|VOLUME 19||THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE | GRADUATE SCHOOL||NUMBER 1|
A science writer learns to view the world in a unique way. This fact became apparent when the editor of Research Profile took a recent vacation to Disney World in Orlando. Like the millions who flock to this palm-dotted wonderland each year, she was entranced by the rides, attractions, parades and all the other elements that compose the Disney experience.
"But it wasn't until I heard a parent answer a child's question about Disney's life-like audioanimatronic characters inside the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' ride that I realized that not everyone is on the look-out for science in everyday life," Anne Siegel recalls. "The parent smiled and dismissed the child's question by saying that it was all 'Disney magic'. What a missed opportunity to teach the child about science!"
The fact is that Disney World couldn't have gotten off the drawing boards without science, much less become the central Florida showplace it is today. Disney's famed "imagineers" relied on scientific principles, not pixie dust, to make it all work. And a recent magazine aritcle reminds readers that Disney continues to tap scientific minds to maintain and improve its theme parks. When Disney World needed a way to shoot off fireworks faster and with more precision, it formed a corporate partnership with a local laboratory to produce a special semiconductor to do the job. The tiny semiconductor device fits comfortable on the head of a penny, and uses fast-heating phosphorous to ignite the fireworks.
It's a small world, after all.
Here at UWM, scientific achievements also abound - if one looks for them. This magazine is a good place to start. The articles in this issue are excellent examples of how research goes far beyond university borders to affect everyday life.
The cover story, for example, takes readers on an exotic journey of discovery to Central America. Andrea Stone has spent the last nine years researching and writing about cave art that can be found in some of the remotest areas of the planet. Closer to home, Jim Sweetland and Judy Senkevitch explore what's happening in public libraries across the U.S. Another UWM researcher, Ian Harris, probes the collective male psyche with interesting questions about the origins of identity.
Just across campus but a cognitive world away from issues about male identity, Mark McBride uses powerful microscopes/videocamera equipment and genetic engineering to find answers about how bacteria move. And finally, Marc Levine uses entire cities as his laboratory. He gauges the progress of economic development efforts and their impact on different groups.
The diversity of these research projects suggests that science is as pervasive in the real-world as it is in Disney World. We hope this issue draws your attention and interest as it focuses on a representative sample of research and scholarly activity at our university. If you have any comments regarding the magazine or research activity at UWM, please contact Assistant Dean Alan J. Swatek at (414) 229-5493.