Richard Thaler

Richard Thaler talks to Nudge coauthor Cass Sunstein from his living room after winning the 2017 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on October 9. (Photography by Anne Ryan)

University news

A selection of the latest headlines from UChicago.

Newest Nobelist

Richard H. Thaler received the 2017 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on October 9. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences honored Thaler, the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, for his contributions to behavioral economics. Thaler is widely considered one of the founders of that field, which unites economics and psychology. 

Giving back to Booth

University of Chicago Booth School of Business alumna Amy Wallman, MBA’75, and alumnus Richard Wallman, MBA’74, have made a $75 million gift to the University, building upon their legacy of philanthropic support of students and faculty. In recognition of the gift, Chicago Booth will name its academic high honors distinction after the Wallmans. This group of top students will be known as the Amy and Richard F. Wallman Scholars at Chicago Booth. The designation will be permanently bestowed upon graduating MBA students who earn high honors at Booth, as well as all alumni who have already achieved this distinction.

Press on

Garrett P. Kiely began his third term as director of the University of Chicago Press—the nation’s largest academic press—on September 1. The press publishes 73 journals and more than 350 new books a year, including the Chicago Manual of Style, whose 17th edition was released September 12. Under Kiely’s leadership, the press has begun releasing all new titles simultaneously in print and e-book editions, and has expanded its print-on-demand program. 

A new development

Sharon Marine was named vice president for alumni relations and development at UChicago. Most recently Marine served as vice president for development of Cornell Tech. During her tenure, Cornell Tech raised $460 million. At UChicago, Marine will help set the overall strategy, direction, and organization for development, alumni relations, and campaign planning. Her appointment took effect October 15. 

Lab leadership

Nigel Lockyer has been reappointed as the director of the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University announced September 27. Lockyer’s second five-year term, which begins September 3, 2018, comes as Fermilab, which is comanaged by the University through the Fermi Research Alliance, begins building its flagship project that will send neutrino particles underground from Illinois to South Dakota to unlock new insights into the origins of the universe. 

Partners in research

UChicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign launched a partnership on October 19 dedicated to research and technology development for some of society’s most pressing challenges. The partnership will bring about 100 faculty, researchers, and students from Urbana-Champaign to collaborate with UChicago colleagues, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders, and will be based at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation complex in Hyde Park. The primary goal of the partnership will be developing and commercializing groundbreaking technology.

Sound investment

The UChicago Startup Investment Program has made its first investment, designating $500,000 for ExplORer Surgical, a start-up founded by Chicago Booth students and surgeons at UChicago Medicine. The company’s interactive software offers tools to improve teamwork and coordination for surgical teams. Launched in December with $25 million from the University endowment, the UChicago Startup Investment Program coinvests alongside established venture funds in start-ups led by UChicago faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Honoring a pioneer

A lecture hall in the Kersten Physics Teaching Center has been named in honor of the late Maria Goeppert-Mayer, whose research on the structure of atoms earned her the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics. A permanent exhibition about Goeppert-Mayer now sits outside the lecture hall. “This will acknowledge not only her work but will also celebrate and inspire women in the sciences,” said Edward “Rocky” Kolb, dean of the Division of the Physical Sciences.

Chicago architecture

The US Department of State selected UChicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) to serve as cocommissioners of the United States Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Niall Atkinson, associate professor of architectural history at the University of Chicago, will cocurate Dimensions of Citizenship, a showcase of works by architects, designers, thinkers, and artists exploring the concept of citizenship.

Death before decaf

UChicago students are the nation’s most caffeinated, according to data released by the food delivery service GrubHub. Analyzing orders placed during fall 2016 and spring 2017 by users with “.edu” email accounts, they found UChicago students ordered caffeinated drinks 138 percent more than the national average. MIT finished a jittery second; 16th-place Northwestern was only mildly buzzed.

Artist on the rise

Theater director, performer, and visual artist Dado Gyure, MFA’14, is this year’s recipient of the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists, for her multimedia project based on the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Little Match Girl.” The Edes Prize provides a one-year $30,000 award to select students and recent alumni from four universities, including UChicago, to help advance their artistic practice. Gyure said the project will “examine the shifting terrain of American empathy.”