New twists on old tales.

May/June 2011

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When the New York Times predicted in March that former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo, MEd’72, MA ’74, PhD ’92, was favored to win this year’s presidential election, it included the proviso that “Peruvian voters are fickle.” As it happened, no candidate won a majority at the April 10 polls, but some opinion polls still gave a fighting chance to fourth-place Toledo (president from 2001-2006) in the runoff vote scheduled for June.

First came the Frankencamera, the somewhat unwieldy invention by computer science and electrical engineering professor Marc Levoy that produces digital photographs unprecedented in their precision and programmability. Now Levoy has created an app that gives the iPhone camera similar capabilities—in a handier package.

After serving five years as a governor of the Federal Reserve, Kevin Warsh, ’92, announced in February his intention to resign in March. Warsh, a former investment banker at Morgan Stanley, was considered Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s link to the conservative establishment and played a key role in the Fed’s actions during the 2008 financial crisis.

How can we understand, and ultimately control, the brain’s circuitry? Bioengineer and pychiatrist Karl Deisseroth’s lab has made strides in the new field of optogenetics—using fiber optic cables to deliver different wavelengths of light to various neurons, to produce different reactions. Their recent experiments hold great promise for psychiatry: The team discovered an “on-off switch” that seems to control anxiety in mice.

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