Mar. 20, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 12

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    A crowd gathers in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel for an antiwar teach-in. The crowd listens to Professor Rashid Khalidi.
    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: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/.

    In an essay published in the Monday, March 10 issue of Newsweek magazine, Martin Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Divinity School, discussed President Bush’s religious faith and how it is influencing his presidency in the aftermath of 9/11 and as he prepares to go to war with Iraq. In the essay, Marty said the religious rhetoric in Bush’s public speeches concerns many people, here and abroad, but added that in this regard, “The president has shown signs of change and growth. His first understandable outburst against terrorism led him to call for a ‘crusade’ against terrorists. Raging reaction was instant and total among offended Muslims. The term never again appeared in White House language.”

    Richard Schilsky, Professor in Medicine and Chairman of the Cancer & Leukemia Group B, a research group investigating cancer treatments, was quoted in a Thursday, March 6 Chicago Tribune story. The article reported on the research group’s recent finding that a daily dose of aspirin helps prevent cancerous polyps in patients at risk for colorectal cancer. Taking aspirin, said Schilsky, “provides a new way to lower the risk of recurrence in patients who have had colon cancer.”

    Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor in the Divinity School, appeared as a guest Thursday, Feb. 27, on ABC’s Nightline program. Ted Koppel interviewed Elshtain about the origin and the criteria of “just war,” and how that applies to the United States’ current threat of war against Iraq, if Saddam Hussein fails to disarm his country.

    Thomas Gajewski, Assistant Professor in Pathology, was quoted in a Sunday, March 2 Chicago Sun-Times article that reported on cancer vaccines, which are being developed and tested in clinical trials at several health care facilities, including the University Hospitals. The vaccines being tested have been found to be most beneficial to patients who have early-stage cancers. The article also described a successful outcome for a cancer patient Gajewski had treated with an experimental vaccine.

    Stories about a recent study, which shows China is experiencing an unpublicized chlamydia epidemic, were carried by United Press International and Reuters News Agency and broadcast on National Public Radio, BBC World Service, BBC United Kingdom and BBC China Service on Tuesday, March 11. William Parish, Professor in Sociology and the College, who is the lead author of the study, said in the Reuters story: “The silent chlamydia epidemic may cause many women to be infertile, to have ectopic pregnancies and be at greater risk of HIV infection.” Edward Laumann, the George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor in Sociology and the College and an author of the study, was quoted in the UPI story.

    Richard Thaler, the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Behavioral Science & Economics in the Graduate School of Business, was quoted Friday, Feb. 28, in the market report written by Chicago Tribune columnist Bill Barnhart. Thaler, who spoke at a business conference in Chicago, described some of the investor behaviors of people newly enrolled in 401(k) retirement plans. Individual investors tend to “buy high and sell low,” he said. “They’re saying they like equities when they’re expensive and don’t like them when they’re cheap.” He added that 401(k) holders concentrate too much on company stock.

    Bruce Lincoln, the Caroline E. Haskell Professor in the Divinity School, was quoted in a story that appeared in the Sunday, March 2 Chicago Tribune. The article reported that President Bush’s increased religious references and language in his speeches, especially his rhetoric regarding a possible war with Iraq, have drawn criticism from Europeans and many Americans, as well. “I think it is escalating,” said Lincoln. “I think he is trying to drum up support for a war he very much wants to pursue and is trying to persuade himself that this is not merely a just war but also a sacred cause.”

    Steven Levitt, the Alvin Baum Professor in Economics and the College, and a study he conducted with his colleague John Donohue III of Stanford University, were the subject of a Tuesday, March 11 Washington Post story. The two scholars conducted a second, more detailed analysis of their theory that has linked legal abortion and crime. Further investigation resulted in three pieces of evidence, which support the theory. The new data, published in a paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggests the impact of abortion on reduced crime is bigger (18 percent reduced homicides associated with abortion) than what the researchers had discovered in their first analysis (14 percent reduced homicides associated with abortion).

    An antiwar “teach-in” that took place in the University’s Rockefeller Memorial Chapel on Wednesday, March 5, which drew a crowd of nearly 1,500, was mentioned in several news stories published that day and the following, Thursday, March 6, about student-sponsored antiwar events throughout Chicago and the suburbs. Stories appeared in the Washington Post, the Associated Press Newswires, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

    The research of David Grier, Professor in Physics and the College, who has been developing new ways to use laser beams to move and sort particles, was the subject of a story published Saturday, March 8, in the Chicago Tribune. Grier’s initial research that resulted in the development of holographic optical tweezers already has been patented and is currently being marketed by Arryx Inc. As Grier and his colleagues continue this line of research, they intend to develop newer tools with additional applications, such as those with the ability to sort cancer cells from normal human cells.

    Charles Lipson, Associate Professor in Political Science and the College, wrote an op-ed in the Wednesday, March 12 Chicago Sun-Times, noting that President Bush missed an opportunity at a recent press conference to be direct with Americans about the dangers of warfare. But he also said, “The good news is that America’s military is well-prepared for the battlefield risks, and homeland security services are at least alert to the dangers.” And “the pessimists are wrong: The United States can fight terror as it prepares for war.”

    Fred Donner, Professor in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and the College, wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Monday, March 10 Chicago Tribune. Of President Bush, Donner asked, “What if ?”, as he introduced some possible negative results of a war with Iraq, which Donner argued is more in the interest of Israel’s Likud party rather than the United States’. One statement supposed, “What if Baghdad becomes not the placid seat of a model Arab Democracy, but a lethal quagmire of sniping and booby-traps and seat of a Draconian American military government?”

    Gregory Bales, Assistant Professor of Urology in Surgery, was interviewed for a Sunday, March 2 New York Times story that described the most current botox treatments that physicians are employing. The story reported that botulinum toxin is being tested, with encouraging results, for numerous ailments. Bales has been treating patients suffering from incontinence by injecting botox into the inner walls of the bladder. The treatment, so far, has produced positive results for Bales’ patients, and side effects have been minor.