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Hear Ye! Hear Ye! How the Brain Processes Auditory Information

University of Illinois, Molecular and Integrative Physiology newsletter January 2001

How do frogs in a pond resemble people at a cocktail party? In both cases communication is possible only if frogs and people focus in on a particular voice… or croak… and tune out other, extraneous sounds.

Albert S. Feng, professor of physiology, biophysics, bioengineering and neuroscience, has spent the last decade teasing out the elements of listening in what he terms “a complex auditory environment.” His research has led him to study not just frogs and cocktail parties, but bats, which rely on their keen sense of hearing to gobble thousands of insects per evening.

A World In Motion

Washington University School of Law Magazine January 2001

Immigration law has historically swung like a pendulum, pushed in part by public fears and hopes. When the economy is strong, immigration law is generous, when conditions are more stressful, restrictions on immigration grow. But even in the aftermath of the September 11 disaster, Stephen Legomsky, Charles F. Nagel Professor of International and Comparative Law, and Director of the Institute for Global Legal Studies, remains firmly upbeat about the benefits of immigration. September 11 has, however, influenced his thinking on the need to take precautions.

Count Her In

Illinois Alumni magazine January 2001

Suze Orman, ‘77 LAS, once limited her career goals to a single area: waitressing.

“My grades were never great. I had a speech defect, so I couldn’t speak, and I had mild dyslexia, so I couldn’t read. I thought I was dumb,” she said.

Like Magic: 1997 Beckman Institute Fellow Brendan Frey

Beckman Institute Annual Newsletter October 1997

In some ways, Brendan Frey, 1997 Beckman Fellow, became interested in machine learning because it appealed to his sense of magic.

“To know the secrets of how something that is beautiful and magical works is, to me, like being a magician,” says Frey, who even as a child was interested in machines that behave intelligently.

“I was always trying to be a magician, to duplicate nature,” says Frey, who now researches machine learning using graphical models, otherwise known as Bayesian Networks.

Sharing Space

Illinois Alumni magazine March 1996

Like most people, astronaut Joe Tanner ‘73 ENG puts his pants on one leg at a time, but in his case, those pants belong to a space suit and weight 60 pounds. Last February, Tanner joined an elite group of astronauts — one of only 19 on active duty who have spacewalking, or “extra vehicular activity” (EVA), experience.

During the mission, STS-82, Tanner and six other astronauts replaced and updated parts of the Hubble telescope.

David Becker, Little in Life More Valuable than Friendship

Washington University Record January 1996

It was a beautiful fall evening when David Becker threw out the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals game against the Dodgers. Fred Hanser, J.D. ‘66, chair of the St. Louis Cardinals and one of Becker’s first students, was behind the plate catching—at Becker’s insistence.

Hanser signaled for a high fastball, Becker pitched a low slider that broke sharply to the outside. The fans, including hundreds of Law School students, roared.

Becker has a lot of fans. That’s because he is his students’ biggest fan.

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