Alumni & Campus Stories

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Joel Stebbins

Ingenious: Photometry Star

When Joel Stebbins began his astronomical research at the U of I in 1903, his new wife, May Louise, wasn’t happy that her husband spent so many evenings at the observatory. As Stebbins later...

Anthony Leggett

Ingenious: At the quantum level

When University of Illinois physics professor Anthony Leggett was 7 years old, he had a fascination with digging holes in the family garden in Englefield Green on the outskirts of London. Leggett continued his...

William Warfield

Ingenious: Old Man River

William Warfield was expecting a long day of recording, as he prepared to sing the iconic song “Old Man River,” for the classic MGM musical, Show Boat, in 1951. But after his first run-through,...

Piglet in cage

Ingenious: Mapping the pig genome

When it was announced in 2001 that the University of Illinois would lead the first efforts to sequence the pig genome, Animal Sciences Professor Lawrence Schook had a lab party to celebrate. His team...

Professor Ven Te Chow

Ingenious: The Rainmaker

When international hydrology experts visit the University of Illinois, they often look for the “mighty” Boneyard Creek. They’re shocked to discover that it’s a tiny waterway winding through campus and “not much larger than...

Ingenious: Professor of Poverty

Oscar Lewis was no stranger to controversy—or to accolades and honors. This was certainly the case after the U of I professor of anthropology published The Children of Sánchez in 1961. Critics bristled at...

Katharine L. Sharp

Ingenious: The best

When organizers of the Armour Institute in Chicago were seeking “the best man” to head their new library in 1893, they sought the advice of librarian Melvil Dewey, who created the Dewey Decimal Classification...