Upon what meat have you fed
that you can…
I was disturbed to read such an inaccurate, uncritical
(in the U of C sense), and politically biased article about the
research of Linda Waite (“Healthy,
Wealthy, and Wed,” October/03) by Amy M. Braverman. First,
the story makes no distinction between the results of the research
for men and for women. But the survey actually shows that while
men are better off whether the marriage is happy or unhappy, women
suffer greater ill effects and ill health when a marriage is unhappy.
For a woman, then, getting out of a bad marriage may be a healthier
Right about the lawyer
Rachel Morton’s article, “Rural
Route” (October/03), about attorney Peter Langrock, AB’58,
JD’60, was right on the mark. Peter is a very highly regarded
lawyer here in Vermont, for reasons that go beyond all those the
piece brought to light. He is a person of great skills but also
a good man.
Wrong about the geese
I’m sure a number of people have pointed
out that Kady the English setter (“Rural
Route,” October/03) is barking at Canada Geese, not Canadian
geese, but not many know the story of the government research project
to discover why these geese fly in a V formation where one side
is almost always longer than the other. Could there be an aerodynamic
principle applicable to airplane flight? After a yearlong study
by engineers, the report came back saying that the reason one side
of the V is longer is that there are more birds on that side.
Sally Morris Petrilli, PhB’48
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
“Aims” address hits the mark
Thank you for printing the “Aims of Education”
address given by Professor Abbott for first-year students (“The
Zen of Education,” October/03). Rarely have I read anything
so well-done. I congratulate him on providing both the students
and me with such a memorable view of what education can be, especially
at the U of C.
Law & education
I was sufficiently charmed by the sociologist
Andrew Abbott’s “Aims
of Education” address to tape on my office door the excerpt
explaining why a good education is useless to most lawyers. After
a few days, however, I decided that he had overstated the case.
In my own practice, which centers on trial-level constitutional
litigation, I often draw on analytic skills, which at least seem
directly related to my undergraduate education in, for instance,
mastering enough detail about “bivariate ecological regression”
to cross-examine experts on the topic; working with historians and
even sociologists to present a persuasive picture of complex topics
to a court or jury; and, more broadly, cutting through fairly complicated
hogwash and sophistry to articulate the “correct” side
of the argument.
Athlete, yes; scholar, no
Most people are interested in connecting with
the past, but our view of the past must be clear-eyed. A “Hall
of Fame,” such as the new Athletics
Hall of Fame (October/03) at Chicago, implies that its honorees
are worthy of emulation. However, some members of this hall were
far from being models for the scholar-athlete.
That was the year
I’m surprised to see that no one corrected
the misstatement in Lester Munson’s fine article about the
splendid new Hall of Fame
(October/03). On page 45 he states, “…marked by the
death of big-time football in 1935 when Robert Maynard Hutchins
withdrew the University from the Big Ten.” My recollection
is that it occurred in 1939, after the football season, during the
Christmas holidays. Better check it out while some of us old geezers
are still around.
Bob Greenebaum, AB’39
Highland Park, Illinois
Greenebaum is correct: Chicago withdrew from
Big Ten football in 1939, several seasons after Jay Berwanger, AB’36,
won the Heisman.—Ed.
News she can use
I have had a lifelong love affair with magazines
and journals of all kinds, and judge a title’s utility by
how many pages I end up tearing out of a particular issue (of my
personal copy, of course). I harvested four pages from the October/03
So Random Acts of Kindness” chart for my parish priest,
a children’s literature title to read out of “Alumni
Works,” the “In
Stereo” piece on the Polkaholics (great for holiday gift
giving?), and the announcement on the Alumni
Photography Contest. Keep up the excellent work of entertaining
and informing your readers.
Dodie Ownes, AM’86
Have they heard the mockingbird?
I have just read Catherine Gianaro’s fascinating
starlings and their melodies” (“Investigations,”
October/03). I don’t know whether I have something to tell
the scientists that will aid their research or something that they
already know and have long since dismissed.
The curser, not the cursed
Sleep, Perchance” (“Chicago Journal,” October/03),
Sharla Stewart refers to “Ondine’s Curse” of central
hypoventilation as a curse placed on Ondine to “stay awake
in order to breathe.”
Fueling the future
President Randel’s column, “How
will the world meet its energy demands?” (October/03)
is disappointing in two respects: factually and in terms of the
future of energy research at the University. Carbon dioxide need
not be produced when using electricity from wind or sun to produce
hydrogen (except in producing and installing the wind- or sun-power
apparatus.) Nor would a hydrogen distribution system be necessary.
Old school ties
From “Curing the world, one epidemic at
a time” (“C.
vitae,” October/03): “...the dean told me that I
was the first applicant from the Chicago Public Schools in many
years.” Wrong. I attended Kate Star Kellogg Grade School and
Morgan Park High School, both Chicago Public Schools.
J. Curtis Kovacs, AB’63, MD’67
Sun City, Arizona
Old school songs
Regarding the letter
in the October/03 issue chiding certain classes and persons
for putting down other colleges and universities: What has happened
to people’s sense of humor? I know I am an “alumna emerita”
and thus totally out of step with the current scene, but it seems
to me that the good-natured poking of fun at other institutions
we enjoyed in the late 1940s was rather innocent enjoyment!
No place like the shoreland
The October 17 Maroon reports that the
housing office is considering closing Shoreland Hall as an undergraduate
dormitory, to be replaced by a new dorm south of the Midway. I was
shocked to read of this possibility. I cannot emphasize too strongly
how regrettable such a decision would be.
Lost department mourned
It was with great sadness that I read of the
untimely death of Rebecca Barr, AM’61, PhD’68 (August/03).
I had the privilege of working with Becky in the University of Chicago
reading clinic. Becky was a worthy successor to Helen M. Robinson
and Helen K. Smith, previous directors.
Small type, big mistake
Your typeface is way too small. Please
look into this. If you need a little research—no cost—let
me know. Ever since I X’d out of the U of C in 1951, I have
cringed, positively cringed—I can write ’49
Harvard but only “X” by U of C!
Board members sought
The University of Chicago Alumni Association
is seeking nominations of alumni to serve on its Board of Governors,
a 25-member group that sets policy for the association and advises
the University on matters of interest and concern to alumni.
Department of corrections
not the Higgs, then what?” (Investigations, October/03)
the three “generations” of particles were misidentified.
There are three generations of quarks (top and bottom, up and down,
and charmed and strange) and three generations of leptons (the electron,
muon, and tau and their corresponding neutrinos). In “C.
vitae” (October/03) illustrator Richard Thompson should
have been credited. We regret the errors.
The University of Chicago Magazine
welcomes letters on its contents or on topics related to the University.
Letters must be signed and may be edited for space and clarity.
We ask readers to keep correspondence to 300 words or less. Write:
Editor, University of Chicago Magazine,
5801 S. Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637