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Such “escape rooms” have become popular in recent years — immersive games where you and your friends (or strangers) search for clues and solve puzzles to defuse a simulated danger before time runs out.

Paul Kwiat, another University of Illinois physicist, is the creator of this particular escape room, which is one of the few, perhaps the only one, filled with puzzles that are based on science.

  • Accolades

Illinois Physics Senior Academic Advisor Merissa Jones was selected for the 2019 Engineering Council Outstanding Advising Award. This award is presented annually to the top 10 percent of advisers in the College of Engineering. Recipients are nominated and selected by engineering undergraduate students. This is the second year running Jones has received this honor.

“I am genuinely honored to have been nominated for this award. I love what I do and enjoy working with our students. As an advisor, my goal is to help each student to my fullest ability and to enrich their journey through our superb undergraduate programs.”

Illinois Physics Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs and Professor Brian DeMarco comments, “This recognition is well deserved. Merissa plays a central role in our undergraduate programs as our senior (and only) advisor. For her caseload of over 650 physics students, Merissa provides high-quality and compassionate advising on academic and life issues. Her expertise and her master’s degree in educational policies with a concentration in diversity and equity issues are especially valuable to our students. Merissa is also a superstar recruiter who meets with many prospective students and their families. And, she has provided terrific leadership. For example, Merissa developed and manages our peer mentoring program.”

  • In the Media
  • Outreach
  • Quantum Information Science

Science News had the opportunity to try out a different version of LabEscape in Boston at a meeting of the American Physical Society in March. The puzzles are effective and artistic, and some of the reveals seem almost magical until the purveyors explain the scientific principles behind them at the end of the game. For example, some puzzles required the use of polarized glasses like those used to watch 3-D movies. Those challenges provided an opportunity to discuss the polarization of light — the orientation of light’s wiggling electromagnetic waves in a preferred direction. Only waves with the appropriate polarization make it through the lenses. The principle also reveals how 3-D movies work: Different polarizations make it through the right and left lenses, sending a different image to each eye.

  • Events

The Program in Arms Control & International and Domestic Security (ACDIS) and the Department of Physics is hosting the second Jeremiah Sullivan Memorial Lecture, with speaker John Lynn presenting "The Strategies of Terrorism."

The talk is scheduled for Wednesday, May 1, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in 144 Loomis Laboratory at 1110 West Green St Urbana, IL 61801.

Lynn is a core faculty member of ACDIS and a professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the recipient of the 2017 Samuel Eliot Morison Prize and the author of Another Kind of War: The Nature and History of Terrorism, coming out in July 2019. In it, Lynn argues that radical sub-state terrorism should be considered as a kind of war.

In his lecture, Lynn will examine four strategies pursued by terrorist groups: intimidation, initiation, attrition, and evolution. Lynn argues that because radical terrorism attempts to exert a large psychological impact through the commission of relatively small-scale physical violence, terrorism is fundamentally psychological warfare, a weaponizing of the emotions, that is best countered through knowledge, understanding, and perspective.

  • Accolades

Dashawnique Long, office manager for the Illinois Physics Undergraduate Office, has been selected for the 2019 Chancellor’s Distinguished Staff Award. The Award recognized exceptional accomplishments and service to the university. Long shares this honor with only seven other 2019 recipients across campus. The award will be presented at a special ceremony taking place on May 1, 2019.

There is a saying among the Undergraduate Office staff: “All roads lead back to the Undergraduate Office.” As office manager, Long is often the first point of contact for students and teaching assistants needing information or having special requests. She helps students switch courses, provides materials and information, and when appropriate, coordinates with the campus’s Disability Resources & Educational Services, assisting students with letters of accommodation.

Long also handles about 15,000 undergraduate physics exams per semester and recently implemented a new procedure that shrank final-exam processing time from one week to 24 hours. Additionally, she created and manages a pool of physics-exam proctors. She also helps with room reservations for the department, including for special events and office hours, working as a liaison to Facility Management and Scheduling in the Office of the Registrar.

donor stories

Alumnus gift continues legacy of excellence at Illinois Physics

“We deeply appreciate Gary Kelly’s generosity and his investment in our department’s core missions of research, teaching, and outreach,” comments Head of Department and Professor Matthias Grosse Perdekamp. “Unrestricted funds such as these are applied where they will make the greatest impact. Through his generosity, Gary Kelly’s legacy at Illinois will include his support of important new opportunities directly in line with our core missions. A large portion of Gary’s gift will support the research of exceptional women faculty early in their careers, enabling Illinois Physics to attract and retain promising women physicists.”

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Watch the Center for the Physics of Living Cells video

Watch the Center for the Physics of Living Cells video

The Center for the Physics of Living Cells is an NSF Physics Frontiers Center. In true "Urbana style," theoretical and experimental scientists collaborating at the CPLC are elucidating the fundamental processes at the core of life in quantitative physical detail.  The CPLC Summer School is world renowned for its training of young scientists in leading-edge research methods, advancing this interdisciplinary physics frontier.

Why choose Illinois Physics? Here's a video!

Why choose Illinois Physics? Here's a video!

Are you ready to study the glow of black holes? Or how superconductors can carry electricity without resistance? Physics opens the secrets of the universe. Illinois has a long tradition of excellence in physics, and we continue to advance the frontiers of science every day. Watch the video!

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