Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill   of creative effort ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Howard Ingber

Mass Transfer


When he was nine years old, Howard Ingber got a chemistry set for Christmas. By the time of the first explosion, Ingber was hooked.

“Explosions, smoke, gunpowder, sulfur. The kit showed you how to make nitrocellulose (guncotton),” Ingber remembers. “Today you’d have 16 lawyers on your back if you tried to show a kid that.”

Kirk Nass and Michael Gillespie Establish New Scholarship

Mass Transfer, University of Illinois

In high school in Aurora, IL, Kirk Nass loved math, science and knowing how things worked. When he saw a flyer about majoring in chemical engineering at University of Illinois he remembers thinking, “Wow! I can do math, science and chemistry all in one.”

Marilyn Scudder Barnwell:

NCTE Council Chronicle

If Marilyn Scudder Barnwell was a super hero she would be the Compassionator. As for her fatal flaw (because every hero has one), perhaps it would be a humility so deep that it renders her short-sighted about her own accomplishments.  The evidence? When Dinah Volk, chair of NCTE’s Early Childhood Education Assembly (ECEA) tried to nominate her for ECEA's 2015  Early Literacy Educator of the Year Award, she refused it.

The Core of Computing

ECE Illinois

The world doesn’t run without computers, from the software powering tiny wearables to the hardware making possible wireless networking and computer processing. ECE Illinois faculty and alumni are making unparalleled contributions to this brave new world of computing, though their work sometimes hums along in the background.

An Outsider is Welcomed In

NCTE Council Chronicle


Alison Bechdel seems a bit nonplussed about her success.

Reel Success

Illinois Alumni magazine

Stephen Lutz, MS ’74 AHS, who grew up fishing with his father for bluegill, bass and redear sunfish near Paris, Ill., caught his first fish at the age of 5. He’s been hooked ever since.


Illinois Alumni magazine

To appreciate the unconventional nature of William Wegman’s art, consider his 1967 master’s thesis project: three rooms with walls made of inflated polyethylene, each offering different experiences (one sound, one light and one Dada-esque, with a paper cup falling when the viewer entered.

The Agony of Victory

Illinois Alumni magazine

The sky holds no hint of sunrise, but inside ARC Gym No. 1, 17 rowing machines hum and whirr like the rhythmic breathing of a sleeping giant. Sweating and red from exertion, the men pull steadily; when the set is over, one of the rowers gets up and walks, weaving on rubbery legs to the wall, where he leans, gasping to recover.


The Nucleus of an Expanding Science

Illinois School of Molecular and Cellular Biology magazine December 2014

Benito Mariñas, professor of civil and environmental engineering, had a problem. He was part of an effort to provide clean water to communities in East Africa, but the range of contaminants was vast. Diarrhea from unsafe drinking water is an enormous global health burden.


Read more writings in my features, essays or books