Feb. 15, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 10

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    In the News

    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. To read many of the full newspaper articles mentioned in this column, visit the In the News column at the University News Office Web site at: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/.

    Michael Turner, the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, was quoted in a story published by The New York Times Sunday, Jan. 28. The story focused on scientists’ quest to unravel the mysteries of how the universe was created through experiments that test the theories of the Big Bang and inflation. Turner also was quoted in a Los Angeles Times story published Thursday, Feb. 1, which reported on the Committee on the Physics of the Universe. A member of that committee, Turner delivered its findings at a meeting of astronomers in San Diego.

    Research by David Grier, Associate Professor in Physics, that involves the use of holograms to move tiny particles with light, was featured in the Chicago Tribune Monday, Feb. 5. The technique Grier developed, with assistance from graduate student Eric Dufresne, is called holographic optical trapping, which allows manipulation of microscopic matter. The tool they have developed to perform the manipulations is called HOT or holographic optical tweezers. The technology could contribute to the fields of health care and telecommunications.

    Mary Anne Case, Professor in the Law School, was quoted in an article published Tuesday, Jan. 30, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The story reported President Bush’s establishment of the first White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, which will allow faith-based social service organizations to compete for federal funding for their programs. Critics of Bush’s plan, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, see the plan as a violation of the Constitution. “It singles out religion and the religious for special government support, and that is a constitutional problem,” said Case.

    Wendy Doniger, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor in the Divinity School, was interviewed by Chicago Tribune columnist Ellen Warren for The Inc. spot, about her new book The Bedtrick, Tales of Sex and Masquerade. The column appeared in the Tuesday, Jan. 30 issue.

    Raymond Pierrehumbert, Professor in Geophysical Sciences, discussed global warming as a guest on WBEZ-FM’s Odyssey program Tuesday, Jan. 30.

    Noboru Nakamura, Associate Professor in Geophysical Sciences, commented on the new satellite Triana, which will be launched to help scientists gain insight into global warming by measuring how much energy Earth absorbs and reflects into space and measuring worldwide levels of aerosols that affect the ozone layer. The front-page story appeared in the Monday, Jan. 29 issue of the Chicago Tribune. Nakamura contributed to a congressionally mandated review of the mission by the National Academy of Sciences, which approved Triana’s scientific goals.

    Anthony Bryk, the Marshall Field IV Professor in Sociology and Director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, was interviewed for a Chicago Sun-Times story that reported on six studies recently released by the consortium. The studies found that improvements in learning for Chicago school children will come with better teacher training that focuses on interactive teaching methods, which produce more challenging work assignments and improved test scores. “The good news is, when students are given high quality assignments, they learn more. One doesn’t have to dumb down instruction to get better test scores on skills tests. In fact, the opposite is true,” said Bryk.

    Anil Kashyap, Professor of Economics in the Graduate School of Business, was quoted in a story that appeared in the Monday, Jan. 29 Chicago Sun-Times about expectations that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates to avert an economic recession. “The risk is, they misread something that’s kind of a temporary slowdown and overreact, and in the meantime let inflation creep up,” said Kashyap. “By the time [the rate cuts] take effect, the economy may have come back. Do you want to be throwing gas onto the fire?”

    Wayne Hu, Assistant Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, and John Carlstrom, the Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, were both quoted in a New York Times story that reported on scientists’ studies of the cosmic microwave background radiation and the instruments they and other scientists are using to study it. The story, which was published Tuesday, Feb. 6, also covered information about the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite that will be succeeded by the Microwave Anisotropy Probe. “It’s the oldest light in the universe,” said Hu of the radiation. “We’re looking at the universe as it was back then (10 billion years ago).”

    President Bush’s new plan to provide more government funding for religious-based social services was the subject of a Feb. 1 front-page Chicago Tribune story, which quoted Martin Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Divinity School; Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor in the Divinity School; and Michael Sosin, the Emily Klein Glidwitz Professor in the School of Social Service Administration. Elshtain, who supports the initiative, compared people’s criticisms or fears of it to those people made when Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty programs were being developed. “By contrast, this program aims to support already proven initiatives, programs that are already in place and which have been shown to be effective.”