Friday, October 9, 2009

EXTRA: Just another day in Hyde Park

I couldn’t help but notice Friday the portion of the University of Chicago’s website devoted to the fact that so many recipients of the Nobel prizes are faculty, former students or have some other connection to the Hyde Park-based university.

It already has been updated. Barack Obama was added to the list of “Maroons” who have received the award. In all fairness, the university concedes that Obama is the only U of C type to ever receive the Peace Prize – generally considered to be the most prestigious of them all.

BUT IN THE eyes of the university, the one-time instructor in the law school is no different from Saul Bellow or Milton Friedman or any of the other recipients who came to be connected to the college that is within – but at times not truly a part of – the South Side.

It makes me wonder if we literally will get the sight within Hyde Park of Obama’s honor not being taken all that seriously, because after all so many other “locals” have achieved it as well.

Only in Chicago could one win one of the major international honors, and find a group of people who could possibly pooh-pooh it for other than politically partisan reasons.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Until Friday, the only University of Chicago-affiliated Nobel Prize winner this year ( was George E. Smith, a 1959 graduate whose invention of a device converting light into digital signals led to much better pictures for academic research. Trying to come up with world peace, or achieving a high-tech digital camera, which idea will capture the public interest more?

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