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  • Alumni (New York, April 3) – Today would have been the 88th birthday of structural engineer and Illinois alumnus Fazlur Rahman Khan, best known for designing Chicago’s Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower. Khan is the subject for today's Google Doodle.

  • Chemistry

    Chemical & Engineering News (Washington, D.C., April 11) -- Triacetone triperoxide is a highly unstable explosive prone to unintended detonation. Yet terrorists, such as those responsible for the March 22 bombings in Brussels and the November 2015 attacks in Paris, are increasingly using the compound to inflict carnage. At Illinois, chemistry professor Kenneth S. Suslick has developed an optoelectronic “nose” for identifying many classes of compounds, including peroxide explosives.

  • Law

    The Atlantic (April 10) – Biometric trackers could revolutionize professional sports. First, though, leagues will have to convince athletes to share their data. “It seems inherently geared to advantage the team,” says Michael LeRoy, a professor of law at the University of Illinois.

  • Agricultural economics

    Bloomberg (April 10) – The number of U.S. farms that are either very big or pretty small probably grew during a period when agriculture incomes fell 22 percent, pressuring mid-sized growers whose debt skyrocketed. “We’ve had sort of a hollowing out of the middle,” says Todd Kuethe, an agricultural economist at Illinois. “Either you’re one of these large farms or you’re one of these rural, residential farms.”

  • Medical Devices

    The New York Times (April 13) – St. Jude Medical played down the failure of some batteries in its defibrillators, shipping them for years before recalling the devices last fall, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Physicians at Duke University documented battery problems with the devices in 2014, as did an Illinois team in 2015.

  • 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.

  • Social Media

    Christian Science Monitor (May 11) -- Several “folk theories” – including a “Narcissus Theory” that users will see more posts from friends similar to them and a perspective that suggests Facebook is all powerful and unknowable – shaped how some users manipulated the site, says Karrie Karahalios, an associate professor of computer science at Illinois.

  • 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. 

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • Alumnus

    Chicago Tribune (May 25) – “The challenge I present myself with is to get out of my own way,” says Benjamin Montalbano, the founder and frontman of the band Matthaus. Montalbano’s style stems from his background in the classical music world. He earned a degree from Illinois in music composition.

  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Motherboard (May 31) -- Recent research has pointed to a method of device fingerprinting that uses the minuscule, unique imperfections in each phone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to create a profile of that phone that can be used to track its user’s activities across the web, without the user’s knowledge. “Smartphone users who use private browsing or clear their cookies to avoid tracking would find that these protection measures are rendered ineffective by fingerprinting, and they can still be tracked,” says Nikita Borisov, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois.

  • Agricultural Research Lab

    Peoria Journal Star (Peoria, Ill., May 30) – Research conducted at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, threatened with closure under the Trump administration’s proposed budget, creates a vital economic impact that ripples from Peoria across the globe. The work done at the lab also begets more research at other institutions, says Kimberlee Kidwell, the dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at Illinois.

  • Alumnus

    Broadway World (June 6) – Illinois alumnus Alan Ruck, known for his role as Cameron Frye in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” speaks about his recent appearance alongside actor Brad Pitt in the film “War Machine” and his time at the U. of I. “For college I wound up at Illinois, which was a happy accident,” Ruck says. “I met some really wonderful people there.” 

  • 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.

  • Mechanical Science and Engineering

    The Hill (Washington, D.C., June 15) – As NASA faces the threat of budget cuts and questions about its mission, the space agency came to Capitol Hill on Thursday to highlight its work to lawmakers and staffers. Kelly A. Stephani, a professor at Illinois’ department of mechanical science and engineering, was one of the attendees. She touted her work to better protect spacecraft when they re-enter earth's atmosphere. 

  • State education budget

    Chicago Tribune (June 19) – Illinois’ public universities and community colleges are getting an increase in state funding not seen in nearly three decades. The state budget Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed June 5 raises higher education general funding by $154 million or 8.2%, the largest year-over-year percentage jump since 1990, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Tim Killeen, president of the University of Illinois System, says the budget marked “a significant step in rebuilding the trust and confidence” in the state’s higher education system.

  • Epidermal electronic system

    Epidermolysis Bullosa News (Pensacola, Fla., June 21) – A skinlike device that measures heart rate, breathing, blood oxygen, blood pressure and body temperature may provide a safer way to monitor vital signs of those in intensive care who have fragile skin, such as newborns and patients with epidermolysis bullosa. The technology, referred to as an epidermal electronic system, is a wireless, battery-free, ultrathin device that gently contacts the skin in a noninvasive way. It was developed by a team of multidisciplinary researchers from several universities, including scientists from the U. of I.

  • Alumna

    Chicago Tribune (June 26) – Illinois alumna Jasmine Lee, a research specialist at Chicago startup G2 Crowd, helps people pick better software.

  • Media

    Variety (Los Angeles, July 10) – CNN will use a “live draw” to select which Democratic candidates appear on two nights of debates, possibly to preempt a point of contention. The current generation of news aficionados is ready to take on mainstream outlets like CNN or The New York Times and argue with them about the way they chose to present an event or the motives they may have in doing so. “The idea of the passive audience has been obliterated and gone for a while,” says Nikki Usher, a professor of media at Illinois who studies changes in news production.

  • 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.

  • Sexual Violence

    EdSource (Oakland, Calif., July 24) – While there is no single profile of a student who sexually assaults others, sexual harassment by definition is about gender and power, and students who engage in that behavior are likely to have issues with both, said Dorothy Espelage, an Illinois expert on bullying and sexual violence.

  • Animal Sciences

    Chicago Tribune (Aug. 3) -- Janeen Johnson, an associate professor of animal sciences at Illinois whose research has been funded in part by the pork industry, criticized retailers for dictating livestock handling practices to producers whose families have been raising pigs for generations. “The science has not supported change,” Johnson says. “If sows are placed in group pens, you’re going to see mortality go up and efficiency go down. A lot of these producers may shut their doors.”

  • 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.

  • Charlottesville protests

    The Huffington Post (Opinion, Aug. 14) – Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, a professor of higher education administration and the director of the Office for Community College Research and Leadership at Illinois, writes about the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

  • Agriculture

    Herald-Whig (Quincy, Ill., Sept. 3) – Prices being paid for farmland as well as sales activity have flattened during the first half of 2017, with a trend that will apparently continue for the balance of the year, a survey says. “There was a very slight drop in farmland values, only 1.6 percent for excellent quality land, in the first half of 2017, with most respondents indicating this trend will continue through the balance of the year,” says Gary Schnitkey, a professor of agriculture and consumer economics at Illinois.

  • New Innovation Center

    Chicago Inno (Sept. 7) – As the global financial industry continues to rapidly evolve, one of the world’s largest options and futures exchanges is turning to U. of I. students to help manage the pace of innovation. Chicago-based CME Group, “the world’s most diverse financial marketplace,” is set to open a new innovation center this Friday at the Research Park at Illinois. 

  • Adopting research animals

    WTTW-TV (Chicago; Sept. 14) – Starting next year, universities and other publicly funded institutions must include on their websites adoption policies for the dogs and cats they use for research. “The new law doesn’t change anything we do, as we have had adoption procedures in place for more than 20 years,” says Robin Kaler, the associate chancellor for public affairs at Illinois. The U. of I. is exploring a partnership with Homes for Animal Heroes, which would expand those options. 

  • Electrical and computer engineering

    Midwest Energy News (St. Paul, Min., Sept. 18) – Solar power’s “duck-curve” problem – where solar production and demand peaks don’t align – is rearing its head where grid operators are at the cutting edge of clean energy, recent analysis shows. “The units that we have and the amount of capacity that have that ramping capability is limited,” says George Gross, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois. “I can’t tell a solar unit to ramp up … [but] I can do that with gas-powered units.”

  • Editorial board resigns

    Inside Higher Education (Sept. 20) – Much of the journal Third World Quarterly’s editorial board resigns, saying that a controversial article arguing in favor of colonialism failed to pass peer review but was published anyway – and that the journal’s editor then misrepresented the process. One board member who resigned was Asef Bayat, a professor of sociology at Illinois.

  • Mandarin

    Chicago Tribune (Sept. 30) -- Illinois student Liaohan He and his broadcast partner Yekai Lu are the first to call an NCAA football game in Mandarin. They are broadcasting all Illini home games online through a free audio link on the team's website and a mobile app.

  • Administration

    Herald and Review (Decatur, Ill., Oct. 5) – The University of Illinois System says it has cut the number of its employees by 484 over the past 18 months, about 3 percent of the school's non-instructional workforce. The university said in a news release Wednesday that most of the cuts were made through attrition as people left jobs and that 202 of the positions were in the system’s central administration.

  • Media

    USA Today (Oct. 19) – Candace Owens has moved from an unknown liberal YouTuber to appearing on Fox News and working for Turning Point USA. Her abrupt shift from liberal to conservative confounds some. “You wonder why did she flip her perspective,” says Nikki Usher, a professor of media at Illinois. “Is it because she is somebody who genuinely has re-thought her ideological commitments or is this like a really good way to feed your ego and put yourself out there and establish a career?”

  • Model Organism for Life on Mars (Isle of Man, Oct. 26) – Single-celled microbes are considered a living example of the kind of life that might exist elsewhere in the universe, as they are able to survive some of the extreme conditions that exist on other worlds. New research by a team of Illinois scientists on the bacterium Tepidibacillus decaturensis shows that it could be a model organism for what might live on Mars, should any creature inhabit the Red Planet.

  • Structural engineering

    The New York Times (Nov. 8) – Most experts consulted on the appropriate materials for a border wall with Mexico thought that precasting – making the concrete panels elsewhere and then shipping them to the border – was the most practical choice. “Rather than build from point A to point B, the wall route could be divided into segments, say 100 miles apart,” says Daniel Abrams, a professor of structural engineering at Illinois.

  • Psychology

    Herald-Whig (Quincy, Ill., Nov. 14) – Comic book legend Stan Lee and Marvel’s characters always were at the forefront of how to deal with racial and other forms of discrimination, according to Mikhail Lyubansky, a professor of the psychology of race and ethnicity at Illinois.

  • Improving photosynthesis

    Modern Farmer (Hudson, N.Y., Nov. 18) – Photosynthesis has evolved to help plants survive and reproduce, which is related to but not quite the same thing as producing food for humans. For our purposes, we want plants to grow very large edible bits (leaves and fruits) very quickly. These researchers, from Illinois, decided to turn their hand to hacking photosynthesis to work more efficiently for us.

  • Ethanol production (Isle of Man, Nov. 23) – New research at the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory at Illinois could significantly change ethanol production by lowering operating costs and simplifying the dry grind process. “There are currently more than 200 dry grind plants that are processing corn to produce ethanol,” says Vijay Singh, the director of IBRL and a professor in agricultural and biological engineering. “The dry grind process requires two different enzymes to convert corn starch to glucose, which is further fermented to ethanol by yeast.” Singh says that process has been simplified by the combined use and optimization of three new technologies.

  • Carbon sequestration

    The Washington Times (Washington, D.C., from The Associated Press; Dec. 7) – The Illinois State Geological Survey, part of the Prairie Research Institute at Illinois, says it has been awarded a pair of federal grants worth a total of more than $12.6 million to try to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions from the use of fossil fuels.

  • Alumnae

    NBC News (Dec. 13) – Before they took the internet by storm, Illinois alumnae, twin choreographers and dancers Poonam and Priyanka Shah spent hours practicing dance routines in the comfort of their home, creating what they call “Bfusion,” a combination of Bharatnatyam classical Indian dance, Bollywood choreography and elements of hip-hop. The twins both attended Illinois, where Poonam majored in finance and Priyanka studied accounting and management.

  • Carbon sequestration

    Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill., Dec. 16) – Researchers are beginning to explore the possibility of capturing and storing carbon dioxide below ground at more sites near Decatur than the initial area of focus surrounding the main Archer Daniels Midland Co. complex. A site of interest for further evaluation is the Forsyth oil field north of Decatur, says Sallie Greenberg, the associate director for energy research and development with the Illinois State Geological Survey, which is part of the Prairie Research Institute at Illinois.

  • Business administration

    Business Today (Delhi, India, Feb. 23) – “Research from as far back as 1980 showed that reducing privacy at work lowers workplace satisfaction and job fulfillment,” says Ravi S. Gajendran, a professor of business administration at Illinois. 

  • Nutrition

    The New York Times (Jan. 1) – New research suggests that fiber doesn’t directly deliver its benefits to our bodies; the fiber we eat feeds billions of bacteria in our guts. Hannah D. Holscher, a nutrition scientist at Illinois who was not involved in the new studies, says that the results on mice need to be put to the test in humans. But it’s much harder to run such studies on people.

  • Special education student punishment

    Houston Chronicle (from The Associated Press; Dec. 29) – Special education students in Texas are more likely to receive some of the harshest punishments in the classroom, according to an analysis of state education data. Experts say that tracks with other estimates nationally that find disabled students disproportionally represented in the juvenile justice system. Most studies put the number of disabled youth in juvenile justice systems nationally at about 33 percent, says Meghan Burke, a professor of special education at Illinois.

  • Agriculture

    Ag Professional (Philadelphia, Jan. 3) – Some seed mixes used to grow habitat for bees and wildlife have been contaminated with an aggressive and prolific weed that can be a scourge for farmers, including those in Minnesota. Contaminated seeds sold and planted in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois have been sent to Illinois for scientific testing for positive identification of Palmer amaranth and other weeds. 

  • Land donations

    Bloomberg (Jan. 3) – As it looks for ways to make the most of its agricultural expertise, the U. of I. is encouraging farmers to donate their land to the university. 

  • Agricultural and consumer economics

    The Washington Post (Opinion, Jan. 2) – While a large part of the agricultural research establishment is focused on one aspect of the challenge of feeding the world of the future – calories – another part of the scientific community is focused on a related but different one: adequate nutrient consumption, according to Gerald C. Nelson, a professor emeritus of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois.

  • Terrorism

    BBC News (Dec. 25) -- Several research groups across the globe are now developing sensors to detect TATP – the explosive used in the Paris attacks – before it can be detonated. "Anyone who could follow a recipe to make a pumpkin pie could follow the recipe to make TATP," says Kenneth Suslick, a professor of chemistry at Illinois.

  • Veterinary Medicine

    The Washington Post (Jan. 4) – Lucky, the two-faced calf, died one week before a potentially lifesaving visit to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Illinois.

  • Engineering

    Chicago Tribune (Jan. 4) -- Courtney Leverenz, a senior at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, dreams of traveling to Mars and exploring space. In July, Leverenz found herself at Illinois for the GAMES (Girls Adventures in Mathematics, Engineering and Science) Engineering Camp. There, she learned more about the technical side of engineering.