November 20, 2008
Vol. 28 No. 5

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    Chicago In the News

    The Chronicle’s biweekly column Chicago 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 University News Office Web site: http://news.uchicago.edu.

    Valerie Jarrett

    Film features Fermilab’s search
    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will be the focus of a documentary on the WTTW Channel 11 program Independent Lens at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 25. The film The Atom Smashers chronicles the struggles of Fermilab scientists who are using the underground Tevatron particle accelerator in a quest to find the so-called “God particle”—the Higgs boson—amid tightening federal budgets and the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. The film will feature vintage footage as well as a number of University and Fermilab scientists, including Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman, the Frank L. Sulzberger Professor Emeritus in Physics and the College. For more information, visit http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/atomsmashers.

    Jarrett chats on NBC news show
    Valerie Jarrett, a member of the Board of Trustees since 2001 and Vice-Chair of the Medical Center’s Board since 2002, was a guest Sunday, Nov. 9 on NBC’s Meet the Press. Jarrett, a co-chair on President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, spoke of the challenges following this year’s historic election: “Given, really, the daunting challenges that we face,” Jarrett told host Tom Brokaw, “it’s important that President-elect Obama is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one.” On Monday, Jarrett was named as a senior adviser to Obama and also will serve as assistant to the president for intergovernmental relations and as a public liaison.

    Archaeologist tours Iraqi museum
    McGuire Gibson, Professor in the Oriental Institute, walked through the ravaged galleries of the Iraq National Museum with a Chicago Tribune reporter for a Sunday, Nov. 9 article on the looting of the country’s antiquities. Gibson, president of the American Academic Research Institute of Iraq, has visited the country almost annually since his first dig there in 1964. Gibson described a 5,000-year-old carve frieze that looters had looked past: “This chunk of rock is extremely important. We were very worried about it. It shows a guy killing a lion with a bow and arrow. It’s important because it is one of the earliest examples of someone acting like a king.” Gibson also is curator of the Oriental Institute Museum exhibition “Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past,” which runs through Wednesday, Dec. 31.

    Photo by Lloyd DeGrane

    David Booth, who recently gave the Graduate School of Business a $300 million gift, sports a new sweatshirt designed with the school’s new name, Chicago Booth School of Business. Booth’s daughter Erin celebrates with her father during the announcement at the GSB.

    Booth School’s next challenge
    A Sunday, Nov. 9 Chicago Tribune article examined the unique opportunity presented to the newly renamed University of Chicago Booth School of Business following its reception of a record $300 million donation from alumnus David Booth. At the Thursday, Nov. 6 announcement of the gift, Dean Edward Snyder also described a $100 million matching program to inspire future donors. “We don’t view this as the ultimate gift,” said Snyder. “We have a lot more work to do.” The article also quoted President Zimmer and Eugene Fama, the Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor in Finance. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Chicago Business and Chicago Sun-Times were among the publications announcing the $300 million gift.

    Study probes sleep, heart link
    A recent study found that people in their 60s and 70s with high blood pressure are a greater risk of heart attack, stroke and sudden cardiac death if they sleep fewer than 7.5 hours each night. The findings, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, were reported on Tuesday, Nov. 11 on CNN. “There’s a lot going on during sleep,” said Kristen Knutson, Research Associate, who wasn’t involved in Eguchi’s research. “We think whatever is happening in the brain, in the body, is sort of helping to maintain a multitude of processes—endocrine, metabolic, cardiovascular.” In her own work, Knutson found that healthy young people deprived of sleep have impaired glucose metabolism, increased appetite and higher blood pressure.

    Bid for Games nears finish
    Allen Sanderson, Senior Lecturer in Economics, was quoted in a Sunday, Nov. 9 Chicago Tribune article on Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. The four host finalists will submit their final bids Feb. 12 to the International Olympic Committee during a time of global economic turmoil. Chicago faces a greater challenge because its bid relies on private financing while rivals Madrid, Rio de Janiero and Tokyo have federal backing. So far, Chicago’s 2016 bid team has about $10 million left to raise in private donations, but Sanderson said “corporations may be unwilling to cough up $1 million either because they don’t have it or because they are getting more scrutiny. Shareholders are saying, ‘Things are not going so well, so why are we giving our money away?’” Sanderson also was quoted in an ESPN article on the 2016 Games.

    Not to put a dander on things …
    Amid speculation about Barack Obama’s selection of the First Family’s pet, a University allergy specialist warned of the health problems a dog could cause in a Thursday, Nov. 13 Associated Press article. Last week, Obama announced that daughter Malia “is allergic, so it has to be a hypoallergenic” dog, but the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology said in a statement, “There is no truly ‘hypoallergenic’ dog.” Robert Naclerio, Professor and Chief in Otolaryngology, said that while people with general allergies would probably be able to tolerate a dog, those with animal-specific allergies would have problems. “I wouldn’t recommend bringing it in,” he said, “because you are going to have symptoms.”

    Campaign finance solution?
    Saul Levmore, Dean of the Law School, penned a Tuesday, Nov. 11 opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune about campaign finance. He began by writing, “One of the many things we will say we learned from this election cycle is that public financing of political campaigns is dead.” Barack Obama declined $84.1 million in federal public financing—an amount Republican rival John McCain accepted. Obama went on to raise nearly twice that total ($150 million) on his own, leaving Levmore to ponder a way to level the field. He proposed that the candidate should receive the greater of the amount raised by their opponent, if the other candidate accepts private funding.