March 7, 2002
Vol. 21 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, so space allows publishing references to only selected examples. 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/.

    Danielle Allen, Associate Professor in Classical Languages & Literature and the College, is featured in this month’s issue of Chicago Magazine. The story highlights Allen’s achievements as a University scholar in Political Science, Classical Languages & Literature (see related story on the Classics Department, Page 4-5) and the Committee on Social Thought, including her recent “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Allen, who also conducts the University’s “Poem Present” series, said: “Language is important to me. It is the medium of democratic politics. Democratic politics happens through language, which means you have to do things without force. You have to do things with language. So I see an interest in politics and an interest in poetry as the same thing.”

    The Graduate School of Business was featured in a Monday, Feb. 11 Crain’s Chicago Business story that looked at how Chicago area business schools teach ethics. The story quoted Ann McGill, Deputy Dean of the Full-time M.B.A. Programs and the Sears Roebuck Professor of General Management, Marketing and Behavioral Sciences in the GSB, explaining that ethics is not a side issue in GSB courses. Moral reasoning is infused into every course, she said, noting that the school also offers a course devoted entirely to ethics taught by Robert Fogel, the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor in the Graduate School of Business.

    Mark Lilla, Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the College, wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Sunday, Feb. 24 issue of The New York Times that criticized the rhetoric used by President Bush in his foreign policy speeches, specifically his labeling of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an “axis of evil.” Lilla likened the Bush remarks to many made by Ronald Reagan during the cold war era and argued that this kind of political rhetoric aimed at current adversaries of the United States is a mistake. “In this situation, President Bush’s speech writers, like his generals, must not trap themselves into fighting the last war. It is of little use to reach for a sweeping label of an Žaxis’ when our strategic situation demands varied responses to different adversaries,” Lilla wrote.

    Mark Heyrman, Clinical Professor in the Law School, was interviewed for a Tuesday, Feb. 19 Chicago Tribune story that discussed suicides committed by Illinois jail inmates, including a recent suicide in Will County Jail. A state law that was passed in 2000 authorizes jail officials to check mental health records of inmates; however, the checks are not mandatory. Heyrman, who drafted the law, is strongly encouraging jail officials, especially those who have not taken steps to request inmates’ mental health records, to begin doing so. “We’re sending them the statute and the Department of Justice study and telling them that they may have some liability if they don’t. We want them clamoring to be included.”

    Anil Kashyap, Professor of Economics in the GSB, was quoted in a Thursday, Feb. 14 Wall Street Journal story about Japan’s efforts to control deflation that many blame for crippling the banking system and the economy. “Another across-the-board (bank) bailout is the worst possible policy,” Kashyap said. The same story also appeared in The Wall Street Journal Asia and The Wall Street Journal Europe.

    Sidney Nagel, the Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor in Physics and the College, was interviewed for a Tuesday, Feb. 19 New York Times story about how experiments of crumpling paper or Mylar provide information about energy that is hidden within the wrinkles. These results, in turn, could explain phenomena as diverse as the colliding of tectonic plates in Earth’s crust and the wrinkling of cell walls. Nagel and his colleagues reported results of their experiment in a recent issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

    Robert Aliber, Professor of International Economics and Finance in the GSB, was quoted in a Monday, Feb. 18 Associated Press Newswires story that urged investors to be more cautious when following recommendations from stock analysts. “It’s an elaborate con game,” Aliber said, referring to the system of analysts’ recommendations. He faulted individual investors for not being more prudent during the late 1990s. “Everyone became infatuated with the fortunes to be made in the stock markets,” he added.

    Robert Sampson, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor in Sociology and the College, was photographed for and cited in a Wednesday, Feb. 20 Chicago Tribune article as the researcher who brought expertise in criminology to the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. This $54 million research effort, which is co-sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, the National Institute of Justice and the National Institute of Mental Health, is looking at the social networks in all Chicago neighborhoods, from wealthy to poor, and also examining the lives of a randomly selected group of children in many of those same neighborhoods. Field researchers at the University’s National Opinion Research Center also have participated in the study.

    Ian Foster, Professor in Computer Science, Argonne National Laboratory and the College, was photographed for and quoted in a Tuesday, Feb. 19 New York Times story about grid technology and the recent Global Grid Forum in Toronto, at which scientists laid out a technical framework for taking the technology into the more commercialized world of the Internet. Foster leads the Globus project, which has developed middleware tools for grid computing and is working on the National Science Foundation’s Middleware Initiative, a program that will create and deploy advanced network services for researchers.

    Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor in the Law School, wrote an op-ed that appeared in The Wall Street Journal Thursday, Feb. 21. Epstein wrote that the supply of organs for transplant should be expanded through monetary incentives. He wrote that the altruism of organ donors, which currently is the only means by which patients in need of organs can get them, should not be the only means. “I believe that individuals should be able to use their own wealth to purchase organs, and that public agencies should be allowed to use their funds to supply organs, as desired, to the needy.”

    Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor in the Divinity School, was quoted in a Washington Post article that appeared Tuesday, Feb. 12. The story reported on an open letter that had been drafted and signed by a group of academics who study ethics, religion and public policy at American universities. In the letter, the authors explain why they believe the war on terrorism is necessary. Bethke Elshtain was one of the four principal authors.

    New research conducted by Joseph Piotroski, Assistant Professor of Accounting in the GSB, was featured in an article on value stocks in the Monday, Feb. 11 issue of BusinessWeek. The story reported that Piotroski found that value investors willing to pore over companies’ financial statements could reap some profitable rewards, particularly in the case of smaller companies that are thinly traded and followed by few analysts.

    Wu Hung, the Harrie H. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Art History and the College, was quoted in a Tuesday, Feb. 19 New York Times article that reported on the opening of a lodge in China’s Forbidden City, which the Emperor Qianlong had retired to in 1796. The story reports that an opportunity to view the decorative arts that fill the rooms of the small building, which has been locked up during most of the last century, has caused enthusiasm among many art historians. Wu was one of the Chinese scholars who, during the 1990s, was allowed to survey the building to record the contents of the rooms for the first time.