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Physical Sciences

Large, crystalline lipid scaffolds bring new possibilities to protein, drug research

Proteins and drugs are often attached to lipids to promote crystallization or ensure delivery to targeted tissues within the body, but only the smallest proteins and molecules fit within these fat structures. A new study reveals a lipid structure that can support much larger proteins and molecules than before, potentially increasing the variety of drugs that can be attached to these fat molecules.

Tiny aquariums put nanoparticle self-assembly on display

Seeing is believing when it comes to nanoparticle self-assembly. A team of University of Illinois engineers is observing the interactions of colloidal gold nanoparticles inside tiny aquariumlike sample containers to gain more control over the self-assembly process of engineered materials.

Click beetles inspire design of self-righting robots

Robots perform many tasks that humans can’t or don’t want to perform, getting around on intricately designed wheels and limbs. If they tip over, however, they are rendered almost useless. A team of University of Illinois mechanical engineers and entomologists are looking to click beetles, who can right themselves without the use of their legs, to solve this robotics challenge.

Is the future of hurricane forecasting in danger?

Satellites that help forecast hurricanes require constant upkeep and frequent replacement, but budget cuts have left the future of hurricane monitoring satellites in doubt

Changes in nonextreme precipitation may have not-so-subtle consequences

Major floods and droughts receive a lot of attention in the context of climate change, but University of Illinois researchers analyzed over five decades of precipitation data from North America to find that changes in nonextreme precipitation are more significant than previously realized and larger than those in extreme precipitation. These changes can have a strong effect on ecosystems, agriculture, infrastructure design and resource management, and point to a need to examine precipitation in a more nuanced, multifaceted way.

Farewell, Cassini: What have we learned about Saturn?

Astronomy professor Leslie Looney talks about NASA’s Cassini satellite, which will descend into Saturn’s atmosphere tomorrow, twenty years after it's launch 

Congressional redistricting less contentious when resolved using computer algorithm

Concerns that the process of U.S. congressional redistricting may be politically biased have fueled many debates, but a team of University of Illinois computer scientists and engineers has developed a new computer algorithm that may make the task easier for state legislatures and fairer for their constituents.

Researchers identify cheaper, greener biofuels processing catalyst

Fuels that are produced from nonpetroleum-based biological sources may become greener and more affordable, thanks to research performed at the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute that examines the use of a processing catalyst made from palladium metal and bacteria.

Are you ready for the solar eclipse?

Astronomy professor Leslie Looney on what will it look like on – and off – the "path of totality."

Are droughts becoming more extreme and severe?

"Because future climate projections exhibit 'more extreme extremes,' drought recovery times will be critical for assessing ecosystem resilience."

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