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In the Headlines

March 2012

New York Times (March 31)

Overcoming ‘Physics Envy’ (opinion)
By Kevin A. Clarke and David M. Primo

physics envy montageEconomists, political scientists and sociologists have long suffered from an academic inferiority complex: physics envy. They often feel that their disciplines should be on a par with the “real” sciences and self-consciously model their work on them, using language (“theory,” “experiment,” “law”) evocative of physics and chemistry. But we believe that this way of thinking is badly mistaken and detrimental to social research. For the sake of everyone who stands to gain from a better knowledge of politics, economics and society, the social sciences need to overcome their inferiority complex, reject hypothetico-deductivism and embrace the fact that they are mature disciplines with no need to emulate other sciences.

Kevin A. Clarke and David M. Primo, associate professors of political science at the University of Rochester, are the authors of “A Model Discipline: Political Science and the Logic of Representations.

Los Angeles Times (March 15)

Menopause fog? It’s real, but not what you think

The researchers, from the University of Rochester, N.Y., and University of Illinois in Chicago, recruited 75 women between 40 and 60 whose menstrual cycles were becoming erratic but who had menstruated in the past year. In addition to asking the subjects to assess changes in their cognitive functioning, researchers put the women through an exhaustive battery of tests to gauge their performance objectively.  (Also reported in: CNN.comDaily MailWebMDBaltimore SunChicago Tribune, Huffington, and others)

ABC News (March 7)

Survival at a Cost: Common Cancer Treatment Carries Huge Risks

“For many survivors, the cost of the cure of their cancer has been late, life-threatening effects of therapy,” said Dr. Lois B. Travis, director of the Rubin Center for Cancer Survivorship at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “We recognized that secondary malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease are among the most serious adverse effects experienced by the growing number of survivors worldwide,” she added.  (Also reported in: AkronNewsNow)

UPI (March 15)

‘Wireless’ message sent using neutrinos

A wireless message has been sent using a beam of neutrinos, nearly massless particles that travel at near the speed of light, U.S. researchers say. The message – sent by a group of scientists led by researchers from the University of Rochester and North Carolina State University on a beam of neutrinos – traveled through nearly 800 feet of stone and said simply, “Neutrino.”  (Also reported in: MSNBCNPR,ArsTechnicaScience Dailye! Science NewsTG DailyThe Verge,Gizmodo)