In the Media

This monthly summary includes excerpts from Illinois in the News, a daily service provided by the University of Illinois News Bureau and other media search tools, focusing on engineering topics and faculty contacted for their expertise by print and broadcast reporters around the world.


How soft materials react to deformation at molecular level

Science Daily (June 24) Before designing the next generation of soft materials, researchers must first understand how they behave during rapidly changing deformation. In a new study, researchers challenged previous assumptions regarding polymer behavior with newly developed laboratory techniques that measure polymer flow at the molecular level. Also: (June 24).

A report says young people are growing horns on their skulls. Critics don't buy it

CNN (June 21) Recent research suggested small, hornlike spikes could grow on our skulls, and smartphones could be the culprit behind this change. Critics are skeptical. “There is no information about the duration or frequency of hand-held device usage in this study, so it is not possible to draw any correlation between the observations of enlarged (external occipital protuberances) and hand-held device usage,” says Mariana Kersh, a professor mechanical science and engineering at Illinois and the director of the Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory. “There is definitely no cause and effect demonstrated in this study.”

Midwest Big Data Hub Successfully Transitions to Second Phase with New NSF Award

Datanami (June 20) The National Science Foundation (NSF) this month announced the second phase of funding for the regional Big Data Innovation Hub (BD Hubs) program. Under the planned four year, $4 million award, the Midwest Big Data Hub wilal continue to be led from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Wired In: Brandon Yates

News-Gazette (June 16) Meet Brandon Yates, a University of Illinois civil-engineering student and a founder of DeepWalk Research Group, which aims to improve accessibility in wide areas of public space. Part of this is work being done this summer with Illinois' iVenture Accelerator program for selected start-ups.

Using The Major League Ball In The Top Minor Leagues Has Led To More Homers

Forbes (June 16) -- For the first time in history, Major League Baseball is experimenting with using the big-league ball in both the Pacific Coast League and International Leagues this season, leading to unintended consequences – a soaring rise in home runs. A group of 10 highly rated professors and scientists chaired by Alan Nathan, a professor emeritus of physics at Illinois, determined that the big-league ball is not livelier or “juiced.”

Army Focuses on Power, Propulsion for Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems

I-Connect007 (June 13) -- Attempting to kick-start a way to rapidly push novel concepts into reality in UAS power and propulsion systems, researchers from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory, its university partners, its Department of Energy partners, and industry collaborated at the Center for UAS Propulsion, or CUP program review on April 30 and Industry-Academia Connection Days May 1-2. Professor Tonghun Lee, from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the university's academic lead for the CUP consortium, said the event was an exciting start to a new program that defines our nation's commitment to UAS propulsion.

Researchers Develop New Technique to Produce Amino Acid Chains in the Lab

R&D Magazine (June 11) -- The process of chaining together the amino acids needed to build the new protein molecules for drug and biomaterial development is often very long and complex for scientists. However, a research team from the U. of I. has created a faster, easier and cheaper technique to produce new amino acid chains called polypeptides, using a streamlined process to purify amino acid precursors while simultaneously building the chains.

Energy Department to Invest $32 Million in Computer Design of Materials

EIN Newsdesk (June 12 ) -- The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that it will invest $32 million over the next four years to accelerate the design of new materials through use of supercomputers. The teams are led by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as well as the University of Illinois, the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Texas and the University of Southern California.

Black hole simulation solves a mystery about their accretion disks

Universe Today (June 8) -- Thanks to a recent study where an international team of researchers conducted the most detailed simulations of a black hole to date, a number of theoretical predictions regarding accretion disks have finally been validated. The team ran their simulation using the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois.

Someday the U.S. Will Have to Actually Deal With Its Nuclear Waste Problem

Slate (June 7) -- Nuclear fuel waste can be reduced by recycling. By separating out uranium and plutonium from used nuclear fuel, engineers can reuse those in reactors to generate additional energy and throw out the rest. “Ninety-five percent of original energy is in the unused fuel,” says Kathryn Huff, a professor of nuclear engineering at Illinois.


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