A life aquatic

Biology professor Michael LaBarbera has spent his career immersing students—and himself—in an underwater world and the unending adventure of science. Plus—Unplanned encounters: Surprise specimens in the lab.

Glimpses: Beauty in numbers

Mathematics historian Judith Victor Grabiner, SB’60, teaches math to the liberal arts masses.

Scrap mettle

Entrepreneurs meeting the demand for raw materials, not environmental virtue, drives the expansion of the recycling industry. Plus—Trash talker: Author Adam Minter, AB’93, weighs in on the wide world of waste.

Epic crossing

John Snyder traversed Ethiopia seeking inspiration for a screenplay. Instead he captured a landscape about to disappear.

Only human

In his new book, anthropologist Russell Tuttle synthesizes decades of research to identify the characteristics that set our species apart.

Working over time

An exhibit at the Oriental Institute Museum pairs modern workers with the ancient tools of their trades.

Game changers

From Major League Baseball and the NBA to Italian soccer and the NFL’s foothold in China, the sports world’s executive suites have a Maroon tint.

Professor of freedom

Earl Shorris, X’54, established a free humanities course to help impoverished adults escape the “surround of force” that restricts their lives.

Quadrangles to crossroads

New construction is about the exchange of ideas—within and beyond the campus. The University architect explains the theory behind the practice.

Chapter and verse

To approach religion with intellectual rigor, says Divinity School dean Margaret Mitchell, AM’82, PhD’89, is to play with fire. She stokes the embers.

On the dark side

Astrophysicist Josh Frieman, PhD’89, works on the dark side, studying the night sky for insight into the accelerating expansion of the universe.

Going Dutch

In one of the oldest chapters of American history—the Pilgrims’ flight from persecution—historian Jeremy Bangs, X’67, finds new ground to cover.

Growing numbers

For 40 years, the General Social Survey has cultivated a vast body of knowledge about Americans’ personal attitudes and opinions. Plus: “Survey Says

Channeling Carrie

Kimberly Peirce, AB’90, revives the pop culture classic.

Curators’ choice

Keepers of University collections reveal the pieces closest to their hearts.

Point man

Charles K. McNeil, PhB’25, was the point man in sports gambling.

Her children’s keeper

Davida Williams, AM’82, helps foster families navigate trauma and find trust.

Top shelf

They were the best of spines.

Selling the friendly skies

American stewardesses and the making of an iconic advertising campaign.

Perennial ties

Scenes from a verdant and varied Alumni Weekend. 

Legal precedent

Jewel C. Stradford Lafontant, JD’46, was a lawyer and public servant who broke many barriers.

Free for all

Spring quarter, like any other, offered an encyclopedia of public talks on campus, illuminating topics art historical, zoological, and everything in between. At 11 of these talks, the Magazine staff were there.

All aflutter

Marcus Kronforst finds clues to evolutionary adaptation in butterfly wings.

Crossing the borders of time

Researching her mother’s story of wartime flight and lost love, journalist Leslie Maitland, AB’71, finds the truth richer and stranger than any fiction. Plus: “Internal Investigation.”

In vino veritas

Wine writer and restaurant critic Bill St. John, AM’77, AM’80, PhD’83, talks fear of wine and the scourge of ratings. Plus: “An embarrassment of riches.”

Reversal of fortune

William Browder, AB’85, was once the biggest capitalist in Russia. After his lawyer was tortured and died in jail, he became one of the Kremlin’s fiercest enemies.

Adrift in the city

On walks across Mexico City, historian Mauricio Tenorio Trillo finds a path to the past.


An alumna mortician, medievalist, and video sage tries to change the way Americans think about death.

Raised voices

The Sahmat collective galvanizes artists across India to create work that resists divisive politics. A Smart Museum exhibition tells its story.

Victorian values

Social critic and Victorian historian Gertrude Himmelfarb, AM’44, PhD’50, looks back on her Chicago education.

The astronomical sublime

Part of a visual tradition that reaches back to Romanticism, images from the Hubble Space Telescope awe as they inform. Plus: “Scope of Inquiry.”

A passage to India

In 1956, two new PhDs drove a Land Rover from Austria to India to begin the research that would be their life’s work. Notes from their journey.

Under the covers

Isaac Tobin’s designs for University of Chicago Press books provoke readers to take a deeper look.

Twilight zone

Exploring the attributes of low light, an architect and a physicist try to cultivate a dim awareness.

Needle and threat

The road to safe, reliable bioweapon vaccines for children is fraught with ethical peril. On campus last fall, experts began to plot it out. Plus—The Soul of Medicine: For ethicist and doctor Daniel Sulmasy, medical progress is about more than the body.

Spiritual leader

Benjamin Elijah Mays, AM’25, PhD’35, was the conscience of the civil rights movement.