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  • Project 500

    On Thursday, Sept. 27, dozens of the original 500 African-Americans who were part of the original “Project 500” who went from Chicago, East St. Louis, Cairo, Champaign and Philadelphia high schools to the U. of I. in the nation’s first massive black student enrollment at a state school, return to celebrate

  • Alumnus

    The New York Times (Sept. 21) – Ankur Gopal, a U. of I. graduate from Owensboro, Kentucky, started Interapt, a software engineering company that offers courses in coding, in his basement in Louisville in 2011, when he was 35. Gopal is at the forefront of a new movement to bring money and jobs from the coastal capitals of high tech to a discouraged, outsource-whipped Middle America. “With millions of U.S. tech jobs out there,” Gopal says, “we could help transform eastern Kentucky. Well, hey – Middle America.”

  • Advertising

    CNN (Sept. 18) – On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union, law firm Outten and Golden and labor union Communications Workers of America filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 other employers for allegedly using Facebook ads to discriminate against potential job seekers. Facebook isn’t the only company allowing advertisers to target ads, according to Mike Yao, a technology and advertising expert at Illinois. “Facebook is an easy target, but I think the problem goes way beyond Facebook,” he says.

  • Dietary Fiber

    Medical News Today (Bexhill-on-Sea, England, Sept. 17) – Eating fiber-rich foods might help delay brain aging by triggering the production of a short-chain fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. The main takeaway of a new study was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology. “Dietary fiber can really manipulate the inflammatory environment in the gut,” says Rodney Johnson, a professor of animal sciences at Illinois.

  • Digital media

    Illinois News Network (Chicago, Sept. 13) – Facebook has donated more than $250,000 to Illinois state senators and representatives since 2015, spending that U. of I. digital media professor Mike Yao says may be more of an effort to pre-empt future regulatory measures or boost brand awareness than serious lobbying. “I see this as a brand communication strategy, meaning that now all the politicians are more aware of this platform called Facebook, they’ll pay more attention,” Yao says.

  • 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.”

  • Veterinary clinical medicine

    Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill., June 7) – While the national opioid epidemic claims 115 human lives a day according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s growing concern about another group of potential victims – police dogs. Police canines searching for dope or taking part in a drug raid face the risk of accidentally ingesting opioids, with possibly deadly consequences. “A poppy seed size of the powder can kill a dog,” says Maureen McMichael, a professor of veterinary clinical medicine at Illinois.

  • 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.”

  • Agricultural and consumer economics

    The Washington Post (June 5) – President Donald Trump’s tweet about Mexican trade barriers refers to “massive trade deficits.” In 2016, the United States exported $18.7 billion in agricultural products to Mexico and imported $23.8 billion, a deficit of $5.1 billion. Trade economists say there’s a good reason for that deficit, and it doesn’t have anything to do with trade barriers. “The trade deficit is increasing because we’re coming out of a recession and people are consuming more things in the United States,” says Kathy Baylis, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois.

  • Media and cinema studies

    WBFF-TV (Baltimore, June 4) – New data indicating far more people died on the island of Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria than previously reported has reignited debate over the media’s coverage of the storm and its responsibility to communicate the scale of a natural disaster that decimated a U.S. territory more than 1,000 miles southeast of Florida. “In general, the news media doesn’t cover Latino issues, if at all, except in the case of immigration,” says Isabel Molina-Guzman, a professor of media and cinema studies and Latina/o studies at Illinois.

  • Computer science

    The Daily Beast (New York City, June 2) – YouTube’s algorithm seems by default to be flagging videos containing the word “transgender” as something not suitable for all audiences. “The hard part as an outsider is figuring out if it is happening internally, meaning that explicit rules were set, or if it has to do with behavior from clicks from the outside world,” says Karrie G. Karahalios, a professor of computer science at Illinois.

  • Chinese student visas

    Voice of America (Washington, D.C., May 31) – The Trump administration says the U.S. will limit Chinese students who study in high-tech fields to one-year visas starting June 11. The State Department says that under the new policy, U.S. consular officers may limit how long visas are valid, rather than the usual practice of issuing them for the maximum five years. “I think we are facing increased competition from universities around the world, and it is important to be a welcoming and supportive educational environment for students from all countries and cultures,” says Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko, the dean of the Graduate College at Illinois.

  • English

    The Lewiston Tribune (from The Associated Press; Lewiston, Idaho, May 31) – Many English speakers today have no idea that gender neutral pronouns such as “they” were on the cultural radar centuries ago, according to Dennis Baron, a professor of English at Illinois who specializes in the history of the language. “The question today is are we in a blip or is this going to get stronger,” he says. “What’s working against it getting stronger is the lack of agreement on what pronoun. If everybody got behind one pronoun, that would give it a fighting chance.”

  • Fundraising

    Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill., May 29) – Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Monticello, Illinois, announced a fundraising goal of $8 million to improve the park. The “All In for Allerton” campaign is part of the U. of I.’s $2.25 billion fundraising campaign called “With Illinois.” The university owns Allerton Park.

  • Alumna

    Chicago Tribune (May 25) – After years of surprising fans of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” with their contest winnings, Westchester native and Illinois alumna Jeannie Klisiewicz was shocked when DeGeneres surprised her with a Ford EcoSport and an audience seat dedicated in her name to celebrate her 10th anniversary working for the show.

  • Food science and human nutrition

    Eater (Washington, D.C., May 23) – Bruce Chassy, a professor emeritus of food science and human nutrition at Illinois, says there’s a short explanation for why people have turned to a fermented tea called kombucha to be healthy, or at least for a whiff of wellness: “More and more people are mistrusting of many, many different things, whether it’s politicians or corporations or traditional medicine.”

  • Physics

    Live Science (New York City, May 22) – Jessie Shelton, a theoretical physicist at Illinois who helped edit a white paper pitching the Massive Timing Hodoscope for Ultra Stable Neutral Particles, says that so far – with the important exception of the Higgs boson detection – the Large Hadron Collider in Europe has been a disappointment. The Higgs boson appeared, but ever since then, even after a series of upgrades to the machine, the hunt for new particles has turned up nothing. That’s why he and other scientists are hoping that MATHUSULA will turn up evidence of particles that scientists believe are still to be discovered.

  • Landscape architecture

    KUHF-FM (Houston, May 14) – “When I read about Houston considering (tunnels to help control flooding), it seemed to me just, like, a knee-jerk reaction to the intensity of what (Hurricane) Harvey brought to the region,” says Mary Pat McGuire, a professor of landscape architecture at Illinois. Chicago’s flooding is different than Houston’s, but McGuire says the overall sentiment remains the same. “Too often there’s a sense that you meet the big storm with the big infrastructure. And, the bigger the better. And so, tunnels … they speak to, I would say, an old thinking about how to use infrastructure to deal with natural systems.”

  • Agricultural and Consumer Economics

    Ag Professional (Philadelphia, May 9) – U.S. farmers can plant the annual corn crop in as little as two weeks in some cases, say Scott Irwin and Todd Hubbs, professors of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois.

  • Nutrition

    Medical News Today (Bexhill-on-Sea, England, May 8) – Researchers at Illinois set out to uncover the health benefits hidden under the walnut’s wrinkly shell, and they published their results in The Journal of Nutrition. The analysis revealed that walnut intake increased levels of three main bacteria: Faecalibacterium, Roseburia and Clostridium. The researchers explain that these three bacteria produce a metabolic byproduct called butyrate, which has been shown to improve colon health.

  • Cryptocurrencies

    IoT Agenda (Newton, Mass., May 7) – IOTA Foundation, the Berlin-based nonprofit behind the IOTA cryptocurrency platform, is gearing up to launch an “internet of things” data marketplace to securely store, sell and access data streams. The secret sauce, or architecture, that differentiates IOTA from other distributed ledgers is its directed acyclic graph called “tangle,” which doesn't rely on blocks.“I haven’t been able to convince myself of its security,” says Andrew Miller, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois.

  • Laboratory safety

    Motherboard (New York City, May 7) – Pregnant researchers often get no lab-safety guidance. Some conditions, like radiation exposure, are obviously hazardous, though when it comes to the vast majority of chemicals in use in labs today, nobody can say for sure what their impact might be on reproductive health. And there isn’t much work being done to figure that out. “There is a huge reticence to study pregnant people. Or to study things that influence pregnancy,” says Kate Clancy, a professor of anthropology at Illinois. “There’s very little research to look at whether these substances impact pregnancy.”

  • Economics

    The Wall Street Journal (Paywall, Opinion, April 30) – Fifty years ago this month, Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich published “The Population Bomb,” a pessimistic view of the future of the planet caused by overpopulation. At the time, Julian Lincoln Simon, a professor of business and economics at the U. of I., said the doom-and-gloomers had a false understanding of scarcity that led them to believe resources are fixed and limited. In 1981 he put his findings together in a book called “The Ultimate Resource.” In contrast to the misanthropic tone of “The Population Bomb,” Simon was optimistic, recognizing that human beings are more than just mouths to be fed. They also come with minds.

  • Second Amendment

    The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill., April 30) – Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call in March to repeal the Second Amendment to the Constitution is very unlikely to succeed, according to Vikram D. Amar, the dean of the College of Law at Illinois. “Given the super majority requirements, both in the House and Senate to propose, and the states to ratify, constitutional amendments, it is not remotely realistic to suggest that any such amendment could be adopted anytime soon,” Amar wrote in an email to The Pantagraph.

  • Law

    Forbes (Opinion, April 19) – Robin Fretwell Wilson, a professor of law at Illinois, spoke about the competing needs to protect the civil rights of LGBT citizens while also making sure religious people can keep their beliefs and work in the public square. She drew a distinction between someone like Kim Davis, who used her position to act out of animus to prevent gay couples from marrying, and Gayle Myrick, a North Carolina magistrate who merely asked to be exempted from performing gay marriages because they conflicted with her faith.

  • Primatology

    National Geographic (April 17) – Primatologists are seizing on ancient accounts of snub-nosed monkeys in Chinese records to reconstruct their historical distribution and show how environmental degradation has heralded the modern decline of this primate across the country. “Over time, you could see this distribution shrinking and shrinking, and then, particularly in eastern, southeastern and central China, they’re gone,” says Paul Garber, a primatologist at Illinois.

  • Alumnus

    Sports Illustrated (April 14) – Illinois alumnus William Louis Nack, 77, died Friday at his home in Washington, D.C. He was a towering figure in the history of sports journalism, a literary wordsmith and tireless reporter whose distinctive and soaring prose is revered by his peers and generations of younger writers.

  • 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.

  • Language

    Chicago Tribune (Opinion, April 10) – Annie Abbot, a professor of Spanish at Illinois, writes that this past week’s Twitter spat between Jimmy Kimmel and Sean Hannity about Melania Trump reflects the wrong reasons for laughing at someone’s accent.

  • Weed science

    Ag Professional (Philadelphia, April 9) – With a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U. of I. researchers are investigating genetic control of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth. Since these weeds use sexual reproduction, requiring male and female plants, thinning populations to just males could drastically reduce the weed’s effect on farm fields.

  • Sociology

    The Washington Post (April 9) – Cynthia Buckley, a professor of sociology at Illinois, and Jarod Fox, a research assistant at Illinois, are part of a team of scientists studying the fighting in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region, which is entering its fifth year. As its hospitals and medical facilities are destroyed, its citizens are being deprived of basic healthcare services, echoing Syria’s similar if larger crisis.

  • State funding

    WUIS-FM (Springfield, Ill., April 5) – University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen told the members of the state Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday that he’d like to maintain a freeze on tuition rates. The U. of I. is asking lawmakers for a significant budget increase – after a 10 percent cut this year – in part to fund scholarships the university hopes will help lure Illinois students to stay in state.

  • Journalism

    Rolling Stone (April 3) – The core idea that the news media exist in the broad public interest has been in place since the formation of the United States. Even the likes of Washington and Jefferson helped institute the practice of giving cheap or even free postage rates to newspapers. “Abolitionist newspapers were sent to the South thanks to these policies,” says Robert McChesney, a professor of communication at Illinois. “Even back then there was this idea of subsidizing reporting.”

  • Social work

    Forbes (New York City, March 31) – The science connecting optimism to improved health argues in favor of finding a way to see the bright side. A new study on optimism and heart health adds a little more evidence worth considering. “The correlation between optimism and cardiovascular health was consistent across heritage groups, regardless of age, sex or level of acculturation,” says principal investigator Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at Illinois.

  • Social work

    CityLab (Washington, D.C., March 29) – Ted Cross, a senior research specialist at Illinois who has conducted research on Children’s Advocacy Centers, which help abused children, says the centers’ separation of a forensic interview and a therapeutic session is critical for a child who has been abused, but is also important for practical reasons. “You don’t want the therapeutic work to taint a criminal investigation,” he says. “If a child is in therapy at the same time that the forensic interview takes place, the attorney representing the offender can say the therapist planted the idea of abuse in the child’s head.”

  • Biofilms

    The New York Times (March 26) – A study by American and Swiss researchers, including scientists at the U. of I., found that toy rubber ducks appeared to be a breeding ground for microbes.

  • Supercomputing

    HPCwire (San Diego, March 27) – Gravitational wave astronomy burst onto the scene with the success of the original Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory effort and has since continued with the expanded Advanced LIGO project, which has now identified five binary black hole mergers producing gravitational waves. New deep-learning tools developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois now promise to accelerate aLIGO discovery efforts.

  • Law

    Indy Week (Durham, N.C., March 26) – The School of Law at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill hosted a panel of speakers Thursday as part of a series of conversations by the pro-LGBTQ group Tolerance Means. The panelists gave their take on the series title: “Religion and Gay Rights: Do They Have to Be at Odds?” “I’m afraid most of the breakdown is not hearing each other’s stories. We’ve got to have a dialogue and not make the perfect the enemy of the good, or even of the achievable,” says Robin Fretwell Wilson, a professor of law at Illinois.

  • Alumnus

    The Hill (Opinion, Washington, D.C., March 23) – Illinois alumnus Yi Gang is well-equipped to assume the role as China’s central bank chief. His first order of business will be to get a handle on China’s growing debt problem and get ahead of a potential problem should any of the many variables related to the overhang of debt start to unravel.

  • Plant biology

    Mongabay (Menlo Park, Calif., March 20) – A new study’s findings further the understanding of the dynamics between tropical plants and phosphorus and could help farmers grow crops more effectively without having to use environmentally harmful fertilizers. “This study highlights our limited understanding of how plants cope with phosphorus-poor soils, a significant challenge to farmers through much of the tropics,” says Jim Dalling, a research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and a professor of plant biology at Illinois.

  • Sociology

    FiveThirtyEight (New York City, March 19) – Those who might pressure the Census Bureau to work on the problem of undercounting children in the next census are finding that their energy is demanded elsewhere. “Right now we’re busy fighting the new issue of the citizenship question, which would be an absolute disaster,” says Julie Dowling, a sociologist at Illinois who serves on a working group convened by the bureau and who wrote a book on how Mexican-Americans think about questions of racial labeling.

  • Alumni

    The New York Times (March 17) – The stunning victory by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County over the University of Virginia on Friday night – the biggest upset ever in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament – catapulted a school whose competitive claim to fame had long been chess into sports history. President Freeman A. Hrabowski III, who received a Ph.D. from the U. of I., has created a school that is better known for producing the most African-American students who go on to complete combined master and doctoral degree programs than it is for turning out professional athletes.

  • Kinesiology

    The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill., March 16) – Brynn Adamson, a doctoral candidate in kinesiology at Illinois, has been doing research on the impact of physical activity on people with multiple sclerosis. Research shows that exercise in people with multiple sclerosis reduces fatigue, depression and anxiety, and results in improvements in strength, mobility, gait and balance, Adamson says.

  • 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.

  • Ebertfest

    Chicago Sun-Times (from The Associated Press; March 12) – Director Ava DuVernay is scheduled to be a guest at the 20th annual Ebertfest next month in Illinois. The U. of I. announced Monday that the Oscar-nominated director of “Selma” and “A Wrinkle in Time” will attend the film festival in Champaign honoring the late movie critic Roger Ebert.

  • Sexual harassment

    There are a few reasons why it’s especially hard to counteract harassment of women in agencies like the U.S. Forest Service. Kathryn Clancy, an anthropologist at Illinois who studies workplace climates in the scientific fields, says factors like a male-dominated workplace or working in a field typically associated with men can make it more likely that women will face harassment or even assault.

  • Plant biology

    R&D Magazine (Rockaway, N.J., March 8) – Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute found that phosphorus limits the growth of individual tree species but not entire forest communities. Their results, published online in Nature, have sweeping implications for understanding forest growth and change. “This study highlights our limited understanding of how plants cope with phosphorus-poor soils, a significant challenge to farmers through much of the tropics,” says Jim Dalling, STRI research associate and professor of plant biology at Illinois.

  • Sexual harassment

    Eos (Washington, D.C., Feb. 27) – Speaking at a House Science Committee hearing targeting sexual harassment Tuesday, Kathryn Clancy, a professor of anthropology at Illinois, explained that anti-harassment policies need to be explicit about acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, easily accessible to all and taught as part of standard workplace training.

  • Illinois Supreme Court

    Chicago Tribune (from The Associated Press; Feb. 25) – The Illinois Supreme Court is hitting the road. The justices will gather at the U. of I. – the alma mater of Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier – on March 15 to hear two cases.

  • Crop sciences

    Agri News (Rochester, Minn., Feb. 21) – You may not find them in the produce aisle yet, but it’s only a matter of time before new disease-resistant apple cultivars overtake favorites like Honeycrisp in popularity, according to an apple expert at Illinois. “I know everyone wants Honeycrisp, but they’re notoriously hard to grow,” says Mosbah Kushad, a professor of crop sciences.