes Limits of Superconductivity’s ‘Cousin’

Simons Foundation, October 2020

For decades, scientists have hunted for materials in which electrons flow without resistance. Until recently, this hunt focused squarely on superconductors, in which electrons pair off and flow freely. But superconductors aren’t the only game in town. In 2013, for the first time scientists observed a phenomenon known as the quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) effect. Just like in a superconductor, electrons under the QAH effect flow without dissipating energy, albeit via a different mechanism. Now a new material is pushing the QAH effect to new limits, dramatically increasing the temperature and conditions in which the effect occurs.

Astrophysicist Adrian Price-Whelan Receives Blavatnik Regional Award for Young Scientists

Simons Foundation, September 2020

The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences have named computational astrophysicist Adrian Price-Whelan as the winner of the 2020 Blavatnik Regional Award for Young Scientists in the physical sciences and engineering category. The award recognizes outstanding postdoctoral scientists from academic research institutions in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and comes with a $30,000 prize.

Simons Foundation Launches the Flatiron Institute Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Advocacy (IDEA) Scholar Program

Simons Foundation, August 2020

The Simons Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the Flatiron Institute Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Advocacy (IDEA) Scholar program. The program invites distinguished scientists with a particular interest in increasing diversity and improving equity and inclusion in the sciences for extended visits at the foundation’s intramural computational research division, the Flatiron Institute. The foundation regards diversity as having many dimensions, including but not limited to gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, race, faith, ethnicity, cultural heritage, disability and socioeconomic background. Visiting scholars can engage with any of these dimensions or suggest others.