blog postsDesigner enzyme conquers sulfite reduction, a bottleneck in environmental cleanupSep 13, 2018 1:00 pm473 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers have cleared one hurdle toward environmental cleanup of certain contaminants with a newly designed synthetic enzyme that reduces the compound sulfite to sulfide – a notoriously complex multistep chemical reaction that has eluded chemists for years.Ebert Symposium to feature IMAX film, astronaut videographer, storytelling with dataSep 13, 2018 10:15 am375 views The first Roger Ebert Symposium will explore the cinematic presentation of science with help from an IMAX film shot from space, a former astronaut and a diverse group of academics and experts.Study: Kidney stones have distinct geological historiesSep 13, 2018 4:00 am759 views A geologist, a microscopist and a doctor walk into a lab and, with their colleagues from across the nation, make a discovery that overturns centuries of thought about the nature and composition of kidney stones. The team’s key insight, reported in the journal Scientific Reports, is that kidney stones are built up in calcium-rich layers that resemble other mineralizations in nature, such as those forming coral reefs or arising in hot springs, Roman aqueducts or subsurface oil fields.Study: Large-scale wind and solar farms in the Sahara would increase heat, rain, vegetationSep 6, 2018 9:45 am1504 views Wind and solar farms are known to have local effects on heat, humidity and other factors that may be beneficial – or detrimental – to the regions in which they are situated. A new climate-modeling study finds that a massive wind and solar installation in the Sahara Desert and neighboring Sahel would increase local temperature, precipitation and vegetation. Overall, the researchers report, the effects would likely benefit the region.Connectivity explains ecosystem responses to rainfall, droughtAug 27, 2018 2:00 pm403 views In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers reveal techniques – inspired by the study of information theory – to track how changes in precipitation alter interactions between the atmosphere, vegetation and soil at two National Science Foundation Critical Zone Observatory sites in the western United States.A professor not afraid to cross academic boundariesAug 23, 2018 11:30 am623 views Illinois professor Ruby Mendenhall is focused on issues of poverty, inequality and violence, but crosses many academic boundaries in search of answers.Study: Human wastewater valuable to global agriculture, economicsAug 15, 2018 12:45 pm1096 views It may seem off-putting to some, but human waste is full of nutrients that can be recycled into valuable products that could promote agricultural sustainability and better economic independence for some developing countries.Study finds possible connection between U.S. tornado activity, Arctic sea iceAug 6, 2018 8:15 am1346 views The effects of global climate change taking place in the Arctic may influence weather much closer to home for millions of Americans, researchers report.Nowhere to hide: Molecular probe illuminates elusive cancer stem cells in live miceAug 1, 2018 9:00 am1386 views After a primary tumor is treated, cancer stem cells may still lurk in the body, ready to metastasize and cause a recurrence of the cancer in a form that’s more aggressive and resistant to treatment. University of Illinois researchers have developed a molecular probe that seeks out these elusive cells and lights them up so they can be identified, tracked and studied not only in cell cultures, but in their native environment: the body. In a paper published in the journal ACS Central Science, the researchers described the probe’s effectiveness in identifying cancer stem cells in cultures of multiple human cancer cell lines as well as in live mice.New model reveals rips in Earth’s mantle layer below southern TibetJul 30, 2018 2:00 pm846 views Seismic waves are helping researchers uncover the mysterious subsurface history of the Tibetan Plateau, possibly lending insight to future earthquake activity in the region.Chemicals that keep drinking water flowing may also cause foulingJul 25, 2018 7:30 am1538 views Many city drinking water systems add softening agents to keep plumbing free of pipe-clogging mineral buildup. According to new research, these additives may amplify the risk of pathogen release into drinking water by weakening the grip that bacteria – like those responsible for Legionnaires’ disease – have on pipe interiors. What is a neutrino and why do they matter?Jul 18, 2018 9:30 am1184 views Scientists recently announced the discovery of a subatomic particle that made its way to Earth from an event that occurred 3.7 billion light-years away. Sensors buried within Antarctic ice detected the ghostly cosmic particle, called a neutrino, and traced its origin to a rapidly spinning galactic nucleus known as a blazar. Physical sciences editor Lois Yoksoulian spoke with physics professor Liang Yang about the significance of the discovery.High-power electronics keep their cool with new heat-conducting crystalsJul 5, 2018 1:00 pm1397 views The inner workings of high-power electronic devices must remain cool to operate reliably. High internal temperatures can make programs run slower, freeze or shut down. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and The University of Texas, Dallas have collaborated to optimize the crystal-growing process of boron arsenide – a material that has excellent thermal properties and can effectively dissipate the heat generated in electronic devices.Study reveals how polymers relax after stressful processingJul 2, 2018 5:45 am719 views The polymers that make up synthetic materials need time to de-stress after processing, researchers said. A new study has found that entangled, long-chain polymers in solutions relax at two different rates, marking an advancement in fundamental polymer physics. The findings will provide a better understanding of the physical properties of polymeric materials and critical new insight to how individual polymer molecules respond to high-stress processing conditions.Study yields a new scale of earthquake understandingJun 27, 2018 12:45 pm658 views Nanoscale knowledge of the relationships between water, friction and mineral chemistry could lead to a better understanding of earthquake dynamics, researchers said in a new study. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used microscopic friction measurements to confirm that, under the right conditions, some rocks can dissolve and may cause faults to slip. DNA enzyme shuffles cell membranes a thousand times faster than its natural counterpartJun 21, 2018 4:00 am1721 views A new synthetic enzyme, crafted from DNA rather than protein, flips lipid molecules within the cell membrane, triggering a signal pathway that could be harnessed to induce cell death in cancer cells. It is the first such synthetic enzyme to outperform its natural counterparts.New tissue-imaging technology could enable real-time diagnostics, map cancer progressionJun 20, 2018 8:00 am2992 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.New aircraft-scheduling models may ease air travel frustrationsJun 11, 2018 8:30 am1246 views Flight schedules that allow for a little carefully designed wiggle room could prevent the frustration of cascading airport delays and cancellations. By focusing on the early phases of flight schedule planning and delays at various scales, researchers have developed models to help create schedules that are less susceptible to delays and easier to fix once disrupted.New algorithm fuses quality and quantity in satellite imageryJun 4, 2018 8:30 am1658 views Using a new algorithm, University of Illinois researchers may have found the solution to an age-old dilemma plaguing satellite imagery – whether to sacrifice high spatial resolution in the interest of generating images more frequently, or vice versa. The team’s new tool eliminates this trade-off by fusing high-resolution and high-frequency satellite data into one integrated product, and can generate 30-meter daily continuous images going back to the year 2000. Scott R. White, pioneer of self-healing materials, has diedMay 31, 2018 10:45 am3024 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 55.3-D printed sugar scaffolds offer sweet solution for tissue engineering, device manufacturingMay 23, 2018 2:00 pm3564 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.Team achieves two-electron chemical reactions using light energy, goldMay 15, 2018 8:30 am942 views Scientists report they can now drive two-electron chemical reactions, bringing them one step closer to building a carbon-recycling system that can harvest solar energy to efficiently convert CO2 and water into liquid fuels.Engineers on a roll toward smaller, more efficient radio frequency transformersMay 14, 2018 10:00 am1320 views The future of electronic devices lies partly within the “internet of things” – the network of devices, vehicles and appliances embedded within electronics to enable connectivity and data exchange. University of Illinois engineers are helping realize this future by minimizing the size of one notoriously large element of integrated circuits used for wireless communication – the transformer.Elastic microspheres expand understanding of embryonic development and cancer cellsMay 14, 2018 6:00 am583 views A new technique that uses tiny elastic balls filled with fluorescent nanoparticles aims to expand the understanding of the mechanical forces that exist between cells, researchers report. A University of Illinois-led team has demonstrated the quantification of 3-D forces within cells living in petri dishes as well as live specimens. This research may unlock some of the mysteries related to embryonic development and cancer stem cells, i.e., tumor-repopulating cells.New polymer manufacturing process saves 10 orders of magnitude of energyMay 9, 2018 12:00 pm1294 views Makers of cars, planes, buses – anything that needs strong, lightweight and heat resistant parts – are poised to benefit from a new manufacturing process that requires only a quick touch from a small heat source to send a cascading hardening wave through a polymer. Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new polymer-curing process that could reduce the cost, time and energy needed, compared with the current manufacturing process.Illinois chemist elected to National Academy of SciencesMay 1, 2018 1:30 pm943 views Scott E. Denmark, a professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest professional honors a scientist can receive. Denmark is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates recognized for distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.Study suggests ample warning of supervolcano eruptionsApr 30, 2018 8:30 am1771 views Concern over the potential imminent eruptions of Earth’s supervolcanoes, like Taupo in New Zealand or Yellowstone in the United States, may be quelled by the results of a new study suggesting that geological signs pointing to a catastrophic eruption would be clear far in advance.Prosthetic arms can provide controlled sensory feedback, study findsApr 26, 2018 2:45 pm2322 views Losing an arm doesn’t have to mean losing all sense of touch, thanks to prosthetic arms that stimulate nerves with mild electrical feedback. University of Illinois researchers have developed a control algorithm that regulates the current so a prosthetics user feels steady sensation, even when the electrodes begin to peel off or when sweat builds up. New camera gives surgeons a butterfly’s-eye view of cancerApr 5, 2018 9:00 am2806 views Cancer lurking in tissue could be more easily found when looking through a butterfly’s eye.Geography professor awarded Guggenheim FellowshipApr 5, 2018 8:45 am1846 views University of Illinois professor of geography Jesse Ribot has been awarded a 2018 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.Shrimp-inspired camera may enable underwater navigationApr 4, 2018 1:00 pm1242 views The underwater environment may appear to the human eye as a dull-blue, featureless space. However, a vast landscape of polarization patterns appear when viewed through a camera that is designed to see the world through the eyes of many of the animals that inhabit the water. Researchers develop model to show how bacteria grow in plumbing systemsMar 29, 2018 11:45 am1305 views Bacteria in tap water can multiply when a faucet isn’t used for a few days, such as when a house is vacant over a week’s vacation, a new study from University of Illinois engineers found. The study suggests a new method to show how microbial communities, including those responsible for illnesses like Legionnaires’ disease, may assemble inside the plumbing systems of homes and public buildingsInterdisciplinary theater piece gives glimpse into world of quantum physicsMar 28, 2018 8:45 am824 views “Quantum Voyages,” an interdisciplinary theater piece created by University of Illinois physics and theatre professors, gives a glimpse into the strange world of quantum physics.Team brings subatomic resolution to computational microscopeMar 26, 2018 10:00 am2268 views Scientists have built a “computational microscope” that can simulate the atomic and subatomic forces that drive molecular interactions. This tool will streamline efforts to understand the chemistry of life, model large molecular systems and develop new pharmaceutical and industrial agents, the researchers say.Researchers demonstrate existence of new form of electronic matterMar 14, 2018 1:00 pm3482 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.Researchers tap problematic e-waste surplus to recover high-quality polymersMar 14, 2018 8:30 am1494 views Mixed-plastic electronics waste could be a valuable source of reusable polymers, a new study led by Illinois Sustainability Technology Center scientists suggests. The team has developed the first energy-efficient and environmentally friendly process that separates mixed polymers so that they can be recycled into new, high-quality plastic products.Virtual predator is self-aware, behaves like living counterpartMar 1, 2018 8:30 am2330 views Scientists report in the journal eNeuro that they’ve built an artificially intelligent ocean predator that behaves a lot like the original flesh-and-blood organism on which it was modeled. The virtual creature, “Cyberslug,” reacts to food and responds to members of its own kind much like the actual animal, the sea slug Pleurobranchaea californica, does.Individual quantum dots imaged in 3-D for first timeFeb 27, 2018 9:15 am455 views Researchers have developed an imaging technique that uses a tiny, super sharp needle to nudge a single nanoparticle into different orientations and capture 2-D images to help reconstruct a 3-D picture. The method demonstrates imaging of individual nanoparticles at different orientations while in a laser-induced excited state.Continental interiors may not be as tectonically stable as geologists thinkFeb 19, 2018 10:00 am1131 views Geologic activity within stable portions of Earth’s uppermost layer may have occurred more recently than previously believed.Three Illinois professors named Sloan Research FellowsFeb 15, 2018 9:00 am8544 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.Tiny drug-delivering capsules could sustain transplanted insulin-producing cells for diabeticsFeb 12, 2018 9:15 am1253 views A drug-carrying microsphere within a cell-bearing microcapsule could be the key to transplanting insulin-secreting pig pancreas cells into human patients whose own cells have been destroyed by type I diabetes.Shape-shifting organic crystals use memory to improve plastic electronicsJan 25, 2018 9:45 am2110 views Researchers have identified a mechanism that triggers shape-memory phenomena in organic crystals used in plastic electronics. Shape-shifting structural materials are made with metal alloys, but the new generation of economical printable plastic electronics is poised to benefit from this phenomenon, too. Shape-memory materials science and plastic electronics technology, when merged, could open the door to advancements in low-power electronics, medical electronics devices and multifunctional shape-memory materials.Researchers use sound waves to advance optical communicationJan 22, 2018 10:00 am1951 views Illinois researchers have demonstrated that sound waves can be used to produce ultraminiature optical diodes that are tiny enough to fit onto a computer chip. These devices, called optical isolators, may help solve major data capacity and system size challenges for photonic integrated circuits, the light-based equivalent of electronic circuits, which are used for computing and communications.How massive is supermassive? Astronomers measure more black holes, farther awayJan 9, 2018 1:15 pm688 views Astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey announced new measurements of the masses of a large sample of supermassive black holes far beyond our universe.Are you vulnerable to newly discovered online security risks?Jan 8, 2018 3:15 pm1017 views Nearly everyone is. And the culprits, Meltdown and Spectre, could wreak havoc on personal security if ignored, says computer science professor Chris FletcherHeat from below Pacific Ocean fuels Yellowstone, study findsDec 18, 2017 9:45 am3443 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. High-resolution climate models present alarming new projections for U.S.Dec 13, 2017 12:15 pm1132 views Approaching the second half of the century, the United States is likely to experience increases in the number of days with extreme heat, the frequency and duration of heat waves, and the length of the growing season. In response, it is anticipated that societal, agricultural and ecological needs will increase the demand on already-strained natural resources like water and energy. University of Illinois researchers have developed new, high-resolution climate models that may help policymakers mitigate these effects at a local level.Why are global CO2 emissions on the rise again?Nov 21, 2017 12:00 pm523 views The annual Carbon Budget report found that fossil fuel emissions are on the rise again in 2017, says atmospheric sciences professor and report contributor Atul JainTwo Illinois faculty members elected AAAS FellowsNov 20, 2017 9:15 am965 views Two faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2017 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fellows are chosen for their outstanding contributions to their field of study.Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activityNov 17, 2017 9:45 am1923 views Specially tailored, ultrafast pulses of light can trigger neurons to fire and could one day help patients with light-sensitive circadian or mood problems, according to a new study in mice at the University of Illinois.