blog postsTeam converts wet biological waste to diesel-compatible fuelDec 4, 2018 8:45 am2931 views In a step toward producing renewable engine fuels that are compatible with existing diesel fuel infrastructure, researchers report they can convert wet biowaste, such as swine manure and food scraps, into a fuel that can be blended with diesel and that shares diesel’s combustion efficiency and emissions profile. They report their findings in the journal Nature Sustainability.Can we talk about the Illinois climate?Dec 3, 2018 8:15 am545 views Jim Angel, the Illinois state climatologist, has announced that he will retire in December 2018 after 34 years at the Illinois State Water Survey. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with him about his career, climate change and the National Climate Assessment released on Black Friday.Eleven Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influentialNov 29, 2018 10:15 am10377 views Eleven faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list.Four Illinois faculty members elected AAAS FellowsNov 27, 2018 10:00 am1973 views Four professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2018 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They are: mechanical science and engineering professor Narayana Aluru, computer science professor William Gropp and plant biology professors Andrew Leakey and Ray Ming.Diagnostic tool helps engineers to design better global infrastructure solutionsNov 15, 2018 7:45 am1105 views Designing safe bridges and water systems for low-income communities is not always easy for engineers coming from highly industrialized places. A new discipline called contextual engineering helps engineers think beyond personal values, expectations and definitions of project success when tackling global infrastructure problems.Monster hurricanes: Why have recent storms been so huge?Oct 15, 2018 10:45 am2175 views Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, as the first Category 4 storm in recorded history to reach shore in the northeast Gulf Coast. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Deanna Hence about the storm’s size, strength and path, and the impact of global climate change on future hurricanes. New, highly stable catalyst may help turn water into fuelSep 28, 2018 8:30 am3108 views Breaking the bonds between oxygen and hydrogen in water could be a key to the creation of hydrogen in a sustainable manner, but finding an economically viable technique for this has proved difficult. Researchers report a new hydrogen-generating catalyst that clears many of the obstacles – abundance, stability in acid conditions and efficiency.Researchers develop microbubble scrubber to destroy dangerous biofilmsSep 19, 2018 10:15 am1788 views Stiff microbial films often coat medical devices, household items and infrastructure such as the inside of water supply pipes, and can lead to dangerous infections. Researchers have developed a system that harnesses the power of bubbles to propel tiny particles through the surfaces of these tough films and deliver an antiseptic deathblow to the microbes living inside.Designer enzyme conquers sulfite reduction, a bottleneck in environmental cleanupSep 13, 2018 1:00 pm964 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers have cleared one hurdle toward environmental cleanup of certain contaminants with a newly designed synthetic enzyme that reduces the compound sulfite to sulfide – a notoriously complex multistep chemical reaction that has eluded chemists for years.Ebert Symposium to feature IMAX film, astronaut videographer, storytelling with dataSep 13, 2018 10:15 am882 views The first Roger Ebert Symposium will explore the cinematic presentation of science with help from an IMAX film shot from space, a former astronaut and a diverse group of academics and experts.Study: Kidney stones have distinct geological historiesSep 13, 2018 4:00 am2521 views A geologist, a microscopist and a doctor walk into a lab and, with their colleagues from across the nation, make a discovery that overturns centuries of thought about the nature and composition of kidney stones. The team’s key insight, reported in the journal Scientific Reports, is that kidney stones are built up in calcium-rich layers that resemble other mineralizations in nature, such as those forming coral reefs or arising in hot springs, Roman aqueducts or subsurface oil fields.Study: Large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara would increase heat, rain, vegetationSep 6, 2018 9:45 am2362 views Wind and solar farms are known to have local effects on heat, humidity and other factors that may be beneficial – or detrimental – to the regions in which they are situated. A new climate-modeling study finds that a massive wind and solar installation in the Sahara Desert and neighboring Sahel would increase local temperature, precipitation and vegetation. Overall, the researchers report, the effects would likely benefit the region.Connectivity explains ecosystem responses to rainfall, droughtAug 27, 2018 2:00 pm569 views In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers reveal techniques – inspired by the study of information theory – to track how changes in precipitation alter interactions between the atmosphere, vegetation and soil at two National Science Foundation Critical Zone Observatory sites in the western United States.A professor not afraid to cross academic boundariesAug 23, 2018 11:30 am860 views Illinois professor Ruby Mendenhall is focused on issues of poverty, inequality and violence, but crosses many academic boundaries in search of answers.Study: Human wastewater valuable to global agriculture, economicsAug 15, 2018 12:45 pm1716 views It may seem off-putting to some, but human waste is full of nutrients that can be recycled into valuable products that could promote agricultural sustainability and better economic independence for some developing countries.Study finds possible connection between U.S. tornado activity, Arctic sea iceAug 6, 2018 8:15 am1557 views The effects of global climate change taking place in the Arctic may influence weather much closer to home for millions of Americans, researchers report.Nowhere to hide: Molecular probe illuminates elusive cancer stem cells in live miceAug 1, 2018 9:00 am1626 views After a primary tumor is treated, cancer stem cells may still lurk in the body, ready to metastasize and cause a recurrence of the cancer in a form that’s more aggressive and resistant to treatment. University of Illinois researchers have developed a molecular probe that seeks out these elusive cells and lights them up so they can be identified, tracked and studied not only in cell cultures, but in their native environment: the body. In a paper published in the journal ACS Central Science, the researchers described the probe’s effectiveness in identifying cancer stem cells in cultures of multiple human cancer cell lines as well as in live mice.New model reveals rips in Earth’s mantle layer below southern TibetJul 30, 2018 2:00 pm938 views Seismic waves are helping researchers uncover the mysterious subsurface history of the Tibetan Plateau, possibly lending insight to future earthquake activity in the region.Chemicals that keep drinking water flowing may also cause foulingJul 25, 2018 7:30 am1865 views Many city drinking water systems add softening agents to keep plumbing free of pipe-clogging mineral buildup. According to new research, these additives may amplify the risk of pathogen release into drinking water by weakening the grip that bacteria – like those responsible for Legionnaires’ disease – have on pipe interiors. What is a neutrino and why do they matter?Jul 18, 2018 9:30 am1636 views Scientists recently announced the discovery of a subatomic particle that made its way to Earth from an event that occurred 3.7 billion light-years away. Sensors buried within Antarctic ice detected the ghostly cosmic particle, called a neutrino, and traced its origin to a rapidly spinning galactic nucleus known as a blazar. Physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with physics professor Liang Yang about the significance of the discovery.High-power electronics keep their cool with new heat-conducting crystalsJul 5, 2018 1:00 pm1655 views The inner workings of high-power electronic devices must remain cool to operate reliably. High internal temperatures can make programs run slower, freeze or shut down. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and The University of Texas, Dallas have collaborated to optimize the crystal-growing process of boron arsenide – a material that has excellent thermal properties and can effectively dissipate the heat generated in electronic devices.Study reveals how polymers relax after stressful processingJul 2, 2018 5:45 am854 views The polymers that make up synthetic materials need time to de-stress after processing, researchers said. A new study has found that entangled, long-chain polymers in solutions relax at two different rates, marking an advancement in fundamental polymer physics. The findings will provide a better understanding of the physical properties of polymeric materials and critical new insight to how individual polymer molecules respond to high-stress processing conditions.Study yields a new scale of earthquake understandingJun 27, 2018 12:45 pm858 views Nanoscale knowledge of the relationships between water, friction and mineral chemistry could lead to a better understanding of earthquake dynamics, researchers said in a new study. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used microscopic friction measurements to confirm that, under the right conditions, some rocks can dissolve and may cause faults to slip. DNA enzyme shuffles cell membranes a thousand times faster than its natural counterpartJun 21, 2018 4:00 am1949 views A new synthetic enzyme, crafted from DNA rather than protein, flips lipid molecules within the cell membrane, triggering a signal pathway that could be harnessed to induce cell death in cancer cells. It is the first such synthetic enzyme to outperform its natural counterparts.New tissue-imaging technology could enable real-time diagnostics, map cancer progressionJun 20, 2018 8:00 am3525 views A new microscope system can image living tissue in real time and in molecular detail, without any chemicals or dyes, report researchers at the University of Illinois.New aircraft-scheduling models may ease air travel frustrationsJun 11, 2018 8:30 am1774 views Flight schedules that allow for a little carefully designed wiggle room could prevent the frustration of cascading airport delays and cancellations. By focusing on the early phases of flight schedule planning and delays at various scales, researchers have developed models to help create schedules that are less susceptible to delays and easier to fix once disrupted.New algorithm fuses quality and quantity in satellite imageryJun 4, 2018 8:30 am2235 views Using a new algorithm, University of Illinois researchers may have found the solution to an age-old dilemma plaguing satellite imagery – whether to sacrifice high spatial resolution in the interest of generating images more frequently, or vice versa. The team’s new tool eliminates this trade-off by fusing high-resolution and high-frequency satellite data into one integrated product, and can generate 30-meter daily continuous images going back to the year 2000. Scott R. White, pioneer of self-healing materials, has diedMay 31, 2018 10:45 am4549 views University of Illinois aerospace engineering professor Scott R. White, an innovator of self-healing and self-regulating materials, died Monday of cancer at age 55.3-D printed sugar scaffolds offer sweet solution for tissue engineering, device manufacturingMay 23, 2018 2:00 pm4475 views University of Illinois engineers built a 3-D printer that offers a sweet solution to making detailed structures that commercial 3-D printers can’t: Rather than a layer-upon-layer solid shell, it produces a delicate network of thin ribbons of hardened isomalt, the type of sugar alcohol used to make throat lozenges. The water-soluble, biodegradable glassy sugar structures have multiple applications in biomedical engineering, cancer research and device manufacturing.Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, goldMay 15, 2018 8:30 am1243 views Scientists report they can now drive two-electron chemical reactions, bringing them one step closer to building a carbon-recycling system that can harvest solar energy to efficiently convert CO2 and water into liquid fuels.Engineers on a roll toward smaller, more efficient radio frequency transformersMay 14, 2018 10:00 am1461 views The future of electronic devices lies partly within the “internet of things” – the network of devices, vehicles and appliances embedded within electronics to enable connectivity and data exchange. University of Illinois engineers are helping realize this future by minimizing the size of one notoriously large element of integrated circuits used for wireless communication – the transformer.Elastic microspheres expand understanding of embryonic development and cancer cellsMay 14, 2018 6:00 am756 views A new technique that uses tiny elastic balls filled with fluorescent nanoparticles aims to expand the understanding of the mechanical forces that exist between cells, researchers report. A University of Illinois-led team has demonstrated the quantification of 3-D forces within cells living in petri dishes as well as live specimens. This research may unlock some of the mysteries related to embryonic development and cancer stem cells, i.e., tumor-repopulating cells.New polymer manufacturing process saves 10 orders of magnitude of energyMay 9, 2018 12:00 pm1607 views Makers of cars, planes, buses – anything that needs strong, lightweight and heat resistant parts – are poised to benefit from a new manufacturing process that requires only a quick touch from a small heat source to send a cascading hardening wave through a polymer. Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new polymer-curing process that could reduce the cost, time and energy needed, compared with the current manufacturing process.Illinois chemist elected to National Academy of SciencesMay 1, 2018 1:30 pm1040 views Scott E. Denmark, a professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive. Denmark is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates recognized for distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.Study suggests ample warning of supervolcano eruptionsApr 30, 2018 8:30 am2276 views Concern over the potential imminent eruptions of Earth’s supervolcanoes, like Taupo in New Zealand or Yellowstone in the United States, may be quelled by the results of a new study suggesting that geological signs pointing to a catastrophic eruption would be clear far in advance.Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback, study findsApr 26, 2018 2:45 pm2963 views Losing an arm doesn’t have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback. University of Illinois researchers have developed a control algorithm that regulates the current so a prosthetics user feels steady sensation, even when the electrodes begin to peel off or when sweat builds up. New camera gives surgeons a butterfly’s-eye view of cancerApr 5, 2018 9:00 am3529 views Cancer lurking in tissue could be more easily found when looking through a butterfly’s eye.Geography professor awarded Guggenheim FellowshipApr 5, 2018 8:45 am2084 views University of Illinois professor of geography Jesse Ribot has been awarded a 2018 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.Shrimp-inspired camera may enable underwater navigationApr 4, 2018 1:00 pm1638 views The underwater environment may appear to the human eye as a dull-blue, featureless space. However, a vast landscape of polarization patterns appear when viewed through a camera that is designed to see the world through the eyes of many of the animals that inhabit the water. Researchers develop model to show how bacteria grow in plumbing systemsMar 29, 2018 11:45 am1465 views Bacteria in tap water can multiply when a faucet isn’t used for a few days, such as when a house is vacant over a week’s vacation, a new study from University of Illinois engineers found. The study suggests a new method to show how microbial communities, including those responsible for illnesses like Legionnaires’ disease, may assemble inside the plumbing systems of homes and public buildingsInterdisciplinary theater piece gives glimpse into world of quantum physicsMar 28, 2018 8:45 am1014 views “Quantum Voyages,” an interdisciplinary theater piece created by University of Illinois physics and theatre professors, gives a glimpse into the strange world of quantum physics.Team brings subatomic resolution to computational microscopeMar 26, 2018 10:00 am2669 views Scientists have built a “computational microscope” that can simulate the atomic and subatomic forces that drive molecular interactions. This tool will streamline efforts to understand the chemistry of life, model large molecular systems and develop new pharmaceutical and industrial agents, the researchers say.Researchers demonstrate existence of new form of electronic matterMar 14, 2018 1:00 pm3719 views Researchers have produced a “human scale” demonstration of a new phase of matter called quadrupole topological insulators that was recently predicted using theoretical physics. These are the first experimental findings to validate this theory.Researchers tap problematic e-waste surplus to recover high-quality polymersMar 14, 2018 8:30 am1634 views Mixed-plastic electronics waste could be a valuable source of reusable polymers, a new study led by Illinois Sustainability Technology Center scientists suggests. The team has developed the first energy-efficient and environmentally friendly process that separates mixed polymers so that they can be recycled into new, high-quality plastic products.Virtual predator is self-aware, behaves like living counterpartMar 1, 2018 8:30 am2490 views Scientists report in the journal eNeuro that they’ve built an artificially intelligent ocean predator that behaves a lot like the original flesh-and-blood organism on which it was modeled. The virtual creature, “Cyberslug,” reacts to food and responds to members of its own kind much like the actual animal, the sea slug Pleurobranchaea californica, does.Individual quantum dots imaged in 3-D for first timeFeb 27, 2018 9:15 am538 views Researchers have developed an imaging technique that uses a tiny, super sharp needle to nudge a single nanoparticle into different orientations and capture 2-D images to help reconstruct a 3-D picture. The method demonstrates imaging of individual nanoparticles at different orientations while in a laser-induced excited state.Continental interiors may not be as tectonically stable as geologists thinkFeb 19, 2018 10:00 am1348 views Geologic activity within stable portions of Earth’s uppermost layer may have occurred more recently than previously believed.Three Illinois professors named Sloan Research FellowsFeb 15, 2018 9:00 am8900 views Three Illinois scientists are among 126 recipients of the 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. According to the foundation, the awards “honor early career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the very best scientific minds working today.” Winners receive a two-year $65,000 fellowship to further their research.Tiny drug-delivering capsules could sustain transplanted insulin-producing cells for diabeticsFeb 12, 2018 9:15 am1518 views A drug-carrying microsphere within a cell-bearing microcapsule could be the key to transplanting insulin-secreting pig pancreas cells into human patients whose own cells have been destroyed by type I diabetes.Shape-shifting organic crystals use memory to improve plastic electronicsJan 25, 2018 9:45 am2287 views Researchers have identified a mechanism that triggers shape-memory phenomena in organic crystals used in plastic electronics. Shape-shifting structural materials are made with metal alloys, but the new generation of economical printable plastic electronics is poised to benefit from this phenomenon, too. Shape-memory materials science and plastic electronics technology, when merged, could open the door to advancements in low-power electronics, medical electronics devices and multifunctional shape-memory materials.