Go figure, UI edition, Feb. 5, 2016

Go figure, UI edition, Feb. 5, 2016

Go figure: A numerical look at what's making headlines on the UI campus

Nov. 20, 2015

A big payday for MIKE THOMAS, who got his $2.5 million payout from Illinois just 11 days after being forced out as athletic director on Nov. 9.

Thomas was fired following high-profile investigations into player mistreatment in the football and women's basketball programs. He was cleared by investigators, but UI officials said Thomas' departure would allow the program to "move forward."

Since Thomas wasn't fired for "cause," his contract called for any remaining salary and deferred compensation to be paid within 60 days. Spokeswoman ROBIN KALER said that time frame is a standard provision in employment contracts.

Three former Illini coaches fired in recent years — RON ZOOK ($2.6 million), BRUCE WEBER ($3.9 million) and JOLETTE LAW ($620,000) — received their payouts over time, roughly 18 months to two years after leaving Illinois.

Thomas' $2.5 million included $2.1 million for the salary left on his contract, plus $400,000 in deferred compensation.


The state of Illinois' rank in the U.S. Green Building Council's 2015 list of top 10 states for LEED Green Building Per Capita, for the third year in a row.

LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is the world's most widely used green building rating system. LEED-certified spaces use fewer energy and water resources, save money for businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and establish a healthier environment, the council says.

The sixth annual ranking is based on total square footage of LEED-certified space per resident. Illinois has 161 LEED certifications representing 3.43 square feet per resident.

Contributing to that: the UI's Urbana campus, which has 10 LEED-certified buildings according to the Institute for Sustainable Energy and Environment.


Where Champaign ranks among 245 "football towns" ranked this Super Bowl week by WalletHub.

Half the metrics used to devise the rankings dealt with on-field performance; the other half were tied to costs and fan engagement.

Oddly, the UI's (credited) home city finished ahead of college football hotbeds Gainesville, Fla., Auburn, Ala., and Columbus, Ohio, and behind sleepy Durham, N.H., Cullowhee, N.C. and Charleston, home of the Eastern Illinois Panthers.

63 billion

Kilograms of chlorine used worldwide each year for oxidations in chemistry and industry, or 10 times the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza on an annual basis, says DAVID FLAHERTY, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

Chlorine is good at activating the strong bonds of molecules, which allows manufacturers to synthesize polyurethane and other compounds into products like car seats and shoe soles. But chlorine can escape into the environment as hazardous byproducts, such as chloroform and dioxin.

Scientists and companies have been exploring a less damaging alternative to chlorine — hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2. But it's an expensive reactant.

Flaherty and graduate student NEIL WILSON have found a mechanism for the direct synthesis of H2O2, which paves the way to design improved catalysts to produce H2O2 more easily so it can be used in place of chlorine.

Got an item you'd like to see here? Email beat writer JULIE WURTH at jwurth@news-gazette.com.