New murals adorn the Fab Lab

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By Laurel Bollinger, ECE Illinois
November 24, 2008

  • The Fab Lab in Everitt Lab had a mural installed recently.
  • The mural features the likenesses of John Bardeen, Jack Kilby, and George Anner.
  • "The murals add a historical perspective by using real equations and notes from these men," said Dane Sievers, ECE engineering lab teaching specialist.

The Fabrication Laboratory on the ground floor of Everitt Lab is the highlight of every College of Engineering tour that comes through the building, as well as a grand source of pride for ECE Illinois. Many current leaders in the field of engineering have passed through its doors, with new generations continuing to use its impressive resources.

It took 6 hours to install the mural. Workers used torches to soften the mural and stretch it around doors and other items that remained on the wall.
It took 6 hours to install the mural. Workers used torches to soften the mural and stretch it around doors and other items that remained on the wall.

Recently, there was a noticeable change to the lab. Where once was a bare, white wall, a new mural depicts three men who were influential in the field of circuits and in this lab.

“We thought the murals were important because in electrical engineering, people usually do not get immortalized. And we wanted to change that,” said Dane Sievers, ECE engineering lab teaching specialist. Sievers came up with this idea during the renovation of the lab over the summer. He talked to Brad Petersen, Assistant Director of Communications, and James J. Coleman, ECE professor and director of the Fab Lab, and the journey to beautify and immortalize began with Seivers believing that the final project was a success.

 “When it was finished my first reaction was, ‘That’s really cool,’” said Sievers. “I mean, it turns it into more than a lab, the mural makes it a showcase. It’s very nice and I think it looks really good.”

The three men adorning the mural walls are of utmost importance to the Fab Lab. On the left is John Barden, who co-invented the transistor and who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and 1972 for the fundamental theory of superconductivity. Joining him is Jack Kilby, inventor of the integrated circuit and a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics. And completing the trio is George Anner, who pioneered the establishment of the Fab Lab.

The new Fab Lab mural celebrates the influence and achievements of John Bardeen, Jack Kilby, and George Anner.
The new Fab Lab mural celebrates the influence and achievements of John Bardeen, Jack Kilby, and George Anner.

The benefits of this new mural are many. The Fab Lab was one of the first labs of its kind and is a selling point to potential engineering freshman. Sievers said that it gives the lab more depth to its history.

“The murals add a historical perspective by using real equations and notes from these men,” said Sievers. “It helps students realize where this all came from. It also makes the lab a showcase. We are always giving lab tours and this makes it just a little more special.”

It took about 6 hours for workers to put up the mural, and torches had to be used to manipulate the mural material around doors and objects on the wall.

Professor Coleman uses the lab daily for his classes and says that the mural now provides current students with a source of information, as well as a bridge to generations past and the potentials of the unknown future.

“Each year we teach the technology in this laboratory to more than a hundred young people who will create the next generation,” said Coleman. “The connections between our distinguished past and our exciting future come together in that simple but elegant mural."

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

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