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  • PayPal Mafia

    Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis., June 18) – The label “PayPal mafia” refers to the team of former founders and early employees of PayPal that has established massive reach and influence in Silicon Valley. These high-net-worth alumni, including Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Max Levchin and Keith Rabois, were later the creators of a surprising number of highly successful technology companies. After a breakfast meeting in 1998 to discuss the creation of an online currency, founders Thiel and Levchin recruited classmates from their respective schools, Stanford University and Illinois. 

  • Financial reserves

    Inside Philanthropy (Santa Monica, Calif., Opinion, Nov. 29) – It turns out that some schools have used cash reserves to protect students from tuition hikes. The Washington Post notes that the University of California system's in-state tuition has been frozen for several years and that the University of Illinois System, sitting on $2.1 billion in reserve liquidity after covering a $300 million deficit, held tuition flat for freshmen entering in fall 2015 and fall 2016.

  • Computer and electrical engineering

    Big Ten Network (May 18) -- A team at Illinois’ Coordinated Science Lab is using sophisticated mathematics and applying it to the job market. “A main difficulty is matching work to workers in the best possible way, to maximize the number of tasks that can be done by qualified people,” says Lav Varshney, a professor of computer and electrical engineering at Illinois. “We develop algorithms that are able to do this nearly optimally, while also maintaining the freedom of choice that people like in work.”

  • Fit Kids

    CNN (Aug. 31) -- Kids who are physically fit actually have differences in their brain structures that might allow them to do better in math, according to a new Illinois study.

  • Mechanical engineering

    Chicago Inno (Jan. 23) – Illinois mechanical engineering students have been working on Hyperloop projects since 2013, when Elon Musk first came out with a white paper detailing futuristic transportation in which pods speed through a tube system at up to 760 mph. Now they're about to see their work in action. 

  • Kinesiology and Community Health

    Men’s Journal (Jan. 10) – Statins are highly effective at lowering LDL cholesterol, important for men with a heightened risk of heart disease, but new research suggests it may also hinder fitness. “Mice that received statins gradually reduced the amount of voluntary wheel running over the course of two weeks, whereas the mice that received saline maintained their mileage,” says lead researcher Marni Boppart, a professor of kinesiology and community health at Illinois.

  • Hagfish slime

    Newsweek (New York City, Jan. 15) – Hagfish are deep-sea eel-like creatures that, when attacked, produce a slime that explodes out to choke their assailant. The slime forms from a small amount of mucus that is ejected from the creature’s glands. As it enters the water, it expands by a factor of around 10,000 and turns into a mass that clogs up the gills of its predators. In a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, researchers led by Gaurav Chaudhary, a graduate student in mechanical science and engineering at Illinois, have now started to figure out how the slime unravels.

  • Trunk Parties

    Chicago Tribune (Aug. 21) – Nana Konadu Owusu, 18, of Matteson, Illinois, speaks about the importance of having a family that supports her as she starts the next chapter in her life by attending Illinois. Her family threw her a trunk party, which consists of elders sharing advice and gift-giving as students head off to college. 

  • iMBA

    The Washington Post (Oct. 7) -- Coursera, a major site with free online courses, in May announced a new online way to earn a graduate degree in business. “Illinois' College of Business is developing the first open online MBA offered in part through Coursera,” says Coursera co-founder and President Daphne Koller. “This ‘iMBA’ program opens a number of pathways towards gaining a high quality education from a top business school.” 

  • Psychology

    Yahoo! Sports (Nov. 6) – Republicans and Democrats differ in their politics, of course. But they also differ on the the golf course. “It’s a super interesting set of findings,” says Chadly Stern, a professor of psychology at Illinois who has studied and written about how one’s political ideology shapes the way they see the world. “It’s very consistent with what we know about the psychological differences between liberals and conservatives, or Democrats and Republicans.”

  • Dining procurement

    Chicago Tribune (Dec. 6) – Since fall 2017, the U. of I. has turned more than 50,000 pounds of Illinois-caught Asian carp into silverfin fillets and fish cakes for its dining halls, and it has received no complaints, says Kit Smith, the assistant director of dining procurement at Illinois.

  • Trade wars hurting farmers

    Bloomberg (New York City, May 14) – American farmers, among Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters, face mounting financial pain from the president’s trade war with China and the growing risk that the damage will outlast the conflict. Jonathan Coppess, a professor of agricultural policy at Illinois and former head of the U.S. Farm Service Agency, says that U.S. farmers’ overseas competitors will gain more advantage as the dispute persists.

  • Food science and human nutrition

    Eater (Washington, D.C., May 23) – Bruce Chassy, a professor emeritus of food science and human nutrition at Illinois, says there’s a short explanation for why people have turned to a fermented tea called kombucha to be healthy, or at least for a whiff of wellness: “More and more people are mistrusting of many, many different things, whether it’s politicians or corporations or traditional medicine.”

  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering

    Ag Professional (Philadelphia, Sept. 13) – Investors and executives in the agricultural industry are getting a first look at TerraSentia, a new agricultural robot developed at Illinois that autonomously measures crop traits.  

  • Intellectual bias

    Futurity (Rochester, N.Y., Dec. 11) – National statistics show that the intellectual achievements of girls and women in the U.S. have matched, if not surpassed, those of boys and men. Given that, we might assume women and men to receive the same treatment as intellectual equals – and to receive the same opportunities to pursue intellectually challenging work. However, in a series of three experiments, researchers from the U. of I. and New York University found evidence of consistent bias against women and girls in contexts that emphasize intellectual ability.

  • Digital Media

    Chicago Tribune (Jan. 12) – Companies must be able to use social media to quickly defend the decisions they make – immediately, factually and in 140 characters. The communication experts coaching companies on these responses are in short supply, says Mike Yao, a professor of digital media at Illinois, which is launching an online master’s degree in strategic brand communication in August to train these hybrid professionals.

  • Devices in the classroom

    NPR (Jan. 24) – Catherine Prendergast, a professor of English at Illinois, says blanket bans on cellphones and laptops in classes are a bad idea. She’s thinking about students with special needs. “Federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, extends to protect students’ classrooms,” she says. “If a student needs to use a laptop as an accommodation, they have a right to do so.”

  • Astrophysics

    Space.com (New York City, Feb. 8) – A new software program that uses artificial intelligence can help rapidly detect and analyze gravitational waves – ripples in the cosmic fabric of space-time – from catastrophic events such as collisions between black holes, according to a new study by theoretical astrophysicist Eliu Huerta and computational astrophysicist Daniel George at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois.

  • Outdoor golf facility

    Golf Magazine (New York City, Feb. 14) – If the U. of I. is not your top choice among golf schools, wait until you see their incredible Augusta National-inspired practice facility. Dedicated in 2015, the Lauritsen/Wohlers Outdoor Golf Facility is a 24-acre, fully irrigated, 360-degree practice center open exclusively to Illini golf student-athletes.

  • History

    WBUR-90.9 FM (March 31) -- Donald Trump has backed off his comments that women who get abortions should face “some form of punishment” if the practice is banned. But the Republican presidential front-runner drew bipartisan criticism for his statement, which brought to mind the days before abortion was legal in the United States. Illinois professor Leslie Reagan joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson for a look at the history of abortion law.

  • Aerospace engineering

    Sustainability Times (Paris, April 3) – U. of I. scientists have looked at various configurations of fuel and battery to see which ones would yield the best results in ensuring that planes kept their carrying capacity and range but with drastically reduced emissions. To do so, they explored how much net carbon emissions various hybrid-electric planes would emit based on their fuel use as well as on carbon use needed to charge their batteries. “In the energy supply chain there’s a phrase, from ‘well to wake.’ That is, fuel production begins at the oil well and ends at the wake of the airplane,” says Phillip Ansell, a professor of aerospace engineering at Illinois.

  • Mechanical Science and Engineering

    Bloomberg (April 5) – Boeing Co. and JetBlue Airways Corp. are investing in a startup to develop an electric-powered aircraft with the potential to transform short-haul flights. “It’s a wonderful opportunity,” says Andrew Alleyne, the director of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal Systems and a professor of mechanical science and engineering at Illinois. “But it comes with some serious technology challenges.”

  • Law

    The Washington Post (Opinion, April 15) -- How would the nation’s founders react if, miraculously, they were transported from the late 1700s to today’s America? Illinois law dean Vikram Amar writes about the founding fathers.

  • Accounting

    The Wall Street Journal (April 13) – According to a study by accounting professors from Illinois and Duke University, training auditors to look for "cognitive dissonance" resulted in the auditors' identifying 70 percent of the fraudulent companies they encountered. 

  • Civil and environmental engineering

    Research at Illinois showed that an autonomous car maintaining a constant speed can help reduce unnecessary accelerating and braking by other vehicles on the road driven by humans, improving traffic flow and cutting fuel consumption by up to 40 percent. “Our experiments show that with as few as 5 percent of vehicles being autonomous and carefully controlled, we can eliminate stop-and-go waves caused by human driving behavior,” says Daniel Work, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Illinois.

  • Resource Scarcity and Creativity

    Entrepreneur (June 3) -- Is necessity truly the mother of invention? Yes, according to a recent study testing the link between scarce conditions and creative solutions. In one experiment, researchers from Illinois and Johns Hopkins placed 95 undergrads at the U. of I. into three condition groups - abundance, scarcity and a control group. The results were surprising.

  • Applied Family Studies

    Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y., June 8) -- Childhood fights among siblings have been found to be beneficial. On average, siblings between the ages of 3 and 7 engage in conflict about three and a half times an hour, according to Illinois professor Laurie Kramer. Despite giving parents a headache, the way a child resolves conflict will carry with them throughout life.

  • Crop Sciences

    Science Daily (June 14) -- Invasive plants are often characterized as highly aggressive, possessing the power to alter and even irreversibly change the ecosystems they invade. But a recent Illinois study shows that one such invader, garlic mustard (Alliariapetiolata), actually becomes less aggressive over time. “One of the things we've seen over the last 20 to 30 years is that garlic mustard becomes less of an issue, and actually balances out over time,” says Adam Davis, a professor of crop sciences at Illinois.

  • DNA study

    Daily Herald (from The Associated Press; Arlington Heights, Ill., June 15) – Sealaska Heritage Institute officials say they are collaborating with a university that is studying how the DNA of Indigenous people might have been affected by trauma linked to European colonization. Researchers from the U. of I. will be at the Juneau-based institute next week for the project focusing on Tlingit people with ties to Hoonah.

  • Op-Ed: How race-based affirmative action could return to the University of California

    By U.of I. Law Dean Vikram Amar

    The Supreme Court surprised a lot of observers when it upheld, 4-3, the race-based affirmative action plan employed by the University of Texas in its undergraduate admissions. Just three years ago, the court had avoided ruling definitively in the same case, Fisher vs. University of Texas, sending it back to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration using reasoning and language that seemed skeptical of the Texas plan.

  • Entrepreneurs

    Chicago Tribune (Aug. 6) -- Illinois boasts three of the universities that produce the most female entrepreneurs, with the U. of I. at No. 18.

  • Sport fish recovery

    WTTW-TV (Chicago, Oct. 23) – Richard Sparks, an aquatic ecologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey at Illinois, is a co-author of a new study documenting the remarkable recovery of sport fish in the Illinois River. Before the Clean Water Act, the river had for decades received large amounts of Chicago’s untreated human and animal waste, causing a surge in sewage-related nutrients that depleted the water’s oxygen. “Back then, the only fish we were picking up were carp and goldfish, and it was awful seeing these fish,” Sparks says. "They had tumors; they had eroded fins."

  • Metabolomics

    Nature (Dec. 1) – The field of metabolomics (the large-scale study of small molecules) is advancing, thanks to leaps in detection capabilities and increasingly sophisticated ways of isolating and handling single cells and developments in bioinformatics.  “We are getting close to making single-cell metabolomics robust,” says Jonathan Sweedler, an analytical chemist at Illinois. “I can't see exactly how it is going to work, but I look at the increase in detectability and throughput of mass spectrometry and I say it will happen.”

  • Communication

    The Washington Post (Dec. 13) – If all you knew about black families was what national news outlets reported, you are likely to think African Americans are overwhelmingly poor, reliant on welfare, absentee fathers and criminals, despite what government data show, a new study says. “This leaves people with the opinion that black people are plagued with self-imposed dysfunction that creates family instability and therefore, all their problems,” says Travis L. Dixon, a communication professor at Illinois who conducted the study.

  • Atmospheric Sciences

    Chicago Tribune (April 24) – “People who think climate change is somewhere in the future, it’s later, maybe it affects future generations – no, it’s here now, it’s only going to get worse,” said Illinois atmospheric sciences professor Don Wuebbles during an Earth Day panel at the Chicago Botanic Garden on Saturday.

  • Administration and Agriculture

    Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill., July 20) – The hiring of Kimberlee Kidwell as the new dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the hiring of Robert Jones as the new chancellor boosted the spirits of agricultural scientists at Illinois, as the two have strong academic credentials. Kidwell is a nationally respected scholar of plant breeding and genetics, and Jones is an internationally respected authority on plant physiology.

  • Debt ratings

    U.S. News & World Report (from The Associated Press; July 24) – A major credit agency has raised or affirmed the debt ratings of seven Illinois universities. S&P Global Ratings raised its debt ratings for Southern Illinois University, Governors State University, Northeastern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University. It affirmed ratings for the University of Illinois System, Illinois State University and Western Illinois University. 

  • Drones

    Mashable (Aug. 27) -- The workers building a lavish new downtown stadium for the Sacramento Kings in California are being monitored by aerial drones and software that can automatically flag slow progress. "We highlight at-risk locations on a site, where the probability of having an issue is really high," says Mani Golparvar-Fard, a professor of civil engineering at Illinois, who developed the software with several colleagues.

  • Emmett Till

    The New York Times (Opinion, Aug. 31) -- In an interview published earlier this month, a University of Illinois professor, Christopher Benson, co-author of the 2003 book “Death of Innocence,” about the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old Chicagoan Emmett Till, made a more direct comparison with recent police shootings of unarmed black men: “Before Trayvon Martin, before Michael Brown, before Tamir Rice, there was Emmett Till. This was the first ‘Black Lives Matter’ story.” 

  • Alumnus

    Chicago Tribune (Oct. 14) – Illinois alumnus John McNaughton’s chilling ‘80s slasher film “Henry,” which has taken on the deserved status of a classic, will be on movie screens across the country on Friday in celebration of its 30th anniversary.

  • Economics

    The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 12) – Amazon.com Inc.’s warehouses in California’s Central Valley have brought jobs to some of the communities hardest hit in the last recession, but the jobs sometimes come at a cost. Illinois is paying a corporate tax credit of about $1,000 a year each for some of the 7,000 jobs Amazon will have at its fulfillment centers near Chicago by the end of the year, says Eliza Forsythe, a professor of economics at Illinois.

  • Abortion history

    WHYY-FM (Philadelphia, Jan. 21) – Before the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade 45 years ago, abortion was illegal in most of the United States, including in Illinois. In 1965, a group of women began an underground network in Chicago called “Jane,” which counseled and helped women who wanted to have abortions. “It was very clandestine and secretive,” according to Leslie J. Reagan, a professor of history at Illinois and the author of “When Abortion Was a Crime.”

  • Workplace wellness programs

    Chicago Tribune (Jan. 26) – Workplace wellness programs have two main goals: improve employees’ health and lower their employers’ health-care costs. They’re not very good at either, according to new research by U. of I. scientists.

  • Interviewing Skills

    Fast Company (Jan. 27) -- While reporters have ample opportunities to hone their interview skills, business managers may only do it a few times a year. Even still, Brant Houston, who teaches investigative and advanced reporting at Illinois, says it’s natural to overestimate your abilities. “Everybody thinks they’re an interviewer, that interviewing’s easy,” he says. “Good interviewing takes practice.”

  • Mycology

    Urban Milwaukee (from the Great Lakes Echo; Feb. 7) – A cure to childhood cancer may be hidden in fungus discovered at the bottom of the Great Lakes and nurtured on Cheerios. While the breakfast cereal came from Walmart, the fungi were found in the Midwest’s own backyard: the bottom of the Great Lakes  – which until recently have been hardly touched in the world of fungal research. Andrew Miller, a mycologist at Illinois, took part in the study.

  • Sports law

    The New York Times (Feb. 16) – The NFL announced Friday that it had reached a settlement with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his former teammate Eric Reid. “This has been a P.R. nightmare for the league, and in some sense, it’s remarkable that Kaepernick proved himself to be a larger public figure than the NFL with his Nike deal,” says Michael LeRoy, who teaches sports law classes at Illinois. “He outshined the league in a very significant way.”

  • Plant biology

    R&D Magazine (Rockaway, N.J., March 8) – Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute found that phosphorus limits the growth of individual tree species but not entire forest communities. Their results, published online in Nature, have sweeping implications for understanding forest growth and change. “This study highlights our limited understanding of how plants cope with phosphorus-poor soils, a significant challenge to farmers through much of the tropics,” says Jim Dalling, STRI research associate and professor of plant biology at Illinois.

  • Alumnus

    The Hill (Opinion, Washington, D.C., March 23) – Illinois alumnus Yi Gang is well-equipped to assume the role as China’s central bank chief. His first order of business will be to get a handle on China’s growing debt problem and get ahead of a potential problem should any of the many variables related to the overhang of debt start to unravel.

  • Hydrology

    Eos (Washington, D.C., March 28) – Over the past 50 years, hydrology has experienced a revolution in theory, technical application and interdisciplinary collaboration. Space-based topographic data, real-time weather telemetry and advances in computer technology have created a new, data-rich environment that has drastically changed how hydrology research is conducted and applied. “There’s an elephant in the room, though, the direct change that comes from humans,” says Murugesu Sivapalan, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Illinois.

  • Political Science

    The Week (March 31) -- Congress is, by any measure, not popular. This probably has to do with the nature of the U.S. legislature itself, in which gridlock, animosity and partisanship are part of the process. Passing laws is “aggressive, messy, contentious, and citizens do not like conflict in government,” says Gisela Sin, a professor of political science at Illinois.