Marquette University News Release

Decade in review: Marquette experts spotlight what changed us

December 18, 2009

MILWAUKEE—As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close, Marquette University faculty experts have identified what they feel have been the decade’s most significant events, innovations or contributions from their respective areas of scholarship and expertise.

The list follows:

Politics: September 11 and its aftermath
“The first decade of the 21st century was bookended by two epic stock market collapses and two historic elections, but the most important political event of the decade was the transformation of the American security state in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the anthrax mailings that followed shortly thereafter.
-Dr. McGee Young, assistant professor, political science

Health and medicine: Molecular genetic profiling
“Molecular and genetic profiling methodologies have transformed cell biology in the past decade, with enormously important implications for health and medicine. Following the mapping of the human genome, these technological advances have now made it possible to take a more comprehensive approach to the study of critical molecules within cells. The techniques are also capable of probing new classes of cellular molecules (e.g., microRNAs), previously thought to be non-functional but now revealed to be critically important. These powerful tools are ‘game changers’ as they are advancing our understanding of everything from human development and cancer to stem cells and brain pathologies.”
-Dr. William E. Cullinan, dean, College of Health Sciences

Communication: Don’t LOL—text messaging wins big
“I would say the ascendance of text messaging is the story. Texting—the word is as new as the process—is king and is omnipresent on cell phones, social media (e.g., Twitter), instant messaging and smart digital devices. It is used to connect socially, communicate political opinions, conduct business, select winners on reality shows, and—in Europe and India where it is huge—order inventory for small businesses and conduct much of one’s personal affairs.”
-Dr. Robert Shuter, chair/professor, communication studies

Popular culture: Digital music
“From the rise first of Napster to the development of the iPod/iTunes and similar players and services, there has been a significant change in the way we experience music, how we purchase music, the means by which musicians connect with their audiences and by which audiences connect with musicians. When was the last time you saw a CD store? They were ubiquitous in 2000.”
-Dr. James South, chair/associate professor, philosophy

Law: Bush v. Gore (2000)
“By a 5-4 vote, Bush v. Gore effectively resolved the 2000 presidential election. Given the ensuing dramatic events—the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and their aftermath, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq—one could scarcely doubt the importance of this decision. This is so even though it is entirely possible that the result would have been the same—i.e., that George W. Bush would have become the 43rd president of the United States—even if the Court had reached a different result in Bush v. Gore.
-Mr. Joseph D. Kearney, J.D., dean, Law School

Biotech: Linking humans and machines
“Recent developments in brain-machine interfaces and the design of prosthetic limbs and assistive devices have begun to dramatically alter the way persons with limited mobility and function interact with the world around them. Using arrays of electrodes that can pick up signals from the brain and other nerves from strategic locations on the body, a person can communicate with a prosthetic limb or assistive device and control the function of the device by simply thinking about the action. These new interfaces allow for much finer control and a great range of motion than what was never before possible.”
-Dr. Kristina Ropella, chair/professor, biomedical engineering

Marketing: e-Commerce
“The biggest change marketers have had to navigate has been the impact of online shopping (‘e-commerce’). With the Internet, consumers have vastly changed their behavior regarding searching for product information, comparing competitors’ products and executing purchases. Companies to this day are still adapting to this shift in consumer behavior.”
-Dr. Dennis Garrett, associate professor, marketing

Chemistry: A novel drug treatment
“Gleevec (Imatinib), for treating chronic myeloid leukemia, provides hope that we can conquer at least some forms of cancer. It provided a cure for a form of cancer that previously had a death rate of 25 to 50 percent in the first year after diagnosis. Equally important, though, is that this drug validated some new approaches to drug design—the process of rational drug design, as well as the idea of attacking a family of proteins known as protein kinases. It wasn’t until Gleevec that scientists realized these were viable drug targets. Soon there were more than 50 drugs in clinical trials targeting these proteins.”
-Dr. Dan Sem, associate professor, chemistry

Music: The return of the poet pop star
“In a decade musically dominated by pretension and American Idol ubiquity, Green Day’s American Idiot (2004) CD, as well as their recent 21st Century Breakdown, stand out as unique, intelligent, challenging, epic sociopolitical commentaries. This is truly something different in the age of musical indifference. These two albums challenge the current generation—as once poet pop stars Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon did—to examine the, apathetic, ‘remote control’ direction in which society seems to be traveling.”
-Mr. Bruce Cole, cataloguer, Jean Cuje Milwaukee Music Collection, Raynor Memorial Library

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