IMAGE:  October 2002 GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
Volume 95, Issue 1
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Morning and melancholia 
Geeks go Greek 
End of the Medical Marathon?
The worst of all possible worlds 

3 rms, future vu


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From the President 

GRAPHIC:  About AlumniBetween the Lines

47 Mark Bauerlein's July 19 Chronicle of Higher Education essay, "Reviewers are from Mars, Scholars are from Venus," contains references to plenty of Chicagoans-including a half-dozen alumni academics and public intellectuals: George Steiner, AB'48; Anthony Grafton, AB'71, AM'72, PhD'75; Gertrude Himmelfarb, AM'44, PhD'60; Susan Sontag, AB'51; Richard Rorty, AB'49, AM'52; and David Brooks, AB'83. Not mentioned by name, however, is Robert Silver, AB'47, a founding editor of the New York Review of Books, known for its habit of assigning writers to review books outside their fields. Bauerlein cites a 1999 scholarly protest prompted by a nonspecialist's NYRB review of five books on Native-American history as the starting point for a discussion of academic dismay with "a fast-track system of evaluation" in general publications. Academics may prefer peer reviews in scholarly journals, Bauerlein notes, but reviews like the NYRB's "are the arbiters of intellectual opinion in the United States, and for professors to ignore that discourse is to aggravate their isolation from the public sphere."

IMAGE:  Amy Meyers, AB'77

Amy Meyers, AB'77
photo by Michael Marsland

52 In August Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, AB'52, began a five-year term as president of Bolivia. Sanchez de Lozada, a political centrist who also was president from 1993 to 1997, was elected August 4 by Bolivia's Congress, in an 84-43 victory over Evo Morales, an Indian leader of Bolivia's coca growers. The Congress's vote followed a June national election in which neither of two vote-getters won an outright majority. According to the August 5 New York Times Sanchez de Lozada faces "an opposition galvanized by the blunt-talking Mr. Morales, whose Movement to Socialism party has given Bolivia's downtrodden Indian majority a strong political voice."

77 On September 1 Amy W. Meyers, AB'77, became the director of the Yale Center for British Art. The first woman to head the center founded by Paul Mellon, Meyers has a doctorate and two master's degrees from Yale and was most recently curator of American art at the Henry E. Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Mateo, California. Here is how the July 28 New York Times sums up her résumé: "[she] has also worked at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the National Gallery of Art, both in Washington, has taught at six colleges and universities, organized symposiums, written more than a dozen papers, collaborated with several other museums and galleries on exhibitions, and has become known as a builder of museum collections."

82 The youngest of "five revolutionaries who changed the world"-this year's winners of the annual Discover magazine awards for innovation in science and technology-is Patrick O. Brown, AB'76, PhD'80, MD'82. Brown is a Stanford University molecular biologist "whose invention of the most widely used DNA microarray," proclaims the July 2002 Discover, "helped to supercharge the pace of genetic discovery." Frustrated in the early 1990s by the slow, gene-by-gene approach to breaking the genetic code, Brown reasoned that researchers could learn the language of genes the way that toddlers learn to speak: "by sampling widely." So Brown proposed a gene-sampling machine, able to track thousands of genetic expressions on a single slide. When the National Institutes of Health turned down that part of his grant proposal as "too ambitious," Brown says, "My reaction was, what does anyone know about it? I took the microarray out of the proposal, but I just decided I would make one anyway."

88 In September Gerardo della Paolera, AM'85, PhD'88, became president of the American University in Paris. The Argentine economist is the first non-U.S. citizen to lead the school-a choice that, according to the April 12 Chronicle of Higher Education, reflects the university's increasingly global focus. The founding president of the Torcuato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires, a post he held from 1990 to 2001, della Paolera will spend winter quarter as a visiting professor at Chicago before settling into his new job full time.
- Mary Ruth Yoe




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