March 1, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 11

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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/.

    The work of behavioral economist Richard Thaler, the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Behavioral Science & Economics in the Graduate School of Business, was the subject of a New York Times Magazine story that was published Sunday, Feb. 11. The story described Thaler’s academic career in economics and the theories he has developed, including his early work that considered the effects of anomalous human behaviors, which were at odds with neoclassical economic theories. The story also quoted Cass Sunstein, the Karl N. Lewellyn Distinguished Service Professor in the Law School, and Eugene Fama, the Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance in the Graduate School of Business. A story on some of today’s youngest behavioral economists, which appeared in the paper’s business section the same day, also quoted Thaler and University economists Robert Lucas Jr., the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, and Kevin Murphy, the George Pratt Shultz Professor of Economics and Industrial Relations in the Graduate School of Business.

    Saskia Sassen, Professor in Sociology, was quoted in a story that appeared in the Wednesday, Jan. 17 Wall Street Journal about the World Economic Forum Davos conference, which included this year 59 non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and the AFL-CIO labor federation from the United States. Sassen, an adviser to the forum, said an open dialogue between leaders of multinational corporations and those of social justice and environmental groups attending the conference is not guaranteed. “If this comes about, then a very productive dialogue could take place at Davos. Then Davos becomes something new: a place where leaders from the sectors of business, the environment and social justice can have fruitful discussions, and not in the typical Davos forum, where critics have to toe the line,” said Sassen.

    Rashid Khalidi, Director of the Center for International Studies and Professor in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, discussed the recent Israeli prime minister election in the set-up segment of Chicago Tonight on Thursday, Feb. 8. Charles Lipson, Associate Professor in Political Science, discussed the election during the panel portion of the program, which appears on WTTW-Channel 11. Lipson also was a panelist on WGN-AM Radio’s Extension 720 program on Wednesday, Feb. 21, to discuss American politics in the wake of George W. Bush’s inauguration. He also wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Sunday, Feb. 11 issue of the Chicago Sun-Times about the election of Ariel Sharon as Israel’s new prime minister.

    Douglas MacAyeal, Professor in Geophysical Sciences, appeared as a guest on the CBS News Early Show on Wednesday, Feb. 14, to discuss his research on Antarctic icebergs, including an iceberg known as B-15A that broke off the Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000. MacAyeal, who recently returned from an expedition with researchers from the University of Wisconsin, discussed how he and his colleagues are monitoring the B-15A with tracking instruments they have placed on it. Also, articles about MacAyeal’s iceberg research appeared in USA Today and the Chicago Sun-Times.

    Susan Levine, Professor in Psychology, was interviewed for a news story that was broadcast Monday, Feb. 12, on the WMAQ-TV Channel 5 News. Levine discussed the value of play in a child’s preschool experience.

    William Dobyns, Professor in Human Genetics, was interviewed for a news story published Tuesday, Feb. 13, by the Chicago Sun-Times. The story covered information about what scientists are finding in the human DNA map, and specifically what scientists’ opinions are on whether genes or environment play a larger role in human behavior and development. Dobyns, who discussed Pax 2, a gene that is important in the development of several human organs, said it is a mistake to think one gene can produce only one trait.

    Carole Ober, Professor in Human Genetics, was quoted in a story published Thursday, Feb. 15, in The Guardian. The story reported on the olfactory cues about major histocompatibility complex, or MHC, which is a large cluster of genes that encode various components of the human immune system. While most research on MHC differences, mate choice and their effects on offspring viability has been done on rodents, Ober is studying MHC and mate choice, as well as MHC’s importance in fertility, through the North American religious community known as the Hutterites. The story also noted the research of Martha McClintock, the David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology.

    The University men’s basketball team was featured in a story published in the Saturday, Feb. 17 Chicago Tribune. Fourth-year Brad Henderson, a captain of the Maroons basketball team and the University’s most recent Rhodes Scholar, was interviewed for the story, as was Men’s Basketball Coach Mike McGrath. “I don’t have to baby-sit kids here. Our kids are mature––they are here for education first,” said McGrath. “They know what the priorities are in life. They also don’t have a sense of entitlement. Athletes at this level don’t think they are owed anything. They are not making money for this university. They are not being paid to do it. The responsibility level is different.”

    Raymond Pierrehumbert, Professor in Geophysical Sciences, was interviewed for a story on global warming, and especially how it will affect climate here in Chicago if this environmental threat is not taken seriously. “We are just at the beginning of understanding what climate change will do. What we do know is that we are entering completely unknown territory,” he said in the article, which appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 21 Chicago Sun-Times.

    John Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science, was interviewed about the situation in Iraq on WBEZ-FM Radio’s Worldview Tuesday, Feb. 20.

    R. Stephen Berry, the James Franck Distinguished Service Professor in Chemistry, discussed online publication of research in his field of study in the Feb. 3 issue of Science News. Berry supported online preprint server publishing, which is being debated among editors of professional journals, who say the practice undermines reliable research, and scientists who are publishing their work on such preprint systems, who see it as a means of disseminating discoveries more quickly. Some journals, such as that of the American Chemical Society, have policies that ban articles that have appeared on such preprint servers as ChemWeb.

    Austan Goolsbee, Associate Professor of Economics in the Graduate School of Business, was quoted in an article published Thursday, Feb. 15, by The New York Times, and in a story published Monday, Feb. 12, by The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times story reported on Bush’s proposed tax cuts and the latter reported on Internet pricing.