Science & Technology
Governor Quinn Proclaims “Nick Holonyak Day” in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 29 October 2012 13:21

WHEREAS, science and technology have a profound impact on shaping our world; and,


WHEREAS, scientists and inventors are deserving of our respect and praise for their contributions to moving our world forward; and,


WHEREAS, Illinois is home to numerous prominent scientists and inventors; and,


WHEREAS, fifty years ago, in 1962, Illinois native Dr. Nick Holonyak, Jr. revolutionized the way we light our world by inventing the first practically useful visible light-emitting diode (LED), a more energy efficient, longer lasting, more durable and mercury free source of lighting; and,


WHEREAS, Nick Holonyak, Jr. was born in Zeigler, Illinois and earned his BS, MS and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and,


WHEREAS, Dr. Holonyak was the first graduate student of two-time Nobel laureate John Bardeen, an Illinois professor who invented the transistor; and,


WHEREAS, as a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1963, Dr. Holonyak and his students have developed the first quantum-well laser, creating a practical laser for fiber-optic communications, compact disc players, medical diagnosis, surgery, ophthalmology and many other applications; and,


WHEREAS, few scientists and inventors have done more to transform our lives than Nick Holonyak, Jr., the holder of over 40 patents and inventor of the light-emitting diode (LED), the red-light semiconductor laser (used in CD and DVD players) and the shorted emitter p-n-p-n switch (used in light dimmers and power tools); and,


THEREFORE, I, Pat Quinn, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim October 24, 2012 as NICK HOLONYAK DAY in Illinois, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the light-emitting diode (LED) and one of our state’s greatest innovators, Dr. Nick Holonyak, “the Father of the Visible LED.”


Governor Quinn Launches Illinois Open Technology Challenge PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 22 October 2012 13:54

Competition Expands Availability of Local Public Data;
Encourages Technology Innovation and Job Creation in Pilot Communities Belleville, Rockford, Champaign and the South Suburbs

CHICAGO – October 20, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced a major accountability and transparency initiative designed to help local governments expand the amount of data available to the public. The Illinois Open Technology Challenge is a pilot initiative that will make Illinois’ open data platform, Data.Illinois.Gov, available to municipal governments statewide. The Challenge, which will launch in the pilot communities of Belleville, Champaign, Rockford, and Chicago’s South Suburbs, will promote the availability of public data and encourage the use of technology to address government challenges through innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We live in a knowledge economy that is driven by access to information and new ideas,” Governor Quinn said. “The Illinois Open Technology Challenge will not only increase transparency at the local level by giving the public access to government data, it will give entrepreneurs the chance to develop new, innovative applications for the data that will create jobs and make a positive impact.”

ILOpenTech ( builds on the state’s leadership role around open data and Governor Quinn’s recently issued Executive Order establishing a new state Open Operating Standard. The state’s support of 2011’s Apps for Metro Chicago Illinois competition produced winners like iFindit, an innovative application that provides information on food, housing and medical care to the homeless and OkCopay, which is a directory of affordable medical care for those without insurance. The initiative brings together local governments with developers, area universities, nonprofits and community leaders in a common mission to use public data to create digital tools that serve civic needs and promote economic development across Illinois. The competition will include at least $75,000 in prize funding, which will be awarded to Illinois’ most innovative developers who solve a digital problem in one of the four pilot communities. An additional prize will be awarded to the developer of the strongest application with a statewide purpose. A demonstration day and the announcement of prize winners are anticipated in early 2013.

ILOpenTech challenges the pilot communities to both transform currently available data into usable applications as well as produce new datasets that will be uploaded to the state site. The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association (SSMMA) currently publishes data on a wide range of regional resources including transportation, infrastructure and housing. With the availability of the state portal, that data will be more easily accessible to the general public for download and analysis.

“In Rockford, we are searching for solutions to the economic challenges we face and are thirsty for new ideas,” said Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey. “We’re excited to see what creative solutions local talent can produce though our participation in this initiative and look forward to showcasing new innovations in Rockford’s government.”

“The Illinois Open Technology Challenge will help to make better connections across our community in leveraging the tremendous tech talent here to better understand what applications and will best serve civic needs,” said Champaign Mayor Don Gerard. “We are thrilled to join in this effort to advance the open data movement.”

“We have collected a lot of data on economic development, housing, infrastructure, planning, and natural resources, which is a powerful tool for our region,” said Edward Paesel, executive director of the SSMMA. “The Illinois Open Technology Challenge will help us put this data to use for interactive applications that help promote economic development for our municipalities across the region.”

“Increasing access to the information collected by the city of Belleville will lead to better government, more informed citizens, and exciting new innovations,” said Belleville mayor Mark Eckert. “We are excited to be working with the state of Illinois to see new companies and jobs being created out of this innovative program.”

The State of Illinois Open Data site, Data.Illinois.Gov, is a searchable clearinghouse of information from state agencies that is helping inform residents about the operation of state government and encouraging the creative use of state information, including the development of applications for mobile devices that can be built around the data. This site, which the governor launched in June 2011, now contains more than 6,500 data sets.

Sponsors of the Illinois Open Technology Challenge include the Chicago Community Trust, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Google, and the Motorola Mobility Foundation. Additional support is being provided by Comcast. Administrative support for the project is provided by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition and Smart Chicago Collaborative.

This is another initiative of the Illinois Innovation Council, created by Governor Quinn in February 2011, to promote economic development through innovation and the engagement of citizens, developers, academia and industry. For more information, please visit

For more information on the Illinois Open Technology Challenge, including competition rules, submission requirements, and ways to engage, visit


Soy Oil Delivers Another Use PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by United Soybean Board   
Friday, 19 October 2012 08:16

New York City’s sometimes progressive mindset coupled with its frigid winters also helped make it a big focus for a new soy oil market: Bioheat®. This heat source combines home heating oil with biodiesel, resulting in a renewable, cleaner-burning fuel.

“Biofuels are welcomed in this part of the world and embraced by home heating oil representatives,” says Lewis Bainbridge, soybean farmer from Ethan, S.D., and farmer-director for United Soybean Board. “Everyone is working together to promote Bioheat.”

The home heating oil industry itself took proactive action to implement biodiesel into their systems, replacing petroleum with the cleaner burning fuel. They resolved to use Bioheat blends of B2 to B5 and proved to be instrumental in passing a New York City law that requires that all home heating oil contain 2 percent Bioheat starting this month.
Watch this video to learn more.

Mars Curiosity & the Human Condition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Thursday, 18 October 2012 08:02
Religious Scholar Cites 4 Reasons
to Support Space Exploration

Despite slashing government budgets on everything from entitlement to defense programs, NASA is proceeding with its $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory mission.

Central to the mission’s success is Curiosity – a one-ton rover that continues to impress Earthlings with laser blasts for rock samples, mobility via a joystick and plenty of video and pictures. On all accounts, the mission, which may provide answers to questions of life on Mars, has so far been a wild success.

“With this Mars program, NASA has once again captured the imaginations of people throughout the world, instigating conversations about the universe and even the significance of life not only on Earth, but also on other planets,” says Sanjay C. Patel, (, author of “God Is Real,” a book that explores similarities between modern science and ancient cosmology.

Science and religion do not conflict with each other; they are different languages that ultimately lead to the same truth, he says. As science has done in the past, Patel suspects more data from extraterrestrial locations like Mars will continue to confirm ancient religious theories. He discusses four reasons why the Mars mission is well worth the expense.

• 2012 meets 1492 – an argument for resources: It’s not just science-fiction anymore; prominent scientists like Steven Hawking say Earth’s moon, Mars and Titan, a moon of Saturn, have resources people will need sooner rather than later. The main reason – the world’s explosive growth in human population and the exponential consumption of land and other necessities. What we might find, Patel says, is a scenario very much like that which early Europeans experienced in the New World: new foods, reams of building supplies, new fuels, land and other resources. We may discover things that will become essential to future human beings.

• A spiritual-scientific connection: Science has confirmed what religion posited more than a millennium ago, Patel says. For example, scientific findings have confirmed what ancient Yogis said: That volcanic fire scorched India about 120 million years ago. Related volcanoes in the ocean south of India submerged about 117 million years ago. “The submarine Fire exists in the ocean,” he says, quoting ancient Yogis. “It drinks the seawater and removes its saltiness. It then expels the desalinated water from another opening. … That perfectly describes the undersea volcanoes and hydrothermal vents near India.”

• If we’re not moving forward … Predictions as to where we’d be with space exploration in 2012 were quite ambitious during the race to the moon in the 1960s. But we haven’t accomplished a lot since then. Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson recently argued that we’re still reaping the benefits of the research and development that went into the space race decades ago, and to negate space exploration is to turn off one of humanity’s most important dimensions – our ambition to innovate.

• Alien life may not be so alien: As the European discovery of the New World revealed, the meeting of foreign civilizations can have disastrous consequences. However, the discovery of life elsewhere, whether or not it is intelligent or self-aware, can further enlighten us as to our origins, our reason for being, and our role in the universe, Patel says.

About Sanjay C. Patel

Sanjay C. Patel studied theology, Sanskrit, ancient cosmology, advanced yoga and meditation techniques, among many other subjects, earning a degree in Divinity at the BAPS Swaminarayan Ashram in India. He continued studies of modern science and ancient spiritual texts for 30 years. His discoveries regarding the convergence of science and ancient texts were published in mainstream science journals and presented at the 22nd International Congress of History of Science in Beijing.

Get 100 MPG and spend $500 a year on Fuel PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Sierra Club   
Thursday, 18 October 2012 07:48
Electric Vehicles Buyer's Guide

How much camping gear can you cart around in a Toyota Prius? What's the annual fuel cost for the Chevy Volt? Will the Tesla Model S be around in 10 years?

We compared six all-electric vehicles and three plug-in hybrids currently on the market for our fall buyer's guide. Three of them get upwards of 100 mpg, three more get 95 mpg or better, and nearly all have an estimated annual fuel cost of less than $1,000 if you average 15,000 miles per year. Find out who won the EV race.

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