Pair of Supermassive Black Holes Discovered on a Collision Course

Simons Foundation, July 2019

Astronomers have spotted a distant pair of titanic black holes headed for a collision. Each black hole’s mass is more than 800 million times that of our sun. As the two gradually draw closer together in a death spiral, they will begin sending gravitational waves rippling through space-time. Those cosmic ripples will join the as-yet-undetected background noise of gravitational waves from other supermassive black holes.

Top of Reddit's /r/science for July 10, 2019.

A Many-Method Attack on the Many Electron Problem

Simons Foundation, June 2019

Uniting our everyday world with the quantum realm requires tackling titanic numbers. A single penny contains 2 billion trillion atoms with a total of 70 billion trillion electrons whizzing around them. The behavior of those electrons produces many of the penny’s properties, such as its conductivity and even its shininess.

New Causes of Autism Found in ‘Junk’ DNA

Simons Foundation, May 2019

Leveraging artificial intelligence techniques, researchers have demonstrated that mutations in so-called ‘junk’ DNA can cause autism. The study, published May 27 in Nature Genetics, is the first to functionally link such mutations to the neurodevelopmental condition.

Michael Shelley Named Director of Center for Computational Biology

Simons Foundation, April 2019

The Simons Foundation is delighted to announce Michael Shelley as the new director of the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Biology (CCB). Shelley, a distinguished applied mathematician, will lead the center in its mission of better understanding complex biological processes through the development and application of computational tools and theory.

How Black Holes Power Plasma Jets

Simons Foundation, January 2019

Black holes consume everything that falls within their reach, yet astronomers have spotted jets of particles fleeing from black holes at nearly the speed of light. New computer simulations have revealed what gives these particles such speed: cosmic robbery.