Quick Takes

If your ears are burning, Badgers, don’t be surprised. UW-Madison is one of the most-talked-about American universities, according to a study by the Global Language Monitor. Released in April, the study ranks all American universities by how often their names appear in a broad range of media, including not only print and electronic articles, but also in blogs and on social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace. The UW ranked sixth, behind Harvard, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Michigan, and Stanford.

Postdoctoral researcher J. David Van Sickle is reaching into the realm of geography to plumb the mysteries of asthma. By attaching GPS devices to a group of asthmatics’ inhalers, Van Sickle plans to track where and when those inhalers are used. Called the “asthmap,” the plan aims to discover previously unknown causes for the lung disease and improve quality of life for those who suffer from it.

The UW has a new partner in an ancient region: Iraq’s Tikrit University. In March, Chancellor Biddy Martin PhD’85 signed a memorandum of understanding with Tikrit’s president, Maher Saleh Allawi, offering to explore opportunities for educational and scientific cooperation. Brett Bruen ’02, public diplomacy officer for the American embassy in Baghdad, helped arrange the deal.

Digital pictures may soon be a little clearer, thanks to the work of Zheniang (Jack) Ma. The assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering led a team that developed a flexible material that reduces the distortion that affects many digital photos. The material could be a boon, especially for inexpensive cameras such as those found in cell phones.

The UW’s art department received a new home on campus with the opening of the university’s new Art Lofts in May. Formerly a warehouse near the Kohl Center, the lofts house studios and a variety of the department’s creative facilities, including the glass lab, metal sculpture foundry, ceramics, and papermaking area. The building brings together art programs that had previously been scattered across campus.

Published in the Summer 2009 issue


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