Study: 'Legacy' phosphorus delays water quality improvements in Gulf of Mexico Feb 7, 2024 10:30 am324 views The same phosphorous that fertilizes the thriving agriculture of the Midwest is also responsible for a vast “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico near the Mississippi Delta. Efforts to reduce the amount of phosphorus that enters the Mississippi River system are underway, but research led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign suggests that remnants of the contaminant are left behind in riverbeds for years after introduction and pose an overlooked – and lingering – problem. Genetic sequencing uncovers unexpected source of pathogens in floodwaters Dec 18, 2023 9:30 am1083 views Researchers report in the journal Geohealth that local rivers and streams were the source of the Salmonella enterica contamination along coastal North Carolina after Hurricane Florence in 2018 – not the previously suspected high number of pig farms in the region. Why are global carbon emissions starting to increase again? Dec 5, 2023 8:00 am389 views On Dec. 5, the Global Carbon Project published the Global Carbon Budget 2023, giving world leaders access to data on atmospheric carbon concentrations, emissions and trends. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign atmospheric scientist Atul Jain is among the many scientists worldwide who contributed data to the report. Jain talked about the current state of the carbon budget and this year’s findings with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian. In TED Talk, Long describes three photosynthetic changes that boost crop yields Nov 29, 2023 11:15 am520 views In a newly released TED Talk, Stephen Long, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign professor of plant biology and crop sciences, described his and his colleagues’ efforts to boost photosynthesis in crop plants. He described three interventions, each of which increased crop yields by 20% or more. Researchers engineer a material that can perform different tasks depending on temperature Nov 28, 2023 10:00 am539 views Researchers report that they have developed a new composite material designed to change behaviors depending on temperature in order to perform specific tasks. These materials are poised to be part of the next generation of autonomous robotics that will interact with the environment. Researchers identify unexpected twist while developing new polymer-based semiconductors Nov 14, 2023 9:15 am823 views A new study led by chemists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign brings fresh insight into the development of semiconductor materials that can do things their traditional silicon counterparts cannot – harness the power of chirality, a non-superimposable mirror image. Researchers propose a unified, scalable framework to measure agricultural greenhouse gas emissions Sep 27, 2023 1:00 pm739 views Increased government investment in climate change mitigation is prompting agricultural sectors to find reliable methods for measuring their contribution to climate change. With that in mind, a team led by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign proposed a supercomputing solution to help measure individual farm field-level greenhouse gas emissions. Although locally tested in the Midwest, the new approach can be scaled up to national and global levels and help the industry grasp the best practices for reducing emissions. Science historian Naomi Oreskes to talk about how free market ideology blocks climate action Sep 27, 2023 1:00 pm542 views Naomi Oreskes, a leader in examining efforts to undermine the scientific truth on the causes of global warming, will give a Center for Advanced Study MillerComm lecture on how free market ideology is preventing action on climate change. Study: YouTube did not actively direct users toward anti-vaccine content during COVID-19 Sep 15, 2023 10:45 am348 views New research led by data science experts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and United Nations Global Pulse found that there is no strong evidence that YouTube promoted anti-vaccine sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, performed an algorithmic audit to examine if YouTube’s recommendation system acted as a “rabbit hole,” leading users searching for vaccine-related videos to anti-vaccine content What prompted tropical cyclone Hilary’s unusual path? Aug 24, 2023 11:30 am440 views Hilary was the first tropical storm to hit California in 84 years. Atmospheric sciences professor Deanna Hence spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about what made this storm unique and if the Southwest U.S. should expect more like it in the future. Fast, automated, affordable test for cement durability Jul 5, 2023 7:30 am2382 views Engineers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed a new test that can predict the durability of cement in seconds to minutes – rather than the hours it takes using current methods. The test measures the behavior of water droplets on cement surfaces using computer vision on a device that costs less than $200. The researchers said the new study could help the cement industry move toward rapid and automated quality control of their materials. Displays controlled by flexible fins and liquid droplets more versatile, efficient than LED screens Jun 30, 2023 1:00 pm1011 views Flexible displays that can change color, convey information and even send veiled messages via infrared radiation are now possible, thanks to new research from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Engineers inspired by the morphing skins of animals like chameleons and octopuses have developed capillary-controlled robotic flapping fins to create switchable optical and infrared light multipixel displays that are 1,000 times more energy efficient than light-emitting devices. What is the state of underwater geolocation technology? Jun 23, 2023 9:15 am1277 views The loss of OceanGate's Titan submersible this week has triggered questions about how underwater craft navigate and how these vehicles can improve their geolocation abilities. Electrical and computer engineering professor Viktor Gruev spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about the current state of the science behind underwater geolocation, and some advances his team is working on now. Cave excavation pushes back the clock on early human migration to Laos Jun 21, 2023 9:45 am1331 views Fifteen years of archaeological work in the Tam Pa Ling cave in northeastern Laos has yielded a reliable chronology of early human occupation of the site, scientists report in the journal Nature Communications. The team’s excavations through the layers of sediments and bones that gradually washed into the cave and were left untouched for tens of thousands of years reveals that humans lived in the area for at least 70,000 years – and likely even longer. Geologists challenge conventional view of Earth’s continental history, stability with new study Jun 12, 2023 10:00 am1281 views The seemingly stable regions of the Earth’s continental plates – the so-called stable cratons – have suffered repetitive deformation below their crust since their formation in the remote past, according to new research from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. This hypothesis defies decades of conventional plate tectonics theory and begs to answer why most cratons have remained structurally stable while their underbellies have experienced significant change. Mechanical engineers lend fresh insight into battery-based desalination technology Jun 7, 2023 11:45 am1643 views To achieve more effective saltwater desalination, mechanical engineers focused on fluid movement rather than new materials in a new study. By adding microchannels to the inside of battery-like electrodes made of Prussian blue – an intense blue pigment often used in art that also has special chemical properties – researchers increased the extent of seawater desalination five times over their non-channeled counterparts to reach salinity levels below the freshwater threshold. Imaging agents light up two cancer biomarkers at once to give more complete picture of tumor Jun 5, 2023 11:00 am1242 views Cancer surgeons may soon have a more complete view of tumors during surgery thanks to new imaging agents that can illuminate multiple biomarkers at once, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers report. The fluorescent nanoparticles, wrapped in the membranes of red blood cells, target tumors better than current clinically approved dyes and can emit two distinct signals in response to just one beam of surgical light, a feature that could help doctors distinguish tumor borders and identify metastatic cancers. Webb Space Telescope detects universe’s most distant complex organic molecules Jun 5, 2023 10:00 am4262 views Researchers have detected complex organic molecules in a galaxy more than 12 billion light-years away from Earth – the most distant galaxy in which these molecules are now known to exist. Thanks to the capabilities of the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope and careful analyses from the research team, a new study lends critical insight into the complex chemical interactions that occur in the first galaxies in the early universe. Smart surgical implant coatings provide early failure warning while preventing infection May 5, 2023 12:30 pm3573 views Newly developed “smart” coatings for surgical orthopedic implants can monitor strain on the devices to provide early warning of implant failures while killing infection-causing bacteria, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers report. The coatings integrate flexible sensors with a nanostructured antibacterial surface inspired by the wings of dragonflies and cicadas. New metric allows researchers to better understand soft material behavior Apr 27, 2023 8:30 am880 views The mechanics behind the collapse of soft materials structure have befuddled researchers for decades. In a new study, researchers uncover a metric that finally correlates microscopic-level processes with what is seen at the macroscopic level. First-year chemistry students learn data analytics in new lab curriculum Apr 26, 2023 8:00 am498 views A laboratory curriculum created by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Rice University exposes first-year chemistry students at a community college to advanced topics such as data analytics and physical chemistry. Three Illinois scientists elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences Apr 24, 2023 10:15 am2001 views Three University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign scientists have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. New stellar danger to planets identified by NASA'S Chandra program Apr 21, 2023 9:30 am2231 views An exploded star can pose more risks to nearby planets than previously thought, according to a new study from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other X-ray telescopes. This newly identified threat involves a phase of intense X-rays that can damage the atmospheres of planets up to 160 light-years away. Hubble unexpectedly finds double quasar in distant universe Apr 5, 2023 10:00 am1104 views The early universe was a rambunctious place where galaxies often bumped into each other and even merged. Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and other space and ground-based observatories, astronomers made an unexpected and rare discovery: a pair of gravitationally bound quasars, both blazing away inside two merging galaxies. They existed when the universe was just 3 billion years old. AI predicts enzyme function better than leading tools Mar 30, 2023 1:00 pm6788 views A new artificial intelligence tool can predict the functions of enzymes based on their amino acid sequences, even when the enzymes are unstudied or poorly understood. The researchers said the AI tool, dubbed CLEAN, outperforms the leading state-of-the-art tools in accuracy, reliability and sensitivity. Better understanding of enzymes and their functions would be a boon for research in genomics, chemistry, industrial materials, medicine, pharmaceuticals and more. Researchers reveal real-time glimpse into growth habits of nanoparticles Mar 30, 2023 10:00 am2633 views For the first time, researchers have observed the process of nanoparticles self-assembling and crystalizing into solid materials. In new videos produced by the team, particles can be seen raining down, tumbling along stairsteps and sliding around before finally snapping into place to form a crystal’s signature stacked layers. Mimicking biological enzymes may be key to hydrogen fuel production Mar 29, 2023 1:30 pm1845 views An ancient biological enzyme known as nickel-iron hydrogenase may play a key role in producing hydrogen for a renewables-based energy economy, researchers said. Careful study of the enzyme has led chemists from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to design a synthetic molecule that mimics the hydrogen gas-producing chemical reaction performed by the enzyme. Advanced electrode to help remediation of stubborn new 'forever chemicals' Mar 27, 2023 2:45 pm1390 views As new environmental regulations are rolling out to mitigate the industry-retired long-chain chemicals known as PFAS in drinking water, there are concerns regarding a new breed of “forever chemicals” called short-chain PFAS. Research from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is helping shift the focus to include mitigation of the chemicals – which researchers say are just as persistent as, more mobile and harder to remove from the environment than their long-chain counterparts. Research uncovers details about the mysterious author of early astronomy textbooks Mar 22, 2023 2:00 pm826 views New research by Gregory Girolami, the William and Janet Lycan Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois, uncovered previously unknown details about Margaret Bryan, the mysterious author of early astronomy and physics textbooks. Theory sorts order from chaos in complex quantum systems Feb 24, 2023 9:45 am2301 views It’s not easy to make sense of quantum-scale motion, but a new mathematical theory could help, providing insight into the various computing, electrochemical and biological systems. Chenghao Zhang, a physics graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and chemistry professor Martin Gruebele performed a computational analysis of the new mathematical theory developed by Rice University theorist Peter Wolynes and theoretical chemist David Logan at Oxford University. The theory gives a simple prediction for the threshold at which large quantum systems switch from orderly motion like a clock to random, erratic motion like asteroids moving around in the early solar system. Study demonstrates energy-efficient conversion of nitrate pollutants into ammonia Feb 16, 2023 2:30 pm1762 views The nitrate runoff problem, a source of carcinogens and a cause of suffocating algal blooms in U.S. waterways, may not be all gloom and doom. A new study led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign demonstrates an approach for the integrated capture and conversion of nitrate-contaminated waters into valuable ammonia within a single electrochemical cell. Researchers illuminate gaps in public transportation access, equity Feb 15, 2023 12:30 pm1341 views Public transit systems offering broad coverage of stops and routes may still underserve the communities that rely on them the most, according to a new University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study. The study, by former civil and environmental engineering student Dale Robbennolt and Applied Research Institute senior research scientist Ann-Perry Witmer, applies contextual engineering to help determine lapses in equity in public bus transportation access using data from the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District as a case study. Chemistry professor named 2023 Sloan Research Fellow Feb 15, 2023 9:00 am1410 views Chemistry professor Mei Shen is among 126 early-career researchers receiving the 2023 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. According to the foundation, the awards “honor extraordinary U.S. and Canadian researchers whose creativity, innovation and research accomplishments make them stand out as the next generation of leaders.” Awardees receive a two-year $75,000 fellowship to advance their research. Why are so many tall and supertall buildings being built? Feb 3, 2023 8:15 am3038 views Very tall buildings are attractive options in cities where land is at a premium, but they come with construction challenges, said University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign architecture professor Abbas Aminmansour. Seven Illinois faculty members elected to AAAS Jan 31, 2023 9:00 am3507 views Seven professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2022 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fellows are chosen by their peers for outstanding contribution to the field. Geothermal 'battery' repurposes abandoned oil and gas well in Illinois, researchers report Jan 25, 2023 1:15 pm2331 views Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have successfully demonstrated efficient geothermal heat storage while simultaneously repurposing an abandoned oil and gas well. A new study, led by civil and environmental engineering professor Tugce Baser, is the first field investigation of a geothermal energy storage system within the Illinois Basin – a geologic structure located deep within the subsurface. Probe can measure both cell stiffness and traction, researchers report Jan 25, 2023 1:00 pm1308 views Scientists have developed a tiny mechanical probe that can measure the inherent stiffness of cells and tissues as well as the internal forces the cells generate and exert on one another. Their new “magnetic microrobot” is the first such probe to be able to quantify both properties, the researchers report, and will aid in understanding cellular processes associated with development and disease. Click beetle-inspired robots jump using elastic energy Jan 23, 2023 2:00 pm888 views Researchers have made a significant leap forward in developing insect-sized jumping robots capable of performing tasks in the small spaces often found in mechanical, agricultural and search-and-rescue settings. A new study led by mechanical science and engineering professor Sameh Tawfick demonstrates a series of click beetle-sized robots small enough to fit into tight spaces, powerful enough to maneuver over obstacles and fast enough to match an insect’s rapid escape time. Microelectronics give researchers a remote control for biological robots Jan 18, 2023 1:00 pm4577 views First, they walked. Then, they saw the light. Now, miniature biological robots have gained a new trick: remote control. The hybrid “eBiobots” are the first to combine soft materials, living muscle and microelectronics, said researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University and collaborating institutions. Researchers propose new structures to harvest untapped source of fresh water Dec 6, 2022 4:00 am10114 views An almost limitless supply of fresh water exists in the form of water vapor above Earth’s oceans, yet remains untapped, researchers said. A new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is the first to suggest an investment in new infrastructure capable of harvesting oceanic water vapor as a solution to limited supplies of fresh water in various locations around the world. How can academia help implement lessons from the 2022 climate summit? Nov 28, 2022 1:30 pm579 views The 27th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference concluded Nov. 18 at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, after two weeks of deliberations. Ashish Sharma, an atmospheric sciences professor and climate and urban sustainability lead at the University of Illinois System’s Discovery Partners Institute, spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about the key takeaways from this year’s meeting and how academia can help implement those lessons. Organizing nanoparticles into pinwheel shapes offers new twist on engineered materials Nov 28, 2022 10:00 am1468 views Researchers have developed a new strategy to help build materials with unique optical, magnetic, electronic and catalytic properties. These pinwheel-shaped structures self-assemble from nanoparticles and exhibit a characteristic called chirality – one of nature’s strategies to build complexity into structures at all scales, from molecules to galaxies. Nine Illinois scientists rank among world's most influential Nov 15, 2022 8:00 am7364 views Nine U. of I. researchers have been named to the 2022 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list. The list recognizes research scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated exceptional influence – reflected through their publication of multiple papers frequently cited by their peers during the last decade. This year’s list includes 6,938 individuals from around the world whose papers rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science. How can the 2022 Global Carbon Budget report help inform UN Climate Summit? Nov 11, 2022 11:00 am619 views The Global Carbon Project published the Global Carbon Budget 2022 today, giving world leaders access to data on atmospheric carbon concentrations, emissions and trends for the 2022 United Nations Climate Summit – or COP27 – in Egypt. Illinois atmospheric scientist Atul Jain was among the many scientists worldwide who contributed data to the report. Jain talked about this year’s findings with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian. Previously unseen processes reveal path to better rechargeable battery performance Nov 9, 2022 12:00 pm1421 views To design better rechargeable ion batteries, engineers and chemists from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign collaborated to combine a powerful new electron microscopy technique and data mining to visually pinpoint areas of chemical and physical alteration within ion batteries. Artificial intelligence and molecule machine join forces to generalize automated chemistry Oct 28, 2022 11:30 am2447 views Artificial intelligence, building-block chemistry and a molecule-making machine teamed up to find the best general reaction conditions for synthesizing chemicals important to biomedical and materials research – a finding that could speed innovation and drug discovery as well as make complex chemistry automated and accessible. Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators in Poland and Canada reported their findings in the journal Science. What is place-based adaptation to climate change? Oct 10, 2022 1:30 pm2311 views A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll states that roughly half of registered voters say climate change is either “very important” or “one of the most important issues” in their vote for Congress this year. However, many citizens struggle to understand their place in this global issue. Applied Research Institute senior research scientist Ann-Perry Witmer, also a lecturer in agricultural and biological engineering, spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about a more digestible approach to the climate crisis and encouraged readers to participate in a public panel discussion this week. Experimental composer headlines events examining art-science connections Sep 27, 2022 11:15 am812 views David Rosenboom, a pioneer in experimental music, will lecture, perform and conduct workshops with students during a two-week series of events beginning Oct. 3. “Experimental Arts & Sciences at UIUC” is hosted by the School of Music. Deformation fingerprints will help researchers identify, design better metallic materials Sep 19, 2022 8:00 am1740 views Engineers can now capture and predict the strength of metallic materials subjected to cycling loading, or fatigue strength, in a matter of hours – not the months or years it takes using current methods. Krannert Center performance combines art, science to examine what makes us human Sep 15, 2022 2:30 pm632 views “The Joy of Regathering” combines science, music and movement to explore humanity’s place in the universe in a Sept. 17 performance at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.