The Neurosciences ICU on the fourth floor of the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics is normally a hushed and darkened spot. It’s kept that way for the comfort of patients, who have recently survived brain surgery, stroke or some manner of head trauma. But on a Thursday in May, there was an uncharacteristic party going in the employee break room. It was a celebration of health unit clerk Sharon Dickey’s 50th anniversary at the hospital.
Waclaw Szybalski, 92, a genius of genetics who has been repeatedly mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize, grew up as an aspiring scientist during World War II in the eastern part of Poland. Many of Szybalski's most significant wartime roles concerned a decidedly applied type of science: He cooked TNT so the Polish resistance could sabotage rail lines. He participated in smuggling typhus vaccine to Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. And he fed lice and supervised "louse feeders."
“The Graduate” is a running joke in the plastics industry. In that 1967 Dustin Hoffman movie, a character famously — and accurately — summarized the future in one word: “Plastics.” The movie may have been influential, but Tom Mohs, founder of the Madison plastics manufacturer Placon, says he owes nothing to it. “I was already buying my second thermoforming machine when the movie came out,” says Mohs. “No, I owe it to Ron Daggett.”
Marsha Mailick, a longtime University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty member and veteran of research leadership roles at the university, has been selected by Chancellor Rebecca Blank as interim successor to Martin Cadwallader, who is returning to the faculty.