From left: Douglas W. Diamond; Reuben Jonathan Miller, AM’07; and Vanja V. Malloy.

From left: Douglas W. Diamond; Reuben Jonathan Miller, AM’07; and Vanja V. Malloy. (From left: Photography by Jason Smith; photo courtesy John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; photography by Katie Carmickle)

UChicago news highlights

A selection of the latest headlines from across campus.

Newest Nobelist

Douglas W. Diamond, the Merton H. Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, was awarded the 2022 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences honored Diamond and two other economists for improving “our understanding of the role of banks in the economy, particularly during financial crises.” His pioneering research has changed the way people view banks and laid the groundwork for how central bankers, regulators, policy makers, and academics approach modern finance. Diamond is the 97th Nobel laureate associated with the University of Chicago.

Miller's MacArthur

Reuben Jonathan Miller, AM’07, a sociologist who studies mass incarceration and how it shapes people’s lives, has been named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow. Awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the prestigious fellowship recognizes individuals from across disciplines for “exceptional creativity in their work.” As one of this year’s 25 MacArthur Fellows, Miller—an associate professor in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice—will receive a five-year grant of $800,000. His future research includes two large-scale international projects: a study of violence and a study of Black emancipation. Miller is among the more than 50 people associated with UChicago to have won a MacArthur Fellowship.

Word ecology

Salikoko S. Mufwene, PhD’79, was elected in May to the American Philosophical Society, the nation’s oldest learned society. Mufwene, the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and the College, is one of the world’s foremost experts on globalization and language changes. His current work centers on evolutionary linguistics from an ecological perspective, focusing on language birth and death as well as on how languages have been affected by colonization. Mufwene and 36 other scholars join the selective society, which has elected fewer than 6,000 members since 1743.

PME transition

Matthew Tirrell, dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and distinguished service professor in PME, has announced plans to transition out of his role as dean on September 1, 2023. Tirrell has led the molecular engineering program since its inception in 2011. Under his leadership, more than a dozen multi-investigator collaborations have been founded with PME as the leader or a central participant, including the Center for Hierarchical Materials Design, the Chicago Quantum Exchange, and the Chicago Immunoengineering Innovation Center. Tirrell will continue his research, which focuses on polyelectrolytes and biomedical nanoparticles, following his time as dean.

Safety efforts

In July the University announced the launch of the Violence Intervention Fund to support evidence-based violence reduction and prevention efforts. The $15 million fund, to be used over the next three years, is part of the University’s broader efforts to improve community safety in a collaborative way, including both enhanced security measures and community-driven interventions to address the root causes of violence. The fund adds to UChicago’s ongoing investment in violence reduction initiatives focused on South Side communities and residents, particularly efforts supporting youth, people at elevated risk for involvement with violence (either as offenders or victims), and trauma reduction programs.

Smart director

Museum director, curator, and scholar Vanja V. Malloy has been appointed as the Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum of Art. She will lead UChicago’s fine arts museum and its exhibitions, public and arts education programs, and student and faculty collaborations. Malloy joins the Smart Museum from the Syracuse University Art Museum, where she served as director and chief curator. While there she reconfigured the university’s permanent collection display and oversaw the creation of a new strategic plan that centered diversity and inclusion in the museum’s goals. Her appointment began October 1.

South Side STEM

In September UChicago’s Physical Sciences Division, Biological Sciences Division, and Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering hosted the first annual South Side Science Festival on campus. The festivities brought together more than 2,500 attendees for a day of outdoor science exploration, exchanges with faculty and student researchers, in-person experiments, and demonstrations. Events included molecular geneticist Jocelyn Malamy explaining the anatomy and life cycle of jellyfish, synthetic chemist Bryan Dickinson extracting DNA from a strawberry and building a DNA model with candy, and chemist Dmitri Talapin making ice cream with liquid nitrogen.

Chicago climate center

The US Department of Energy has awarded Argonne National Laboratory and a team of academic and community leaders $25 million over five years to advance urban climate science by studying climate change effects at local and regional scales. Argonne and 16 partners, including UChicago, will establish a center called Community Research on Climate and Urban Science (CROCUS). Focused on the Chicago region, CROCUS will work with organizations and students to collect on-the-ground data and develop climate models. Using community input to identify questions and specific areas of urban climate change to study will help ensure the research directly benefits local residents.