University news

A selection of the latest headlines from UChicago.

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Seeing the future

Eleven international partners of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization, including UChicago, have committed more than $500 million to begin construction in Chile on what is poised to be the largest optical telescope in the world. The first in a new class of extremely large telescopes, the GMT will produce images up to 10 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope and “will herald the beginning of a new era in astronomy,” said University Professor of astronomy and astrophysics Wendy Freedman, who chairs the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization Board of Directors.

New Women’s Board leader

Priscilla Levine Kersten is the new chair of the University of Chicago Women’s Board, effective July 1. A member of the board’s Steering Committee since 2011 and a founding cochair of the Women’s Board/UEI Partners Committee, Kersten is the president of Square One Foundation, a private family foundation, and serves on the governing board of the University of Chicago Charter School. Her husband, Steven A. Kersten, JD’80, is a University trustee. Established in 1960, the Women’s Board furthers the University’s mission through advocacy and philanthropy.

Top mathematician

This spring Alex Eskin, a leading geometer and the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor in Mathematics, was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. A specialist in mathematical billiards and rational polygons, Eskin has made important contributions to geometric group theory, ergodic theory, and number theory. He joined UChicago in 1999.

International justice

Launched in 2013, the Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic works with non-governmental organizations to draw attention to human rights violations around the world, develop and implement practical remedies, and hold states accountable. The clinic’s new director is Claudia Flores, AB’97, who previously served as a legal adviser for the United Nations in Zimbabwe and East Timor and has worked with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and the AFL-CIO American Center for International Labor Solidarity in Indonesia.

Graduate support

A new University office and program will centralize support services for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, making these resources more accessible and effective. Working in coordination with the divisions and schools, UChicagoGRAD will provide training and programs focused on recruitment and enrollment; general student services such as teaching and dissertation writing support; career development; and alumni connections. The initiative will be led by professor of psychology Sian Beilock, vice provost for academic initiatives and a member of the Committee on Education.

Heart for health care

When his hometown hospital became one of the first to implement the American College of Cardiology’s appropriate use criteria for coronary revascularization in 2012, Pranav Puri, ’18, saw an opportunity. How would providing physicians with the new criteria affect the number of procedures performed and thus the overall cost of care? Working with two nurses at the hospital, Puri charted a 17 percent reduction in coronary revascularizations from 2011 to 2012 and a further 17 percent drop from 2012 to 2013. If the criteria were used nationally, he calculated, total savings could exceed $2.3 billion, findings he presented at ACC’s Annual Scientific Session in March.

American philosophers

The American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the country, has three new UChicago faculty members. Glenn W. Most, a professor in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, is a scholar of classical Greek poetry and philosophy. Anne W. Robertson, the Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Music and the Humanities in the College, specializes in music from the Middle Ages; and Rosanna Warren, the Hanna Holborn Gray Distinguished Service Professor in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought and the College, is an acclaimed poet who studies poetry in translation and the relationship between classical and modern literature. 

Climate Survey

In June the University released a preliminary summary of results from the Sexual Misconduct Survey: Attitudes, Knowledge, and Experience. The survey on campus climate was conducted in April by NORC at the University of Chicago. All undergraduate and graduate students aged 18 and older were invited to take part in the anonymous and confidential survey. NORC is further analyzing the data and will produce a full report. In the meantime, the preliminary report can be viewed at csl.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/Climate_Survey_Spring_2015_preliminary_report.pdf.

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