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Gene Beier

Gene Beier

Professor of physics | University of Pennsylvania | Class of 1966

For a good time in the mid-’60s, then-grad student Gene Beier and a friend would head out, order a couple cold ones and play a game of Name That Neighborhood.

The award-winning physicist and Ivy League professor explains:

“I was a grad student for five years at UIUC. After finishing our evening work, a group of us would meet at a bar on Sixth Street in Champaign. The era was when Roger Ebert was editor of The Daily Illini.  He and his posse sat at the next table.

“Among my group of friends there was another, who like me, was from the Chicago area. Many of the students in the bar were also from Chicago. If things got quiet for a moment, this friend and I would listen to people talk and identify the Chicagoans by neighborhood from their speech,” says Beier, himself a proud product of 47th and Western.

“One night, there was a new waitress in the bar whose speech seemed like music to me, but I couldn’t figure out where she was from. My friend was roaring because he knew she was from my neighborhood — and she was.”