Discovered the basic mechanism in chemical reactions
Henry Taube developed an interest in coordination chemistry after choosing it as a topic for an advanced course he offered at the University of Chicago. His key research, published in 1952, related the rates of chemical reactions to electronic structure and showed how molecules build a chemical bridge to transfer electrons, rather than simply exchanging electrons, as previously thought. Taube received the 1983 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work.
Introduced modern sleep research
Modern sleep research began at the University of Chicago. In 1953, Nathaniel Kleitman and Eugene Aserinsky identified REM sleep, the stage when most dreaming occurs. This was the first clear indication that sleep was composed of many stages. Today, UChicago sleep researchers are making important contributions to our understanding of sleep’s relationship to body weight, disease, learning, memory, mood, and more.
Revolutionized legal education, services
Founded in 1956, the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic was one of the first of its kind. It revolutionized both how law students gained practical skills and how high-quality legal services were provided to clients. Through the clinic, students gain hands-on experience and provide pro bono legal aid to low-income residents.
Established the field of action anthropology
Anthropologist Sol Tax, PhD’35, helped establish the field of action anthropology, an approach in which the researcher has two coordinate goals: to help a group of people in the culture being studied solve a problem and to learn in the process. Tax founded the journal Current Anthropology in 1957 as a vehicle to communicate about anthropology worldwide.
Discovered the hormone-cancer mechanism
Building on the work of cancer researcher Charles B. Huggins, Elwood Jensen and fellow medical researcher Eugene Desombre identified the precise mechanism through which hormones drive cancer—by binding to a receptor protein in cells. The 1958 finding opened a new therapeutic front in breast cancer, leading to targeted treatments credited with saving many lives each year.
Changed understanding of the jury system
The Chicago Jury Project, the 1950s effort of law professors Harry Kalven and Hans Zeisel, was the first large-scale empirical study of the jury system, revolutionizing the use of social science techniques in legal scholarship. The project changed the American understanding of the role of the jury.