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An infinite connection

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On the wall of his office in Altgeld Hall is Bruce Berndt’s favorite picture of himself. In it, he smiles, holding a black writing slate to his chest.

Although the slate is blank, etched in it forever is a deeper meaning. It belonged to a man who used it to teach himself mathematics, a man who went on to make remarkable discoveries and become one of the greatest mathematical minds in history.

Opposite Berndt’s picture, on the wall behind his desk, is a portrait of the man to whom the slate belonged: Srinivasa Ramanujan, a renowned Indian mathematician.

Ramanujan lived and died years before Berndt was even born, yet the majority of Berndt’s career as a mathematics professor at the University has been dedicated to proving the discoveries Ramanujan left behind before he died in 1920 at the age of 32.

Uncovering the past 

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Institutions around the world are undertaking digitization projects that make natural history collections accessible to anyone around the world.

Digitization has also shifted the role of the curator in the 21st century. But at the core of this role lies the documentation of knowledge that spans centuries.

The secrets these collections may hold, and what they may say about our future, could potentially be uncovered as they become more accessible.

The postdoctoral experience

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Since 1979, the number of postdoctoral researchers in the U.S. has tripled. Some speculate this has created a “numbers problem” and a competitive atmosphere — that there are too many postdocs and not enough faculty positions for them to fill.

For postdocs at the University of Illinois and beyond, the competition for jobs brings about a number of challenges and a feeling of uncertainty about their future.

“The life of a postdoc is not necessarily very comfortable,” said Joaquin Rodríguez-López, professor at the University and postdoc adviser. “You have to see the whole experience as part of something bigger.”

How Chicago Became a Leader in Urban Agriculture

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In the 1830s, when Chicago was becoming established as a city, a new motto was also created: “urbs in horto,” Latin for “city in a garden.”

Chicago became a city in a garden during World War II with the victory garden movement. With 250,000 home gardens and 1,500 community farms, Chicago led the nation as an example of successful urban food production.

Today, the city is still living up to its motto as it continues to be an innovative national leader in urban agriculture.

Illinois Investors on the Future of AgTech and the Industry’s Challenges

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The growth of agtech investing is leading Illinois venture capitalists to evaluate the significance of this industry and the state’s role in its success.

Agtech is a diverse industry, which means there’s a lot to talk about — for example, the top three areas of investment in 2015 were food e-commerce, irrigation and water, and drones and robotics, according to AgFunder’s report. But that doesn’t include animal health, precision technology, food safety, and numerous other areas that are all under its umbrella.

For investors, this diversity and the industry’s recent growth can seem both daunting and exciting.

Your new, future robot co-worker

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In the future, your co-worker might be a robot.

But in this future, you wouldn’t have to tell your robot co-worker what to do. Instead, the robot would read your thoughts and know what you want.

It seems like a scene out of a science fiction film — a robot that can read your mind and perform the task you’re thinking about, all without you ever having to utter a command.

 But this is what University industrial engineering professor Thenkurussi Kesavadas has accomplished through his research that uses a brain-computer interface to control a robot.

 

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