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Physical Sciences

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  • New technique paints tissue samples with light

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - One infrared scan can give pathologists a window into the structures and molecules inside tissues and cells, enabling fast and broad diagnostic assessments, thanks to an imaging technique developed by University of Illinois researchers and clinical partners.

  • Molecule-making machine simplifies complex chemistry

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new molecule-making machine could do for chemistry what 3-D printing did for engineering: Make it fast, flexible and accessible to anyone.

  • Using a little science in your March Madness picks

    A Minute With...bracketology expert Sheldon Jacobson

  • Three Illinois faculty awarded Sloan Research Fellowships

    Three University of Illinois faculty members are recipients of 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

  • Earth's surprise inside: Geologists unlock mysteries of the planet's inner core

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Seismic waves are helping scientists to plumb the world's deepest mystery: the planet's inner core.

  • Software teaches computers to translate words to math

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - If Johnny has five apples and seven oranges, and he wants to share them with three of his friends, can a computer understand the text to figure out how many pieces of fruit each person gets?

  • A central Illinois carbon sequestration project hits a milestone

    One of the largest carbon sequestration projects in the U.S., the Illinois Basin - Decatur Project (IBDP) has reached its goal of capturing 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and injecting it deep underground in the Mount Simon Sandstone formation beneath Decatur, Illinois. The project is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of carbon capture and storage. IBDP director Robert Finley talked about the million-ton milestone with News Bureau physical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg. Finley is director of the Advanced Energy Technology Institute at the Illinois State Geological Survey, part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

  • Illinois LED pioneers receive Draper Prize

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A University of Illinois professor and two of his former students are among the five pioneers of LED technology honored with the 2015 Draper Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in engineering.

  • Getting into your head: Gelatin nanoparticles could deliver drugs to the brain

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Stroke victims could have more time to seek treatment that could reduce harmful effects on the brain, thanks to tiny blobs of gelatin that could deliver the medication to the brain noninvasively.

  • New method helps map species' genetic heritage

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Where did the songbird get its song? What branch of the bird family tree is closer to the flamingo - the heron or the sparrow?

  • Now researchers can see how unfolded proteins move in the cell

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When a large protein unfolds in transit through a cell, it slows down and can get stuck in traffic. Using a specialized microscope -- a sort of cellular traffic camera -- University of Illinois chemists now can watch the way the unfolded protein diffuses.

  • Six Illinois faculty elected AAAS fellows

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Six University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty members have been elected 2014 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: Placid M. Ferreira, Brendan A. Harley, Joseph W. Lyding, Phillip A. Newmark, Dan Roth and William H. Sanders.

  • Model evaluates where bioenergy crops grow best

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Farmers interested in bioenergy crops now have a resource to help them determine which kind of bioenergy crop would grow best in their regions and what kind of harvest to expect.

  • Microtubes create cozy space for neurons to grow, and grow fast

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tiny, thin microtubes could provide a scaffold for neuron cultures to grow so that researchers can study neural networks, their growth and repair, yielding insights into treatment for degenerative neurological conditions or restoring nerve connections after injury.

  • Sculpting solar systems: Magnetic fields seen for first time

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Astronomers have caught their first glimpse of the invisible magnetic fields that sculpt solar systems.

  • Rivers flow differently over gravel beds, study finds

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - River beds, where flowing water meets silt, sand and gravel, are critical ecological zones. Yet how water flows in a river with a gravel bed is very different from the traditional model of a sandy river bed, according to a new study that compares their fluid dynamics.

  • Charged graphene gives DNA a stage to perform molecular gymnastics

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When Illinois researchers set out to investigate a method to control how DNA moves through a tiny sequencing device, they did not know they were about to witness a display of molecular gymnastics.

  • Bioenergy crops could store more carbon in soil

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In addition to providing renewable energy, grass crops like switchgrass and miscanthus could store some of the carbon they pull from the atmosphere in the soil, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

  • Urbana campus faculty members named University Scholars

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Six Urbana campus faculty members have been named University Scholars. The program recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. The faculty members will be honored at a campus reception Sept. 29 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the ballroom of the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana.

  • What is a Global Carbon Budget?

    A Minute With™... Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Atul Jain

  • Banked blood grows stiffer with age, study finds

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - It may look like fresh blood and flow like fresh blood, but the longer blood is stored, the less it can carry oxygen into the tiny microcapillaries of the body, says a new study from University of Illinois researchers.

  • Illinois considers rule changes on fracking

    A Minute With™... Robert Bauer, an engineering geologist with the Illinois State Geological Survey

  • Seatbelt laws encourage obese drivers to buckle up

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Obesity is associated with many health risks, including heart disease and diabetes, but University of Illinois researchers have found a possible way to mitigate one often-overlooked risk: not buckling up in the car.

  • Study: Earth can sustain more terrestrial plant growth than previously thought

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new analysis suggests the planet can produce much more land-plant biomass - the total material in leaves, stems, roots, fruits, grains and other terrestrial plant parts - than previously thought.

  • A glucose meter of a different color provides continuous monitoring

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois engineers are bringing a touch of color to glucose monitoring.

  • New material could enhance fast and accurate DNA sequencing

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Gene-based personalized medicine has many possibilities for diagnosis and targeted therapy, but one big bottleneck: the expensive and time-consuming DNA-sequencing process.

  • Cell mechanics may hold key to how cancer spreads and recurs

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Cancer cells that break away from tumors to go looking for a new home may prefer to settle into a soft bed, according to new findings from researchers at the University of Illinois.

  • Sexual harassment and assault are common on scientific field studies, survey indicates

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A survey of 142 men and 516 women with experience in field studies in anthropology, archaeology, geology and other scientific disciplines reveals that many of them - particularly the younger ones - suffered or witnessed sexual harassment or sexual assault while at work in the field.

  • Shrinky Dinks close the gap for nanowires

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - How do you put a puzzle together when the pieces are too tiny to pick up? Shrink the distance between them.

  • Illinois chemist named Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has named Jeffrey S. Moore, the Murchison-Mallory Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois, an HHMI Professor.

  • Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on command

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new generation of miniature biological robots is flexing its muscle.

  • Why did Illinois ban plastic microbeads?

    A Minute With™... B.K. Sharma and Nancy Holm, researchers at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

  • Illinois mechanical science and engineering professor wins Humboldt Prize

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois mechanical science and engineering professor Naira Hovakimyan has been chosen to receive the prestigious Humboldt Research Award (or Humboldt Prize) honoring a career of research achievements.

  • For the first time in the lab, researchers see stem cells take initial step toward development

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The gap between stem cell research and regenerative medicine just became a lot narrower, thanks to a new technique that coaxes stem cells, with potential to become any tissue type, to take the first step to specialization. It is the first time this critical step has been demonstrated in a laboratory.

  • Making better medicines with a handful of chemical building blocks

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Soon, making and improving medical drugs could be as easy for chemists as stacking blocks is for a child.

  • Regenerating plastic grows back after damage

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Looking at a smooth sheet of plastic in one University of Illinois laboratory, no one would guess that an impact had recently blasted a hole through it.

  • GaitTrack app makes cellphone a medical monitor for heart and lung patients

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - By simply carrying around their cellphones, patients who suffer from chronic disease could soon have an accurate health monitor that warns their doctors when their symptoms worsen.

  • Multitarget TB drug could treat other diseases, evade resistance

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A drug under clinical trials to treat tuberculosis could be the basis for a class of broad-spectrum drugs that act against various bacteria, fungal infections and parasites, yet evade resistance, according to a study by University of Illinois chemists and collaborators.

  • Study recalculates cost of combination vaccines

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive option, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

  • Scientists say new computer model amounts to a lot more than a hill of beans

    Champaign researchers who have developed a new computer model that can help plant scientists breed better soybean crops.

  • Off the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoring

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Wearing a fitness tracker on your wrist or clipped to your belt is so 2013. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University have demonstrated thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin and incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring.

  • Scientists say new computer model amounts to a lot more than a hill of beans

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Crops that produce more while using less water seem like a dream for a world with a burgeoning population and already strained food and water resources. This dream is coming closer to reality for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers who have developed a new computer model that can help plant scientists breed better soybean crops.

  • Aspiring scientists learning to translate their research into language public understands

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Communicating the relevance of one's scientific research to general audiences and developing educational outreach programs are critical to the career success of college professors and researchers, but graduate curricula often fail to help students cultivate these essential skills.

  • Team finds a better way to grow motor neurons from stem cells

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers report they can generate human motor neurons from stem cells much more quickly and efficiently than previous methods allowed. The finding, described in Nature Communications, will aid efforts to model human motor neuron development, and to understand and treat spinal cord injuries and motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

  • New book tells the story of a little-known volcano's global impact

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The 200th anniversary of the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history will be marked by the publication of a new book by University of Illinois professor Gillen D'Arcy Wood. If you think the title character might be Vesuvius, or Krakatoa, or maybe Pinatubo, you're wrong. Wood's focus is Tambora - a mountain in the Indonesian archipelago that erupted so violently in April of 1815 that today, it is ranked as "super colossal" on the scientific Volcanic Explosivity Index. And the explosion was only the first dose of Tambora's destructive power.

  • A perfect March Madness bracket? That's a long shot.

    A Minute With™... computer science professor Sheldon H. Jacobson

  • Why are there so many potholes this year?

    A Minute With™... Imad Al-Qadi, the director of the Illinois Center for Transportation and a professor of civil and environmental engineering

  • A new way to measure winter's severity

    A Minute With™... Steve Hilberg, the senior climatologist/meteorologist for the Midwestern Regional Climate Center

  • Three faculty members awarded 2014 Sloan Fellowships

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Three University of Illinois professors have been selected to receive 2014 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

  • U. of I. senior wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is among the recipients of this year's prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship.