IMAGE:  December 2002 GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
Volume 95, Issue 2
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The Complexity Complex  
Three Months among the Pyramids  
Index to a Canon

The Real Life Adventures of Pinocchio


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From the President  

GRAPHIC:  About AlumniBetween the lines

25 Ann Barzel, PhB’25, was one of four grande dames of the city’s arts scene participating in a Chicago Humanities Festival panel discussion “My Life in the City.” Barzel, senior editor of Dance Magazine, also volunteers as dance archivist at the Newberry Library, which houses her collection of films, photographs, magazines, books, and music. A November 10 Chicago Tribune article showcased items from the dancer and critic’s nine decades of collecting—everything from a pair of Anna Pavlova’s pointe shoes to German ballet cards (give-aways in cigarette packages).

36 Another U of C grande dame of dance, choreographer Katherine Dunham, PhB’36, is the subject of a new biography, Katherine Dunham: Dancing a Life, out this fall from the University of Illinois Press. Author Joyce Aschenbrenner, professor emerita of anthropology at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, focuses on Dunham’s “pioneering contributions to dance anthropology.” Founder of the nation’s first self-supporting African-American dance company, Dunham (shown dancing in 1955) turned 93 this past summer, an occasion marked by an honorary degree from Harvard University and a tribute concert at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, part of the Massachusetts festival’s 70th-anniversary season.

45 The November 2002 Discover’s listing “The 50 Most Important Women in Science” began by noting that only “[3] percent of tenured professors in physics in this country are women.” But 14 percent of Discover’s Top 50 were Chicagoans, starting with Janet D. Rowley, PhB’45, SB’46, MD’48, the Blum-Riese distinguished service professor in hematology and oncology at the U of C. Next (in order of degree year) are University of Rochester chemist Esther Conwell, PhD’48, whose “research on how electrons course through silicon and other semiconducting materials jump-started the computer age”; University of Massachusetts at Amherst evolutionist Lynn Margulis, AB’57; Washington University anthropologist Patty Jo Watson, AM’56, PhD’59, who studies early North American agricultural patterns; Mildred S. Dresselhaus, PhD’59, professor of physics and electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Margaret Conkey, AM’69, PhD’78, an expert in prehistoric art who directs the University of California at Berkeley’s Archaeological Research Facility; and Deborah Jin, SM’92, PhD’95, a National Institute of Standards and Technology physicist whose studies may help explain how superconductors work.

56 In the September 29 New York Times composer Philip Glass, AB’56, discussed his score for the opera Galileo Galilei (directed by Tony winner Mary Zimmerman), which had its world premiere at Chicago’s Goodman Theater this summer and opened the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival this fall. Glass recognized Scene 6—which Times writer Richard Panek describes as “a lecture on the motion of balls on an inclined plane”—as a lab experiment from his days at Chicago: ”Someone did the timing, someone dropped the ball. Can you imagine that 50 years later I’m setting music to that scene?” The result, according to Panek, “is a seven-minute, downwardly spiraling soundtrack to a romp.”

97 Profiled in the October 31 RedEye (a Chicago Tribune offshoot for the 18–35 demographic) Christopher Baty, AM’97, was anticipating a busy November. Baty, a freelance writer in Oakland, California, founded National Novel Writing Month, alias NaNoWriMo. The Internet organization encourages participants to write a novel—50,000 words, or about 175 pages, no more, no less—over the course of the month. In 1999 21 people signed up and six novels got written; this year Baty hoped 1,000 novels would emerge. Would-be novelists could don an official T-shirt—motto “No Plot? No Problem!” To the FAQ, “If I’m just writing 50,000 words of crap, why bother? Why not just write a real novel later, when I have more time?” the Web site responds: “1) If you don’t do it now, you probably never will. 2) Aiming low is the best way to succeed. 3) Art for art’s sake does wonderful things to you.” For inspiration next November, visit the Web site at

— M.R .Y.





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