Please enjoy this snapshot of the recent cutting-edge research conducted by faculty and students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
A team led by a researcher at SIU Carbondale announced in January the discovery of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus that is specific to and dominant in the United States, adding to the growing list of geographically specific mutations worldwide.
Last year, when the state found itself short of a critical component needed for COVID-19 tests, it turned to SIU, where its scientists, staff and students came through big time. In June 2020, the university shipped its last batch of Viral Transport Medium, bringing the grand total of its emergency manufacturing efforts to 115,000 vials.
As COVID-19 rose across the country, so did the need for hand sanitizer, so much so that SIU experienced an acute shortage. Faculty, staff and students at SIU’s Fermentation Science Institute came to the rescue, however, using their alcohol know-how to manufacture “Saluki Sanitizer” just in time for fall semester.
The thing about basic science research is you never know where it might lead. And so it was that an SIU graduate student’s curiosity about the Illinois Basin’s past eventually uncovered new information about the mighty Mississippi River on its western border: Turns out Old Man River is a lot older than even geologists thought.
Students in the unique, interdisciplinary ancient practices program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale built two machines based on ancient Roman water wheels. The machines – one a grain mill and the other a water lifting “pump” – were recently on display in the courtyard at the Engineering Building. The ancient practices program grew out of a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2019. The program focuses on broadening the perspective of students studying objective disciplines – such as science, engineering, technology and mathematics – by demonstrating the relevance of the humanities to their own interests. The program leads to a minor in ancient practices.