Sept. 20, 2001
Vol. 21 No. 1

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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 members of the alumni community 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 stories mentioned in this column, visit the In the News column at the University News Office Web site at: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/.

    The appointment of Leon Kassthe Addie Clark Harding Professor on the Committee on Social Thought—to head President Bush’s Council on Bioethics was covered by the media nationally following his appointment Thursday, Aug. 9. Kass (see story, Page 3) was interviewed extensively about his new leadership position by such newspapers as The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, USA Today, the Boston Globe and by Time magazine, among others. He appeared as a guest on many broadcast networks, as well, including CBS, ABC, and PBS and on National Public Radio. “Our task really is to find a way to reap the benefits of medical science without undermining human dignity or human decency. We want to bequeath to our children a world in which human dignity no less than human health can flourish,” said Kass in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

    The National Science Foundation’s $15 million grant to the University for its new Center for Cosmological Physics was reported in stories that appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 6 Chicago Tribune and the Friday, Sept. 7 Chicago Sun-Times and carried on the Associated Press newswires. The new center’s Director Bruce Winstein, the Samuel K. Allison Distinguished Service Professor in Physics, was quoted in the stories. “We’re proposing to study what to me is the ultimate frontier, the one that delves into the laws of physics governing the entire universe,” said Winstein in the Tribune story.

    Stories published Monday, Aug. 20, by the Associated Press, and Monday, Sept. 3, by the Chicago Sun-Times, announced the U.S. Postal Service’s release of a new commemorative stamp to honor University physicist Enrico Fermi. The stamp will be issued Saturday, Sept. 29, during the centennial celebration (see story, Page 1) of the birth of Fermi, whose career at the University included the building of the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction and the designing of the University’s synchrocyclotron.

    John Woods, Professor in History and Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, was interviewed for many newspaper reports following a discovery of artifacts believed to be a memorial to the 8th-century Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan. The discovery was made by an American-Mongolian archaeology team, of which Woods is a member and its academic director. “It is a very intriguing discovery because of the site’s proximity to places important in Genghis’ life,” said Woods in a report published by The New York Times. Many other media outlets also carried the story. The discovery was officially announced at a news conference Friday, Aug. 17, at the University.


    The research of Ariel Kalil, Assistant Professor in the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, and Thomas DeLeire, Assistant Professor in the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, on multigenerational families, was cited in the Washington Post Friday, Sept. 7.

    A recent expedition in Wyoming to search for dinosaur fossils, which was led by Paul Sereno, Professor in Organismal Biology & Anatomy, was featured in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times Monday, Sept. 10. Sereno, who was assisted by University and high school students on the dig, found a 15- to 20-foot-long predatory dinosaur that may be a previously undiscovered tyrannosaur and smaller relative of T. Rex.

    David Cronin, Assistant Professor of Transplantation in Surgery, was interviewed by the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times about a new warm-storage system for transplant organs that he recently tested at the University Hospitals. For 24 hours, the pump-like device allowed a human kidney to continue functioning as it would in the body. The machine may possibly provide safer organ transplant surgeries that are less rushed and more readily available throughout the country.

    James Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, was interviewed and photographed for a feature story on the tests of General Education Development, best known as GED, that appeared in the Chicago Tribune Magazine Sunday, Aug. 5. Heckman, a critic of the tests, researched their value, and his findings triggered a 1998 review of all GED research by the U.S. Department of Education. Before he began his microeconometric research, he had sat in on a GED class. “I was shocked. I was told that in six weeks, the students could pass a GED. They were proud of this. I thought maybe they were near the 12th grade. Then I found out many were at the 6th- to 8th-grade reading level and they were somehow going to make up for six years of education in six weeks.”


    Melissa Roderick, Associate Professor in the School of Social Service Administration, and John Easton, Deputy Director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, were named to the Chicago Public Schools administration by new CEO of the school system Arne Duncan. Stories appeared in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times shortly after the appointments were made in August. Easton will be in charge of research and program evaluation, and Roderick will work on strategic planning and development. Roderick and Anthony Bryk, the Marshall Field IV Professor in Sociology and Education and Director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, were quoted in a story published Thursday, Sept. 6, in the Chicago Sun-Times. The story reported on results of Basic Skills testing of teachers in Illinois and the placement of teachers who fail the tests, who often end up teaching in some of the state’s neediest schools.  “It’s a cruel phenomenon,” said Bryk. “The places that most need good teachers often are least likely to attract and hold onto them.”


    Lauren Berlant, Professor in English Language & Literature, was interviewed on MSNBC about a new book of scholarly essays on the Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton scandal, Our Monica, Ourselves, which she co-edited with Lisa Duggan, associate professor of American studies and history at New York University. Reviews of the book appeared in July issues of The New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education.


    Richard Stern, the Helen A. Regenstein Professor in English Language & Literature, was a guest on WBEZ’s Odyssey program in July. Stern participated in a panel discussion on the short-story form that followed the death of writer Eudora Welty.


    University art museum curators Susanne Ghez, Executive Director of the Renaissance Society, Kimerly Rorschach, the Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum of Art, and Hamza Walker, Director of Education for the Renaissance Society, were featured in a New Art Examiner story on contemporary art curators in the city of Chicago.