April 12, 2007
Vol. 26 No. 14

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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 In the News column at the University News Office Web site: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/.

    Weapon against cancer

    Edwin Posadas, Instructor of Hematology/Oncology in Medicine, was quoted in a front-page Chicago Tribune article that was published Friday, March 30. Posadas commented on the advances made in prostate cancer treatment, as the first therapeutic cancer vaccine to win FDA approval was announced. “This is an exciting time in prostate cancer,” said Posadas, who specializes in studying and treating the disease. “Ten years ago, if you had [advanced] prostate cancer, we could do nothing but treat the pain. Now we have effective chemotherapy and a growing repertoire of agents that look like they might have an impact on the disease.”

    Exponential success

    James Heckman, the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College, wrote an op-ed about educational intervention and the benefits of investments made in children. The op-ed appeared in a recent issue of Education Week. “Much in the way that compound interest creates exponentially larger returns on monetary investments, ongoing investments in children’s skills have a multiplier effect,” he wrote. As a member of a study conducted by America’s Promise Alliance, Heckman has found that additional skill-building investments, especially those in at-risk boys, have positive long-term effects. “The unexpected finding was that at-risk boys were easily most successful when investment was sustained into the teenage years.” The article pointed out that the study looked at not only investments made through government-funded programs, but also the skill-building investments that members of the private sector and families make, such as supporting children through reading to them, providing encouragement with schoolwork and setting good examples through community service and healthy lifestyle choices.

    Documentary geniuses

    Kartemquin Films, formed in 1966 by University alumni Gordon Quinn (A.B.,’65), Jerry Temaner (A.B.,’57) and their friend Stanley Karter, recently received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. Since the film company’s beginnings, it has produced more than 30 documentary films, including Hoop Dreams (1994) and social-issue documentaries such as Golub; Vietnam, Long Time Coming; and Stevie. “People think of us for our films, but we’re also very involved in outreach and civic engagement,” said executive director Quinn, in a Thursday, March 29 Chicago Sun-Times story. “We’ve gotten almost no funding for that work until the last year, which is why the MacArthur award is so important. We really do work on a very small budget, and this award will help us become a self-sustaining organization.”

    In a scene from The New Americans, a 2004 release from Kartemquin Films, José, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, stretches on the ball field.

    Craig Futterman
    Photo by Dan Dry

    ‘The world is watching’

    Craig Futterman, Clinical Professor in the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic at the Law School, who has studied data on Chicago police misconduct, was interviewed on WBBM Channel 2 News and for articles appearing in such publications as the Tuesday, April 3 New York Times. The stories have reported on the resignation of Police Superintendent Philip Cline in the wake of publicized incidents of abusive misconduct involving Chicago police officers. On WBBM Channel 2 News Futterman said: “The Chicago Police Department’s own data show that its disciplinary system is utterly broken.” Futterman and other Chicago lawyers and law professors are calling for a new civilian review board to replace the existing board. “The time is now. The world is watching and if not now, I don’t know when,” he added.

    ‘Classic Zell move’

    James Schrager, Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management in the Graduate School of Business, was interviewed for stories published in the Chicago Tribune and broadcast on WBBM Radio that reported on billionaire investor Sam Zell’s recent purchase of Tribune Co. In a Tuesday, April 3 Chicago Tribune story, Schrager said: “I think he sees it as a cheap asset. I’m not sure he really understands the difference between real estate and running a business. But he is a very quick learner and a bright guy. It would be hard for me to imagine that he won’t get up to speed really fast.” On the Wednesday, April 4 radio broadcast, Schrager noted that the purchase of Tribune Co. “is a classic Sam Zell move.”

    Shine a light

    An experiment conducted by Wendy Zhang, Assistant Professor in Physics and the College, French physicist Jean-Pierre Delville and Robert Schroll, a Chicago graduate student in physics, has shown that lasers can be used to generate bulk flow in fluids. “As far as we know, we’re the first to show this particular effect,” said Schroll, in an AHN Media article published Thursday, March 29. The discovery that liquid can be manipulated using only light could have applications in the science of microfluidics, which is controlling fluid flow through channels smaller than a human hair. The experiment results also were reported in Agence France Presse.

    Speaking over the silence

    Alumna Sara Paretsky (A. M.,’69, M.B.A.,’77, Ph.D.,’77) wrote an essay that appeared in the Perspective section of the Sunday, April 1 Chicago Tribune. Paretsky, author of the V.I. Warshawski detective novels, introduced some of the ideas in her soon-to-be-released collection of essays titled Writing in an Age of Silence. In the Tribune piece, Paretsky pointed out how censorship of free speech in post-9/11 America has influenced her own life, and she elaborated on how Americans’ civil liberties have eroded. She also provided a personal look into her younger years, growing up in a generation in which many women were considered politically and intellectually inferior to men. “The questions of who gets to speak and who listens are central to how I view the world. These are issues I explore in my new collection of essays,” she wrote. “I hope through these essays I can persuade some of the readers who responded so angrily to Blacklist (in which Warshawski “encounters the powers of the Patriot Act”) that silence is more dangerous and more crippling than dissenting from power.”

    A dynamic Pacifica

    The University’s Artists-in-Residence the Pacifica Quartet received a glowing review in The New York Times for its recent recording, titled Declarations: Music Between the Wars, on Cedille Records. In describing the quartet’s interpretation of Leo Janacek’s String Quartet No. 2 (“Intimate Letters,” 1928), critic Anthony Tommasini wrote: “The Pacifica players wring every bit of intensity from the score in their dynamic and visceral performance.”