In The News Archive

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 recent stories focuses on engineering topics and faculty contacted for their expertise by print and broadcast reporters around the world.

Statue honors Women in Engineering

News-Gazette (April 28) -- A life-size statue, a gift from Texas Instruments honoring women in engineering, was unveiled at its home on the east side of the Micro and Nano-technology Laboratory on the engineering campus. The life-sized statue, which has been named "The Quintessential Engineer," is the work of Chicago sculptor Julie Rotblatt-Amrany. The article also noted that Engineering at Illinois has had a 55% growth in the number of women in the freshman engineering class since 2013; this year’s freshman class is 27% women.

Better batteries

Chemical and Engineering News (Washington, D.C., April 27) – To exploit zinc’s useful properties in next-generation batteries, researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory have prepared zinc electrodes in a porous spongelike structure. Paul Braun, a professor of materials science and chemistry at Illinois, says the NRL team “has found a particularly compelling system, where the 3-D electrode structure provides high power, as expected, but perhaps surprisingly, results in dendrite suppression and thus very good long-term cycling.”

International students

Governing (Washington, D.C., April 27) – In an era when practically every state has cut financial support for higher education, public colleges and universities have come to depend on the money international students bring in. “International students definitely contribute to our financial strength and health,” says Renee Romano, vice chancellor for student affairs at Illinois.

Illinois Innovation Prize

Chicago Inno (April 27) – Lucas Frye, co-founder and CEO of agricultural technology startup Amber Agriculture, was awarded the Illinois Innovation Prize at Illinois’ Cozad New Venture Competition on Wednesday. The award is intended to honor creative and passionate innovators on campus. Frye’s startup Amber Agriculture is a system of internet of things-enabled sensors that sit inside grain bins and monitor environmental factors such as carbon dioxide and moisture to help farmers monitor and prevent crop spoilage.

Chiral currents

Space Daily (April 27) -- Using an atomic quantum simulator, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have achieved the first-ever direct observation of chiral currents in the model topological insulator, the 2-D integer quantum Hall system. Also: ScienceBlog (April 24).

Optical molecular imaging

Scientific American (April 27) — Facebook’s newly formed Building 8 “moon shot” factory is working on a device that would let people type out words via a brain-computer interface. One of the remaining challenges is whether the changes in the returning light will create patterns unique enough to represent each of the letters, words and phrases needed to translate brain waves into words on a screen, says Stephen Boppart, the director of the Center for Optical Molecular Imaging at Illinois.

Landslide study

Science Daily (April 26) -- Late in the morning of March 22, 2014, a huge chunk of land cut loose and roared down a hillside in the Stillaguamish River Valley just east of Oso, Washington. This was the deadliest landslide on record in the continental U.S. A new report from University of Illinois civil engineers details the factors leading to the disaster, the hazards that accompany landslides and steps that can be taken to mitigate landslide consequences and risk in the Pacific Northwest, with the aim of preventing future tragedies. Also: ScienceBlog (April 26).

Engineer Guy: Outlaw Tech

Live Science (NSF, April 26) -- Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Professor Bill Hammack, a.k.a. Engineer Guy, is in the new TV series Outlaw Tech. The series is on the Science Channel, part of the Discovery network. The first episode was broadcast Wednesday and the next five episodes run on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.

Rankings: Best Value Colleges

Forbes (April 26) — Forbes compiled a list of the Best Value Colleges for 2017 based on region, with Illinois ranking at No. 4 of the top 10 schools in the Midwest.

U of I #7 in Silicon Valley hires

Quartz (April 25) -- The most coveted jobs are in Silicon Valley, and most selective US universities are members of the Ivy League. So it stands to reason that tech giants like Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook would scoop up best and brightest from those bastions of power and privilege. However, none of the Ivy League schools were represented on the list compiled by HiringSolved. The University of Illinois ranks #7 on that list.

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