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Physical Sciences

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  • 100 years of relativity: How has Einstein's theory shaped modern physics, astronomy?

    A Minute With...™ U. of I. physicist Stuart Shapiro

  • 3-D imaging provides window into living cells, no dye required

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Living cells are ready for their close-ups, thanks to a new imaging technique that needs no dyes or other chemicals, yet renders high-resolution, three-dimensional, quantitative imagery of cells and their internal structures - all with conventional microscopes and white light.

  • 3-D printed sugar scaffolds offer sweet solution for tissue engineering, device manufacturing

    University of Illinois engineers built a 3-D printer that offers a sweet solution to making detailed structures that commercial 3-D printers can’t: Rather than a layer-upon-layer solid shell, it produces a delicate network of thin ribbons of hardened isomalt, the type of sugar alcohol used to make throat lozenges.

    The water-soluble, biodegradable glassy sugar structures have multiple applications in biomedical engineering, cancer research and device manufacturing.

  • 3-D printing could lead to tiny medical implants, electronics, robots, more

    3-D printing now can be used to print lithium-ion microbatteries the size of a grain of sand. The printed microbatteries could supply electricity to tiny devices in fields from medicine to communications, including many that have lingered on lab benches for lack of a battery small enough to fit the device, yet providing enough stored energy to power it.

  • AAAS Fellows elected

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Four University of Illinois researchers Paul D. Coleman, Richard I. Gumport, Jean-Pierre Leburton and Bruce R. Schatz are among 288 scientists elected as 2001 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  • A bright idea: Tiny injectable LEDs help neuroscientists study the brain

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new class of tiny, injectable LEDs is illuminating the deep mysteries of the brain.

  • Access to big data is crucial for credibility of computational research findings, says U. of I. library and information science professor

    Think of a scientist at work, and you might picture someone at a lab bench, doing a physical experiment involving beakers or petri dishes and recording his or her findings, which will eventually form the basis for a scientific paper.

  • A central Illinois carbon sequestration project hits a milestone

    One of the largest carbon sequestration projects in the U.S., the Illinois Basin - Decatur Project (IBDP) has reached its goal of capturing 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and injecting it deep underground in the Mount Simon Sandstone formation beneath Decatur, Illinois. The project is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of carbon capture and storage. IBDP director Robert Finley talked about the million-ton milestone with News Bureau physical sciences editor Liz Ahlberg. Finley is director of the Advanced Energy Technology Institute at the Illinois State Geological Survey, part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

  • Advanced techniques yield new insights into ribosome self-assembly

    Ribosomes, the cellular machines that build proteins, are themselves made up of dozens of proteins and a few looping strands of RNA. A new study, reported in the journal Nature, offers new clues about how the ribosome, the master assembler of proteins, also assembles itself.

  • A glucose meter of a different color provides continuous monitoring

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois engineers are bringing a touch of color to glucose monitoring.

  • Aluminum foil lamps outshine incandescent lights

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers at the University of Illinois are developing panels of microcavity plasma lamps that may soon brighten people's lives. The thin, lightweight panels could be used for residential and commercial lighting, and for certain types of biomedical applications.

  • Aluminum-oxide nanopore beats other materials for DNA analysis

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Fast and affordable genome sequencing has moved a step closer with a new solid-state nanopore sensor being developed by researchers at the University of Illinois.

  • Amtrak official to speak on future of high-speed rail initiative

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Michael Franke, assistant vice president and program director of AmtrakÕs Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, will discuss the initiative at a talk at noon Feb. 8 in Room 3269 of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, 405 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana.

  • An economic model to reform pricing of pediatric vaccines

    A Minute With™... computer science professor Sheldon H. Jacobson and collaborator Ruben A. Proano, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology

  • A new set of building blocks for simple synthesis of complex molecules

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Assembling chemicals can be like putting together a puzzle. University of Illinois chemists have developed a way of fitting the pieces together to more efficiently build complex molecules, beginning with a powerful and promising antioxidant.

  • A new way to measure winter's severity

    A Minute With™... Steve Hilberg, the senior climatologist/meteorologist for the Midwestern Regional Climate Center

  • Answers to huge wind-farm problems are blowin' in the wind

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - While harnessing more energy from the wind could help satisfy growing demands for electricity and reduce emissions of global-warming gases, turbulence from proposed wind farms could adversely affect the growth of crops in the surrounding countryside.

  • Antimicrobials, perfumes, drugs pose challenges for sewage treatment

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Think of it like sourdough. Or beer. Or yogurt. These popular products are all created through a process that involves using bacteria to systematically break down organic matter. Even though the process relies on living microorganisms, it can be mechanized or industrialized for large-scale production.

  • Anxious adults judge facial cues faster, but less accurately

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Adults who are highly anxious can perceive changes in facial expressions more quickly than adults who are less anxious, a new study shows. By jumping to emotional conclusions, however, highly anxious adults may make more errors in judgment and perpetuate a cycle of conflict and misunderstanding in their relationships.

  • A perfect March Madness bracket? That's a long shot.

    A Minute With™... computer science professor Sheldon H. Jacobson

  • A professor not afraid to cross academic boundaries

    Illinois professor Ruby Mendenhall is focused on issues of poverty, inequality and violence, but crosses many academic boundaries in search of answers.

  • Are droughts becoming more extreme and severe?

    "Because future climate projections exhibit 'more extreme extremes,' drought recovery times will be critical for assessing ecosystem resilience."

  • Are global carbon emissions increasing or decreasing?

    Illinois atmospheric scientist Atul Jain was among the many scientists worldwide who contributed data to the Global Carbon Budget 2016, providing new data on atmospheric carbon concentrations, emissions and trends.


  • Are there still holes in aviation security, 10 years after 9/11?

    A Minute With™... aviation security expert Sheldon H. Jacobson

  • Are there still holes in aviation security, ten years after 9/11?

    A Minute With™... computer science professor Sheldon H. Jacobson


  • Are there still holes in aviation security, ten years after 9/11?

    A Minute With™...  computer science professor Sheldon H. Jacobson

  • 'Are We Alone?' to be topic of astronomy's Icko Iben Distinguished Lecture

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Steven Beckwith, the director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, will present the third talk in the department of astronomy's Icko Iben Jr. Distinguished Lectureship at 4 p.m. Oct. 4 in Foellinger Auditorium, 709 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana. The talk, "Are We Alone?," is free and open to the public.

  • Are we sure that asteroid will miss Earth? Won't it get pulled in by gravity?

    A Minute With™... astronomy professor Leslie Looney

  • Are you ready for the solar eclipse?

    Astronomy professor Leslie Looney on what will it look like on – and off – the "path of totality."

  • Are you vulnerable to newly discovered online security risks?

    Nearly everyone is. And the culprits, Meltdown and Spectre, could wreak havoc on personal security if ignored, says computer science professor Chris Fletcher

  • A shot to the heart: Nanoneedle delivers quantum dots to cell nucleus

    Getting an inside look at the center of a cell can be as easy as a needle prick, thanks to University of Illinois researchers who have developed a tiny needle to deliver a shot right to a cell’s nucleus.

  • Aspiring scientists learning to translate their research into language public understands

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Communicating the relevance of one's scientific research to general audiences and developing educational outreach programs are critical to the career success of college professors and researchers, but graduate curricula often fail to help students cultivate these essential skills.

  • Asteroid named for U. of I. astronomy professor

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - James B. Kaler, professor emeritus of astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, now has even more reason to be gazing at the night sky. He has had an asteroid named after him.

  • Astronomers find stellar cradle where planets form

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Astronomers at the University of Illinois have found the first clear evidence for a cradle in space where planets and moons form. The cradle, revealed in photographs taken with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, consists of a flattened envelope of gas and dust surrounding a young protostar.

  • Astronomers look to neighboring galaxy for star formation insight

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - An international team of astronomers has mapped in detail the star-birthing regions of the nearest star-forming galaxy to our own, a step toward understanding the conditions surrounding star creation.

  • Asymmetric feature shows puzzling face for superconductivity

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The weird behavior of electrons tunneling across an atomically flat interface within a cuprate superconductor has defied explanation by theories of high-temperature superconductivity.

  • At molecular scale, vibrational couplings define heat conduction

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Too much heat can destroy a sturdy automobile engine or a miniature microchip. As scientists and engineers strive to make ever-smaller nanoscale devices, from molecular motors and switches to single-molecule transistors, the control of heat is becoming a burning issue.

  • Atoms in a nanocrystal cooperate, much like in biomolecules

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Researchers have long thought that biological molecules and synthetic nanocrystals were similar only in size. Now, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign chemists have found that they can add reactivity to the list of shared traits. Atoms in a nanocrystal can cooperate with each other to facilitate binding or switching, a phenomenon widely found in biological molecules.

  • Bacterial hole puncher could be new broad-spectrum antibiotic

    Bacteria have many methods of adapting to resist antibiotics, but a new class of spiral polypeptides developed at the University of Illinois targets one thing no bacterium can live without: an outer membrane.

  • Banked blood grows stiffer with age, study finds

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - It may look like fresh blood and flow like fresh blood, but the longer blood is stored, the less it can carry oxygen into the tiny microcapillaries of the body, says a new study from University of Illinois researchers.

  • Batteries charge very quickly and retain capacity, thanks to new structure

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The batteries in Illinois professor Paul Braun's lab look like any others, but they pack a surprise inside.

  • Battery technology could charge up water desalination

    The technology that charges batteries for electronic devices could provide fresh water from salty seas, says a new study by University of Illinois engineers. Electricity running through a salt water-filled battery draws the salt ions out of the water.

  • Baym wins Hans A. Bethe Prize from the American Physical Society

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Gordon A. Baym, Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois, has been selected as the 2002 recipient of the Hans A. Bethe Prize from the American Physical Society.

  • Beneficial effects of no-till farming depend upon future climate change

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - By storing carbon in their fields through no-till farming practice, farmers can help countries meet targeted reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide and reduce the harmful effects of global warming.

  • Bill Hammack, U. of I. engineering professor, named Jefferson Science Fellow

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Bill Hammack, a professor of chemical and of biomolecular engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named a Jefferson Science Fellow by the U.S. Department of State.

  • Bill Nye the Science Guy among attractions at Engineering Open House March 8, 9

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Wild and wacky Rube Goldberg machines, robots fighting for possession of a bowling ball, lively talks by Bill Nye the Science Guy, and more than 150 fun-filled exhibits are among the attractions awaiting visitors to the 82nd annual Engineering Open House at the University of Illinois.

  • Bioenergy crops could store more carbon in soil

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In addition to providing renewable energy, grass crops like switchgrass and miscanthus could store some of the carbon they pull from the atmosphere in the soil, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

  • Biologically inspired sensors can augment sonar, vision system in submarines

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - To find prey and avoid being preyed upon, fish rely on a row of specialized sensory organs along the sides of their bodies, called the lateral line. Now, a research team led by Chang Liu at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has built an artificial lateral line that can provide the same functions in underwater vehicles.

  • Biomedical breakthrough: Carbon nanoparticles you can make at home

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers have found an easy way to produce carbon nanoparticles that are small enough to evade the body’s immune system, reflect light in the near-infrared range for easy detection, and carry payloads of pharmaceutical drugs to targeted tissues.

  • Biosphere is source, not sink, for carbon dioxide emissions, study shows

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Converting forests into croplands and pastures reduces carbon storage, say scientists who studied the impacts of human-induced change on terrestrial ecosystems. The study results have important implications for predicting carbon dioxide levels, and will help provide a more complete understanding of Earth's carbon cycle.