March 4, 2004
Vol. 23 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: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/.

    Mark Courtney, Associate Professor in the School of Social Service Administration and Director of the Chapin Hall Center for Children, was interviewed for a Tuesday, Feb. 24 New York Times article that reported on a study Courtney conducted, which surveyed 732 Midwestern youths who were about to leave the child welfare system at the age of 17. The study examined how well-prepared or ill-prepared these youths would be to enter the world without the aid of the foster care system. Courtney’s study showed that the youths would require more help rather than less. “These are people heading out into the world who will have far less support than the average middle-class, working-class kids. Up until now they have had the protection of the child welfare system. And as they head out, the deck, as you can see, is stacked against them.” The study found that many of the youths are lagging behind in school, running into trouble with the law and struggling with psychological problems. In an Associated Press story that appeared Wednesday, Feb. 25, Courtney said: “In general, they face so many obstacles that it’s difficult to see under the best of circumstances that they will fare well.”

    Martin Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Divinity School, was quoted in a Tuesday, Feb. 24 Chicago Tribune story that reported on the graphic content of the new film The Passion of the Christ and its promotion as a film “everyone must see.” Some of the experts quoted in the story are questioning whether the film, which depicts the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the time leading up to his death, is appropriate for children and adolescents to view because of its violent content. Although Christians are embracing it as a story all Christians should view, some disagree, including Marty. “The previewers who like violence if it shows Jesus suffering, on the grounds that savagery moves people to appreciate his sacrifice, are measuring the wrong thing. In Holy Week, I’ll be listening to Bach’s ‘Passions,’ singing about ‘was there ever grief like Thine?‚’ and meditating on the wounds of Christ, but not in the belief that the more blood and gore the holier, a la Gibson.”

    The research of Susan Goldin-Meadow, the Irving B. Harris Professor in Psychology and the College, was explored in an article published Saturday, Feb. 21, in The Economist, which reported on the recent research presented at the meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Goldin-Meadow, who presented at those meetings, has studied deaf children and language development. “For a sign language to emerge spontaneously, deaf children must have some inherent tendency to tie gestures to meaning. Spoken language, of course, is frequently accompanied by gestures. But, as a young researcher, Dr. Goldin Meadow suspected that deaf children use gestures differently from those who can hear. In a 30-year-long project carried out on deaf children in America and Taiwan, whose parents can hear normally, she has shown that this is true,” the story reported.

    The recent research conducted by Wei-Jen Tang, Associate Professor in the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research at the University, was the subject of a Tuesday, Feb. 17 Chicago Sun-Times article. Tang, who has been studying anthrax and its health threat as a bioterrorist agent, has found that the drug Hepsara has proven useful as a treatment for anthrax exposure. Tang found that Hepsara, which is used to treat hepatitis B, blocks edema factor, one of the two deadly toxins produced by anthrax. Tang’s study was published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Michael Turner, the Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics, and the College, was quoted in a story published Sunday, Feb. 22, in the Chicago Tribune. Turner commented on dark energy and recent data gathered by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope. “This dark energy and cosmological acceleration are the deepest mystery in all science. This is the first time the measurements have been good enough to see whether or not the dark energy is changing with time.”

    Ronald Thisted, Chairman of Health Studies and Professor in Statistics and the College, was mentioned in an article in the Sunday, Feb. 15 issue of the Indianapolis Star that analyzed the recent legal case brought against the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co., regarding its patent for Zyprexa. Lawyers who reviewed the case found Thisted, who testified on behalf of Eli Lilly and Co., particularly effective. The story noted that Thisted provided support for the validity of a trial Lilly did to gain approval of Zyprexa’s patent from the patent office. “This guy just seemed as solid as rock,” one lawyer said of Thisted.

    The University’s Graduate School of Business was prominently featured in a group of stories published by the Chicago Tribune’s Red Eye in its Friday, Feb. 20 issue. The story described how many people are working full time and attending night school to improve their skills and marketability in the work force. The story quoted University GSB students, including Elizabeth King, Thom Forsha and Farah Williams, and William Kooser, Associate Dean for the Executive M.B.A. Programs in the GSB. Kooser reported in the story that the GSB enrolled 1,039 full-time M.B.A. students during the Fall Quarter and 1,046 in its part-time evening program.

    Eric Oliver, Associate Professor in Political Science and the College, commented on suburban demographics in a Friday Feb. 27 Chicago Tribune story. The article reported that singles are beginning to outnumber married couples with children as heads of households in big-city suburbs. “The nature of family has changed. The suburbs are just now catching up to that trend,” said Oliver, author of Democracy in Suburbia.

    Current research by John Carlstrom, the Subramanyan Chandrasekhar Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics, and the College, was described in a story published Tuesday, Feb. 17, in the New York Times. The article examined scientists’ exploration of dark energy in the universe. Carlstrom is counting and studying clusters of galaxies deep in space with an array of radio telescopes positioned at the South Pole, the story reported.