blog navigation

All Results

blog posts

  • 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.

  • Space Science

    Technology.org (Jan. 5) – A study of data from NASA’s Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics mission indicated the presence of a significant population of hot hydrogen atoms at altitudes as low as 170 miles, much lower than previously expected. “This result suggests that current atmospheric models are missing some key physics that impacts many different studies, ranging from atmospheric escape to the thermal structure of the upper atmosphere,” says Lara Waldrop, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Illinois and a co-author on the study. 

  • Bridging Computational Crop Models

    Feedstuffs (Bloomington, Minn., Jan. 4) – Illinois researchers are attempting to bridge two types of computational crop models to become more reliable predictors of crop production in the U.S. Corn Belt. “One class of crop models is agronomy based, and the other is embedded in climate models or Earth system models. They are developed for different purposes and applied at different scales,” says Kaiyu Guan, an environmental scientist at Illinois and the principal investigator of the research.

  • Climate

    Politico (Jan. 5) -- It was thought that the expanded availability of air conditioning in the U.S. had eliminated the economic advantage that cooler regions enjoyed historically over hotter ones. That turns out to be wrong, according to a paper that finance professor Tatyana Deryugina of Illinois and Solomon M. Hsiang of Berkeley presented Sunday at the American Economic Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco.

  • Forensic Anthropology

    The Scientist (Jan. 1) – Advances in forensic anthropology are explained in the story of a police case involving an archaeologist whose home contained several open coffins full of human remains. A forensic anthropologist sent samples to anthropology professors Cris Hughes of Illinois and Chelsey Juarez of North Carolina State University, who performed genome sequencing and isotope analysis. 

  • Race

    The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 6) -- Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2013, psychology professor Eva Telzer of Illinois and colleagues studied children adopted by European-American families from either Asian or Eastern European orphanages. Such orphanages are notorious for their understimulating environments, a facet of which is that their young wards never get exposed to other-race faces.

  • Creativity

    Crain's Chicago Business (Jan. 8) -- If you feel like you do your best work only after plopping down around strangers, it's not in your head. “Moderate levels of chatter or noise in environments such as coffee shops induce some distraction, which our research has shown causes people to think at a higher level or from a broader perspective,” says Ravi Mehta, a professor at Illinois' College of Business. “This effectively enhances their creativity.”

  • Police shootings

    WBEZ-FM (Chicago, Jan. 8) – Experts say police should be trained to take into account someone’s mental status when applying force, if possible. By doing so, officers can potentially step back and realize they don’t necessarily need to use force, according to Michael Schlosser, the director of the Police Training Institute at Illinois.

  • Climatology

    The Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, Ill., Jan. 7) – Even with 34 years of experience in climatology with the U. of I. – 21 of those as the Illinois state climatologist – Jim Angel, who is retiring, says he wishes he could tell farmers more precisely what the weather will be like during spring planting season this year.

  • Crop sciences

    Mother Jones (San Francisco, Jan. 9) – After complaints last year about drift from the weed-killer dicamba damaging adjacent crops, Monsanto, along with other companies, is selling a new, supposedly low-volatility dicamba formulation. It insists that any off-target damage is due to user error. But several independent weed scientists have disputed Monsanto’s assessment, arguing that volatility is a major driver of the problem. Aaron Hager, a professor of crop sciences at Illinois, says the damage was “too uniform to be explained by anything else” in at least half the affected acres he observed in his state in 2017. 

  • Butterfly population decrease

    WSIL-TV (Carterville, Ill., Jan. 9) – Each year, eastern monarch butterflies migrate from southern Canada, through the Midwest and the East Coast to Mexico, where they hibernate. Richard Little, a horticulture educator for the U. of I., says populations are counted during hibernation and there’s been a sharp decrease. “Southern Mexico, they’ve seen a 90 percent decrease from the peak of the recorded population in the mid-to-late 1990s,” Little says.

  • Economics

    The Atlantic (Jan. 11) -- As the Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby and Illinois economist Jeffrey Brown have famously argued, students were more likely to enroll and stay in college during the Great Recession; at a time when there are fewer jobs, would-be college students are more likely to invest in opportunities to develop skills and enhance their chances at getting employed.

  • Engineering

    Chicago Inno (Jan. 10) – On Monday, U.S. News & World Report ranked the top online college degree programs for 2017. Several Illinois programs were ranked near the top of their lists; the U. of I. online engineering degree was ranked ninth.

  • Distance Education

    AOL News (from U.S. News & World Report; Jan. 12) -- Students considering online learning programs can use U.S. News' 2016 Best Online Programs rankings to research and compare their options. Among the greatest ranking changes in the education category was Illinois, rising to a tie at No. 7 from a tie at No. 47.

  • History

    OZY (Mountain View, Calif., Jan. 12) – European fascination with Timbuktu goes back to 1375, says Mauro Nobili, a professor of history at Illinois and an expert on the precolonial and early colonial history of the sub-Saharan city. “It was then that ‘Tenbuch’ was featured on a very popular map from the Majorcan Cartographical School,” Nobili says.

  • Hoverboard Policy

    CBS Local (Chicago, Jan. 12) -- When students return to classes next week at the University of Illinois’ flagship campus, officials want them to leave their hoverboards at home.

  • Climate Change

    Smithsonian Magazine (Washington, D.C., Jan. 13) -- Illinois' Stephen Long is among the many researchers who have conducted experiments at a Smithsonian marsh site. He says the very thought of doing this type of work in the natural environment was revolutionary when the first experiment was established 30 years ago.

  • Astronomy

    The Atlantic (Jan. 14) -- What if history's brightest supernova exploded in Earth's backyard? In 1996, grad student Brian Fields and his adviser listed out the radioactive elements blasted into space by a supernova that you might be able hunt down on Earth. A supernova close enough to leave a trace, they reasoned, might also have been close enough to pose a serious threat to life. “If we were really lucky we could connect it to a mass extinction,” says Fields, now an astronomy and physics professor at Illinois. “That’s sort of the Holy Grail, or the unholy grail, of the field.”

  • Attorney general nominee

    The Daily Beast (New York City, Jan. 15) – Under Attorney General nominee William Barr, 310 Haitian immigrants became prisoners of the world’s first detention camp for refugees with HIV. “We have had a massive increase in the criminalization of immigration and immigrants, and a massive expansion of immigrant detention,” says A. Naomi Paik, a professor of Asian American studies at Illinois whose book, "Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps Since World War II," detailed the conditions in the camps.

  • Higher education funding

    WTAX-FM (Springfield, Ill., Jan. 15) – When it’s budget-making time in Illinois, where are colleges and universities going to be? University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen finds himself having to be a partner with the governor at a time during which the state did not fund higher education. “We’re all about the public good that flows out of a world-class higher education,” Killeen says.

  • Atmospheric Sciences

    Summit Daily (Summit, Colo., Jan. 16) – The University of Colorado, Boulder, the University of Wyoming and Illinois are participating in a cloud-seeding effort, launched this month, to increase snowfall in the mountains of southwest Idaho with hopes of ultimately increasing power generation by hydroelectric dams.

  • Brain Sensors

    The Atlantic (Jan. 19) -- Brain sensors developed by Illinois and the Washington University School of Medicine disintegrate once they've monitored a person's brain injury. These dissolvable sensors come from the lab of John Rogers from Illinois. He specializes in creating flexible electronics, including electric socks for the heart, temporary tattoos that double as medical sensors and curved cameras based on the eye.

  • Primate Extinction

    Atlanta Journal Constitution (Jan. 18) – Half of the world’s primates, including gorillas, apes, monkeys, lemurs and others, are in crisis and on track for extinction, mainly due to a growing human population and habitat loss, according to a new international study. “This truly is the eleventh hour for many of these creatures,” says study co-leader Paul Garber, an anthropology professor at Illinois.

  • Advertising

    Study Finds (Los Angeles, Jan. 13) – U. of I. researchers sought to find out how people feel about online behavioral advertising, the mechanism behind those pesky images that match up with our online searches and travels. “The perception of risk is much stronger than the perception of benefit,” says Chang-Dae Ham, a professor of advertising at Illinois. “That drives (users) to perceive more privacy concern, and finally to avoid the advertising.”

  • Alumnus

    NBC News (Jan. 19) -- Illinois alumnus Ervin A. Johnson is a 27-year-old Chicago-based artist who uses photography and other creative techniques to inspire the healing of others.

  • Administration

    Chicago Tribune (Jan. 19) – University of Illinois System trustees Thursday approved freezing in-state tuition for incoming freshmen for the third straight year, the institution's longest stretch of stable tuition in four decades. The decision not to increase tuition for the class entering this fall comes amid a broader effort announced this week to boost enrollment at U. of I.’s three campuses by 15 percent during the next five years.

  • Tuition Freeze

    Chicago Tribune (Jan. 20) -- For the second year in a row, Illinois is poised to freeze tuition for new in-state undergraduates next academic year, a decision aimed at attracting students who have been leaving the state as costs have increased and the state's financial outlook is uncertain.

  • Theater

    The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 21) -- The memories of the long-running “Cats” Broadway show will live again. And for some, it’s all too soon. “The question is, how does ‘Cats’ speak to us now, in a way that ‘Hamilton’ or other shows do?” says Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, a professor and head of the department of theatre at Illinois and a former New York theater critic. “It became a rite of passage for people coming to New York,” he says. “I don’t know if it will have that resonance for this generation.”

  • Microbiology

    United Press International (Jan. 20) – Researchers at Illinois and Newcastle University in England have uncovered how a unique bacterial enzyme prevents the immune system from fighting infections.

  • Law

    The New York Times (Jan. 22) – With elections looming and major corporations watching, the social issues that have provoked bitter fights in recent years across the conservative South are gaining little legislative momentum in statehouses this year. “I think people are tempering, and I think they’re thinking harder about what can be achieved, what needs to be achieved,” says Robin Fretwell Wilson, a professor of law at Illinois who has written extensively about the intersection of gay rights and religious freedom.

  • Vet Med

    The Pantagraph (from The Associated Press; Bloomington, Ill., Jan. 22) -- A bobcat kitten that was struck by a car will soon head back to Indiana following treatment at Illinois' College of Veterinary Medicine.

  • Home sales

    WNIJ-FM (DeKalb, Ill., Jan. 24) – Sales of existing homes in Illinois were down in December, but up overall in 2016. Geoffrey Hewings, a professor of economics and the director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at Illinois, says a lack of inventory kept home sales from going even higher. “People are not offering their homes for sale, they’re staying put. They want to see what’s going to happen," Hewings says.

  • Art exhibit opens

    The Seattle Times (from The Associated Press; Jan. 25) – A new multidisciplinary art exhibit at Illinois explores themes of colonialism and discovery through the eyes of an African who travels through London. It’s called “Through the Black Country” and opens today at Krannert Art Museum in Champaign.

  • Illinois bald eagle numbers rise

    The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill., Jan. 24) – Steve Bailey, an ornithologist with the Prairie Research Institute at Illinois, says the state is home to an increasing number of nesting bald eagles, with one or two dozen new nests found each year.

  • Education

    Chicago Tribune (Opinion, Jan. 22) -- Rob Garite, a convicted murderer who has been released from prison, seeks to succeed outside of prison through a college education that could lead to better job prospects. If he does, it will be due in large part to Rebecca Ginsburg, a U. of I. professor of education policy. Ginsburg is the co-founder and director of the Education Justice Project, a prisoner-education advocacy organization affiliated with Illinois.

  • Research alliances

    WNIJ-FM (DeKalb, Ill., Jan. 24) – Declaring himself “frustrated by the slow pace of change here in Springfield,” Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says in his State of the State address that the Land of Lincoln needs compromise and additional reform to accomplish its goals. Rauner proposed investing in higher education to make public universities – he specifically cited the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale – research rivals to Silicon Valley and the vaunted Research Triangle in North Carolina through alliances with the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. 

  • Agriculture

    U.S. News & World Report (Jan. 26) -- Fertilizer prices at the end of 2015 fell to the lowest – as a whole – in six years, according to an Illinois study.

  • Psychology

    The Washington Post (Jan. 26) – Girls as young as 6 years old are less likely than boys to label people of their own gender as “really, really smart,” according to new research from lead author and Illinois doctoral student Lin Bain and former Illinois psychology professor Andrei Cimpian. The research raises questions about how stereotypical notions of male and female mental abilities shape the paths students take in life.

  • Labor

    The New York Times (Jan. 27) -- The New York Jets have become the fourth team in the NFL to settle a class-action lawsuit over wages paid to their cheerleaders. Some have called for dancers to be direct employees, as the Jets cheerleaders were, rather than independent contractors. Such contracts can insulate teams from liability related to on-the-job injury or sexual harassment claims, says Michael H. LeRoy, a law professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois.

  • Microplastic groundwater contamination

    Earth.com (Reno, Nev., Jan. 28) – A new study from the U. of I. is the first to reveal the discovery of microplastics in fractured limestone aquifers, an underground freshwater source that supplies 25 percent of drinking water worldwide.

  • Law

    The Delaware County Daily Times (from The Associated Press; Swarthmore, Pa., Jan. 27) – Andrew Leipold, a law professor at Illinois, says because no action was taken, President Trump’s request to White House lawyer Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last June was legal. “People say all sorts of things that they’re going to do, and then they calm down and they think better of it and they get talked out of it,” Leipold says. “Some of this may just be no more than the president – as all presidents have done – racing their engines about things.”

  • Trolls in the classroom

    Inside Higher Ed (Jan. 29) – Faculty leaders at Illinois are weighing a proposal to protect faculty members from students who enroll in their classes to disrupt, or troll, them.

  • Immigration ban

    The Washington Post (Jan. 29) – President Donald Trump’s executive order barring entry to the U.S. from refugees, migrants and foreign nationals from seven countries was quickly condemned across the science community. Several researchers who had left the U.S. for work or visits home were prevented from returning. Erfan Mohammadi says his fiancee, Farnaz Kabiri, is stuck in Iran, where they are both citizens. Mohammadi is a Ph.D. student studying chemical engineering at Illinois; Kabiri is working on her master’s degree in physics there.