March 28, 2002
Vol. 21 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, 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/.

    William Lopes, a fourth-year in the College concentrating in mathematics and physics, was the subject of a Monday, March 18 Chicago Sun-Times story, following the announcement that he had won a $25,000 Churchill scholarship for study at the University of Cambridge. The Sun-Times story quoted Paul Sally, Professor in Mathematics and the College, who recognized Lopes’ exceptional skill in the subject after grading work Lopes turned in for a “SuperMath,” invitation-only analysis course. “It was just stunning,” said Sally, who realized Lopes had made no mistakes in his course work.

    An article about recent University research on nicotine addiction that was published in the journal Neuron appeared in the Thursday, March 14 Chicago Tribune. Daniel McGehee, Assistant Professor in Anesthesia & Critical Care, directed the study, which shows how nicotine interferes with the function of regulatory cells that normally shut down the brain’s reward center by decreasing enhanced levels of dopamine. Because nicotine disables this mechanism, the “feel-good” effect of dopamine continues. The study results provide an explanation for why cigarette smokers become addicted so quickly and for so long. The research also was the subject of a column written by the Chicago Tribune’s Mary Schmich and published Friday, March 15.

    Leon Kass, the Addie Clark Harding Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, was featured in the Saturday, March 9 issue of The Washington Post, which described Kass’ scholarly career and research and how they relate to his latest work as head of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics. “Yes, you can create a beautiful world [through cloning] where there’s no disease, suffering, grief or despairóat a cost of stunted humanity. Where these problems are solvedóbut where human beings lack art, religion, self-government,” stated Kass in the story. Kass also was quoted in a Tuesday, March 19 story that appeared in The Wall Street Journal, which reported on scientists who are fusing human DNA with bovine eggs to create embryos for their stem cells. The New York Times also featured Kass in a profile published Tuesday, March 19, which took an in-depth look at his work and research methods, his writings and the opinions he has formed concerning the issues he is faced with as head of the Council on Bioethics.

    The University’s Doc Films, the country’s oldest student-operated film society, was featured in the Friday, March 8 Chicago Tribune. Chicago students were interviewed for the feature story, including Chris Cuiroga, a third-year in the College; Terri Francis, a graduate student in English Language & Literature; Alex Pile, a third-year in the College; Jim Cantarelli, a graduate student in Germanic Studies and Cinema & Media Studies; Garth Bond, a graduate student in English Language & Literature; and Dan McCormick, co-chair of Doc Films and a fourth-year in Sociology. “The one thing we try to hold onto the most is providing a venue for people on campus and in Hyde Park to see films that you can’t see anyplace else,” said McCormick.

    Edward Snyder, Dean of the Graduate School of Business, was the subject of a profile published in Financial Times Monday, March 18. Snyder discussed his personal management style as Dean of the GSB and his goals for the school. “Chicago is a set of values, which, when you are part of this place, you never give up,” said Snyder, who began his deanship in September 2001.

    A University professor, a professor emeritus and an Enrico Fermi Fellow were included in a Sunday, Feb. 17 Boston Globe education story about what makes the sciences so appealing to those who pursue scientific research and teaching. The work of 1988 Nobel laureate Leon Lederman, the Frank L. Sulzberger Professor Emeritus in Physics and the College; Paul Sereno, Professor in Organismal Biology & Anatomy; and Maria Spiropulu, an Enrico Fermi Fellow, was highlighted, and all were asked how they became involved in science and about teaching in their specific fields. “I read a book by Einstein for kids called The Meaning of Relativity that compared science to a detective story. To me it was a great metaphor,” said Lederman.

    Lori Allen, a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology who is doing research in Palestine’s unofficial capital of Ramallah on “the role that pain and suffering play in Palestinian nationalism and state building,” was quoted in a Wednesday, March 13 New York Times article, which reported on United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan’s involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    The Scholars at Risk Network, which functions under the University’s Human Rights Program, was featured in a Monday, March 11 Chicago Tribune story. The article, which reported on the network’s recent partnership with the Institute of International Education to create a Scholar Rescue Fund, quoted Robert Quinn, Director of Scholars at Risk, and Katie Trumpener, Professor in Germanic Studies. “If universities get involved in this, it potentially could be intellectually valuable for them,” said Trumpener of the network, which arranges for temporary positions for displaced and persecuted scholars at participating institutions.

    The University’s artist-in-residence eighth blackbird was featured in a Boston Herald story published Sunday, Feb. 24. “We all grew up in the conservatory tradition and have that sense of the historical tradition. It’s not that we don’t still appreciate and play Beethoven and Brahms and Bach. But we are products of our generation, and we have a certain resonance for the classical concert music of our generation,” said Nicholas Photinos, cellist for eighth blackbird, a contemporary chamber music ensemble.