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…use of “major” was coined by William Rainey Harper…

How he thought we did it
I took scissors and completely separated the orange rings from the two printed discs (“More Than Meets the Eye,” June/04). Removed from the patterned backgrounds, the two rings remained different in color—they were not printed in the same shade of orange ink, and “chromatic induction” had nothing to do with their perceived difference—contrary to what was stated in the article.
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Missing expert?
I enjoyed reading Megan Lisagor’s feature about visual neuroscience on campus. But I was puzzled by a certain omission: although two of the interviewees—Bradley and Issa— alluded to the mathematical aspects of vision modeling, Lisagor’s article overlooked one of Chicago’s most illustrious theoretical neuroscientists—Jack Cowan in the Department of Mathematics. I am surprised his name didn’t surface while researching the article.

Peter Thomas, SM’94, AM’00, PhD’00
San Diego

The Magazine reported on Cowan’s work in the April/03 issue (—Ed.

Lack of concentration
It was with mixed feelings that I read of the change from “concentrator” to the more traditional “major” (“College Report,” June/04). Since I was educated in the Hutchins College, I did not use either term until I obtained my PhB and entered the divisions to complete pre-med requirements. Because we were all enrolled in the same curriculum, we considered ourselves simply “in the College,” a nontraditional, avant-garde concept with its attendant feeling of superiority. Several years later, when Harvard announced its new Core Curriculum, our reaction was somewhere between “no big deal” and “ho hum.”
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“Major” is pure Chicago too
The controversy over the College’s replacement of the term “concentration” with the term “major” has an ironic background, since use of the word “major” as an academic term was coined by William Rainey Harper in his meticulous and detailed plans made even before the opening of the University of Chicago. However, its meaning was entirely different from the current one.
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C-plus/c-minus effort
I never had the pleasure of taking a course with the late Professor Weintraub, but I suspect he would be surprised to find misspellings in “A Historian’s Task in Time,” the article honoring him in the June/04 University of Chicago Magazine, specifically in the references to the two German titled books on page 49, first paragraph.
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See-minus effort
I am very pleased to be able to request a photocopy of Professor Weintraub’s Ryerson lecture. I am simply unable to read the article as printed, partly as a result of my poor eyesight, partly due to the printing. There is little I can do about my eyes, beyond what has already been done, but two major revisions in the future would help.
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Weintraub remembered
I assume this is one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of letters you will receive on the death of a great teacher, Karl Weintraub. I had the good fortune to take the History of Western Civ sequence from him in 1964–65. I don’t know if students slept in the halls to register for Weintraub’s sections then—after all, Christian Mackauer still taught, and I would guess if any sleeping in the halls to register for a particular section was going on, it would have been for him.
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Chapel of grub
Rockefeller Chapel was at one time the shared soul of greatness and of troubled conscience. It has been made a dining room (and dance hall?) for money-grubbers bred in the solicitous bowels of our great University (“Chicago Journal,” June/04). I and, I suppose, countless others are offended beyond easy restitution. What can be done?
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On the wrong track
Regarding Jessica Abel’s “Chicagophile” cartoon in the June /04 issue, what one infers from the Grand Central Station tour guide is that the Twentieth Century Limited arrived on tracks 39 or 40. This would be wrong. In its heyday, the Twentieth Century Limited used tracks 26 and 27. These two tracks were the most famous portals in the terminal. Sometime in the 1940s the TCL was switched to track 34.
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His piece of the action
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed “Where the Action Was” (April/04). I was one of the 35 or so students of Sol Tax who spent some time with the Meskwaki, in the summer of 1954 (I think) and who was employed in the project part time during the ensuing academic year. Reading the article was like a flashback to a period of my life I have not thought much about for years, and it also helped me learn about the subsequent careers of several students I knew.
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Reaching truth
I found it ironic that Mark Holmes in his letter (June/04) criticizing President Randel’s assertion that truth can only be reached through reason (“From the President,” April/04) provides evidence for that assertion. On the one hand Holmes demands that scientists who warn of global warming, whom he disparages as a “vocal majority,” must provide irrefutable experimental proof of their hypothesis even though the nature of the problem makes it impossible to conduct a controlled experiment.
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Hersh hype?
I don’t think the U of C should be particularly proud of having spawned Seymour Hersh, AB’58, (July/04 UCHICAGO.EDU), a reckless, bigoted guy who has blown many stories. Perhaps the worst was the story of the Korean airliner with 69 people that Hersh claimed was a U.S. spy plane when the Russians shot it down.
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Now that we have a Paris Center...
I’m not a French language scholar, but my college-level French ear tells me that “Aujourd’hui dans Paris” (May/04 UCHICAGO.EDU) may not be correct. I believe that “Today in Paris” would normally be expressed “Aujourd’hui à Paris.” The word dans is normally used, I believe, to express a spatial relation among objects, as opposed to a person being at a particular place, or in a particular city.

Thank you for your e-newsletter.

Larry Deutsch

Online lift
I spent more difficult years at Chicago than I care to mention. I am a tenured professor now at a highly selective school where I despair as I watch the quality of education decline every year. Reading this magazine online every month always gives me hope for the future that lifts my spirits anew.

Phillip Richards, AM’74, PhD’87
Hamilton, New York

Keep those e-mails coming
Thank you for continuing to send issues of UCHICAGO.EDU. You hit on a great idea. It’s a first-rate, quickly informative summary about matters at the U of C. I hope you will continue and that the response has been salutary.

Louis T. Olom, AB’37
Falls Church, Virginia

The University of Chicago Magazine welcomes letters. Letters for publication must be signed and may be edited for space and clarity.

Write: Editor, University of Chicago Magazine, 5801 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637. Or e-mail: uchicago-magazine@



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