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Bird Watching

link to: Chicago JournalIt would seem that the University of Chicago folks have more in common with Fox Mulder than with Dana Scully: the October 18 Chicago Sun-Times reported that 173 people on the uchicago.edu domain had participated in a University of California at Berkeley-based effort to look for alien life. Berkeley's Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project uses a radio telescope to scan the sky for signals from outer space. But the project can't afford a supercomputer to crunch the data gathered by the telescope, so Berkeley set up the SETI@home Web site (setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu) and asked for help from around the world. Users download the software from the site and run the program as a screensaver or a background program. At the time of the article, more than 1,300,000 people had participated, with the U of C crowd crunching 30,267 packets of data--taking the equivalent of 61 years of idle computer time.

Technology Review magazine pegged Chicago's Bruce Lahn, 31, as a young innovator to watch for by naming him one of its "TR100" in its 100th anniversary issue this past fall. The new assistant professor in the departments of human genetics and molecular genetics & cell biology and the Committee on Genetics catalogued the genes of the human Y chromosome for his thesis at MIT's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. As a postdoctoral researcher, the magazine explains, "He demonstrated that the Y chromosome carries a wealth of genes implicated in male fertility, a discovery that could open the way for new infertility treatments, perhaps even a male birth control pill that would work by deactivating key genes."

You've seen the University of Chicago Hospitals helicopter on ER--now, tune into cable TV's Discovery Health Channel to see the Hospitals themselves. Launched last August, the channel includes such programming as Lifeline, a real-life anthology series offering a look behind the scenes at some of the world's leading medical institutions. Lifeline producers decided to include the University of Chicago Hospitals because of the city's recognition in the medical dramas Chicago Hope and ER. Shows featuring the Hospitals follow an established group of staff and interns and focus on their interactions with patients and families.

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  FEBRUARY 2000

  > > Volume 92, Number 3


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