March 15, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 12

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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/.

    Research on the neural activities of zebra finches by Daniel Margoliash, Associate Professor in Organismal Biology & Anatomy, and graduate student Amish Dave, was part of a story published Friday, Feb. 23, in The Independent-London. The story reported on studies being done on the neurological patterns in animals during sleep to determine whether or not they dream. Margoliash and Dave found that young zebra finches, like many songbirds, learn to sing by listening to adults and then practice the songs mentally while asleep.

    The University’s “Erotikon” conference was the subject of a full-page article in the Chicago Sun-Times Sunday, Feb. 25. University scholars from different disciplines participated in the weekend conference, which was organized by graduate students Tom Bartscherer and Katia Mitova. The story quoted Bartscherer and conference participants Thomas Gunning, Professor in Art History and Acting Chairman of Cinema & Media Studies, who presented on the film Vertigo, which was screened at the conference; and Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law & Ethics in the Law School, who discussed Marcel Proust and Plato. A sidebar highlighted the work of photographer Laura Letinsky, Assistant Professor in the Committee on Visual Arts, whose images were used to illustrate the story.

    Leora Auslander, Associate Professor in History, was quoted in a New York Times story that appeared Saturday, Feb. 24. The story covered the growing importance of studying in a historical and cultural context such mundane items as pencils, screwdrivers and zippers. Auslander, who is the author of a book on the history of French furniture from 1720 to 1920 and whose current project concerns the role of objects in turning monarchists into republicans in revolutionary America, France and England, discussed material culture. “You can use language and rational arguments to change people’s minds, but in order to change how they feel, you need to use objects. You make them cease loving the king and have faith in fellow citizens by creating new symbols and rituals.”

    Linda Waite, Professor in Sociology, and the research she has done as co-director of the Alfred P. Sloan Center on Parents, Children and Work at the University, were highlighted Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Chicago Tribune. Waite discussed the effects on families in households where mothers work full-time. “We need to figure out ways to ease the burden on women, many of whom want to be the ones who make their families more comfortable, but not that they should return home. That won’t happen––the economy would grind to a standstill. Companies are discovering that if they want to keep talented women, they might have to make them a different deal.”

    Paul Helft, a Fellow of the Hematology/Oncology Section in Medicine, was interviewed for a New York Times story about drug trials that are advertised on the Internet. Concerning informed consent, Helft suggested that few patients understand that trials do not promise cures. “Most patients could not state for you exactly what the purpose of the trial is. It’s clear they enter primarily for therapeutic benefit. And the trials are not designed that way.”

    The University men’s basketball team has been catching the eyes of the media. Bob Levey (A.B., ’66), former president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors and a columnist for The Washington Post, wrote an article that appeared in the Saturday, March 3 issue about the team’s recent victories. Chicago advanced to the NCAA Division III round of 16 by defeating 22nd-ranked University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 74-67 at the Henry Crown Field House on Saturday, March 3, and hosted the 2001 NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Midwest Sectional (see story on the Maroons, Page 4.) last weekend. Reports on the team’s success were carried on CLTV, WGN Channel 9, and stories were published by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune prior to the Midwest Sectional games.

    Robert Pape, Associate Professor in Political Science, wrote an op-ed that appeared in The New York Times Saturday, Feb. 24. Pape argued that rather than continuing economic sanctions, weapons inspections and no-fly zones that are unsuccessful in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction or ousting Saddam Hussein, the United States should work more closely with its coalition allies to find better solutions. Furthermore, Pape wrote that no-fly zones “increasingly antagonize our allies, anger our rivals, and cause diplomatic problems throughout the Arab world at a moment of heightened conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.”