• Accolades

For her research into long-time numerical path integral simulations of quantum dissipative systems, the Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society has named Nancy Makri the recipient of the 2021 Award in Theoretical Chemistry.

Makri, the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Chair and Professor of Chemistry,?has developed exact methods for long-time numerical path integral simulations of quantum dissipative systems with application to quantum liquids, electron transfer and photosynthesis. She is also a professor in the Department of Physics and at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

  • In the Media

For physicist Nicolas Yunes of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, black holes and other cosmic behemoths continue to amaze. “Just thinking about the dimensions of these objects, how large they are, how heavy they are, how dense they are,” he says, “it’s really breathtaking.”

  • COVID-19
  • Outreach

Given their background in big data analytics, particle physicists like Illinois Physics Professor Mark Neubauer are well-primed to study COVID-19's biology. Neubauer is currently serving on the executive boards of three groups that bring together scientists of diverse backgrounds to confront the pandemic: the Institute for Research and Innovation in Software for High Energy Physics (IRIS-HEP), Open Science Grid, and Science Responds. These groups are coordinating their efforts and contributing valuable computing resources to understand the virus at the biological level.

  • Education

Eric’s physics classroom is a place for investing in the future as much as it is for excelling in the moment. As a veteran teacher who has taught everything from introductory physics to mathematics and college-level courses, he uses his twenty years of experience to help students construct a scaffolding that can support and ground their own valuable experiences. At the heart of Eric’s teaching philosophy is a desire to give students a space where they can take charge of their own learning. He says, “I want to let my students become adults, to do their homework not for my sake but for the sake of learning and the discipline of wanting to better themselves.”

  • In the Media

As early as March, the Muon g-2 experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) will report a new measurement of the magnetism of the muon, a heavier, short-lived cousin of the electron. The effort entails measuring a single frequency with exquisite precision. In tantalizing results dating back to 2001, g-2 found that the muon is slightly more magnetic than theory predicts. If confirmed, the excess would signal, for the first time in decades, the existence of novel massive particles that an atom smasher might be able to produce, says Aida El-Khadra, a theorist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “This would be a very clear sign of new physics, so it would be a huge deal.”

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.”

Engineering Visionary Scholarships

Sara Shahid

Give to the Engineering Visionary Scholarship. EVS attracts the brightest students, ensures a diverse and talented class, and helps reduce student debt.

“The relief of financial burden this scholarship has lifted from my family‚Äôs shoulders is truly a priceless gift, and the generosity of donors that have made this possible inspires me to want to give others this same gift of relief, security, and most of all educational opportunity, as it has done for me.”

— Sara Shahid, Engineering Physics Class of '22, EVS Scholarship recipient

Learn more

2021 APS Medal & Society Prizes

2021 APS Medal & Society Prizes

Illinois Physics Professor Gordon Baym received the 2021 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research. Here is a video with interviews of the exceptional scientists who were honored with Medals and Society Prizes this year. Watch Professor Baym's segment starting at 0:11:22.

Watch Professors Vishveshwara and Bright's virtual <em>Quantum Voyages</em> produced at UCSD

Watch Professors Vishveshwara and Bright's virtual Quantum Voyages produced at UCSD

This original creation explores physics through the performing arts. It is one part of a larger scope of physics-and-the-arts collaborations initiated by Illinois Physics Professor Smitha Vishveshwara.


Textbooks give only a single value for the bond energy between neighboring atoms in a solid. This appears to be only an approximation, which is valid only at a coarser level of the time scale. However, if one considers the valence electrons in the electron clouds around several nuclei in a solid, it stands to reason that the bond energy should fluctuate on a finer time scale as the electrons come closer and move further away from each and the nuclei in some complex manner. Is this reasoning correct? If so, would it explain why fracture, melting and other phenomena are stochastic?