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Expert Viewpoints

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  • Will anything ever change for the Kurds?

    A U. of I. specialist on Middle Eastern politics explains why Kurds often feel they have “no friends but the mountains,” why they’re a political threat to Turkey’s president and motivations for the recent Turkish attack on the Kurds in Syria.

  • Will hiding 'like' counts and other numbers improve social media?

    Social media companies are experimenting with hiding metrics on their platforms – something University of Illinois art professor Ben Grosser has been exploring since 2012 with his Demetricator projects.

  • Could cannabis be a pain relief alternative to opioids?

    The Opioid Alternative Pilot Project offers medical cannabis as a pain-relief option for those looking to avoid or reduce opioid use, said Julie Bobitt, the director of the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program at Illinois.

  • Impeachment is underway: So who makes the rules?

    An impeachment investigation may be based in charges of wrongdoing, but it’s still a political process, says Illinois political science professor Gisela Sin. Even the design of rules and procedures is done strategically and with an eye on the outcome.

  • What’s behind surge in unaccompanied minors crossing southern U.S. border?

    The surge in unaccompanied children seeking refuge across the U.S. border can be attributed to poverty, natural disasters and the rise of gang recruitment in their home countries. But the biggest factor is that their countries of origin – Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico – are effectively as violent as war zones, says Lauren R. Aronson, an associate clinical professor of law and the director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of Illinois College of Law.

  • What explains the persistence of Hong Kong protest?

    Hong Kong’s nearly four-month protest is only the latest in a series, all centered on concerns about retaining freedoms and gaining the right to choose the city’s leadership, says University of Illinois history professor Poshek Fu, a Hong Kong native and specialist on modern China. The current protest movement is notable, however, for its social media-driven, guerrillalike tactics, its longevity and the international attention it has received.

  • How are Illinois birds faring?

    According to a new study reported in the journal Science, bird populations in North America have experienced a troubling decline in the past five decades. The scientists estimate the continent has lost close to 3 billion birds, roughly 29% of their total numbers in 1970. Senior wildlife ecologist Thomas J. Benson of the Illinois Natural History Survey discusses the status of birds in Illinois with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates. Benson leads the Critical Trends Assessment Program, which monitors the biological condition of the state’s forests, wetlands and grasslands, and collects data on plants, birds and arthropods.

  • What’s at stake in auto workers strike?

    The strike of more than 47,000 auto workers is a way of recouping some of what union members lost during the Great Recession, says Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois and the director of the Labor Education Program in Chicago.

  • Would changes to capital gains taxes spur the economy?

    Indexing capital gains to inflation could be a simple fix to stimulate a teetering economy, but several significant implementation hurdles remain, said Richard L. Kaplan, an internationally recognized expert on U.S. tax policy and the Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law at Illinois.

  • Would cutting payroll taxes help prevent recession?

    Cutting the payroll tax could represent the middle-class tax cut that President Trump campaigned on – although changes would need to go through the legislative process and any economic stimulus likely wouldn’t been seen until after the November 2020 election, said Richard L. Kaplan, an internationally recognized expert on U.S. tax policy and the Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law at Illinois.

  • Germany transformed under Nazis in 100 days. Do we understand why?

    With world leaders gathering Sept. 1 to mark the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II in Europe, U. of I. history professor Peter Fritzsche describes how Germans came to embrace Nazi rule, especially in Hitler’s first 100 days.

  • How can educators, coaches support student-athletes’ academic success?

    Coaches and educators should work together to help athletes achieve their full potential, U. of I. scholars and former collegiate athletes Joseph L. Cross and Bruce W. Fouke say in a new study.

  • Can a state copyright its own laws – and prevent citizens from republishing them?

    The pending Supreme Court case Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org will test the legality of a state copyrighting its own laws, which could pose a challenge to legal research, scholarship and public access to the law, said U. of I. copyright law expert Sara R. Benson.

  • How might 'Medicare for All' reshape health care in the U.S.?

    University of Illinois professor emeritus of community health Thomas W. O’Rourke, an expert on health policy analysis, the possible impact of establishing a single-payer health care system in the U.S.

  • Citizenship and the census: What happens now?

    An Illinois professor who studies how Latinos deal with the census responds to the Supreme Court’s decision on the citizenship question.

  • Will there be any constraints now on partisan gerrymandering?

    The Supreme Court this week said it can’t provide the cure to partisan gerrymandering, so the focus will have to be on prevention, says an Illinois political science professor who hopes her research can play a part.

  • Will legalizing marijuana be a boon to the state of Illinois?

    By legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana, the state of Illinois could fund additional pension payments while making investments in public education, construction projects, and drug treatment and prevention programs, says Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois and the director of the Labor Education Program in Chicago.

  • Does more rain mean more risk of mosquito-borne diseases in Illinois?

    Experts have ranked May 2019 as one of the wettest Mays on record in central Illinois. Is it possible that the incidence of mosquito-borne illnesses increases with the amount of rainfall? To find out, News Bureau science writer Ananya Sen asked Brian F. Allan, an entomology professor at the University of Illinois.

  • What happened at Stonewall 50 years ago? And why did it matter?

    An Illinois historian describes how everything changed for those involved in the Stonewall riots 50 years ago, and the event’s place in the history of gay rights.

  • Does the Supreme Court need to care about public opinion?

    The Supreme Court has to consider public opinion and its popularity in deciding politically divisive cases, says a University of Illinois political scientist.

  • What changes should be made to modernize consumer bankruptcy law?

    The primary reason why current bankruptcy law doesn’t work well is that it dates back to 1978, before the explosion of consumer credit, says Robert M. Lawless, the Max L. Rowe Professor of Law at Illinois and a leading consumer credit and bankruptcy expert. Lawless served as reporter for the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy, which recommended several changes to the law.

  • How does sexual harassment affect young women in physics?

    In a study reported in the journal Physical Review Physics Education Research, nearly 75% of 471 undergraduate women in physics who responded to a survey offered during a professional conference reported having experienced at least one type of sexual harassment – mostly gender harassment – in their field. U. of I. anthropology professor Kathryn Clancy, a co-author of the report, talked to News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about the study, which also examined the respondents’ feelings of belonging and legitimacy as scientists and scholars.

  • What was lost in the Notre Dame Cathedral fire?

    Notre Dame Cathedral, severely damaged by fire this week, is widely understood as “the beating heart of France,” with global significance beyond that, says one University of Illinois historian in a Q&A. Another notes how a key aspect of music as we know it today was invented for the cathedral’s unique resonant space, a soundscape lost in the fire.

  • How is Illinois contributing to the Event Horizon Telescope Project?

    The Event Horizon Telescope Project announced that it has captured the first image of a black hole. The feature is located at the center of Messier 87 – a giant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with University of Illinois physics and astronomy professor Charles Gammie, who heads up the theory working group for the large, multi-institutional collaboration.

  • 'Brexit' is coming – or maybe not. Why is this happening?

    An Illinois political science professor explains some of the forces behind “Brexit” and why it’s so difficult.

  • Why do so few community college grads transfer to elite colleges?

    Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, the director of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership at the University of Illinois, discusses why so few community college students transfer to selective colleges and universities.

  • The Midwest has a new national park. How did that happen?

    The Midwest has a new national park at Indiana Dunes, and a University of Illinois professor explains how it happened and why the park is valuable.

  • Is there a cure for potholes?

    Temperatures may be on the rise, but many motorists and pedestrians remain focused on the ground as they attempt to navigate safely around the many potholes that develop this time of year. Industrial and enterprise systems engineering professor Henrique M. Reis spoke with Illinois News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about how potholes form and if there are any potential solutions.

  • Are global warming, recent Midwest cold snap related?

    Last month, the Midwest experienced record-breaking cold temperatures and many are wondering how, when the climate is experiencing an unprecedented warming trend, we can still experience such frigid cold. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian asked University of Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Don Wuebbles to explain.

  • What do we really know about e-cigarettes and vaping?

    E-cigarettes carry mixed messages about benefit and risk, but they’re relatively untested products with uncertain long-term health outcomes, says an Illinois professor who has studied health communication issues around vaping.

  • What might come of Venezuela’s political crisis?

    Illinois political scientist Damarys Canache discusses the history and politics behind the crisis of two presidents in Venezuela.

  • What can we learn from JFK about presidential speechmaking?

    An Illinois professor looks at presidential speechmaking through one of its more-eloquent practitioners, John F. Kennedy.

  • Superfluidity: what is it and why does it matter?

    2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the landmark physics discovery of superfluidity. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian asked University of Illinois physics professor and 2003 Nobel Prize winner Anthony Leggett about the significance of the historic finding.

  • Should the tech industry end mandatory arbitration for workers?

    For tech company workers protesting sexual harassment in the workplace, there are few practical benefits to be gained from employers ending mandatory arbitration beyond an increased perception of procedural justice, says U. of I. labor professor Ryan Lamare.

  • What’s it take to get asylum? And what’s driving those seeking it?

    An Illinois professor who has aided in asylum cases talks about the criteria, changes in the process and why Central Americans are seeking this protection.

  • Illinois presidents: What made them agents of change?

    With the “Land of Lincoln” celebrating its bicentennial, a historian looks at the influence of four Illinois-connected presidents.

  • What is on the horizon for global carbon emissions?

    On Dec. 5, the Global Carbon Project published the Global Carbon Budget 2018, giving world leaders access to data on atmospheric carbon concentrations, emissions and trends. Illinois atmospheric scientist Atul Jain was among the many scientists worldwide who contributed data to the report. Jain talked about the carbon budget and this year’s findings with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian.

  • Can we talk about the Illinois climate?

    Jim Angel, the Illinois state climatologist, has announced that he will retire in December 2018 after 34 years at the Illinois State Water Survey. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with him about his career, climate change and the National Climate Assessment released on Black Friday.

  • Can birthright citizenship be taken away?

    In adopting the 14th Amendment, Congress unambiguously intended that the children of immigrant workers would have birthright citizenship in the U.S., said University of Illinois labor and employment relations professor Michael LeRoy, an expert on immigration and employment law.

  • What does Brazil’s recent election mean for its future?

    Brazilian expert Jerry Davila analyzes the country’s election of a far-right president and what it might mean for the future.

  • 100 years after influenza pandemic, why should I get a flu shot?

    Influenza has no cure, but vaccines and anti-viral treatments could help thwart another deadly outbreak, says microbiology professor Christopher Brooke.

  • Polling and the election: What to believe?

    With a much-anticipated midterm just a week away, political scientist Brian Gaines suggests we check some common assumptions about polling.

  • How does racial discrimination impact users of online dating websites?

    University of Illinois social work professor Ryan Wade explores the prevalence and impact of racialized sexual discrimination on sexual networking websites used by gay or bisexual men of color.

  • How worried should we be about the 2020 census?

    An accurate census is essential for public and private planning, but the 2020 effort is underfunded and behind schedule, an Illinois expert says.

  • Monster hurricanes: Why have recent storms been so huge?

    Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, as the first Category 4 storm in recorded history to reach shore in the northeast Gulf Coast. News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Deanna Hence about the storm’s size, strength and path, and the impact of global climate change on future hurricanes. 

  • What effect will Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony have on the #MeToo movement?

    The lasting impact of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee will be the image of a lone woman speaking truth to power, says Lesley Wexler, a University of Illinois law professor who studies anti-discrimination law.

  • How has the #MeToo movement impacted the Kavanaugh nomination?

    Without the #MeToo movement and the high bar of a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, it’s doubtful that the sexual assault allegations leveled against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would have surfaced, says Lesley Wexler, a University of Illinois law professor who studies anti-discrimination law.

  • Should the age for required minimum distributions from retirement accounts be raised?

    Changes to the age for required minimum distributions from retirement accounts could be made after the 2018 mid-term elections, said Richard L. Kaplan, an internationally recognized expert on tax policy and retirement issues, and the Guy Raymond Jones Chair in Law at Illinois.

  • How is higher education making college degrees more attainable?

    Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, the director of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership at the University of Illinois, discusses initiatives that are making college degrees attainable for more students.

  • What should we make of the ‘68 Chicago Democratic Convention now?

    A U. of I. political historian looks back 50 years at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.