Enormous ‘Ghost’ Galaxy Spotted on Outskirts of Milky Way

Simons Foundation, November 2018

Astronomers have discovered a ghostlike galaxy that looms large on the fringes of the Milky Way. The newly discovered dwarf galaxy, dubbed Antlia 2, stretches roughly 19,000 light-years across. That makes it the vastest satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. Despite its enormous extent, though, Antlia 2 is incredibly faint and barren: It is by far the sparsest galaxy ever seen in the universe, its discoverers report in a paper posted November 13 at arXiv.org.

Flatiron Institute Hosts National Science Foundation Workshop on the Plasma Physics of Neutron Star Mergers

Simons Foundation, October 2018

On August 17, 2017, scientists witnessed one of the most dramatic collisions in the universe. Two dense neutron stars had combined in a galaxy 130 million light-years away, generating ripples through space-time and emitting bursts of light. The observations of the event sparked scientific breakthroughs across many areas of cosmology, but many questions linger.

Gaia Data Releases Spark Open-Access Success

Simons Foundation, September 2018

The dome of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City burst into a confetti-like field of colorful puffs of light. Below, an audience of scientists and non-scientists alike oohed and aahed at the multicolored light show. “It looks like cotton candy falling down,” observed astrophysicist Jackie Faherty, a senior scientist and education manager at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. “It’s pretty, right? But it’s also science.”

Particles Surf Their Own Waves, Reveal How Microbes and Cells Move Through Human Body

Simons Foundation, September 2018

Surf’s up for microbes swimming beside red blood cells. New calculations and experiments model for the first time how spherical particles submerged in gooey liquid travel along a flexible rubber sheet; comparable conditions are common in the human body, such as blood cells flowing through a capillary or the journeys of self-propelled microbes. (Although blood isn’t particularly viscous, at microscopic scales its effective viscosity is high.) All these particles, it turns out, catch a wave.

AI Accurately Predicts Effects of Genetic Mutations in Biological Dark Matter

Simons Foundation, July 2018

A new machine learning framework, dubbed ExPecto, can predict the effects of genetic mutations in the so-called “dark matter” regions of the human genome. ExPecto pinpoints how specific mutations can disrupt the way genes turn on and off throughout your body. Such disruptions in gene expression can sometimes have fatal consequences.

Scientific Leadership Profiles

Simons Foundation, June 2018

The Simons Foundation’s research and grant-making divisions are spearheaded by accomplished scientists. These individuals bring expertise, experience and creative thinking to overcoming the uncertainty involved in advancing research in mathematics and the basic sciences.

A collection of 12 short profiles on the Simons Foundation's scientific leadership. Part of the foundation's 2017 annual report.

Math For America: Summer Think

Simons Foundation, June 2018

Engaging students with chemistry sometimes means swapping beakers for spatulas. Math for America (MƒA) Master Teachers Hayeon Rachel Jun and Laryssa Kramarchuk blend science and the culinary arts in their classrooms. Lessons have students hand-churning ice cream, growing rock candy and quantifying the hotness of peppers, all while studying the underlying scientific properties of these materials.

Article for the Simons Foundation 2017 annual report.