Charles Zuker has devoted his career to unraveling the neurobiology of the senses—especially taste, but he is quick to tell you that it’s not because of some inherent fascination with bitter, sweet, and salty truths. “The fact is that we don’t study the senses simply to understand the senses,” he explains. “We study the senses as an entry point—a tractable problem—in dissecting the mysteries of the brain.” And taste, he notes, is a particularly elegant system for plumbing those mysteries.
Columbia’s Maison Française was established in 1913 to extend the University’s global reach. Today this academic and cultural center, which is celebrating its centennial with an array of programs, focuses on the entire French-speaking world, not just France. “Historically, the Maison Française was largely focused on the French language and literature,” said its director Shanny Peer. “In recent decades, the perspective has broadened to include not just France but the Francophone world and to embrace other disciplines such as art, philosophy, sociology, economics and history.”
In the decision by the federal judge who found New York City’s stop-and-frisk policies unconstitutional, one name appears more than any other: that of Jeffrey Fagan, a professor at Columbia Law School and the Mailman School of Public Health. Fagan, an expert witness for the plaintiffs, analyzed nine years of New York Police Department data that the plaintiffs used to demonstrate that the stop-and-frisk program was riddled with constitutional violations.
Few philosophers can boast of having their picture on a U.S. postage stamp. Or on the cover of Time magazine. Or merit a 3,349-word obituary in The New York Times. Such was the fame and influence of John Dewey, the Columbia philosophy professor of whom Columbia historian Henry Steele Commager wrote in 1950 that “for a generation, no major issue was clarified until Dewey had spoken.” Once considered America’s leading liberal thinker, Dewey’s reputation has dimmed since his 1952 death, but one professor on campus is seeking to change that.
Columbia Journalism School, founded a century ago to train generations of reporters, was only 7 years old when Pittsburgh’s KDKA made the first broadcast by a licensed radio station. Now the digital revolution is upending the practice of journalism. Newspapers and magazines are vanishing amid deep cutbacks and an inexorable march onto virtual platforms. Broadcast media struggle as cable networks and the Web aim at ever narrower audiences. And with social media, anyone can set up a media enterprise and join the fray.
When the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation was established at Columbia and Stanford in 2012, part of its $30 million endowment was earmarked for what founder Helen Gurley Brown called “Magic Grants.” These competitively-awarded grants of up to $150,000 combine disciplines that until recently were rarely found together: for instance, data science and narrative journalism.
Statistician. Technologist. Artistic collaborator. And now, journalism professor. As East Coast Director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation at the Journalism School, Mark Hansen works with Emily Bell of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and J-school colleague Susan McGregor to integrate data science into the curriculum and, ultimately, the profession.
Bergdoll, who has been the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) since 2007, will assume the Meyer Schapiro Chair in the Department of Art History and Archaeology on Sept. 1. While at MoMA, he taught part-time at Columbia, where he has been a professor since 1985. He also helped create an ongoing partnership between the two institutions, which has resulted in such joint projects as the acquisition of the Frank Lloyd Wright archives in 2012.
You probably think you know how to wash your hands, but Elaine Larson could tell you for sure. An infectious disease expert who has published more than 200 papers on hand hygiene, Larson is the go-to source for commonly asked questions such as whether anti-bacterial soaps work better than regular soaps (no), whether alcohol hand sanitizer is more effective than hand-washing (yes) and whether you should really wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. (Not necessarily, just be sure to scrub between the fingers and under fingernails.)
Columbia’s Europe Global Center kicks off its first-ever Festival des Écrivains du Monde—World Writers Festival—this weekend, bringing more than 30 renowned writers from a host of countries to give talks and read from their works at venues in central Paris. The event is designed “to reinforce the fact that New York City is the cultural and literary capital of the U.S. and Paris is that of France,” said Paul LeClerc, director of Columbia’s Europe Global Center, which is based in Paris. “They are twin cities linked in this instance by combining their two best cultural and educational organizations.”