Matt Martell

(Photography by Aaron Gettinger, AM’17/Hyde Park Herald)


A selection of UChicago alumni whose names are in the news.

Bar tender

The new owner of the Woodlawn Tap, popularly known as Jimmy’s, is intimately familiar with the Hyde Park institution, having worked there for nearly 30 years. Matt Martell, AB’95, began pulling pints as a College student and, after graduating, began managing Saturday nights and booking bands when the bar was known for live music. He took a few years off for law school. After passing the Illinois bar exam in 2000, Martell established his own solo practice, still active today, and returned to his old post at Jimmy’s. As owner, he hopes to revive the Woodlawn Tap’s live music scene and add improv and spoken word events.

Astronomical award

Samuel Harvey Moseley Jr., SM’74, PhD’79—VP of hardware engineering at Quantum Circuits Inc. and senior astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center—has received the 2022 James Craig Watson Medal from the National Academy of Sciences, awarded every two years for outstanding contributions to astronomy. Moseley’s detector development has led to groundbreaking measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation: leftover light from the big bang that may shine new light on the conditions of the early universe. Moseley also developed the microshutter array, technology that allows the James Webb Space Telescope to collect data 100 times faster than existing spectroscopic instruments, enabling a detailed study of the first galaxies to form.

Sobering thought

In January political commentator and podcaster Ana Marie Cox, AB’94, launched a column about sobriety for the Cut, a New York Magazine affiliate publication. Cox, who has been sober for a decade, describes Sober Questioning as a column “for other people who also don’t want to drink today.” Questions she has fielded include: “How can I make connections at work without raging at office happy hour?” and “What can I do to support my newly sober partner?” Cox qualifies that she doesn’t offer advice or answers—just what has worked for her and a space for people to engage in discussion.

Neurosurgical focus

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health professor Robert Dempsey, MD’77, has been awarded the 2021 Neurosurgical Society of America Medal for Outstanding Service. The annual honor recognizes his contributions to patient care, stroke research, education, and global neurosurgery. For more than 35 years, he has studied cerebral ischemia (oxygen deprivation caused by a disruption of blood supply to the brain), vascular cognitive decline, and brain injury repair. Dempsey also chairs the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery, which trains physicians in under-resourced countries and sets up neurosurgical residency programs.

Comprehensive care

Ben Ho Park, AB’89, has been named director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, which is known for its research in genomics, cancer epidemiology, and cancer disparities. The center’s deputy director since 2021, Park also leads Precision Oncology and the Division of Hematology and Oncology. As a physician-scientist, he headed the team that identified a correlation between PIK3CA gene mutations and breast cancer. He also pioneered “liquid biopsies” that identify tumor DNA in samples of blood and other bodily fluids. Park starts his new role on July 1.

Regional recognition

The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies—a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing knowledge about Russia, Central Eurasia, and Eastern and Central Europe—gave two of its annual prizes to UChicago alumni.

The ASEEES’s University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies, which recognizes an exceptional monograph on the region, has been awarded to Carol Any, AB’73, AM’74, PhD’82, for The Soviet Writers’ Union and Its Leaders: Identity and Authority under Stalin (Northwestern University Press, 2020). Any, a Trinity College (CT) professor, describes the advantages afforded to writers loyal to the state and argues that Stalin chose leaders for the union who had psychological traits he could exploit.

The association’s Beth Holmgren Graduate Student Essay Prize was awarded to Moira O’Shea, AM’16, for “‘We Took the National Game and Turned It into a Sport’: Playing Kok Boru and Re-Inventing Tradition in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan.” In her article about the traditional horse game, the UChicago doctoral student in sociology examines how the pastime is “being transformed for use in a globalizing context and the limits to this transformation.”