Welcome to the

Beckman Institute

The Beckman Institute at Illinois is a world-class interdisciplinary facility devoted to ground-breaking research in the physical sciences, computation, engineering, biology, behavior, cognition, and neuroscience.

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About the Beckman Institute

The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology opened in 1989 as one of the first facilities in the world dedicated to interdisciplinary research. The Institute's mission is to foster an interdisciplinary approach to doing leading-edge research in the physical and life sciences, and engineering. The Institute was founded on the premise that reducing the barriers between traditional scientific and technological disciplines can yield the greatest advances. Research is focused broadly around four themes: Biological Intelligence, Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction, Integrative Imaging, and Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures. The 313,000-square foot building was made possible by a gift from Arnold and Mabel Beckman. More than 1,500 faculty, students, and postdoctoral and other associates are actively engaged in research at the Institute.

Research at Beckman

Research at the Beckman Institute is categorized into four broad themes to provide faculty with a loose organizational framework. Beckman's interdisciplinary approach allows areas of study to overlap within the themes. The research themes are:
Biological Intelligence, Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction,
Integrative Imaging, Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures
Scientists work across the themes to both advance our knowledge of science and for real-world applications. Many at Beckman focus on cognitive and brain health, as well as linguistics and language learning studies, which have a beneficial impact on people. Bioimaging work seeks to advance imaging technology and biomedical applications, including in another area of focus, cancer research. Others use bioengineering principles to create new technologies, while Beckman has been home to breakthrough innovations in the fields of electronics and advanced computational methods since it opened.

Research Support Facilities

The Beckman Institute provides researchers state-of-the-art facilities for imaging, microscopy, and scientific visualization that are unparalleled for a campus institute. The Biomedical Imaging Center, Illinois Simulator Laboratory, and the Imaging Technology Group are premier resources for researchers in any field. The Imaging Technology Group was created in 1992 and today is made up of two resources: the Microscopy Suite (for microscopic imaging of specimens) and the Visualization Laboratory (for scientific image and graphics creation and analysis). The Illinois Simulator Laboratory was created in 1995 for experiments in cognition using highly-advanced virtual reality environments. The Biomedical Imaging Center, which became a Beckman resource in 2002, is a unique campus support facility with a variety of magnetic resonance imaging machines, as well ultrasound, optical, and molecular imaging modalities.

World-Class Faculty

Beckman Institute researchers are known throughout the world for pioneering work in areas ranging from electronics and imaging science, to neuroscience and signal processing. There are more than 200 faculty members from nine colleges and 46 departments at the University of Illinois doing research at the Beckman Institute. Beckman Institute faculty members hold chaired professorships in departments throughout the Illinois campus, have been named as fellows of the most prestigious science and engineering academies, won the most coveted awards in science and technology, and led research projects that have had a worldwide impact on science, technology, and human health. They have also been rated as excellent teachers by their students, founded start-up companies, and dedicated their work to advances that improve the world in which we live.

Beckman Fellows and Student Researchers

Beckman Fellows and graduate and undergraduate students contribute greatly to the work that goes on at the Beckman Institute. There are more than 1,000 students (nearly 600 graduate students and more than 440 undergraduates) at Beckman who make a tremendous impact on scientific discoveries and papers. Alumni from Beckman Institute research groups and Fellows programs have gone on to make contributions in academia, business, and government. While there are no classes held at the Institute, learning goes on in laboratories, research groups, and cubicles every day. The Institute's researchers rely on the critical contributions of these students and Beckman Fellows to do the laboratory work, experiments, and reporting of results that make research possible. In addition, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation funds the Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Fellows programs at the Institute.

University of Illinois

Founded in 1867 as one of the original 37 land-grant institutions of higher learning, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is annually ranked as one of the top public research universities in the country. More than 40,000 students are served by 17 colleges and instructional units at Illinois. There are 15 colleges and schools and seven institutes and centers engaged in research at the University of Illinois. When the Beckman Institute opened in 1989, it brought national attention to Illinois for its innovative, interdisciplinary approach to research. It remains today as what one campus leader called the crown jewel of research at the University. Top-ranked programs at Illinois such as in engineering and psychology contribute many faculty members to Beckman, helping to make it an integral part of research efforts at the University.

Beckman News

May 22Beckman Researchers Win Cozad Competition

Technology Entrepreneur Center – Aadeel Akhtar, a graduate research assistant in Tim Bretl's lab in the Artificial Intelligence Group, and Patrick Slade, junior in mechanical science and engineering, were awarded $15,000 for winning the university-funded track of the Cozad New Venture Competition. They co-founded PSYONIC, a start-up company aiming to create highly advanced prosthetic hands at 10 times less cost to improve the lives of people with amputations worldwide. 

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May 21Beckman Team Creates Device that Self-Destructs When Heated

Illinois News Bureau – A team of Beckman researchers have developed heat-triggered self-destructing electronic devices, a step toward greatly reducing electronic waste and boosting sustainability in device manufacturing. They also developed a radio-controlled trigger that could remotely activate self-destruction on demand. The multidisciplinary team includes John Rogers, full-time faculty member in the 3D Micro- and Nanosystems Group, and Scott White and Nancy Sottos, part-time faculty members in the Autonomous Materials Systems Group.

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Teaching Bert: iCub Robot Learns About the World

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Bert, the iCub humanoid robot, is helping researchers better understand how humans create mental models of the world around them. Professor Steve Levinson and his colleagues in the Language Acquisition and Robotics Lab at the Beckman Institute are particularly interested in getting Bert to interact with humans using spoken, natural language. The research revolves around the idea of embodied cognition. Unlike other forms of artificial intelligence, the models that Bert uses to understand the world aren't given to him by outside programmers. Instead, the iCub creates its mental models itself by directly interacting with the researchers and the world around it using its physical body. The researchers hope that, since Bert has a physical body similar to a human's, the mental models that it creates will be more like a human's as well. Stephen Levinson is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and full-time faculty member in Beckman’s Artificial Intelligence Group. To learn more about the latest research being done with Bert, please visit... http://beckman.illinois.edu/news/2015/05/intelligence-in-robots in Professor Stephen Levinson's Language Acquisition and Robotics Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. study how humans create mental models Professor Stephen Levinson and his Language Acquisition and Robotics Laboratory are working to Levinson and his group are training Bert to learn language as a child would, in order to gain insight into human psychology and neurophysiological development. In this video, Levinson lab member Jacob Bryan describes how he got Bert to sing. The iCub has a sense of touch (key for acquiring language, such as when learning to differentiate between a hard object and a soft object), its hands permit dexterous manipulation, and its head and eyes are fully articulated. For read more about the latest research being performed with Bert, please visit... http://beckman.illinois.edu/news/2015/05/intelligence-in-robots

New Super-Fast MRI Technique: Singing 'If I Only Had a Brain'

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Researchers use a new technique that is 10-times faster than standard MRI scanners to illustrate how the hundreds of muscles in our neck, jaw, tongue, and lips work together to produce sound. Assistant professor in Speech and Hearing Science, and Beckman Institute faculty member, Aaron Johnson demonstrates the real-time imaging capabilities in song. The basis for the technique was developed by electrical and computer engineering professor Zhi-Pei Liang's group at the Beckman Institute. Brad Sutton, associate professor in Bioengineering, and his team further developed and implemented the technique to make high-speed speech imaging possible. The technique captures MRI images at a far faster rate than any other MRI technique in the world. This dynamic imaging is especially useful in studying how rapidly the tongue is moving, along with other muscles in the head and neck during speech and singing. “Typically, MRI imaging is able to acquire maybe 10 frames per second or so. But we are able to scan 100 frames per second, without sacrificing the quality of the images,” said Brad Sutton, technical director of Beckman's Biomedical Imaging Center. To read more, please visit... http://beckman.illinois.edu/news/2015/04/new-super-fast-mri-technique

21st Century Scientist Career Panel

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A career panel discussion with experts representing diverse and interesting paths to traditional and non-traditional science careers. From working at the National Institutes of Health, to NASA, to science industry journals, the panelists have had, and continue to have, valuable careers. Listen to the the planned and unplanned twists and turns that led these four scientists to the positions they hold today! 21st CENTURY SCIENTIST CAREER PANEL: George Chacko Director of Research Information Analytics, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Illinois Miriam Goldstein Marine Biologist, Legislative Assistant for Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) Christine Herman Freelance Science Journalist Patricia Jones Former NASA administrator, Associate Director for Research, Beckman Institute Kate Clancy (Moderator) Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Univ. of Illinois Chair, 21st Century Scientists Working Group The 21st Century Scientist Workshop was comprised of three workshops and a panel of experts to help attendees think about the craft of communication, crafting a community, changing the world, and how to leverage scientific education and training into a wonderful career. The workshop was held on April 17, 2015, at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. For more information, please visit... http://21centurysci.com/

Twin Sister Scientists: Advice for Girls & Women in Science & Engineering

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Twin sisters Patty Jones and Cathy Murphy recall their early experiences making it in the worlds of chemistry and engineering and offer advice to young girls interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Cathy Murphy is a professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois and a member of the Beckman Institute's Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials group. Patty Jones is a former associate professor of Industrial Engineering at Illinois and the former Deputy Director of Exploration Technology at NASA. She is currently the Associate Director for Research at the Beckman Institute.

Visit the 2015 Beckman Institute Open House

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Visit the 2015 Beckman Institute Open House on March 13-14! Follow us on Twitter: #BIOH15 WHEN: Friday, March 13, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, March 14, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Beckman Institute Open House is a biennial event, held in conjunction with the University of Illinois College of Engineering Open House. Our open house exhibits highlight the work taking place at one of the nation’s leading centers for interdisciplinary research. Schools, clubs, and other large groups are welcome. WHERE: Beckman Institute, 405 North Mathews Avenue, Urbana, Illinois. The Beckman Institute is located on the University of Illinois campus at the intersection of Mathews and University Avenue. Metered parking is available in the parking deck across from the Institute on Mathews and Goodwin. www.beckman.illinois.edu


Weekly Outlook

  1. All
  2. 29May
  3. 30May
  4. 31May
  5. 01Jun
  6. 02Jun
  7. 03Jun
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  10. 06Jun
  11. 07Jun
  12. 08Jun
  13. 09Jun
  14. 10Jun

Upcoming Events

  1. There are currently no events scheduled for May 28, 2015.
  2. Fast Optical Imaging Summer Workshop
  1. Jambalaya
  2. Fish taco(s)
  3. Veggie taco(s)*(with cheese)** without cheese
  4. Roasted red pepper gouda bisque*
  5. Greek salad*
  1. Pecan crusted tilapia with long grain wild rice and mixed greens
  2. Avocado chicken salad on baguette
  3. Veggie burger on kaiser roll*
  4. New England clam chowder
  5. Greek salad*
  6. Mixed greens**
  1. Herb roasted chicken breast with rice pilaf* and mixed greens**
  2. Seafood salad on baguette
  3. Mozzarella and tomato on pita* (served warm)
  4. 7 bean soup**
  5. Greek salad*
  6. Mixed greens**
  1. Wood smoked pulled pork with baked beans** and potato salad*
  2. Fajita chicken and avocado on ciabatta
  3. Hummus with pita**
  4. Spinach provolone soup*
  5. Greek salad*
  1. Beef pot roast with mashed potatoes and corn
  2. Grilled ham and cheese on wheatberry
  3. Whole wheat veggie wrap**
  4. Tomato basil soup*
  5. Greek salad*
  1. Lemon pepper tilapia with rice and Caesar salad
  2. ½ lb. cheddar beef burger on kaiser roll
  3. Dill egg salad on wheatberry bread*
  4. Potato leek soup*
  5. Greek salad*
  6. Caesar salad
  1. Mesquite smoked pork rib tips with baked beans** and superfood slaw
  2. Chicken bbq on kaiser roll
  3. Veggie burger on kaiser roll*
  4. New England clam chowder
  5. Greek salad*