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  • Archaeology

    NPR (Feb. 10) – Cahokia, an ancient city in Illinois near St. Louis, was the largest, and possibly the cultural and political center, of the Mississippian cities, says archaeologist Timothy Pauketat of Illinois. Researchers have noted that these cities started building roughly around the time of an unusually warm period called the Medieval Climatic Anomaly. They began declining when the global climate abruptly cooled during a time called the Little Ice Age. 

  • Archaeology

    Chicago Tribune (from the Daily Southtown; June 17) – Mark Ryan, the executive director of the Prairie Research Institute at Illinois, where the Illinois State Archaeological Society is located, says that a day’s work digging at a site in the Cook County Forest Preserves revealed insight into a civilization that was on the edge of encountering western culture. As they unearthed trade items from the early 1600s, the scientists were able to denote that European goods had made their way to the Chicago area through tribal networks even before the French arrived in the area.

  • Archaeology

    State Journal-Register (Springfield, Ill., July 4) – If it weren’t for the planned widening of Woodside Road in Springfield, we might never have known about an early 1800s farmstead and the daily lives of its occupants. “We found features that probably relate to an early log cabin, including a brick fireplace foundation, an outdoor pit cellar, privy pit and an unlined cistern that probably would have caught rainwater off the eaves of the cabin,” says David Nolan of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, which is part of the Prairie Research Institute at Illinois.

  • Architecture

    The Guardian (March 30) -- North Carolina incited furor last week when it enacted a law banning transgender people from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity instead of their biology at birth. Bills have been introduced in 16 state legislatures in the past four months alone, with calls for justice and access bumping noisily up against arguments about safety and privacy. Public bathrooms are “a flash point” because they are places “where people’s level of discomfort is accentuated and magnified in ways it isn’t in other places,” says Kathryn Anthony, a professor of architecture at Illinois.

  • Architecture school rankings

    Arch Daily (March 4) – Quacquarelli Symonds, a British company specializing in education, revealed its ranking of the world’s top universities for the study of architecture for 2019, based upon academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. The Bartlett School of Architecture at University College, London has been named the best university for studying architecture, taking Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s place, which has topped the rankings for the past four years. The U. of I. ranked 47th.

  • Architecture students to document the historic Schweikher House

    Business Insider Australia (Sydney, June 2) – What’s the most beautiful building in the world, according to Illinois architecture professor Rand Deutsch? The Hubertus House in Amsterdam. 

  • Art exhibition planned at Krannert Art Museum

    Peoria Public Radio (from The Associated Press; Sept. 23) – The Krannert Art Museum at Illinois is assembling an exhibition of art from Africa’s Swahili coast. Organizers say it demonstrates the interconnectivity of East Africa, the Arab world and Asia. The exhibition is titled “World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean.” It opens in the fall of 2017.

  • Art exhibit opens

    The Seattle Times (from The Associated Press; Jan. 25) – A new multidisciplinary art exhibit at Illinois explores themes of colonialism and discovery through the eyes of an African who travels through London. It’s called “Through the Black Country” and opens today at Krannert Art Museum in Champaign.

  • Artificial blood

    STAT (Boston, Feb. 27) – To create artificial blood, Dr. Allan Doctor and his colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis have encased hemoglobin in a synthetic polymer designed by one of Doctor’s collaborators, Dipanjan Pan, a professor of bioengineering at Illinois. 

  • Artificial blood substitute

    United Press International (Dec. 4) – Researchers at Illinois and Washington Universityin St. Louis have created an artificial red blood cell that effectively picks up oxygen in the lungs and delivers it to tissues throughout the body.

  • Artificial intelligence

    The Next Web (Amsterdam, April 11) – A group of researchers unveiled an artificial intelligence capable of making original videos of “The Flintstones” from text descriptions. Researchers working at The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the U. of I. and the University of Washington developed the AI, called the Composition, Retrieval and Fusion Network.

  • Astrobiology

    Astrobiology Magazine (Washington, D.C., July 17) – A NASA-funded team is the first to design a method demonstrating how transposons - DNA sequences that move within a genome - jump from place to place. “This is a new window into how environment can affect evolution rates,” says Nigel Goldenfeld, the director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute for Universal Biology at Illinois.

  • Astronomy

    The Atlantic (Jan. 14) -- What if history's brightest supernova exploded in Earth's backyard? In 1996, grad student Brian Fields and his adviser listed out the radioactive elements blasted into space by a supernova that you might be able hunt down on Earth. A supernova close enough to leave a trace, they reasoned, might also have been close enough to pose a serious threat to life. “If we were really lucky we could connect it to a mass extinction,” says Fields, now an astronomy and physics professor at Illinois. “That’s sort of the Holy Grail, or the unholy grail, of the field.”

  • Astronomy

    National Geographic (April 6) -- Chemical traces found in Earth’s seafloor helped astronomers track ancient supernovas that went off relatively close to our solar system. “We’re using sea sediments as a telescope,” says Brian Fields, a professor of astronomy and physics at Illinois.

  • Astronomy

    CBS News (May 4) -- Only about 40 of the predicted thousands of galaxies composed of dark matter have been seen orbiting the Milky Way. "This discrepancy between observed satellites and predicted abundances has been a major problem in cosmology for nearly two decades, even called a ‘crisis’ by some researchers,” says team member Neal Dalal, a professor of astronomy at Illinois.

  • Astronomy

    Physics (Ridge, N.Y., June 15) – The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory has detected a second burst of gravitational waves from merging black holes. “This is a very important discovery,” says Stuart Shapiro, an astrophysicist at Illinois. “It cements the reality of the first detection and makes credible the belief that detections of this sort will be common and that we have truly opened up a new window to the universe.”

  • Astronomy

    National Geographic (Dec. 17) -- Like cosmic clairvoyants, scientists predicted precisely where and when to see a distant star blow itself to bits – and caught the explosion in action on Dec. 11. “This is incredibly fun. It's amazing to work on something that you know will one day be in a textbook,” says Ryan Foley, an astronomy professor at Illinois who was part of the team that observed the supernova.

  • Astrophysics

    Space.com (New York City, Feb. 8) – A new software program that uses artificial intelligence can help rapidly detect and analyze gravitational waves – ripples in the cosmic fabric of space-time – from catastrophic events such as collisions between black holes, according to a new study by theoretical astrophysicist Eliu Huerta and computational astrophysicist Daniel George at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois.

  • Astrophysics

    BBC (Feb. 21) – Even though the Big Bang happened 13.8 billion years ago, scientists have a good understanding of the nuclear reactions that produced the first elements. Satellites have taken precise measurements of what the early universe was like, allowing researchers to calculate exactly how much of each element and isotope should have been made. But when researchers compare their calculations with what they observe, not everything matches. “The deuterium is bang-on,” says Brian Fields, an astrophysicist at Illinois. “The helium is looking good. Lithium is the one that's off.”

  • Astrophysics

    Nature (London, Aug. 25) – Astrophysicists may have detected gravitational waves last week from the collision of two neutron stars in a distant galaxy – and telescopes trained on the same region might also have spotted the event. Rumors to that effect are spreading fast online, much to researchers’ excitement. “It would be an incredible advance in our understanding,” says Stuart Shapiro, a professor of astrophysical sciences at Illinois. 

  • Astrophysics

    Phys.org (Douglas, Isle of Man, Dec. 20) – A team of scientists at Illinois – physics graduate student Mohammed Sheikh, working with professors Karin Dahmen and Richard Weaver – offers an entirely novel solution for a star’s irregular dimming. They suggest the luminosity variations may be intrinsic to the star itself.

  • Athletics

    Chicago Tribune (March 7) -- Illinois has selected former Bears coach Lovie Smith as its next football coach after athletic director Josh Whitman posted two photos on Monday morning with Smith at Memorial Stadium.

  • Athletics

    Chicago Tribune (March 18) -- Lovie Smith's hiring at Illinois as its first black football coach carries a special significance for black alumni.

  • Athletics

    State Journal-Register (from The Associated Press; April 30) -- When he took over the Chicago Bears in 2004 and again this spring when Illinois hired him, Lovie Smith broke new ground that came with his title. In each case, he was the team's first black head coach.

  • Athletics

    Peoria Journal Star (Peoria, Ill., May 11) – Bill Burrell’s banner seems forgotten. No different from that of every consensus All-American Illini football player, it hangs in Memorial Stadium’s Great West Hall. His obscured No. 68 remains an unintentional reminder of the public disappearance of Illinois’ first African-American football captain, the linebacker/guard who led the Illini in 1959, writes Peter Bailey-Wells, a senior journalism student at Illinois who will graduate Saturday. 

  • Athletics

    Chicago Tribune (June 20) – Illinois has changed plans for a multimillion-dollar football facilities project, athletic director Josh Whitman says. The university has postponed plans to renovate the south horseshoe of Memorial Stadium with an attached football training facility and grandstand. Instead, it will build a stand-alone facility attached to the indoor practice facility behind the stadium.

  • Athletics

    Chicago Tribune (Opinion, Oct. 19) – Mens basketball coach Brad Underwood will win at Illinois, I’m sure of it. Why? Two reasons: He thrived at Stephen F. Austin (89-14) and then flipped Oklahoma State in his lone season in Stillwater. Which bring us to the second reason: There are an estimated 325 million Americans, none of whom would fit better as the new coach in Champaign.

  • Athletics

    Chicago Tribune (Nov. 5) -- After he served in a temporary role this summer, Illinois hired Dee Brown full-time as a special assistant to athletic director Mike Thomas. Brown, who retired in September from a professional playing career overseas, called the goodwill ambassador position a "dream job."

  • Athletics

    WGN-TV (from The Associated Press; Chicago, Ill., Nov. 8) – Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman says the Illini will no longer play Northwestern at Soldier Field in Chicago.

  • Athletics

    Daily Herald (from The Associated Press; Chicago, Nov. 21) – Not much has been written or said about it, but new lighting is easily one of the most noticeable pieces of the $170 million renovation of Illinois’ State Farm Center. The new lighting system has so far been used to splash red, white and blue on the arena ceiling during the national anthem before basketball games.

  • Athletics Director

    Chicago Tribune (Feb. 18) -- Josh Whitman started his day as Illinois' new athletics director with a four-mile run and the top of the Memorial Stadium stairs as his destination.

  • Athletics Hall of Fame

    Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill., Sept. 27) – The inaugural class of the University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame will be inducted in a free public ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday at the State Farm Center in Champaign. 

  • Atmospheric Sciences

    Summit Daily (Summit, Colo., Jan. 16) – The University of Colorado, Boulder, the University of Wyoming and Illinois are participating in a cloud-seeding effort, launched this month, to increase snowfall in the mountains of southwest Idaho with hopes of ultimately increasing power generation by hydroelectric dams.

  • Atmospheric sciences

    Vox (Washington, D.C., March 13) – Nor’easters are the result of the fact that during the winter and early spring months, air temperatures over the land are often colder than air temperatures over the ocean. This setup “makes the East Coast a prime breeding ground for storms like this,” says Jeff Frame, an atmospheric scientist at Illinois.

  • Atmospheric Sciences

    Chicago Tribune (April 24) – “People who think climate change is somewhere in the future, it’s later, maybe it affects future generations – no, it’s here now, it’s only going to get worse,” said Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Don Wuebbles during an Earth Day panel at the Chicago Botanic Garden on Saturday.

  • Atmospheric sciences

    The New York Times (June 6) – A new study shows that tropical cyclones, which include storms and hurricanes, are staying in one place longer, much like Hurricane Harvey did last year. “The really, really high rainfall totals were because the storm moved so slowly,” says Deanna Hence, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Illinois who was not involved in the study. “The large amount of rain that is going to come out of a tropical storm or hurricane anyway fell in the same place over a long period of time.”

  • Atmospheric sciences

    The New York Times (Sept. 13) – Hurricane Florence is expected to slow down and linger over the southeast of the United States. That’s not good. Lingering hurricanes can be a problem, as Texans learned when Harvey caused devastating flooding and billions of dollars of damage. “The really, really high rainfall totals were because the storm moved so slowly,” says Deanna Hence, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Illinois. “The large amount of rain that is going to come out of a tropical storm or hurricane anyway fell in the same place over a long period of time.”

  • Atmospheric sciences

    Chicago Tribune (from Lake County News-Sun; Nov. 9) – Donald Wuebbles, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Illinois, was the keynote speaker Tuesday at a climate conference at the College of Lake County, Grayslake. Science, he says, proves that burning of fossil fuels and other human actions are causing the climate to change. “There is no argument about that among scientists,” says Wuebbles, who served as an assistant director with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House from 2015-17.

  • Attorney general nominee

    The Daily Beast (New York City, Jan. 15) – Under Attorney General nominee William Barr, 310 Haitian immigrants became prisoners of the world’s first detention camp for refugees with HIV. “We have had a massive increase in the criminalization of immigration and immigrants, and a massive expansion of immigrant detention,” says A. Naomi Paik, a professor of Asian American studies at Illinois whose book, "Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps Since World War II," detailed the conditions in the camps.

  • Aviation Security

    Daily Herald (Chicago, May 25) -- O’Hare International Airport wasn't the worst in the nation for intruders penetrating security fences and gates in a 13-year study of 30 major U.S. airports. With about 26,000 commercial flights daily in the U.S., 345 breaches “is not good but it's not that bad either,” says Illinois aviation security expert Sheldon H. Jacobson.

  • Baseball

    The Star (Toronto, May 7) -- Top professional baseball players are leaving Cuba faster than its socialist sports program can replace them. Sports history professor Adrian Burgos sees a parallel to the Negro Leagues, which declined rapidly after Major League Baseball integrated. “You have an infrastructure that’s been very successful at producing high-quality talent,” says Burgos, who teaches Latino history and sport history at Illinois. “That infrastructure can quickly collapse. We’re talking, in baseball terms, in a generation.”

  • Baseball physics

    Fox Sports (from The Associated Press; Sept. 19) – Major League Baseball is about to break its season record for home runs. But what’s the cause? Juiced balls? Watered-down pitching? MLB has the University of Massachusetts Lowell Baseball Research Center conduct periodic testing of baseballs, and Alan Nathan, a professor emeritus of physics at Illinois, consults as part of quality control. 

  • Bat Bot

    The Verge (New York, Feb. 2) – Flying bots like quadcopters and gliders have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, but engineers are still chasing the Holy Grail of aerial robotics: replicating the complex flight of a bat. A team of scientists from Illinois and the California Institute of Technology have created what they claim is the nearest bat biomimic yet. It’s name? Bat Bot.

  • Batteries

    Chicago Tribune (June 9) – Illinois researchers Nancy Sottos, a professor of materials science and engineering, and Scott White, a professor of aerospace engineering, say they’ve found a new way to make cellphone and laptop batteries safer and longer-lasting: self-healing technology.

  • Batteries

    Midwest Energy News (June 14) – Researchers at Illinois are taking self-healing materials research and applying it to energy storage. “The idea was to try to take some of the self-healing work we’ve done in plastics and bring it into the battery world, because batteries do have all these reliability issues,” says Nancy Sottos, a professor of materials science and engineering, a lead researcher on the project along with Scott White, a professor of aerospace engineering.

  • Beckman Institute

    Nature (London, Sept. 16) -- Asking for $40 million is never easy, but Theodore Brown knew his pitch would be a particularly tough sell. As vice chancellor for research at Illinois in the early 1980s, Brown had been tasked with soliciting a major donation from wealthy chemist and entrepreneur Arnold Beckman, a graduate of the university.

  • Big data and literature

    The New York Times (Oct. 30) – Literary critic Franco Moretti has argued in a series of polemics that to truly understand literature requires the computer-assisted crunching of thousands of texts at a time. “They’re (the polemics) very good at dramatizing the method,” says Ted Underwood, a professor of English at Illinois who also uses computational analysis. “That’s part of the fun of reading them.”

  • Bio Bots

    Cosmos Magazine (Australia, March 14) -- Using the new technology of optogenetics, Illinois researcher Rashid Bashir’s group has genetically engineered muscle cells to respond to blue light. A flash of light causes the muscle cells to contract, and the bug-sized frankenbot crawls forward like an inchworm.

  • Bioengineering

    Crain’s Chicago Business (April 21) – What if a simple handheld device could scan the body to detect disease before a patient is in imminent danger? That’s what Dr. Stephen Boppart at Illinois is developing using light imagery. His work may help doctors uncover early signs of deadly maladies like cancer and even enable researchers to track how molecules and cells react to medication in real time.

  • Bioengineering

    Photonics (Pittsfield, Mass., Aug. 8) – Researchers from Illinois recently tested gradient light interference microscopy, which produces images from multiple depths of a sample that can then be composited into a single 3-D image. It was tested on various samples, including live bovine embryos. Researchers believe that the technique could be used to help determine embryo viability before in vitro fertilization in humans. “One of the holy grails of embryology is finding a way to determine which embryos are most viable,” says Mathew Wheeler, a professor of animal sciences and bioengineering at Illinois.