April 28, 2005
Vol. 24 No. 15

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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/.

    Angela Olinto, Associate Professor and Chair of Astronomy & Astrophysics, was cited in an article published online at MSNBC.com, which featured women scientists who are new pioneers in the fields of particle physics and cosmology. As a member of the science team for the international Pierre Auger Observatory, Olinto is studying the particle phenomena of high-energy cosmic rays from far-flung regions of space, which reach energies 100 million times higher than the particles the Large Hadron Collider can achieve. The Auger Observatory—the brainchild of Nobel laureate James Cronin, University Professor Emeritus in Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics and the College—is an array of hundreds of monitoring stations, spread out over the plains of Argentina, which pick up the traces of cosmic-ray particles as they zoom right through Earth’s path. Olinto also is helping draw up plans for another cosmic-ray observatory in the Northern Hemisphere.

    John Cacioppo, the Tiffany & Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology, was interviewed by Chicago radio and TV stations about a new, comprehensive study he is leading on the connections between faith and health. WBEZ-FM, WBBM-AM and WTTW-Channel 11 carried reports on the study, which is supported by a $1.8 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Also interviewed for the news reports were Clark Gilpin, the Margaret E. Burton Professor in the Divinity School, and Chris Masi, Assistant Professor in Medicine. The Chicago Sun-Times and the Times of India online edition also published articles on the research. “The study is based on an evolutionary model of humans as social beings in which the motive to form and maintain attachments and interpersonal relationships is in part genetically determined,” Cacioppo said in the Times of India article.

    Maura Quinlan, Assistant Professor in Obstetrics & Gynecology, was quoted in an Associated Press article carried Tuesday, April 19. Quinlan commented on the companies that market their services of storing and maintaining umbilical cord blood from newborns. Parents will have the blood stored in case it could be used to treat possible, future health problems their children might suffer in youth or adulthood, and companies often promise more than can be delivered. “I have seen advertisements saying that cord blood can be used for Alzheimer’s and diabetes, and save your child from all sorts of things that aren’t possible today, or may never be,” said Quinlan. “Some of these promises are unfair and give unrealistic hope.”

    Robert Rosner, Director of Argonne National Laboratory and the William E. Wrather Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, Physics and the College, was featured in the Crain’s Chicago Business Monday, April 4 issue. Rosner’s distinguished career was highlighted in the piece, and fellow astrophysicist Larry Smarr, former director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, said of Rosner’s appointment as Argonne’s Director: “They tapped a distinguished scientist as opposed to a more bureaucratic choice. In the end, there’s no substitute for vision.” Rosner, who developed Argonne’s 20-year plan for science and technology while serving as Chief Scientist, said he would continue long-range planning. “To the extent one has done planning, you’re in position to make intelligent choices, and do it in a way that protects the lab’s future.”

    Steven Levitt, the Alvin H. Baum Professor in Economics, has been featured in several publications about his current book, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, co-written with journalist Stephen Dubner. The Wall Street Journal , the New York Sun and Chicago Magazine have published stories on Levitt and the book, which features his unconventional research and which has been well received by economists and non-economists alike. In his Wall Street Journal review of the book, economics professor Steven Landsburg comments on some of the questions Levitt analyzes. Landsburg writes: “Mr. Levitt is hardly the first to attack these questions; there is no end of books on parenting strategy, for example. The difference is that Mr. Levitt knows what he is talking about. Where other parenting books rely on either puerile psychological theorizing or leaps of logic from haphazard numerical correlations, Mr. Levitt relies on his instinct for analyzing data. As a result, there is more valuable parenting advice in Mr. Levitt’s single chapter than in all the rest of Barnes & Noble.”

    Mary Druvesteyn, a graduate student in Romance Languages & Literatures, was interviewed for a Wednesday, April 13 Chicago Tribune story about her work on a project to create new recordings of conversational French, which she undertook during a summer trip to Paris. Supported by a grant from the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning, Druvesteyn sought out conversations with natives. She said she often asked people, “‘What’s your favorite food? What stereotypes do you have about Americans? What’s your favorite city in France?’ I tried to get people talking about their culture as a way to talk about themselves.”

    A new book titled Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder by Daniel le Grange, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, and James Lock of Stanford University, encourages parents to take charge of getting help for children with eating disorders, and it explains that parents are not to blame for such disorders as bulimia and anorexia, but in fact can play a major role in treating the illness. A Sunday, April 17 Chicago Tribune article featured the approach le Grange uses when treating patients in the Eating Disorders Program at the University Hospitals, which he directs. “Parents have to be on the same page every minute. They have to be in total agreement concerning what they expect of their child. And they have to do it over and over again. This illness has tremendous stamina.”