Science News & Announcements

Hanging sculpture Crystara temporarily removed from Crerar Library atrium

Image of Crystara

Surrounded by scaffolding, workers prepare to lower Crystara from the Crerar Library atrium.

For the next several weeks, visitors to Crerar may find that the main lobby feels a little emptier than usual. For the past 30 years, visitors to Crerar have walked under Crystara, a 30’ long aluminum and Waterford crystal sculpture by artist John David Mooney. Suspended above users as they made their way to the bookstacks and other library resources, the sculpture was designed to refract the sunlight coming in through the atrium skylight, changing the look of the entire lobby as the sun moved across the sky. Now, in order to repair the roof and replace the glass in the skylight, Crystara has been temporarily taken down.

Over four days, from July 7 to 10, workers lowered, disassembled, and moved the sculpture to the east side of the first floor. Work on the roof is scheduled to be finished mid-September, at which point the workers will return and the sculpture will be returned to the atrium. In the process, the new glass in the skylight should make Crystara gleam like new and help to fulfill the artist’s intention in a way viewers haven’t seen for years. 

After the break, see a slideshow featuring more pictures from the entire process.

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Friday, July 4: all libraries closed

In observance of the University holiday, all campus libraries will be closed on Friday, July 4. Regular summer hours will resume on Saturday, July 5.

For a complete list of hours for all locations and departments, see

John Crerar Foundation Science Writing Prize winners announced

Congratulations to Elle Sullivan, Michael Begun and Sydney Reitz, the winners of the 2014 John Crerar Foundation Science Writing Prize for College Students.

1st place prize
REM Sleep: The Enigma that Remains by Elle Sullivan

2nd place prize
A History of Inconceivability by Michael Begun

2nd place prize winner
Starting with the Man in the Mirror: Psychopathy, Mirror Neurons, and the Legal System by Sydney Reitz

This year there was a tie for 2nd place.

The annual John Crerar Foundation Science Writing Prize for College Students honors the memory of John Crerar – industrialist and philanthropist whose estate established the John Crerar Library.

This competitive award for excellence and clarity in science writing acknowledges the ability of a University of Chicago College student to produce a paper, on a scientific topic, which is thorough in its arguments but accessible to a broad readership.

First Prize is $1500
Second Prize is $500

Crerar Library roof update #2: Lobby and first floor furniture removal

Starting on July 2, the next steps in the Crerar Roof replacement will begin with the removal of the lobby furniture, including the benches, chairs, and display cases, as well as the tables on the east side of the first floor reading room. On July 3, computer tables on the first floor will the removed, but will returned as soon as possible. The rest of the furniture will be returned once work has completed. CSIL classrooms and computers, seating behind the reference desk, and reference bookstacks will be unaffected.

The furniture removal is necessary to prepare for work on the lobby skylight. We apologize for the inconvenience. Additional study areas are available on the 2nd, 3rd, and lower levels. Please contact with any comments or questions.

Crerar Library roof update: gravel removal starts June 16

The next phase in the Crerar Library roof replacement project starts June 16th with the removal of the existing gravel on the roof. Work on the east side of the roof is scheduled for June 16th-24 and the west side for June 25-July 3, weather depending. The gravel removal is done via a large vacuum machine that generates a noise similar to an engine; please keep this is mind when settling on an area of study in the library on those dates. Thank you for your cooperation.

Please contact with any comments or questions.

Eckhart summer quarter hours

Eckhart Library hours will have the following hours for the summer quarter, June 23rd – August 30th.

Our hours are:

Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm

Closed Saturday and Sunday

For specific days or the hours for other campus libraries, see


Crerar summer interim hours

Crerar Library building and service desk hours will be reduced for Summer interim, June 14th – 22.

Building hours:
Monday - Thursday: 8am – 10pm
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – 8am – 8pm

Circulation hours:
Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 5pm
Saturday: 9am – 5pm
Sunday, June 15: Closed
Sunday, June 22: Noon – 5pm

The reference desk will be closed Saturdays, June 14 and June 21. For specific days or the hours for other campus libraries, see Summer quarter hours begin Monday, June 23rd.

Scientific Data: open-access publication with detailed dataset descriptions

Nature Publishing Group has launched Scientific Data, a new open access publication that, according to the publication, “aims to address the increasing need to make research data more available, citable, discoverable, interpretable, reusable and reproducible,” while also fulfilling some requirements of funder-mandated data management plans. 

More from the press release:
Data Descriptors, Scientific Data’s article type, are peer-reviewed, scientific publications that provide detailed descriptions of experimental and observational datasets, including the methods used to collect the data and technical analyses supporting the quality of the measurement. Data Descriptors are a combination of traditional scientific publication content and structured information curated in-house, and are designed to maximize reuse and enable searching, linking and data mining. 

Scientific Data logo

VSCSE Data Intensive Summer School, Jun 30-Jul 2

The University of Chicago Research Computing Center Presents…
VSCSE Data Intensive Summer School
June 30 – July 2, 2014
Regenstein Room 122

Are you ready to apply the principles of data intensive computing in your research?

 The University of Chicago Research Computing Center, in partnership with Northwestern University, is one of 20 sites across the US that will host the Virtual School of Computational Science and Engineering Data Intensive Summer School.  The interactive workshop will be delivered through high-definition videoconferencing technology, enabling synchronous audio/video Q&A. Attendees will participate in hands-on lab activities with on-site support from skilled computational specialists from the RCC and Northwestern University.


This school focuses on the skills needed to manage, process and gain insight from large amounts of data. It is targeted at researchers from the physical, biological, economic and social sciences. The Virtual School of Computational Science and Engineering (VSCSE) helps graduate students, post-docs, and young professionals from all disciplines and institutions across the country gain the skills they need to use advanced computational resources to advance their research.  The Data Intensive Summer School will cover the nuts and bolts of data intensive computing, common tools and software, predictive analytics algorithms, data management and non-relational database models.

Meals and refreshments will be provided each day. See for a program guide and registration information.  

Crerar Library roof construction begins May 19

On May 19, workers will begin constructing scaffolding around Crerar Library in preparation for the roof replacement and façade repair. This work may be noisy at times; please be aware of this when planning your work in Crerar. Additionally, the sidewalk along the east side to the north corner of the building will be closed to pedestrian traffic, however both main entrances will remain open.

Full construction will begin on June 16th and is scheduled to continue through the summer until Sept. 26. Further updates on the project will be provided. Please contact co-Director of the Crerar Library Barbara Kern with any questions –