You see them in class or in the lab, but Illinois faculty members are also tweeting, podcasting, Instagramming and making YouTube videos.
Let these Illinois professors, scientists, writers and artists make your social media feed another place to learn.*
Bill Hammack, Engineering
Illinois engineering professor Bill Hammack, or engineerguy on his YouTube channel, produces popular, high-quality videos that break down how things get made. He’s explained the ingenious design of soda can, how a microwave oven works and how the Betamax lost to the VHS cassette recorder. “The Ingenious Design of the Aluminum Beverage Can,” for instance, received more than 1.2 million views.
May Berenbaum, Entomology
Professor Berenbaum is a renowned entomologist here at Illinois. She’s inspired the name of a character on the “X-Files” (no, really) and created the Insect Fear Film Festival, now in its 32nd year on campus. Oh, and she received a Presidential Medal of Science from President Obama last spring for her achievements and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology. NBD.
Vishal Sachdev, Business
If you dream it, you can 3D print it. Illinois Maker Lab Director Vishal Sachdev showcases how 3D printing will affect and change the world of robotics, health care, the automotive industry and the arts.
Carol Tilley, Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Library and Information science professor Carol Tilley, or @ComicsCrusader on Twitter, found evidence that an anti-comics crusading psychiatrist in the ‘50s “played fast and loose with the data” that comics caused behavioral problems among teenagers and preteens. She’s been invited to attend the massively popular San Diego Comic Con as a panelist on numerous occasions. She often shares photos of interesting vintage comic panels, as well as celebrating and promoting diversity in all forms of comics.
Jeff Frame and Eric Snodgrass, Atmospheric Sciences
If you’re a weather nerd, you definitely shouldn’t miss out on following Jeff Frame (@VORTEXJeff) and Eric Snodgrass (@snodgrass) on Twitter. They talk about how typhoons can spawn tornadoes, shelf clouds, and lake-effect snow among other weather phenomena.
Joanne Manaster, School of Integrative Biology
Mashable said biology lecturer Joanne Manaster’s tweets as @sciencegoddess will actually make you smarter. We’re biased, but we agree: Manaster posts everything from STEM advocacy to breaking news regarding NASA projects to female engineers who are shutting down sexist trolls.
Dorothy Espelage, Education
Education professor Dorothy Espelage is one of the foremost experts on bullying behavior, and has conducted research on bullying, sexual harassment dating violence and gang violence for the last 20 years. If you’re interested in learning about up-to-date research in education, her feed is a must-follow.
Adrian Burgos, Jr., History
Fan of history and sports? Historian Adrian Burgos, Jr., is an expert on the history of baseball, and often tweets about how Major League Baseball represented Latino players. In a recent radio interview, Burgos said the first two Cuban players to be introduced the Major Leagues were described as the “whitest of the Spanish types you could have – Castillian.”
Adrian Smith and Andrew Suarez, Ant Biologists
If you didn’t know this already, ants are pretty stinkin’ cool. Smith and Suarez, who study ants at Illinois, definitely do. From the trap jaw ant that blasts itself out of danger with its face to tropical fire ants that traveled the world on 16th-century ships, these researchers’ feeds show that ants are not only fascinating, but an important field of research. Smith also has a YouTube channel featuring campus research, as well as his “Age of Discovery” podcast including fantastic interviews with scientists on why they do science in the first place.
Smith Twitter: https://twitter.com/smadriant
Suarez Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewVSuarez
Sam Heads and Jonathan Marcot, Palentology
Forget #FlashbackFriday. It’s all about #FossilFriday. Illinois paleontologist Sam Heads – when he’s not uncovering the world’s largest unbiased amber fossil collection – often tweets interesting photos of fossils. Jonathan Marcot, a research assistant professor at the School of Integrative Biology, also tweets using the #FossilFriday hashtag:
Mark Wolters, Business
Visiting business administration assistant professor Mark Wolters takes viewers and students alike on journeys around the world through his Wolters World YouTube videos (and on Twitter through the hashtag #woltersworld). Prof. Wolters’ videos feature everything from eating fermented shark in Iceland with his young family to where you should live when you study abroad. With more than 60,000 subscribers on his channel, Prof. Wolters also posts tips on how to avoid the biggest travel budget busters as well his series on the “5 Things You Will Love/Hate” and “10 Things That Will Shock You” about traveling to different countries.
Daniel Simons, Psychology
Prof. Daniel Simons (@profsimons on Twitter) is a cognitive psychology professor at Illinois. His research focuses on the limits of our own minds, and why we’re often unaware of those limits. A video on Simons’ YouTube channel, “The Monkey Business Illusion” has received more than 5.3 million views.
Simons recently did a video with PBS’ “The Good Stuff,” answering the question of whether or not photographic memory exists. Spoiler alert: Our minds don’t always work the way we think we do, Simons says.
Fresh Press, managed by graphic designer Eric Benson
Fresh Press, or @FreshPressPaper on Twitter, focuses on zero waste paper making by using waste produced by crops and plants to create “agri-fiber” paper. They’ve made paper from coffee grounds and even beer. Sustainable and gorgeous.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/freshpresspaper?fref=ts
Bonus: University of Illinois Library Instagram
OK, so this Instagram feed is technically not a faculty member. We know a library is not a person. But if you’re a fan of libraries (and with 24 million items in circulation, we’re pretty big book nerds here at Illinois), you’ll love looking at daily photos of our gorgeous stacks from @uillinoislibrary.
*Note: We’re sure that we probably left some Illinois faculty off this list. After all, there about 2,955 faculty and instructional staff at Illinois (not including the more than 12,000 graduate students studying and teaching here). But we don’t want to leave anyone out.
Let us know @NewsatIllinois or @Illinois_Alma if you know of other researchers, artists, writers, performers or musicians currently at Illinois that you follow!