Memos and updates from L&S Administration and South Hall.
John Karl Scholz, Nellie June Gray Professor of Economic Policy and chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been selected as the next dean of the College of Letters & Science, UW-Madison’s largest academic unit. Scholz will succeed Gary Sandefur, who has led Letters & Science since 2004. Sandefur, a sociologist, [...]
This week, University of Wisconsin-Madison English professor Rob Nixon receives the 2013 biennial award for best book in environmental literary studies from the American Society for Literature and the Environment, for his 2011 book “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor.” It’s the fourth award for Nixon’s book, which was named a Choice Outstanding [...]
A massive telescope in the Antarctic ice reports the detection of 28 extremely high-energy neutrinos that might have their origin in cosmic sources. Two of these reached energies greater than 1 petaelectronvolt (PeV), an energy level thousands of times higher than the highest energy neutrino yet produced in a manmade accelerator. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, [...]
Journalism students create strategic campaign for new company The TV show “The Apprentice” comes to mind when students in Deb Pierce’s capstone journalism course describe their semester. Twenty-five seniors in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication had signed up to apply everything they’d learned, over four years of classes and internships, [...]
The State Street Starbucks belongs to Yi-Fu Tuan. He has a particular chair, a favorite table, and a habit of sitting with a book amid the busy clangor. Why is he so attached to this noisy place? “It’s my listening post,” says the 82-year-old emeritus professor of geography, who sits close enough, as he puts [...]
Three University of Wisconsin-Madison professors, along with a fourth candidate who taught at UW-Madison for 18 years, have been named finalists for the position of dean of the College of Letters & Science, UW-Madison’s largest academic unit. The new dean will succeed Gary Sandefur, who has led Letters & Science since 2004. Sandefur plans to step [...]
“Visualizing English Print” uses Mellon Foundation funding to advance our understanding of literature and data visualization There are hundreds of millions of books in the world, a collection so stupendously large that even the most well-read among us can’t hope to make a dent. This means our ability to make connections and spot trends across [...]
“The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is one of English professor David Zimmerman’s favorite novels. In advance of the May 10 release of Baz Luhrmann’s new film, Zimmerman shares insights about the book and its characters, as well as the song (see below) he plays to his students about the beautiful illusions of the [...]
As young Gary Sandefur galloped his horse Thunder through the dusty outskirts of Madill, Okla., the open plains seemed to stretch forever. Madill, a little town in rural southeastern Oklahoma where everybody knew everybody, was the sort of place where a kid who loved the outdoors could thrive. Sandefur grew up fishing with his father [...]
George E. P. Box, professor emeritus of statistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, passed away March 28 at his home in Madison at the age of 93. Box founded the UW-Madison Department of Statistics in 1960 and served as chair until 1969. “He shaped the department for the first 30 to 40 years,” says current department chair [...]
Caroline Levine is a scholar of Victorian literature — one who’s spent plenty of hours poring over the words of Charles Dickens, George Eliot and the Brontë sisters. Yet one of the University of Wisconsin-Madison English professor’s newest publications is an essay on the popular television series Mad Men, an edgy drama centered on a Madison [...]
Protecting Culture From Mines, Wars, Dams and Other Threats J. Mark Kenoyer stands on a windswept peak in Logar Province in eastern Afghanistan, his head wrapped in a traditional scarf against the harsh sun. As he chats in a mixture of Urdu and Pashto with an Afghan archaeologist, it’s easy to see why documentarian Brent [...]
Any Wisconsinite worth his or her weight in cheese curds knows how to navigate through our state’s collection of tongue-twisting place names. Waukesha? No problem. Allouez? Please. Nanaweyah Ominihekan? Well, maybe there are a few that cause even native Wisconsinites to stumble. That’s where Pronounce Wisconsin comes in. The State Cartographer’s Office launched the online [...]
Gerald Marwell, Richard T. Ely Professor Emeritus of sociology, died on Sunday, March 24 in New York City. He was 76. “Jerry was one of the great sociologists of his generation, and highly respected among all of the different generations of our department,” says Gary Sandefur, dean of the College of Letters & Science and fellow sociology [...]
Several graduate programs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Letters & Science are ranked among the nation’s best in the 2014 edition of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools.” “We’re proud of all of our graduate programs and particularly pleased that once again many have been rated so highly,” says Provost Paul [...]
Bryan Hendricks, who became a student favorite during 12 years as an instructor in the Psychology Department, died Friday morning at age 66 following an illness that had recently forced his retirement. “I take some comfort in knowing that Bryan got to do what he loved most — teach and meet and work with students until [...]
Seven faculty members from the College of Letters & Science have been chosen to receive this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards. Interim Chancellor David Ward will present the awards at a ceremony on March 19 at the Pyle Center. A reception hosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Association will follow; to attend, register here. The awards, chosen by a committee, honor [...]
You can toss away that paper; Twitter just became your study guide. To prepare for the first midterm in Shawn Peters‘ class, students tweeted their notes about utilitarianism, social justice and other themes addressed in the HBO series “The Wire.” #Wire275 is one of almost a dozen academic ventures into the “Twittersphere” on campus. Twitter is changing the way [...]
Donald Nichols, whose tenure leading the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs helped shape Wisconsin’s economic development, died Feb. 15, at age 72. A professor emeritus of economics and public affairs, Nichols served as La Follette School director from 2002 to 2006. Nichols served on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers [...]
Compared to President Barack Obama, George Washington had it rough. No executive staff, no modern dental care, and the preferred method of treatment for a throat infection (which killed the nation’s first president) was removing pints of ‘tainted’ blood from the patient. On the other hand: “There were no nuclear weapons, no political parties, and [...]
When “Snow Fall” went live on The New York Times’ website on Dec. 20, 2012, the online world went wild. Packed with breathtaking images, gripping raw video and informative animated graphics, the immersive story about a deadly avalanche in Washington’s Cascade Mountains exploded the news site’s usual format, offering a reading experience that some observers [...]
Spring commencement is fast approaching and Vikki Han, like many of her fellow seniors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is eager to begin charting her career path. The sluggish job market won’t help matters, but Han is nonetheless confident she’ll land a fulfilling position somewhere. She is eyeing startup companies, while also contemplating working abroad [...]
The wonderful news is: People banded together to help ensure a stronger future for the University of Wisconsin–Madison. From around the world, and from just next door, friends of the university embraced a new multimedia annual giving campaign called Share the Wonderful — and enabled it to exceed its $10 million goal. The campaign generated $10.2 million [...]
Gerda Lerner, Robinson Edwards Professor Emerita of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died on Wednesday, Jan. 2 in an assisted-living facility in Madison. She was 92 years old. “Gerda Lerner was fierce, brilliant and unique,” said social and political activist Gloria Steinem. “She lived history by her bravery, restored history by her scholarship and [...]
Monumental discoveries were made. Critical projects were finished. Laudable programs were celebrated. And scholars and alumni were remembered in the College of Letters & Science’s 124th year.
These were just some of the markers of 2012 in L&S. Here are some of the moments that made 2012 a memorable year for the College.
Students in Ashley Hinck’s Introduction to Digital Communications course came in with a tendency to take the digital world for granted. YouTube is for silly videos. Google provides easy answers. Facebook is for friends. But it wasn’t long before they were making some eye-opening discoveries. Hinck distinctly remembers a class discussion about the Google “filter [...]
The school day has ended, but there’s another assignment awaiting the small group of fourth- and fifth-graders gathered in the library of Shorewood Hills Elementary School in Madison. They must build a story or game in Scratch, a computer programming language as their final project in an after-school computer science club run by University of [...]
Growing up on Long Island, Steven Nadler played basketball, baseball, and street hockey, listened to Led Zeppelin, and rode his bicycle—a Schwinn Sting-Ray, and later, a 10-speed Peugeot—from one end of the island to the other. Nobody, including Nadler, would have guessed he’d become a distinguished scholar of philosophy and Jewish studies with a long [...]
David Bethea envisioned three fundamental goals for the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature’s Pushkin Summer Institute, a pre-college enrichment program: building command of the Russian language; honing critical-thinking skills; and cultivating writing ability. But there was one outcome Bethea could not have imagined: students’ deeply emotional response to the experience. Bethea, the Vilas Research [...]
With a sweep of his pen, Abraham Lincoln changed the lives of 4 million black Americans when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation that led to the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery in the U.S. But a striking, often-overlooked campus mural by John Steuart Curry tells a part of the story that’s often forgotten. “The Freeing of the Slaves” adorns [...]
A group of UW-Madison students and faculty have received 2012-13 grants from the Fulbright Program, the country’s flagship program for international educational exchange. Of the 21 recipients from UW-Madison, all but three are from the College of Letters & Science. Thirteen L&S students have won fellowships from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program; three graduate students in L&S [...]
Troy, the palatial city of prehistory, sacked by the Greeks through trickery and a fabled wooden horse, will be excavated anew beginning in 2013 by a cross-disciplinary team of archaeologists and other scientists, it was announced Monday. The new expedition will be led by University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Classics William Aylward, an archaeologist with long [...]
The past academic year was one of achievement, innovation and excitement in the College of Letters & Science. Want to relive it all? The College’s 2011-2012 annual report, The Liberal Arts Advantage, is now available online at report.ls.wisc.edu. Once there, you can read about our latest research endeavors and student awards and see how we [...]
Presented with the opportunity to hire six new professors, John Coleman, chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, faced “a little bit of a puzzle.” The new faculty lines allowed him to fill teaching gaps in one of the country’s top political science departments. To put competitive offers on the [...]
Wow. Wacky. Witty. Winter. Whimsical. Wonderful. That’s UW-Madison. Our alumni have stories, photos and memories. And we want to hear about that wonderful. For the first time ever, the University is launching a new multi-media effort to encourage alumni to support their alma mater through an annual gift.
After a rousing debut last fall, the Wisconsin Science Festival returns for its second year this Sept. 27-30 with an even bigger and bolder schedule of people, music, art and explosions bringing the wonders of science to life for all ages. In addition to returning crowd favorites such as dancing scientists, the physics of football [...]
For the second year in a row, a leading magazine has named environmental studies a “hot” college major and singled out the University of Wisconsin-Madison for its undergraduate programs in this growing field. A U.S. News & World Report article published this week cites environmental studies – with specific mention of UW-Madison’s new environmental studies [...]
“I want to blow your mind, take you places you have never seen before. Do not hesitate to ask question. I will not bite.” Paul Sell is equal parts carnival barker and enthusiastic graduate student as he discusses the size of the universe. As the twilight deepens at the amphitheater at Devil’s Lake State Park, [...]
The Crystal Lake Mixing Project aims to eradicate rainbow smelt, a “nasty” invasive species.
Fishing in the Neighborhood has grown into a statewide program in its second summer, with five clubs across Wisconsin.
If you want to get a master’s degree in economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the only way to do it right now is to start a doctorate in the subject, but opt not to complete it. That will change starting next fall, as the department moves to offer a master’s degree program to help [...]
The Pushkin Summer Institute gives high school students from traditionally underrepresented demographic groups access to a high-level language and cultural education.
Gary Sandefur has announced he will step down from his post as dean of the College of Letters & Science at the end of the upcoming academic year. Sandefur, who has headed the College since August 2004, says that after wrapping up his work as dean in 2013, he will go on research leave for [...]
The recent heat wave baking much of the country has prompted many people to ask: Is this due to climate change?
Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, aided by scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have narrowed the search for the elusive Higgs boson, discovering a new particle with a mass in the region of 125 GeV.
Jacquelyn Gill, a doctoral candidate in geography, has embraced talking about her work using social media.
Five UW-Madison students and one recent graduate are spending five weeks at an archaeological dig in Israel this summer.
A series of online courses geared for members of the military to learn more about foreign policy and international relations is testing the geographic limits of one of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s guiding principles. In this case, the boundaries of the university have extended to a student stationed on an aircraft carrier at sea, as [...]
After growing up in the heat of Mississippi and Louisiana, Dorothy Pearson (’60 MSSW L&S, ’73 PhD L&S) felt the cool breeze off Lake Michigan in June and sensed it was the wind of change. The year was 1958, and Pearson had just graduated from Southern University. She was on vacation in Milwaukee visiting a [...]
Every day researchers add another sea of data to an ocean of knowledge on the world around us — billions on top of billions of measurements, images and observations of the tiniest subatomic particles up to the movement of planets and stars.
There is a stack of notecards on Ieva Reich’s desk in the Daniels Chemistry Building off University Avenue at UW-Madison. The cards do not contain equations or formulas. There are no diagrams or talking points on the cards either. Reich, the soon-to-be retired instructor in the Department of Chemistry, uses the notecards to learn the names [...]
Speech and language pathology graduate students in the Department of Communicative Disorders are pioneering new ways to support children with severe and complex communication needs. The AAC Story Time Preschool at the University of Wisconsin Speech and Hearing Clinic is incorporating technology, such as iPads, to help facilitate speech and language development in children ages 2-4. [...]
Temporary increases in safety net programs and tax credits for working families helped keep many in Wisconsin from poverty during the recession and its aftermath, a new report by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison finds. The fourth annual Wisconsin Poverty Report study, conducted by the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP), revealed lower numbers [...]
UW writes its own history with 24-hour social media project With only 24 hours to complete the task, University of Wisconsin-Madison students, faculty, staff and alumni participated in a project to document what makes UW a great place to live, learn and build friendships. The project asked participants to submit e-mails, photos and tweets with [...]
Although cosmic rays were discovered 100 years ago, their origin remains one of the most enduring mysteries in physics. Now, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a massive detector in Antarctica, is honing in on how the highest energy cosmic rays are produced. “Although we have not discovered where cosmic rays come from, we have taken a [...]
Watch Voice of the Voters: Wisconsin Youth on PBS. See more from Washington Week. A team of students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication recently finished a video project with a national television program. The video is showcased on Public Broadcasting’s Washington Week website, and includes student reaction to political ads in Wisconsin, [...]
Researchers are programming robot teachers to gaze and gesture like humans When it comes to communication, sometimes it’s our body language that says the most–especially when it comes to our eyes. “It turns out that gaze tells us all sorts of things about attention, about mental states, about roles in conversations,” says Bilge Mutlu, a [...]
Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer and UW-Madison Professor Deborah Blum (MA’82) has turned a quest to write the definitive handbook on poisons in America into the intriguing tale of two Jazz-Era scientists who played a major role in developing the field of forensic toxicology and fostering cooperation between scientists and police. Blum, who has been teaching [...]
As founder of the Guatemala-based Range of Motion Project (ROMP), Eric Neufeld ’98 has worked to provide more than 1,500 custom-made prosthetic limbs to people in developing countries since 2005—people who, without Neufeld’s help, might have never regained mobility. With B.A. in Biological Aspects of Conservation, Neufeld represents one of the 13 outstanding alumni of [...]
After just three months of operation, the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment has far surpassed expectations, recording tens of thousands of particle interactions and paving the way to a better understanding of neutrinos and why the universe is built of matter rather than antimatter. Antineutrino detectors designed and built by the Daya Bay collaboration with [...]
The world knew Anthony Shadid as a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who covered the strife-torn Middle East, often at considerable personal risk. The University of Wisconsin-Madison knew Shadid when he was just a young journalism student on deadline for the Daily Cardinal. Shadid, 43, died Thursday, Feb. 16 of an apparent asthma attack while on assignment in Syria for the New York Times.
Nacre — or mother of pearl, scientists and artisans know, is one of nature’s amazing utilitarian materials. Produced by a multitude of mollusk species, nacre is widely used in jewelry and art. It is inlaid into musical instruments, furniture and decorative boxes. Fashioned into buttons, beads and a host of functional objects from pens to [...]
Howard Zimmerman, a professor of chemistry from 1960 until his retirement in 2010, died on Saturday, Feb. 11 as a result of a fall. Zimmerman helped establish the field of organic photochemistry — the study of how light affects and initiates chemical reactions. By applying the theory of quantum mechanics to these reactions, he was [...]
In 1940, there weren’t any laptops in dorm rooms or mainframes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Department of Computer Sciences – one of the oldest in the nation – would not celebrate its first birthday for another 24 years. But things were starting to change in information studies, technology and science. It was a gradual change and it left an impact on Robert Holtz who studied at UW-Madison and graduated with a BS’40, MS’43 in electrical engineering.
A new species has been named in honor of Botany Professor David Baum. The new species – Iochroma baumii or I. baumii– was described by Stacey D. Smith in Novon: A Journal for Botanical Nomenclature 21(4):491-495. 2011. The blue-flowered “treelet” is native to the cloud forests of Napo in northern Ecuador. Smith is a 2006 graduate of the [...]
Spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen the film “Inglorious Basterds,” you may not want to keep reading.
Sheboygan as a surfing mecca. Green brewing in Amherst. A cross-country skiing event that draws thousands from all over the world to the arctic climes of northern Wisconsin. These and other stories in the latest Curb magazine tell readers about Wisconsin’s many offbeat pleasures.
Millions of individuals diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are helped by methylphenidate, the stimulant better known as Ritalin. Now researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have pinpointed the area of the brain in which Ritalin does its work. “These drugs are highly effective at controlling the symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder [...]
The UW-Madison community is mourning the loss of a legend: James F. Crow, professor emeritus of genetics, who passed away peacefully at his home on Jan. 4, two weeks shy of his 96th birthday. Crow was a renowned researcher, teacher, mentor, colleague and administrator during a scientific career that stretched 70 years. An editorial published last month in the journal Genetics, introducing a series of articles in Crow’s honor, described him thus: “A gentleman and scholar of the highest order, he represents the best of our field.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate Catherine Skroch is now part of a select group of Mitchell Scholars who will pursue postgraduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Skroch, who majored in political science and international studies with an individual major in peace studies and conflict resolution and a certificate in African studies, was one of 13 [...]
The College of Letters & Science is home to an interdisciplinary project that is publishing a chronicle of the history of maps and mapping. Known as The History of Cartography Project, the multi-volume project is also proving that maps aren’t just for books. All four books of Volumes One and Two of The History of Cartography are now available online at [...]
The Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies (MKI) has been named the recipient of a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant to support the MKI Library Project. The award, which provides the Institute with $300,000 to be matched over the next four years on a three-to-one basis, will go toward an endowment for a librarian/archivist position, the [...]
“It’s about time we started counting the effects of popular noncash and tax-related public programs on poverty,” Professor Tim Smeeding said of the Census Bureau’s November release of new poverty numbers based on an alternative federal measure, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). Smeeding joins many other economists in praising the SPM for bringing poverty measurement [...]
University of Wisconsin–Madison senior Alexis Brown is one of an elite group of American students to be awarded a 2012 Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most coveted honors in the world of higher education. Brown is an English and history double major from Algonquin, Ill. She applied for a Rhodes Scholarship to complete a master of studies in English language and literature. Her work, in the classroom and the community, demonstrates how narrative “helps us to think about the social, the ethical, and the existential,” according to her application materials.
Fourth year senior Lorena Barbosa-Mireles recently received a $5,000 scholarship from Dr. Pepper and was profiled in a new video. Lorena, who is majoring in Social Work, was selected as a recipient because of her outstanding community service. Her work on campus highlights some of the amazing ways our students are living the Wisconsin Idea. [...]