Alumni & Campus Stories

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...

Ingenious: When science came home

Beyond the main doors of Bevier Hall, the stairs rise to a landing adorned with a large painting of a larger-than-life woman—Isabel Bevier, for whom the building is named. In 1900, Bevier arrived at...

Ingenious: Indoor air quality

The world had not seen anything like it before. It was the 1920s and transportation planners had decided to build a tunnel directly below the Hudson River, connecting New York City with New Jersey....

Ingenious: Sonic surgery

Some called it “sonic surgery,” but William J. Fry described it as “surgery by sound.” Fry, a UI professor of physics, was one of the first to develop a system using ultrasound for surgical...