News

Engineering in the News October 2012

10/1/2012 8:45:00 AM

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. This collection of October stories focuses on engineering topics and faculty contacted for their expertise by print and broadcast reporters around the world.

DRIVING DATA
The News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana, IL, Oct. 29) -- Drivers in Champaign-Urbana may have noticed something unusual last Saturday: more than 100 University of Illinois students stationed on street corners throughout the city, counting cars and recording their movement on smart phones. The students were helping transportation researchers test an innovative new system that monitors traffic congestion and can provide valuable, real-time information to police, emergency personnel and the public with the goal of helping traffic flow more smoothly during major events.

RAILROADS
Phys Org.com
(Douglas, Isle of Man, Oct. 29) -- The U. of I. is working with a Kansas State University researcher to improve how high-speed rail systems handle the stress of freezing and thawing weather conditions. Also: KAKE-Channel 10 (ABC; Wichita, Kan., Oct. 29), KNST (Oct.

ALUMNUS DRIVES MARS ROVER
WLS-Channel 7 (ABC; Chicago, Oct. 28) -- Since its landing on Mars in early August, NASA’s rover Curiosity has been sending back extraordinary pictures that may tell us whether the red plant was ever life-friendly. U. of I. computer science graduate Scott Maxwell runs Curiosity. “I come in and my job is I reach my hand across 100-million miles of emptiness and I move something on the surface of another plant,” Maxwell said. “That never gets old.”

ALUMNUS FEATURED ON "60 MINUTES"
News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana, Ill., Oct. 26) -- Engineering alumnus Shahid Khan, president of Urbana-based Flex-N-Gate and the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, will be profiled this Sunday (Oct. 28) on the CBS news magazine "60 Minutes." Also: Jacksonvill Business Journal (blog, Oct. 25),  Washington Post (Oct. 25), AFP (Oct. 25), NBC Sports.com (Oct. 25), Dawn.com-World (Oct. 25), Tampa Bay Times (blog, Oct. 25). Watch the original 60 Minutes segment.

Related stories:

  • 60 Minutes Overtime (Oct. 28) -- Background story expands on segment about Shahid Khan aired on Oct. 28.
  • Chicago Tribune (Oct. 7) -- A profile of U. of I. alumnus Shahid Khan, the owner of an auto-parts supply company as well as the Jacksonville Jaguars football team. Also: Chicago Sun-Times (Oct. 6).
  • Chicago Sun-Times (Oct. 17) -- Shahid Khan, the first minority team owner in the NFL, got his start with $500 and admission to the U. of I.

SYMPOSIUM HONORS HOLONYAK & LED
News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana, Ill., Oct. 25) -- Scientists from around the world gathered in Urbana, Illinois to pay tribute to Nick Holonyak Jr. and his invention of the visible light-emitting diode, or LED, in 1962. The two-day symposium, "LED: 50 Years," celebrated the contributions Holonyak and others made to developing the LED over the last 50 years. Governor Patrick Quinn was on hand with a proclamation declaring Wednesday as Nick Holonyak Jr. Day and honoring the LED as a longer-lasting, more efficient, more durable and mercury-free source of light. Quinn said Holonyak invented a technology that changed the world. The governor's mansion, he noted, has changed to all-LED technology. Also: Daily Illini (Oct. 25), The Southern Illinoisan (Oct. 25).

VIDEO GAMES AND THE BRAIN
United Press International (Oct. 24) -- A recording of brain waves can be used to predict who will improve most on an unfamiliar video game, researchers at Illinois report. Also: The Atlantic (Oct. 24), Neuro Gadget.com (Bath, England, Oct. 25), Science Blog (Los Angeles, Oct. 25), Red Orbit.com (Dallas, Oct. 25), News Track India (from Asian News International, Washington, D.C.; New Delhi, Oct. 25), Metro (New York, Oct 25).

FACULTY
Desalination.com (Oxford, UK, Oct. 22) -- Mark Alan Shannon, a mechanical sciences and engineering professor at the U. of I., died Oct. 14 after a three-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrigs disease.

STRATOSPHERIC SKYDIVE
PBS NewsHour” (Oct. 16) -- U. of I. physics professor emeritus Michael Weissman and geology and physics professor Susan Kieffer comment on the forces factoring into last Sunday’s first stratospheric skydive.

CHEMISTRY
India-West (San Leandro, Calif., Oct. 16) -- Prashant Jain, a chemistry professor and an affiliate of physics and the Beckman Institute, has been named by MIT on a list of “35 Innovators Under 35,” for his work on quantum dots.

RESEARCH LAB
Chicago Tribune (from The Associated Press, Oct. 16) -- U. of I. officials are talking about a potential new, private research and development laboratory in Chicago that would be affiliated with the school. Also: The News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana, Ill., Oct. 16).

  • Chicago Tribune (Oct. 25) -- Bruce Rauner, who recently retired from a private equity firm based in Chicago, says the U. of I. should be better incorporated into Chicago’s technology scene. It has “one of the greatest computer science and engineering schools in the world,” he says. “What if the University of Illinois and Chicago got together and formed a joint venture to have computer science and engineering and technology from one of the greatest universities in the world embedded in Chicago?” Rauner says an initiative he has been working on for three years “would take it to a whole new level.”
  • Crain’s Chicago Business (Oct. 29) -- A proposed high-tech U. of I. research institute could be a game-changer in Chicago’s efforts to reinvigorate the “Silicon Prairie.” Also: Marketplace.org (Oct. 26).

BODY WEIGHT AND GASOLINE CONSUMPTION
Live Science (New York City, May 21) -- Continuing weight gains among American drivers have increased gas consumption by more than a billion gallons annually, according U. of I. computer scientist Sheldon Jacobson. Also: KDKA-AM (1020) (CBS; Pittsburgh, Oct. 17).

SEMICONDUCTORS
The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 16) -- Futurists have long praised the possibilities of stretchable electronics: smart clothing that can monitor the wearer’s vital signs, miniature devices that conform to the shape of the body or sensors that expand or contract with the beating of a human heart. MC10 Inc., a start-up co-founded by U. of I. materials scientist John Rogers, is this year’s winner in the Semiconductors category of the newspaper's 2012 Technology Innovation Award, for devising a method for making thin, flexible electronic devices that can stretch and bend.

COMPUTING
Data Center Knowledge (Lawrenceville, N.J., Oct. 15) -- On Monday the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the U. of I. held Petascale Day to publicize its Blue Waters supercomputer and examine the impact and meaning of a petaflop of computing power.

CYBER SECURITY
Technology Review (Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 12) -- Computer-security experts say threats of cyber attacks on the nation's power and water systems are plausible because of the outdated technology used to operate critical infrastructure. Attacks could take many different forms, says U. of I. computer science professor Roy Campbell. Also: Business Insider (New York City, Oct. 15).

CYBER SECURITY
The Sacramento Bee (California, Oct. 12) -- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency said Thursday it has received a $1 million federal grant to pay for cyber security training, which will be developed with the U. of I. and the Illinois Terrorism Task Force.

ELECTRONIC TATTOO
Time Magazine: Ideas (Oct. 11) -- John Rogers' electronic tattoo circuits are featured as one of "Three Scientific Breakthroughs That Will Blow Your Mind."

NANOMETER-SCALE MANUFACTURING
R&D Magazine (Oct. 10) -- While there have been significant breakthroughs in nanomanufacturing, there has been much less progress on measurement technologies that can provide information about nanostructures made from multiple integrated materials. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Anasys Instruments Inc. have used atomic force microscope based infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR) to characterize polymer nanostructures and systems of integrated polymer nanostructures. Researchers led by William King, in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at Illinois, have been able to chemically analyze polymer lines as small as 100 nm. Also: Nano Science News (Oct. 10), ScienceBlog (Oct. 10), Nanotech Now (Oct. 10), Phys.Org (Oct. 10), AzoNano (Oct. 11), Nanowerk News (Honolulu, Oct. 16), AZoNano.com (Warriewood, New South Wales, Oct. 16).

RESEARCHERS HONORED
HPCwire (San Diego, Oct. 10) -- Physics professor Klaus Schulten and computer science professor Laxmikant “Sanjay” Kale, both at Illinois, have been named recipients of the 2012 IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernbach Award. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in the application of high-performance computers using innovative approaches.

LED AT 50
BBC (England, Oct. 9) -- The LED started life in October 1962, as a single red illumination in a General Electric research lab in New York. In an exclusive interview, Prof. Nick Holonyak Jr from the University of Illinois, takes a look back at how it all began with his invention of the first practical visible-spectrum light-emitting diode. Also: Tech Goes Strong (Oct. 9), LEDs Magazine (Oct. 10), Gizmodo (Oct. 9), The National (Oct. 11), Co.Design (Oct. 9), Geeks are Sexy Technology News (Oct. 10), Lighting (‎Oct. 9), Printed Circuit Design & Fab (Oct. 9), VR-Zone (Oct. 9), French Tribune (Oct. 9), The Register-Hardware (UK, Oct. 11), 4-traders (Oct. 9), Optics.org (Oct 11), ElectronicsWeekly.com (blog, Oct. 12).

Related stories:

  • News-Gazette (Oct. 10) -- Fifty years after demonstrating the first visible light-emitting diode, or LED, Nick Holonyak Jr. received a standing ovation from friends, colleagues and aspiring researchers at an event Tuesday celebrating his achievements. Also: WAND-TV (Decatur, Ill., Oct. 9), WCIA-TV (Champaign, Ill., Oct. 9), Printed Circuit Design & Fab (Canton, Ga., Oct. 9), Solid State Technology (Oct. 10), Mother Nature Network (blog, Oct. 9), Daily Illini (Oct. 9),
    Dubuque Telegraph Herald (Oct. 9), RedOrbit (Oct. 9), Sacramento Bee (Oct. 8), Northwest Herald (Oct. 9), Chicago Tribune (Oct. 8), Quincy Herald Whig (Oct. 9), Toronto Star (Oct. 12).
  • Wired (London, Oct. 9) -- An interview with Nick Holonyak Jr. about the history and future of the LED.
  • WCIA-TV (Champaign, Ill., Oct. 9) -- LED technology helps news get on air.
  • Wired (Oct. 9) -- Oct. 9, 1962: First Visible LED Is Demonstrated
  • In Spanish: BBC Mundo (Oct. 10), La Segunda (Oct. 10), Distribución Actualidad (Oct. 11), Europa Press (Oct. 10), ENTER.CO (blog, Oct. 10), RTVE (Oct. 11), Lukor (Oct. 10), Terra Colombia (Oct. 9), Site Inovação Tecnológica (Oct. 11),
    Dinheiro na Conta (Oct. 9).
  • Plus, numerous foreign language stories around the world.

FLEXIBLE CIRCUITS
Technology Review (Cambridge, Mass., Oct. 10) -- A Belgian research center has developed a way to put integrated circuits into flexible and stretchable materials without impairing the microchip’s functionality. John Rogers, a U. of I. materials and engineering professor, says using off-the-shelf computer chips should make it easier to build more sophisticated devices. “A key advantage is that these strategies enable commercial, off-the-shelf components to be configured into flexible, stretchable formats,” he says.

BLACK HOLES
Deccan Herald (Bangalore, India, Oct. 9) -- Astronomers have managed to look closer than ever before into the edge of a supermassive black hole in the galaxy, M87. The evidence for the existence of a supermassive black hole in the galaxy is now almost as compelling as that for our own Milky Way, says Charles Gammie, a U. of I. physics professor.

ACADEMIA
University of Wisconsin (Oct. 5) -- Ian Robertson, a U. of I. professor of materials science and engineering, is one of four finalists to become dean of engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

PHYSICS OF SUPERSONIC SKYDIVE
Live Science (Oct. 4) -- Engineering at Illinois' physicist Michael Weissman helps explain the science behind the first-ever supersonic skydive, which will take place next week.

MEDICAL SCANNING
Gizmag (Melbourne, Australia, Oct. 2) -- It may not be Star Trek’s famous “tricorder,” but a new device developed by a team of U. of I. engineers led by Stephan Boppart takes reality a step closer to science fiction. They have built a hand-held scanning device that provides real-time three-dimensional images of the insides of patients’ bodies. Also: Health Imaging (Providence, R.I., Oct. 3), The Engineer (United Kingdom, Oct. 4), ASEE FirstBell (Oct. 4), Telepresence Options (Ashburn, Va., Oct. 5).

ELECTION PROGNOSTICATION
All Analytics (Oct. 3) -- Feature story about Election Analytics, the "Web tool that tracks and analyzes polling data to forecast who will win the upcoming November 2012 elections" developed by CS professor Sheldon Jacobson and his students. As election day draws closer, the Election Analytics forecasts turn into actual predictions. "Things start to get really interesting three weeks before the election -- that's when the rubber meets the road," said Jacobson.

Related stories:

SEMICONDUCTORS
New Electronics (London, Oct. 1) -- U. of I. researchers have a new low-cost method to carve delicate features onto semiconductor wafers using light – and watch as it happens. “You can use light to image the topography and you can use light to sculpture the topography,” says ECE professor Gabriel Popescu. “It could change the future of semiconductor etching.” Also: Science 360 News Service (National Science Foundation, Oct. 2), Photonics.com (Pittsfield, Mass., Oct. 1), Compound Semiconductor (Bristol, England, Oct. 2), Product Design & Development (Rockaway, N.J., Oct. 1), ScienceBlog (Oct. 2), Electronics Weekly (Surrey, England, Oct. 4).

HOLONYAK -- FATHER OF MODERN LIGHT
Ecoimagination (General Electric) -- 83-year-old Nick Holonyak talks about his work at GE’s laboratories in the 1950s and 1960s, where 50 years ago, he invented the visible light emitting diode, or LED.

Related stories: Marketwatch (New York City, Oct. 9) -- Fifty years ago today, Nick Holonyak Jr., an engineering professor at Illinois since 1963, invented the first practical visible-spectrum light-emitting diode (LED), a device that GE colleagues at the time called “the magic one” because its light, unlike infrared lasers, was visible to the human eye. Also: Northwest Herald (from The Associated Press; Crystal Lake, Ill., Oct. 9), Lighting Magazine (London, Oct. 9), USA Today (Oct. 9), News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana, Ill., Oct. 8).

CHICAGO CONNECTION
Crain’s Chicago Business (Oct. 1) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is scheduled to be at the U. of I. on Tuesday, joined by representatives from at least 30 of the city’s technology companies. Also: World Business Chicago (Oct. 1), NBCChicago.com (blog, Oct. 9), Medill Reports (Evanston, Ill., Oct. 12).

Related stories: Chicago Sun-Times (Oct. 3) -- "Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday came to where the Internet all began, with a singular message to a few hundred University of Illinois computer whizzes: When you graduate, think Chicago." At the university's National Center for Supercomputing Applications auditorium, the mayor "was joined onstage by a who's who of Chicago's big-time tech giants: Groupon co-founder and venture capitalist Brad Keywell; GrubHub co-founder Mike Evans, and BrightTag co-founder Eric Lunt. Also: ASEE FirstBell (10/4), Built In Chicago (Oct. 4), TechLI (Oct. 5).

  • Chicago Tribune (Oct. 14) -- Article about the "ThinkChicago" program, a 2-year-old collaboration between the city of Chicago and the University of Illinois that introduces college juniors and seniors from across the Midwest to tech industry leaders in the hope they'll choose to work in Chicago after graduation.
  • Chicago Sun-Times (Oct. 24) -- Chalk up another incremental victory in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s drive to portray Chicago as the “digital capital of the Midwest.” Nokia is relocating its Mobile Phones Xpress Internet Services group from suburban Itasca to Chicago, bringing 150 jobs along with it. Three weeks ago, Emanuel and a group of Chicago’s technology whiz kids traveled to the U. of I. to pitch aspiring computer science and engineering students to bypass the Silicon Valley and, instead, start their careers in Chicago.

NCSA
HPCwire (San Diego, Oct. 1) -- Thom H. Dunning Jr., the director of NCSA at Illinois, will retire in 2013 and then plans to continue as a chemistry professor.

NUCLEAR ENERGY
ASEE FirstBell (Oct. 1) -- The U.S. Department of Energy is giving the U. of I. $3.5 million to use on research related to nuclear power. The Energy Department said Thursday the money is part of President Barack Obama’s strategy to develop and maintain a wide variety of energy sources. 

TRANSIENT ELECTRONICS
Science 360 News Service (National Science Foundation, Oct. 1) -- John A. Rogers, the Lee J. Flory-Founder Professor of Engineering at Illinois. led a multidisciplinary team that has developed dissolvable electronic circuitry, which could be used in medicine, electronics, pollution control and many other applications. Also: The Boston Globe (Oct. 1), ASEE FirstBell (Oct. 2), Trinidad Guardian (Port-of-Spain, Oct. 1), Biobased Digest (Miami, Oct. 2), iHealthBeat (Oakland, Calif., Oct. 2), Medill Reports (Evanston, Ill., Oct. 3), Scientific American (Oct. 5), Science 360 News Service (NSF podcast, Oct. 16), Fast Company (New York City, Oct. 16), Diabetes Health (Novato, Calif., Oct. 20). Editor's note: Google listed more than 250 stories on this subject during September 2012.
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PLEASE NOTE: Some web links are short-lived by design of the publisher. In most cases, articles are archived on the publisher's website and can be retrieved electronically. Some articles may be archived on sites that are fee-based, and some may have re-distribution restrictions.

If you have any questions about the College of Engineering, or other story ideas, contact Rick Kubetz, editor, Engineering Communications Office, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 217/244-7716.