IMAGE:  June 2004
LINK:  Research
Research at Chicago  
LINK:  Features
More than meets the eye  
Chicago Seven: take three  
Bursting at the seams  
A historian's task in time

LINK:  Class Notes
Alumni News  
Alumni Works  

LINK:  Campus News
Chicago Journal  
University News e-bulletin  

LINK:  Also in every issue
Editor's Notes  
From the President  
GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine

GRAPHIC:  ResearchInvestigations
The noise knows

Scrutinizing differences in single-cell behavior, Philippe Cluzel characterizes biology in terms of variation.

Just as a driver listening to the car radio gets annoyed when static overpowers the music, biologists studying a group of organisms may view “noise”—any variation from the norm—as distracting. They often eliminate it by calculating average behaviors. Not Philippe Cluzel, assistant professor of physics. Noise matters to Cluzel because it provides insight into a system’s design. Noise isn’t always a nuisance,” he says. Deviations in E. coli bacteria, for example, carry information useful for understanding the network that controls cell division and whose breakdown in higher organisms can cause cancers. “Decisions on the single-cell level are crucial for life or death,” he notes. “At the beginning of the story, it’s a single-cell decision.”
[ more ]


Practical public health
A self-described short, nerdy guy, Harold Pollack wears oversize glasses, sports floppy, graying brown hair, and looks at home in the groves of academe. He’s mild mannered, and at a Friday afternoon appointment he speaks so softly that it’s difficult to hear him over the Law School cafeteria’s end-of-week hilarity. But the School of Social Service Administration (SSA) associate professor doesn’t confine his research to academic debates. His interests rest instead with the practical interface between public health and poverty—his curriculum vitae cites HIV and hepatitis prevention for intravenous drug users, drug abuse among welfare recipients and pregnant women, and infant mortality prevention as recent research topics.
[ more ]

Woman as evangelical
In the 1760s, says Divinity School associate professor Catherine Brekus, “literally hundreds of people” flocked to the house of a poor Newport, Rhode Island, schoolteacher named Sarah Osborn. What began as a small women’s prayer group, Brekus notes, grew into a religious revival with events more on the scale of modern-day rock concerts. Historians don’t know exactly how the meetings reached such levels; at the time ministers claimed that God had ordained them. But thanks to their popularity, Osborn, an early evangelical, took on pop-star status in Newport both as a powerful spiritual leader and as a committed Christian—in the face of extreme adversity and although she was a woman.
[ more ]




2007 The University of Chicago® Magazine | 401 North Michigan Ave. Suite 1000, Chicago, IL 60611
phone: 773/702-2163 | fax: 773/702-8836 |