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UW In The News

  • Pulling racist Dr. Seuss books makes kids? literature better and more inclusive, writes Meena Harris

    The Washington Post | March 5, 2021

    But the problem isn’t just the presence of stereotypes in children’s literature. There’s also an absence of inclusion. According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s school of education, about half of new children’s books in 2018 centered White characters while about 1 in 4 focused on people of color.

  • Dr. Seuss Books Are Pulled, and a ‘Cancel Culture’ Controversy Erupts

    The New York Times | March 4, 2021

    Data compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education in recent years has shown a significant increase in the number of authors and characters of color in the books it tracks. There remains, however, a long way to go.

  • UW-Madison professor Tracey Holloway wants to educate moms on climate change through work with Science Moms

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | March 1, 2021

    As a scientist, Tracey Holloway has spent a lot of time thinking about how climate change is going to affect the world.

    As a mother of two young boys, she spends a lot of time thinking about what the world will be like when her youngest son — now only 10 months — turns 30.

    “It always seemed like 2050 was so far into the future, but now my baby’s going to be 30 in 2050, and that’s not that far away,” she said.

    Holloway, a professor at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been studying air quality and pollution for nearly 20 years. Now, she’s teaming up with other women scientists to help make understanding climate change accessible, forming a group called Science Moms.

  • Is it possible to have safe and equitable elections?

    The Hill | February 25, 2021

    Holding elections in the coming years will not be simple but it is within our grasp to have a safe and uneventful elections. Using proven scientific methods is the path to improvement.

    Dr. Laura A. Albert is a professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Barry C. Burden is a professor of Political Science and director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Expanding tax credit could lift millions of kids out of poverty

    Marketplace | February 25, 2021

    “So it’s going to go up from $2,000 to $3,000 for all children, and then an additional $600 for young children,” said Katherine Magnuson, who runs the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Study Changes What’s Possible During Sleep

    How to Lucid Dream | February 23, 2021

    Benjamin Baird, a sleep researcher at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who wasn’t involved in this study, told Scientific American the findings “challenge our ideas about what sleep is.” SciAm has more:

  • Native American food traditions: A renewed drive to keep them alive

    Christian Science Monitor | February 23, 2021

    “People are hungry – literally hungry to eat these foods,” says Mr. Cornelius, who is also a technical adviser for the Intertribal Agriculture Council, based in Billings, Montana, and an instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “But also, in a more figurative sense, they’re just hungry for knowledge.”

  • Cape Cod robins gather in noisy flocks in winter to follow the food

    Cape Cod Times | February 23, 2021

    Elizabeth Howard, founder and director of Journey North at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, told The Nature Conservancy’s “Cool Green Science” that the birds “can withstand very cold temperatures. In most places you can see robins in the wintertime. You’ll see them wandering around and yet it’s not considered migration because basically they’re moving in a nomadic way, following the food.”

  • How a microbiologist’s 1966 discovery in Yellowstone made millions of COVID-19 PCR tests possible

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | February 18, 2021

    Like so many great scientific discoveries, Tom Brock started the research that would go on to revolutionize the field of biology — and pave the road to the development of the gold-standard COVID-19 tests used to fight a pandemic — with a question.

  • What Is a Mask Brace? Does It Work?

    Popular Mechanics | February 18, 2021

    To bring surgical and cloth masks up to par with N95s and KN95s, you can opt for a mask brace, which is an even better solution than double masking, says David Rothamer, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has conducted work evaluating mask braces.”It’s kind of interesting that it’s taken awhile for mask fitters or braces to have more visibility,” Rothamer tells Popular Mechanics. “The whole double masking thing is really trying to do the same thing as a mask fitter or a brace, but in a more indirect way. My main concern with double masking is that it’s going to depend on the combination of the two masks.”

  • COVID: US life expectancy at record low; Blacks, Latinos most affected

    USA Today | February 18, 2021

    While the life expectancy gap between Black, Latino and white populations were narrowing before the pandemic, overall life expectancy was steadily declining because of a variety of public health issues, said Michal Engelman, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Proposed Legislation Aims To Address Racial Disparities In Maternal Health Care

    Wisconsin Public Radio | February 18, 2021

    In Wisconsin, while the maternal mortality ratios are lower in absolute terms than the nationwide average, the magnitude of the gap between Black mothers and white mothers is larger, said Tiffany Green, University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor in the Departments of Population Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

  • US life expectancy falls by a year amid COVID-19 pandemic

    New York Post | February 18, 2021

    But the US experienced a backslide due to the pandemic, according to Michal Engelman, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    “This has been an issue of concern for a while, that we weren’t making progress and we were sliding a little bit backwards,” Engelman told the newspaper. “After a couple of years of worrisome declines, we dropped as a country a whole year just in the first half of 2020.”

  • COVID-19 vaccine rollout has some feeling envy, resentment, anger

    USA Today | February 17, 2021

    “It doesn’t make you a bad person because you have these kinds of feelings,” said Robert Enright, a licensed psychologist and professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison who studies moral development and the science of forgiveness.

  • Advice About the End of the Pandemic, From a Combat Veteran

    Newsweek | February 17, 2021

    Someday, maybe soon, this will all be over. Things will start to get back to a kind of “normal,” whatever that may look like, and lives will begin to pick up where they might have left off. At least, that’s what many are hoping for.

    Chad S.A. Gibbs served in the US Army from 2002-2009, including deployment to Iraq. He is currently a PhD candidate in the history of the Holocaust at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He tweets at @Chad_G101.

  • Nature Makes Wood. Could a Lab Make It Better?

    WIRED | February 16, 2021

    In addition to the tantalizing possibilities of growing whole furniture, the plant-based materials could enhance fuels and chemicals production, says Xuejun Pan, a professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who wasn’t involved in the study. “You don’t have to necessarily grow a strong piece of wood. If you can produce a biomass, for example, as a future feedstock for bioindustry—competitively and productively—that could be attractive,” he says

  • Panpsychism: The Trippy Theory That Everything From Bananas to Bicycles Are Conscious

    Discover Magazine | February 16, 2021

    Of course, panpsychism is likely not falsifiable. There’s no experiment that can determine whether or not your mailbox has a mental life, much less a quark. Yet that doesn’t mean science isn’t working on the problem. Giulio Tononi, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has developed something called the integrated information theory of consciousness (IIT). IIT holds that consciousness is actually a kind of information and can be measured mathematically, though doing so is not very straightforward and has caused some to discount the theory.

  • What Presidents Mean When They Talk About ‘Equity’

    Bloomberg | February 16, 2021

    While Obama also used equity in the more modern, social-justice sense of the word, he did so less often than Biden already has — a possible sign of his reluctance to center race as a national issue as the country’s first Black president, said Dietram A. Scheufele, a social scientist who studies political communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • The Comfort of a Lunar New Year in Isolation

    Time | February 12, 2021

    Essay by Professor Beth Nguyen

    Lunar New Year might bring to mind festivals and fireworks, but I’ve always associated it with a kind of isolation. Long before the pandemic, long before the rest of America learned about sriracha and pho, I grew up in a Vietnamese refugee family in a mostly white town in Michigan.



  • UW-Madison claims nearly $31 billion in annual economic impact to Wisconsin

    Wisconsin State Journal | February 12, 2021

    UW-Madison and its affiliated entities are an economic engine contributing $30.8 billion a year to the Wisconsin economy, according to a new report commissioned by the university and funded by UW Foundation.

  • White House bets on counter programming Trump impeachment

    Washington Examiner | February 11, 2021

    But Barry Burden, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Elections Research Center, was confident Biden was playing his strongest hand since his campaign was “a pitch for national unity and a return to normalcy.”

  • Opportunity in America starts with fixing the internet, says social investing pioneer

    MarketWatch | February 11, 2021

    Streur pointed to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison that shows how COVID-19 has made life in rural and low-income communities in Wisconsin, which ranks 38th for internet access out of all 50 states, even harder without broadband.

    A team of university researchers led by Tessa Conroy found that even before the pandemic, those on the winning side of Wisconsin’s “digital divide” often had higher home values, improved health outcomes, better entrepreneurship opportunities and higher educational outcomes than those living without fast internet.

  • Poem: Smokey

    New York Times | February 11, 2021

    Born and raised in Compton, Calif., he is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he directs the M.F.A. program in creative writing. His latest collection, ‘‘Imperial Liquor,’’ was published by University of Pittsburgh Press in 2020 and nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry.

  • New CDC guidance on masks cites UW-Madison invention, research

    The Capital Times | February 11, 2021

    New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages Americans to make their masks work better by tightening their fit, including by using a simple, homemade tool designed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • How Right-Wing Radio Stoked Anger Before the Capitol Siege

    The New York Times | February 10, 2021

    “It’s like your friend in the bar,” said Lewis A. Friedland, a professor who studies talk radio and politics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where stations serve up six or more hours of right-wing talk a day. “He’s your buddy, and he’s kind of like you and he likes the same kind of people that you like and doesn’t like the same kind of people that you don’t like.”

  • CDC urges to double mask or to wear masks that fit

    The Washington Post | February 10, 2021

    David Rothamer, an engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, has experimented with masks on mannequins in classrooms while studying the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus in college classes. He said he is not a proponent of double masking because it consumes more masks, and can also lead to more air leakage.

  • Ikea’s Ambitious Plan To Make Its Cheap Furniture Last Forever

    HuffPost | February 10, 2021

    “Ikea is fairly unique in its ability to tell a potential supplier, ‘If you can’t meet our terms, we’ll find someone else who will,’” said Tom Eggert, a senior lecturer on business sustainability at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Whether it’s a wood alternative or plant-based plastics or something else entirely, they have the buying power to create a market where one may not yet exist.”

  • How vaccinating monkeys could stop a pandemic

    BBC Future | February 9, 2021

    They’re also useful. “Júlio [Bicca-Marques] likes to say that monkeys are like the canary in the coal mine,” says Karen Strier, anthropology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a career-long researcher of primates in Brazil. “They’re a good warning that you have to worry about yellow fever” – and other diseases, too.

  • Ready for takeoff: Three simple guidelines for flying after vaccination

    The Hill | February 8, 2021

    It will take years until all air travelers are immunized, but we do not have to wait years until it is safe to fly.

    -Dr. Laura A. Albert is a professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is a prominent member of INFORMS. Her research applies optimization and analytical methods to public sector applications including aviation security.

  • The Mysterious Cause of a Deadly Illness in Sanctuary Chimps Revealed

    Smithsonian Magazine | February 8, 2021

    “It was not subtle—the chimpanzees would stagger and stumble, vomit, and have diarrhea, sometimes they’d go to bed healthy and be dead in the morning,” says Tony Goldberg, a disease ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to Ann Gibbons for Science.

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