Aug. 15, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 19

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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/.

    Historian Philip Hamburger, Professor in the Law School, and his recently published study “Separation of Church and State” were the subject of a Saturday, July 6 New York Times article. Hamburger argues that separation of church and state was not the 18th-century ideal behind the First Amendment’s conception of religious freedom. “The modern myth of separation,” wrote Hamburger, “omits any discussion of nativist sentiment in America and, above all, omits any mention of the Ku Klux Klan,” which “exerted profound political power in states across the country and, probably more than any other national group, drew Americans to the principle of separation.”

    Research conducted by Robert Daum, Professor in Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases, and his colleague Betsy Herold in 1997, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998, was cited in part three of a Chicago Tribune series on hospital health safety. This story in the series focused on such drug-resistant germs as MRSA, or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, which have been common in hospitals, but may have begun to flourish in communities across the United States. In 1997, Daum and Herold investigated what they thought was a possible new health threat. The story reported that their research became part of a national groundswell of recognition, which led to more reports of MRSA being contracted outside of hospitals.

    Michael Turner, the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, was interviewed for a Tuesday, July 23 New York Times story that reviewed recent discoveries by cosmologists and reported on how “cosmology is entering a ‘golden age’ in which data are finally outrunning speculation.” It also made reference to the mysteries that remain in the universe, which are many. “We know much, but we still understand very little,” said Turner.

    President Bush’s visit to Argonne National Laboratory, which is operated by the University, was publicized in most major newspapers, including The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Bush is the first president to visit the lab, and during his stop, he announced his agenda to redefine the mission of Argonne and other national laboratories across the country. “We’re depending on you to develop the tools we need to lift the dark threat of terrorism for our nation,” said Bush in his speech at the facility, quoted here from the Tuesday, July 23 New York Times.

    Luigi Zingales, the Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance in the Graduate School of Business, was cited in the Monday, July 15 issue of Financial Times as one of the newly appointed fellows in the recently constituted European Corporate Governance Institute, a Brussels-based organization. As fellows, Zingales and 20 other scholars will undertake and disseminate impartial and objective research on corporate governance.

    Matthew Sorrentino, Associate Professor of Cardiology in Medicine, and Murray Favus, Professor of Endocrinology in Medicine, were interviewed for stories that publicized a recent study showing that hormone replacement therapy could be harmful to women’s health, causing risk of coronary heart disease, invasive breast cancer, strokes and blood clots in the lungs. Sorrentino was quoted in the Wednesday, July 10 Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, and Favus was a source for a Wall Street Journal article the same date. The health threat has prompted women and their doctors to review whether use of HRT is more of a benefit or a risk to patients using it for menopausal symptoms. “There are some women who really are miserable––who can’t sleep because of hot flashes,” said Favus. “For them, it’s a tough call.”

    Roman Weil, the V. Duane Rath Professor of Accounting in the Graduate School of Business, was interviewed for a Tuesday, July 16 Wall Street Journal story. The story reported on a new move made by Coca Cola Co. to begin classifying employee stock options as a compensation cost, like salaries and bonuses. Weil’s prediction is that other companies will follow suit. “Companies are trying to signal to investors that they are squeaky clean and that they aren’t the bad guys. Other companies will have to follow,” he said.

    Roman Weil and Daniel Bens, Assistant Professor of Accounting in the GSB, and three GSB students were interviewed Tuesday, July 9, on WBBM-TV, following President Bush’s address to the nation about his new ethics plan for American corporations.

    A new study by Linda Waite, Professor in Sociology and the College, that compared unhappy couples who divorced with unhappy couples who remained married, found that 50 percent of couples who divorced were happy five years later, and that 75 percent of couples who remained married were happy five years later. Of the most troubled marriages, 80 percent who remained married were happy five years later. Waite’s research findings were published in an article that appeared in the Friday, July 12 Chicago Sun-Times.

    Sam Peltzman, the Ralph & Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Economics in the Graduate School of Business, discussed the state of the U.S. economy as a guest on WGN-AM Radio’s Extension 720 program Wednesday, July 24. Peltzman also was interviewed for a Sunday, July 28 Chicago Tribune article that reported on the expansion and deregulation within the energy industry over the past several decades, which has resulted in the instability and volatility of many energy companies today.

    University Law School alumnus James Comey (J.D, ’85) was the subject of a Tuesday, July 23 USA Today story about the criminal probe he is leading into the most recent corporate scandals involving WorldCom, Adelphia and ImClone. Comey is U.S. attorney for New York’s Southern District.

    Steven Kaplan, the Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Graduate School of Business, was quoted in Market Report, a Wednesday, July 24 Chicago Tribune business column. Reporting on the S&P 100 volatility index, or VIX, the columnist wrote about the fear that is mounting within the stock market. “It means there’s a massive amount of uncertainty,” said Kaplan about the VIX being at 50. “Now, the uncertainty is around how many Enrons there are.”

    Particle physicist Maria Spiropulu, an Enrico Fermi Fellow, was featured on the front page of the Thursday, July 11 Tempo section of the Chicago Tribune. The story described her research, her personality and her ambition to prove her theory about missing energy and the existence of a fifth dimension. “If we don’t find extra dimensions, we’ll find something that’s just as crazy. When we find it, whatever it is, it’s going to be very big, bigger than anything in physics now.”