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News Bureau - Illinois in the News

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  • DNA study

    Daily Herald (from The Associated Press; Arlington Heights, Ill., June 15) – Sealaska Heritage Institute officials say they are collaborating with a university that is studying how the DNA of Indigenous people might have been affected by trauma linked to European colonization. Researchers from the U. of I. will be at the Juneau-based institute next week for the project focusing on Tlingit people with ties to Hoonah.

  • Entomology

    Ohio’s Country Journal (Columbus, Ohio, June 14) – Some early season caterpillars and slugs are out and feasting on small, late-planted corn and soybean fields. These fields are especially vulnerable to damage from insects this year, according to University of Illinois Extension entomologist Nick Seiter. “In general, the later the planting, the younger the plant is when they feed on it,” Seiter says. “And younger plants are less able to overcome that stress.”

  • Materials science and engineering

    R&D Magazine (Rockaway, N.J., June 11) – The process of chaining together the amino acids needed to build the new protein molecules for drug and biomaterial development is often very long and complex for scientists. However, a research team from the U. of I. has created a faster, easier and cheaper technique to produce new amino acid chains called polypeptides, using a streamlined process to purify amino acid precursors while simultaneously building the chains.

  • Nuclear Fuel Recycling

    Slate (Brooklyn, N.Y., June 7) – Nuclear fuel waste can be reduced by recycling. By separating out uranium and plutonium from used nuclear fuel, engineers can reuse those in reactors to generate additional energy and throw out the rest. “Ninety-five percent of original energy is in the unused fuel,” says Kathryn Huff, a professor of nuclear engineering at Illinois.

  • Supercomputing

    HPC Wire (San Diego, June 6) – An international team of researchers, including researchers from the U. of I., has finally solved a long-standing cosmic mystery – and to do it, they needed to produce the most detailed black hole simulation ever created. The team ran the simulation on the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois.

  • Agricultural economics

    USA Today (June 6) – American farmers already plagued by a near biblical parade of misfortune that includes years of low prices and a trade war with China are now grappling with record Midwest rain that will likely prevent a large portion of this year’s crop from even getting planted. “This is more than a cyclical thing,” says Gary Schnitkey, a professor of agricultural economics at Illinois. “It’s a series of events that we’ve never seen come together. ... It’s going to be a blow to everyone’s financial position.”

  • Alumnus

    Forbes (New York City, June 5) – Tom Siebel, 66, whose fortune Forbes pegs at $2.9 billion, is announcing today that his company,, will cover the total cost for employees to earn a master’s degree in computer science online. Siebel got his own master’s in computer science from the highly ranked program at the U. of I., the school where his employees can earn the same degree.

  • Housing affordability rankings

    RE Journals (Chicago, May 31) – Proximity to campus is the strongest determining factor for where college students decide to live during their time at school, leading to worries about rent costs. On a new ranking of the most affordable areas near top universities, the state of Illinois had three of the top 10 spots, including the U. of I. at number one.

  • Journal subscriptions

    Inside Higher Ed (May 30) – A growing number of U.S. institutions are not renewing their bundled journal subscriptions with big publishers, citing rising costs that have made these deals unsustainable. Lisa Hinchliffe, a professor and coordinator of information literacy services at Illinois, says the percentage of total institutional budget is not a particularly useful frame for examining the cost, or the value, of subscriptions. “Spending even $1 for something that is not needed is a waste. Spending $10,000 that meets $1 million in need is probably a pretty good deal,” she says.

  • Faculty

    Gizmodo (Sydney, May 27) – Pioneering physicist Murray Gell-Mann, who worked and taught at the U. of I., among other institutions, died at age 89. Among his many scientific contributions, the Nobel laureate will be remembered for bringing order to the chaotic field of particle physics and for coining the term “quark” – a fundamental building block of matter.