The Chronicle’s biweekly column In the News offers a digest of commentary and quotations by a few of the University faculty members, students and alumni who have been headlining the news in recent weeks. Chicago faculty members are some of the most frequently quoted experts; however, space does not allow the Chronicle to print all of the quoted material published or interviews broadcast by media outlets within a two-week period.

Tom Smith, Director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University, was quoted in recent issues of the Christian Science Monitor and The Detroit News as well as interviewed on WBEZ’s Odyssey program. The Christian Science Monitor interviewed Smith for a story that reported on Americans’ main concern in their lives during this election year, which is personal economics within one’s household. The story was published Wednesday, April 26. Smith commented on Americans’ opinions on capital punishment in a story published Wednesday, May 10, by The Detroit News and discussed inter-group relations on the Odyssey radio program, which aired Wednesday, May 17.

Jonathan Lear, the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor on the Committee on Social Thought, reviewed the book The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton for The New York Times. Lear, whose own book, Happiness, Death and the Remainder of Life, will be published in the fall, challenges de Botton’s writings on Socrates, Aristotle and Montaigne. “Indeed, all the evidence we do have suggests that Aristotle took himself to have lived a profoundly happy life. In the Nicomachean Ethics, he argues that the best and happiest human life is one that is oriented toward contemplation. Obviously, he may have had problems we don’t know about, but that’s just it: we don’t know about them. In effect, de Botton invites us to take comfort in the thought that a person of profound mind and astounding intellectual accomplishment wasn’t really happy—in spite of the fact that all available evidence suggests he was really happy, and it was precisely his intellectual activity that contributed to his happiness,” Lear wrote.

Kathleen Kelley, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychiatry and Pediatrics, was interviewed for a story in the Sunday, May 14 Chicago Tribune about the percentage of children who have chronic physical complaints and how parents of these children often question whether or not their children are faking illnesses. According to Kelley, most children who make the familiar comment, “I don’t feel good,” are not faking it.

Peter Rossi, the Joseph T. Lewis Professor of Marketing in the Graduate School of Business, commented on comparisons between the food and toy industries in an article published Thursday, May 18, by the Chicago Tribune about Mattel Inc.’s new CEO Robert Eckert, formerly of Kraft Foods Inc.

Pastora San Juan Cafferty, Professor in the School of Social Service Admini-

stration, was quoted in an article published Sunday, May 14, by the Associated Press newswire service. The article reported on the Hispanic population in the United States and the impact Hispanic voters will have on the presidential election this year.

Paul Sereno, Professor in Organismal Biology & Anatomy, was interviewed for a story published in the May 15 issue of Newsweek. The story discussed some of the recent findings of paleontologists and new exhibitions of dinosaur fossils at natural history museums nationwide, including The Field Museum in Chicago.

A story about Ph.D. recipient Dieter van Melkebeek’s recent award, the Association for Computing Machinery’s 1999 Doctoral Dissertation Award, appeared in the Chicago Tribune’s Internet Edition Wednesday, May 3. Van Melkebeek received the award for his dissertation, “Randomness and Completeness in Computational Complexity.” “I feel deeply honored to receive the award. I am also very happy as a scholar that the prize was awarded to theoretical work with long-term goals. It is great that a community that is largely driven by immediate practical applications recognizes the value of fundamental research and stimulates it,” said van Melkebeek. The story also quoted Lance Fortnow, Associate Professor in Computer Science, who directed van Melkebeek’s dissertation.

Jean Maclean Snyder, Lecturer in the Law School, wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Thursday, May 18 issue of the Chicago Tribune. Snyder, who is the lead attorney of a lawsuit challenging the housing of mentally ill prisoners at Tamms Correctional Center in downstate Illinois, argued that even prisoners who are deemed “the worst of the worst” deserve humane living conditions. Snyder’s piece was published just after the United Nations Committee Against Torture issued its first report on the treatment of prisoners at U.S. super-maximum security prisons, which stated that such prisons are “excessively harsh.”

Steven Davis, Professor of Economics in the Graduate School of Business, wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Sunday, May 14 Chicago Tribune. Davis argued that the government’s proposed “remedy” in the Microsoft antitrust case—to break up the company into two—would drive up costs and cause systems incompatibilities for consumers. “Lower prices and better products—that’s what happened for consumers in the browser wars. But government lawyers see only predatory, anti-competitive behavior, with Microsoft as the villain.”

Leo Irakliotis, Director of Professional Programs in Computer Science, was interviewed about e-mail security issues for an NBC Nightly News program following the effects of the I Love You computer virus. Irakliotis also participated in a panel discussion that followed a WTTW-Chicago Chicago Tonight report on the virus.

Paul Sally Jr., Professor in Mathematics, commented on statistical aspects of playing the lottery for May 6 and 8 broadcasts by WBBM Radio, May 8 broadcasts by WMAQ Radio and Fox TV, and a May 9 WMAQ-TV newscast.