Illinois Physics | The Grainger College of Engineering | UIUC

Dale Van Harlingen, former head of department, dies at 73

Dale Van Harlingen, professor emeritus of physics and the Donald Biggar Willett Professor Emeritus of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, died on July 20, 2024, two days prior to his 74th birthday. Van Harlingen served Illinois Physics as its 10th head of the department from 2006 to 2018.

Van Harlingen will be remembered by colleagues and friends for his gentle nature and joyful outlook, his easy ability to form connections with and energize people, and his deep love of the department he so gladly served and advocated for.

ATLAS probes uncharted territory with improved trigger

The ATLAS Collaboration has released its first search for new physics phenomena  at the highest-ever collision energy of 13.6 TeV, targeting exotic events with two “displaced” leptons.

DeMarco and Johnson join Governor Pritzker to announce the Illinois DARPA Quantum Proving Ground

Illinois Grainger Engineering physics professor Brian DeMarco stood on stage in Chicago on Tuesday when Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the new federal- and state-funded Quantum Proving Ground (QPG), which promises to combine scientific rigor with industry and academic expertise to design the future of quantum computing.

DARPA and other federal agencies will provide federal funding. Governor Pritzker and the State of Illinois pledged to coinvest up to $140 million in the project. DeMarco, a champion of advancing investments in quantum technology and education, underscored his long-standing commitment to this effort at Tuesday’s DARPA announcement.

Gruebele interviewed on Physics Magazine's This is Physics podcast, 'The Sounds of Data'

In this episode of This is PhysicsPhysics Magazine speaks with scientists who rely on senses other than their sight, such as hearing and touch, to interpret data, communicate their research, and make art. For example, they use sonification—the transformation of data into sound—to “listen” to hydrogen bonds and interpret gravitational-wave signals and other astrophysical data. Sonification also offers tools for visually impaired researchers and scientific outreach.


Research Highlights 

Click on a research highlight to vote for your favorite submission to the Research Highlight Science Writing Contest for graduate students.

Donor support for undergraduate research is funding student participation in cross-disciplinary study of dark matter

Donor support for undergraduate research is funding student participation in cross-disciplinary study of dark matter

Illinois Physics rising junior David Balut, the 2024 A.C. Anderson Undergraduate Research Scholar, has been a member of the Peter Abbamonte research group since November 2022. This summer, his donor-supported research includes collaborating with the Yoni Kahn group on the physics of dark matter, using organic scintillators for anisotropic detection. He will also continue to study strange metals in the Abbamonte lab. In addition to the AC Anderson Award, Balut is a recipient of the T.R. Schlaeder Engineering award, the Robert M. Stephens Engineering award, and has been a James Scholar since Fall 2022.

The A.C. Anderson Undergraduate Research Scholar award is made possible by Illinois Physics donors. The award is named for Ansel C. Anderson, an alumnus (PhD, 1961), faculty member (1962-1992), and department head (1986-1992) who  made seminal contributions to low-temperature physics, particularly on the thermal properties of metals and glasses. 

Learn more about how to become a donor and support initiatives like undergraduate research opportunities!

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Give to the Engineering Visionary Scholarship.

EVS attracts the brightest students, ensures a diverse and talented class, and helps reduce student debt.

“I love cosmology—the study of the large structures of the universe, the Big Bang, and the questions of dark energy and matter. I have a strong interest in developing astronomy instrumentation—telescopes, satellites, and sounding rockets. The Engineering Visionary Scholarship freed me up to pursue these interests while exploring the fundamentals of the universe through physics.”

— Kayleigh Excell, Class of '24, EVS Scholarship recipient

Learn More

Kayleigh Excell
Kayleigh Excell, Class of '24


Watch Illinois Physics and Astronomy Professor Charles Gammie on The UIUC Talkshow. From the origins of black holes to the nature of time itself, enjoy this captivating odyssey through the cosmos, guided by a brilliant scientific mind. 


Watch "The Physics PhD," a parody of the Barbie movie's "I'm just Ken" scene, created by graduate students in the Fahad Mahmood research group with support from the Illinois Physics graduate student community. Earning a PhD in physics is long road that can leave one feeling like they are living in a world of plastic... or maybe a graphene lattice.




I am working on my science fair project- I am freezing orange juice and soda to see which will freeze faster. My orange juice froze before the soda- is it because of the carbonate water in the soda or the sugar?

Molly (age 10)

Find Out Now

The Illinois Physics Van is a traveling science show for kids! Visit the Physics Van

Upcoming Events


Science at the Market: Molecular & Cellular Biology Graduate Student Association

Urbana's Farmer's Market at the Square: Corner of Illinois and Vine Streets

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Thesis Defense: "Memory Features in the Random Bond Ising Model"

Siddharth Mansingh, Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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