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Redbird Scholar Spring 2017 cover textless showing Benjamin Britten and Dr. Justin Vickers separated by a ripped page of music composition
Musical muse: ISU scholar keeps alive the music of renowned British composer.

Volume 2 • Number 2 • Spring 2017

Justin Vickers and Benjamin Britten

Carrying the torch: ISU tenor, scholar honors legacy of Benjamin Britten through song and research

One of Great Britain’s best-known and most respected composers of classical music is the muse of one of Illinois State’s more prolific scholars.

Student carrying buckets in a bar

Beer: What’s good for cattle

Illinois State Department of Agriculture researcher Justin Rickard is partnering with Normal’s Destihl Brewery on an ongoing research project to determine whether the craft brewer’s grain could be an economical and dependable option for Central Illinois farmers.

Illinois State Physics Professor Allison Harris standing in front of a whiteboard containing her research.

Modeling the universe: ISU physicist designs computer code to understand quantum world

A jumble of letters and numbers fills the computer screen. To an untrained onlooker, the lines may look like gibberish, but it is actually a computer code key to understanding the smallest pieces of the universe.

Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice Ralph Weisheit outside on campus

Q&A with Ralph Weisheit: Where does the war on drugs go from here?

In the last four years, Illinois, like many states, has been loosening its drug laws: legalizing medical marijuana, allowing universities to research industrial hemp, and decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana.

Anthropology Professor Maria Smith is working with students like Katharine Woollen to study remains unearthed from the Schroeder Mounds in order to answer questions about a mysterious pre-Columbian people. (Editor’s note: The bones in this photograph are replica skeletal remains.)

Students research skeletal remains to understand Pre-Columbian people

In the 1970s, the skeletal remains of about 120 Native Americans were retrieved from an ancient mound complex on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River valley in Western Illinois.

Milner Library

Research center spotlight: Milner Library more than books

Libraries and research have always gone hand in hand. At Illinois State, Milner Library has long been at the heart of research, and as trends in higher education transformed how students learn and faculty teach, Milner has transformed too.

Ask a Redbird scholar: Can you explain Einstein’s theory of relativity?

Everyone has memorized the formula E=MC2, but can you give me a concise easy-to-remember explanation?

photo of the universe NASA/ESA

Ask a Redbird scholar: Is the universe fractal in nature?

Can you tell us about the fractal features/structure of our galaxy/universe?

Accounting Professor Rosie Hauck in a classroom with students in front of computers

Ask a Redbird scholar: How do you inspire lifelong curiosity in students?

How do you inspire lifelong curiosity in your students for the topics you teach?

Image of a fruit fly from

Grant news: Wine trails, dead zones, war injuries, and genetic secrets

The following news briefs detail grants received by Illinois State faculty.

image of Ali Riaz

Redbird media: New books, music by ISU scholars

Here are some recent books and music produced by Illinois State University faculty.