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Expert Viewpoints

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  • 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.

  • Latinos on TV: Where are they? And when should we laugh?

    Professor Isabel Molina-Guzman’s new book examines the role of Latinos in TV sitcoms, as well as the changing form of the genre in a “post-racial” television era.

  • What is a neutrino and why do they matter?

    Scientists recently announced the discovery of a subatomic particle that made its way to Earth from an event that occurred 3.7 billion light-years away. Sensors buried within Antarctic ice detected the ghostly cosmic particle, called a neutrino, and traced its origin to a rapidly spinning galactic nucleus known as a blazar. Physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with physics professor Liang Yang about the significance of the discovery.

  • What is Anthony Kennedy’s legacy as a Supreme Court justice?

    Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has been the court’s “pivot point” between its liberal and conservative elements since Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement in 2006, said Vikram Amar, dean of the University of Illinois College of Law and the Iwan Foundation Professor of Law.

  • What comes now in the wake of Justice Kennedy’s retirement?

    An Illinois political scientist talks about the politics of replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy and the future direction of the Supreme Court.

  • Should we worry about ticks this summer?

    Editor’s note: The number of tick-borne illnesses diagnosed annually in the United States doubled between 2004 and 2016, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summer is prime tick season, and people spending time outdoors should be vigilant, says University of Illinois entomology professor Brian F. Allan. An expert in the spread of insect- and tick-borne diseases, Allan discussed ticks in Illinois, how to prevent bites and when to seek medical attention in an interview with News Bureau biomedical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg Touchstone.

  • How might teaching inclusive history affect the educational, social climate in Illinois' public schools?

    Leslie K. Morrow, the director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center, discusses the impact that a proposed law could have on the curricula and students in Illinois public schools.

  • What now with gerrymandering? Are algorithms part of the answer?

    The Supreme Court “punted” this week on the issue of partisan gerrymandering, but left the door open to future action. An Illinois professor hopes her research can be part of the solution.

  • Do summer jobs provide lifelong benefits for teens?

    University of Illinois Extension educator Kathy Sweedler, whose focus area is consumer economics, spoke recently with News Bureau education editor Sharita Forrest about what teens can gain from summer jobs.

  • Roseanne and NFL protesters: What are their speech rights?

    When an employer credibly cites harm to its business interests or reputation from employee speech, the employee has very little legal recourse if they’re fired because of it, said University of Illinois labor and employment relations professor Michael LeRoy, an expert on employment law.

  • How should we remember Robert Kennedy today?

    Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, assassinated 50 years ago, was prone to blunt talk that often made him controversial, says an expert on political rhetoric.

  • Will Illinois’ new education law fix the state’s teacher shortage?

    Chris Roegge, the executive director of the Council on Teacher Education at the University of Illinois, discusses whether new legislation in Illinois will remedy the state's shortage of teachers.

  • How are drones changing warfare, threatening security?

    A U. of I. professor discusses drones and the implications of their use in terrorism and warfare.

  • How will upcoming Supreme Court case, teacher strikes affect organized labor?

    A pending U.S. Supreme Court case could lead to the most significant changes in labor relations since the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, says Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois.

  • Is autism a disorder, an identity or both?

    Speech and hearing science professor Laura DeThorne and doctoral students Henry Angulo and Veronica Vidal discuss how the neurodiversity movement recognizes autistic individuals’ unique experiences, skills and strengths, and resists the medicalization of autism.

  • Could a citizenship question alter the 2020 census results?

    A citizenship question on the 2020 census could add to existing undercounts, says an Illinois professor who serves on a Census Bureau advisory committee

  • Is the tide of sexual misconduct allegations shifting the balance of power?

    News reports, social media campaigns such as #MeToo are raising awareness of sexual misconduct and helping survivors find their voices, says educational psychologist Anita Hund

  • Would replacing food stamps with food boxes reduce hunger?

    Swapping food stamps for food boxes would mean scrapping 'the most successful government program we have going today,' said U. of I. professor Craig Gundersen