My campus: Ken Schweizer of Grainger College of Engineering | New
Home was Philly, where KEN SCHWEIZER grew up in a crowded townhouse neighborhood and did his undergraduate education, earning summa cum laude status at Drexel University.
But over the past 30 years – and before that, for a moment to remember as a doctorate. student in the late 1970s and early 1980s – award-winning UI professor of materials science and engineering Morris made CU his home, accumulating a bundle of top honors, prestigious titles and lasting memories along the way.
Earlier this year, Schweizer was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, completing a CV that already included the Prize in Polymer Physics and the John H. Dillon Medal, both from the American Physical Society, and the William L. Everitt Award for Excellence in Teaching. and Tau Beta Pi Daniel P. Drucker Eminent Faculty Award, both from Grainger College of Engineering.
Schweizer, who also holds positions in the chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering departments, took us on a guided virtual tour of some of his most memorable places and spaces on and off campus.
A dilapidated three-story old house on Elm Street in Urbana that has been carved into five apartments.
I lived there for my last three years in town as a student, moving from the third to the second on the first floor, and then I graduated. Those of us who lived there called it “The Shack”, an accurate nickname for its dilapidated exterior condition, including a large porch that was only kept from collapsing by jerry-rigged cinder blocks.
Its advantages were that it was inexpensive, furnished, and close to campus. There were quite a few downsides, but the worst part was that it housed a family of raccoons who regularly dined in the backyard garbage cans and didn’t like being disturbed by humans while doing so.
More bizarrely, they learned to climb a three-story fire escape and enter a hole in the roof, allowing them to run inside the walls of the house.
Our many attempts to catch the critters and hand them over to Urbana Animal Control have failed, for various hilarious reasons. A bad joke was that we were part of a “Nightmare on Elm Street”.
The hut was demolished twenty years ago.
A small classroom at the Roger Adams Lab, where I took Professor David Chandler’s postgraduate chemistry course in statistical mechanics with a staff of five.
The course introduced me to the fascinating field of physics and physical chemistry of liquids, and Professor Chandler was an excellent and inspiring teacher. So much so that it defined my career path – I did my PhD. with Professor Chandler and my main area of research throughout my career has been the theory of soft materials and liquids.
The only place that should never be disturbed, no matter how old you are. I have always liked the outward appearance of Altgeld Hall, and the chimes add to its charm.
On campus, it was Treno’s, a big bar on South Goodwin Street. I will never forget the night a group of us watched the 1980 Olympics ice hockey game between the United States and the Soviet Union on a big screen TV with lots of beer.
The United States won the game and shocked the world, an event now known as the “Miracle on Ice”. Treno’s was a happy madhouse.
The Panama Reds on Green Street followed closely behind, with incredible jazz concerts with internationally renowned artists in an intimate setting.
I’m lucky that many come to mind so it’s hard to choose. Perhaps in my office one afternoon about 15 years ago, when I received a phone call from the American Physical Society informing me that I had received the Prize in Polymer Physics.
It was especially exciting because it has been the heart of the professional society of my career.
Either a stroll around the Haldane Gate and its surroundings, including Krannert and the Spurlock Museum, or a place to relax on the south veranda of the Illini Union on a beautiful autumn or spring afternoon, admiring the beauty and bustle of the Quad while sipping coffee.
For lunch, Mia Za is on Green Street for a made-to-order thin crust pizza, and KoFusion on campus for spicy Thai or Korean food.