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Physical Sciences

Are you vulnerable to newly discovered online security risks?

Nearly everyone is. And the culprits, Meltdown and Spectre, could wreak havoc on personal security if ignored, says computer science professor Chris Fletcher

Heat from below Pacific Ocean fuels Yellowstone, study finds

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.

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.

Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

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.

Five Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

Five faculty members have been named to the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list (previously known as the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list). The list recognizes “leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world."

Researchers put new spin on old technique to engineer better absorptive materials

A team of University of Illinois bioengineers has taken a new look at an old tool to help characterize a class of materials called metal organic frameworks – MOFs for short. MOFs are used to detect, purify and store gases, and could help solve some of the worlds most challenging energy, environmental and pharmaceutical challenges – they can even pull water molecules straight from the air to provide relief from droughts.

Electrostatic force takes charge in bioinspired polymers

Researchers at the University of Illinois and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst have taken the first steps toward gaining control over the self-assembly of synthetic materials in the same way that biology forms natural polymers. This advance could prove useful in designing new bioinspired, smart materials for applications ranging from drug delivery to sensing to remediation of environmental contaminants.

Researchers look to patterns to envision new engineering field

The phenomenon that forms interference patterns on television displays when a camera focuses on a pattern like a person wearing stripes has inspired a new way to conceptualize electronic devices. Researchers at the University of Illinois are showing how the atomic-scale version of this phenomenon may hold the secrets to help advance electronics design to the limits of size and speed. 

Events explore how technology, creativity interact to imagine the future

A series of events at the University of Illinois called Speculative Futures will bring artists together with technology innovators with the goal of sparking new creative projects at the intersection of computer science and science fiction.

Scientists: Expanding Brazilian sugarcane could dent global CO2 emissions

Vastly expanding sugarcane production in Brazil for conversion to ethanol could reduce current global carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 5.6 percent, researchers report in the journal Nature Climate Change.