blog posts Electric cooker an easy, efficient way to sanitize N95 masks, study finds Aug 6, 2020 9:30 am144506 views Owners of electric multicookers may be able to add another use to its list of functions, a new study suggests: sanitization of N95 respirator masks. The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign study found that 50 minutes of dry heat in an electric cooker, such as a rice cooker or Instant Pot, decontaminated N95 respirators inside and out while maintaining their filtration and fit. This could enable wearers to safely reuse limited supplies of the respirators, originally intended to be one-time-use items. Making a homemade COVID mask? Study explains best fabric choices May 1, 2020 9:45 am35570 views Health authorities believe COVID-19 spreads by the transmission of respiratory droplets, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends homemade cloth face coverings for use in public spaces. Starting today, Illinois joins many other states in requiring people to wear masks while out. However, initial uncertainty regarding the masks’ effectiveness in reducing exhaled droplets leaves some people unsure or skeptical of their usefulness during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Mechanical science and engineering professor Taher Saif spoke with News Bureau physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian about a study that he and his graduate students, Onur Aydin and Bashar Emon, performed on the effectiveness of common household fabrics for use in homemade masks. 'Fettuccine' may be most obvious sign of life on Mars, researchers report May 29, 2019 8:00 am20005 views A rover scanning the surface of Mars for evidence of life might want to check for rocks that look like pasta, researchers report in the journal Astrobiology. The bacterium that controls the formation of such rocks on Earth is ancient and thrives in harsh environments that are similar to conditions on Mars, said University of Illinois geology professor Bruce Fouke, who led the new, NASA-funded study. Shutdown of circulation pattern could be disastrous, researchers say Dec 13, 2004 9:00 am13048 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - If global warming shuts down the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, the result could be catastrophic climate change. The environmental effects, models indicate, depend upon whether the shutdown is reversible or irreversible. Paper tubes make stiff origami structures Sep 7, 2015 2:00 pm11980 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – From shipping and construction to outer space, origami could put a folded twist on structural engineering. Small in size, big on power: New microbatteries a boost for electronics Apr 16, 2013 9:00 am10798 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Though they be but little, they are fierce. The most powerful batteries on the planet are only a few millimeters in size, yet they pack such a punch that a driver could use a cellphone powered by these batteries to jump-start a dead car battery - and then recharge the phone in the blink of an eye. Eleven Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential Nov 29, 2018 10:15 am10756 views Eleven faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list. Superfluidity: what is it and why does it matter? Dec 20, 2018 8:45 am10651 views 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. Growing mountains or shifting ground: What is going on in Earth’s inner core? May 12, 2020 11:45 am10075 views Exhaustive seismic data from repeating earthquakes and new data-processing methods have yielded the best evidence yet that the Earth’s inner core is rotating – revealing a better understanding of the hotly debated processes that control the planet’s magnetic field. Long-term study shows acid pollution in rain decreases with emissions Nov 16, 2011 9:00 am9627 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Emissions regulations do have an environmental impact, according to a long-term study of acidic rainfall by researchers at the University of Illinois. How is Illinois contributing to the Event Horizon Telescope Project? Apr 10, 2019 8:15 am9311 views 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. Three Illinois professors named Sloan Research Fellows Feb 15, 2018 9:00 am9074 views Three Illinois scientists are among 126 recipients of the 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. According to the foundation, the awards “honor early career scholars whose achievements mark them as among the very best scientific minds working today.” Winners receive a two-year $65,000 fellowship to further their research. Illinois physics professor named national Professor of the Year Nov 19, 2015 8:30 am8862 views Mats Selen, professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. U of I to lead two of seven new national artificial intelligence institutes Aug 26, 2020 8:00 am8623 views The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture are announcing an investment of more than $140 million to establish seven artificial intelligence institutes in the U.S. Two of the seven will be led by teams at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The USDA-NIFA will fund the AI Institute for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management and Sustainability at the U. of I. Illinois computer science professor Vikram Adve will lead the AIFARMS Institute. The NSF will fund the AI Institute for Molecular Discovery, Synthetic Strategy and Manufacturing, also known as the Molecule Maker Lab Institute. Huimin Zhao, a U. of I. professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry, will lead this institute. Seven Illinois researchers rank among the world’s most influential Dec 21, 2015 9:15 am8526 views Seven University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015. The list includes “some of the world’s most influential scientific minds,” according to a statement from Thomson Reuters. Nanopores could take the salt out of seawater Nov 10, 2015 1:45 pm8436 views University of Illinois engineers have found an energy-efficient material for removing salt from seawater that could provide a rebuttal to poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s lament, “Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink.” Study: Portable, point-of-care COVID-19 test could bypass the lab Aug 31, 2020 2:00 pm7444 views In a new study, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers have demonstrated a prototype of a rapid COVID-19 molecular test and a simple-to-use, portable instrument for reading the results with a smartphone in 30 minutes, which could enable point-of-care diagnosis without needing to send samples to a lab. Tiny electronic implants monitor brain injury, then melt away Jan 18, 2016 10:00 am6926 views A new class of small, thin electronic sensors can monitor temperature and pressure within the skull – crucial health parameters after a brain injury or surgery – then melt away when they are no longer needed, eliminating the need for additional surgery to remove the monitors and reducing the risk of infection and hemorrhage. Potential new cystic fibrosis treatment uses 'molecular prosthetic' for missing lung protein Mar 13, 2019 1:00 pm6827 views An approved drug normally used to treat fungal infections could also do the job of a protein channel that is missing or defective in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis, operating as a prosthesis on the molecular scale, says new research from the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa. Cystic fibrosis is a lifelong disease that makes patients vulnerable to lung infections. There are treatments for some but not all patients, and there is no cure. The drug restored infection-fighting properties in lung tissue donated by human patients as well as in pigs with cystic fibrosis. It has potential to become the first treatment to address all types of cystic fibrosis, regardless of the genetic mutation that causes the protein deficiency. Eight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential Nov 18, 2016 9:15 am6811 views Eight University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters / Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. The list identifies scientists “whose research has had significant global impact within their respective fields of study." Illinois student's puzzle to appear in The New York Times Jan 2, 2020 1:30 pm6328 views Computer science student Adam Aaronson loves puzzles, and a crossword puzzle he created will be published in The New York Times. Shape of tumor may affect whether cells can metastasize Apr 27, 2016 10:45 am6125 views Only a few cells in a cancerous tumor are able to break away and spread to other parts of the body, but the curve along the edge of the tumor may play a large role in activating these tumor-seeding cells, according to a new University of Illinois study. Most homemade masks are doing a great job, even when we sneeze, study finds Sep 17, 2020 9:30 am5948 views Studies indicate that homemade masks help combat the spread of viruses like COVID-19 when combined with frequent hand-washing and physical distancing. Many of these studies focus on the transfer of tiny aerosol particles; however, researchers say that speaking, coughing and sneezing generates larger droplets that carry virus particles. Because of this, mechanical engineer Taher Saif said the established knowledge may not be enough to determine how the effectiveness of some fabrics used in homemade masks. Record-speed data transmission could make big data more accessible Mar 22, 2016 9:45 am5911 views With record-breaking speeds for fiber-optic data transmission, University of Illinois engineers have paved a fast lane on the information superhighway – creating on-ramps for big data in the process. Off the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoring Apr 3, 2014 1:00 pm5887 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Wearing a fitness tracker on your wrist or clipped to your belt is so 2013. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University have demonstrated thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin and incorporate commercial, off-the-shelf chip-based electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring. Disposable surgical masks best for being heard clearly when speaking, study finds Dec 23, 2020 8:00 am5691 views Researcher Ryan Corey recently heard from a friend who teaches at a school where some of the students have hearing loss. The friend wanted to know if he had any ideas to help her communicate with these students while wearing a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. Corey, who also has hearing loss, did not know what to tell her. So, he headed to the Illinois Augmented Listening Laboratory to look for solutions. Corn better used as food than biofuel, study finds Jun 20, 2017 9:00 am5596 views Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs. Scott R. White, pioneer of self-healing materials, has died May 31, 2018 10:45 am5572 views University of Illinois aerospace engineering professor Scott R. White, an innovator of self-healing and self-regulating materials, died Monday of cancer at age 55. Researchers build microscopic biohybrid robots propelled by muscles, nerves Sep 16, 2019 2:00 pm5448 views Researchers have developed soft robotic devices driven by neuromuscular tissue that triggers when stimulated by light – bringing mechanical engineering one step closer to developing autonomous biobots. Smart skin: Electronics that stick and stretch like a temporary tattoo Aug 11, 2011 9:00 am5389 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Engineers have developed a device platform that combines electronic components for sensing, medical diagnostics, communications and human-machine interfaces, all on an ultrathin skin-like patch that mounts directly onto the skin with the ease, flexibility and comfort of a temporary tattoo. Mantis shrimp-inspired camera enables glimpse into hidden world Oct 12, 2017 3:15 pm5367 views By mimicking the eye of the mantis shrimp, Illinois researchers have developed an ultra-sensitive camera capable of sensing both color and polarization. The bioinspired imager can potentially improve early cancer detection and help provide a new understanding of underwater phenomena, the researchers said. 3-D printed sugar scaffolds offer sweet solution for tissue engineering, device manufacturing May 23, 2018 2:00 pm5021 views 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. Six Illinois faculty members elected AAAS Fellows Nov 25, 2020 4:30 pm5021 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Six professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2020 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Evolution, ecology and behavior professor Alison Bell; plant biology professor Carl Bernacchi; bioengineering professor Rohit Bhargava; materials science and engineering professor Paul Braun; chemistry professor Prashant Jain; and materials science and engineering professor Nancy Sottos are among the 489 scientists to be awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow this year. Exploding stars may have caused mass extinction on Earth, study shows Aug 18, 2020 12:00 pm4966 views Imagine reading by the light of an exploded star, brighter than a full moon – it might be fun to think about, but this scene is the prelude to a disaster when the radiation devastates life as we know it. Killer cosmic rays from nearby supernovae could be the culprit behind at least one mass extinction event, researchers said, and finding certain radioactive isotopes in Earth’s rock record could confirm this scenario. Five Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential Nov 17, 2017 8:00 am4954 views Five faculty members have been named to the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list (previously known as the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list). The list recognizes “leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world." Microplastic contamination found in common source of groundwater, researchers report Jan 25, 2019 6:30 am4794 views Microplastics contaminate the world's surface waters, yet scientists have only just begun to explore their presence in groundwater systems. A new study is the first to report microplastics in fractured limestone aquifers – a groundwater source that accounts for 25 percent of the global drinking water supply. Eight Illinois faculty members elected AAAS Fellows Nov 26, 2019 10:00 am4558 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Eight professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2019 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Two Illinois professors named Sloan Research Fellows Feb 12, 2020 9:00 am4394 views Two University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign scientists are among 126 recipients of the 2020 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This honor is one of the most competitive and prestigious awards available to early career researchers. Artificial photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide into liquefiable fuels May 22, 2019 12:30 pm4264 views Chemists at the University of Illinois have successfully produced fuels using water, carbon dioxide and visible light through artificial photosynthesis. By converting carbon dioxide into more complex molecules like propane, green energy technology is now one step closer to using excess CO2 to store solar energy – in the form of chemical bonds – for use when the sun is not shining and in times of peak demand. Heat from below Pacific Ocean fuels Yellowstone, study finds Dec 18, 2017 9:45 am4189 views Recent stories in the national media are magnifying fears of a catastrophic eruption of the Yellowstone volcanic area, but scientists remain uncertain about the likelihood of such an event. To better understand the region’s subsurface geology, University of Illinois geologists have rewound and played back a portion of its geologic history, finding that Yellowstone volcanism is more far more complex and dynamic than previously thought. Inexpensive, portable detector identifies pathogens in minutes Apr 23, 2020 12:00 pm4176 views Most viral test kits rely on labor- and time-intensive laboratory preparation and analysis techniques; for example, tests for the novel coronavirus can take days to detect the virus from nasal swabs. Now, researchers have demonstrated an inexpensive yet sensitive smartphone-based testing device for viral and bacterial pathogens that takes about 30 minutes to complete. The roughly $50 smartphone accessory could reduce the pressure on testing laboratories during a pandemic such as COVID-19. New polymer material may help batteries become self-healing, recyclable Dec 23, 2019 8:15 am4173 views Lithium-ion batteries are notorious for developing internal electrical shorts that can ignite a battery’s liquid electrolytes, leading to explosions and fires. Engineers at the University of Illinois have developed a solid polymer-based electrolyte that can self-heal after damage – and the material can also be recycled without the use of harsh chemicals or high temperatures. Alumnus Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO and chairman, dies at 84 Mar 2, 2020 1:45 pm4111 views John Francis “Jack” Welch Jr., 84, the former CEO and chairman of General Electric Co., has died. He was a chemical engineer who earned a Ph.D. in 1960 in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Bacterial hole puncher could be new broad-spectrum antibiotic Oct 27, 2015 11:00 am3992 views 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. Researchers demonstrate existence of new form of electronic matter Mar 14, 2018 1:00 pm3830 views Researchers have produced a “human scale” demonstration of a new phase of matter called quadrupole topological insulators that was recently predicted using theoretical physics. These are the first experimental findings to validate this theory. New camera gives surgeons a butterfly’s-eye view of cancer Apr 5, 2018 9:00 am3787 views Cancer lurking in tissue could be more easily found when looking through a butterfly’s eye. New tissue-imaging technology could enable real-time diagnostics, map cancer progression Jun 20, 2018 8:00 am3723 views A new microscope system can image living tissue in real time and in molecular detail, without any chemicals or dyes, report researchers at the University of Illinois. Reclaimed water could help power plants run more efficiently, study finds May 12, 2016 10:00 am3580 views The water going down the drain could help keep the lights on, according to a new study showing that reclaimed water – municipal wastewater that has been treated or cleaned – could be more efficient for cooling power plants than water taken from the local environment. Five professors named University Scholars for Urbana-Champaign campus Sep 12, 2019 10:45 am3548 views Five Urbana-Champaign campus professors have been named University Scholars in recognition of their excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Click beetles inspire design of self-righting robots Sep 25, 2017 8:30 am3488 views Robots perform many tasks that humans can’t or don’t want to perform, getting around on intricately designed wheels and limbs. If they tip over, however, they are rendered almost useless. A team of University of Illinois mechanical engineers and entomologists are looking to click beetles, who can right themselves without the use of their legs, to solve this robotics challenge.