Quick Takes

The UW has a new provost. In June, Paul DeLuca, formerly vice dean at the School of Medicine and Public Health, was named UW-Madison’s top academic officer: provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Does the UW have its own aroma? If so, it might be the odor of compost. In May, the university announced a plan to curtail the amount of waste sent to landfills by composting discarded food from campus eateries. Organized by the campuswide We Conserve program, the composting plan aims to collect more than 400 tons of food waste annually.

A documentary highlights 12,000 years of Native American history in the campus area. First broadcast in July on Wisconsin Public Television’s digital Wisconsin Channel, UW Cultural Landscapes: First Nations includes some of the thirty ancient archaeological sites on current or former campus land.

Watch out, Zeus — the UW is onto you and your thunderbolt-hurling ways. Researchers at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies have a new technique to accurately predict severe thunderstorms faster than ever. Using satellite observation of cloud temperatures, they can come up with predictions as much as forty-five minutes earlier than was possible using traditional radar alone.

Gov. Jim Doyle ’67 signed Wisconsin’s state budget bill this summer, giving health insurance benefits to domestic partners of state and university employees. The UW had been the only Big Ten school that did not offer domestic-partner benefits, and officials believe it harmed the university’s ability to keep and attract top faculty and staff.

The H1N1 flu virus shares some frightening similarities to the 1918 virus that killed tens of millions at the close of World War I — including the ability to infect the lungs. But a new international study led by UW virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka also offers good news: while H1N1 is more dangerous than previously thought, it appears that available antiviral drugs can slow its spread.

How important is a doctor’s bedside manner? It may be worth a whole day, according to a study released by the the School of Medicine and Public Health. Researchers asked 350 patients who were suffering from a common cold to rate their doctors based on compassion. Those who gave the physicians a perfect score recovered from their colds a full day faster than those who gave their doctors lower scores.

Pioneering UW ethicist Alta Charo is joining President Obama’s team to serve as a senior adviser for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Charo, a law professor and national expert in bioethics, is taking a leave of absence from the UW to help the federal agency understand how cutting-edge technologies could be used and how they may need to be regulated in the future.

Published in the Fall 2009 issue


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