Got It Covered: Emory in the News

Sean Duggan

Are cyborgs OK? and other ethical questions

Paul Root Wolpe, professor of bioethics and director of the Center for Ethics at Emory, was profiled by Atlanta Magazine in January about his work to help scientists and doctors think through the ethical implications of their work. From stem cells to cyborgs and Jehovah’s Witnesses to end-of-life care, Wolpe has been on the front lines of bioethics for decades. “Ethics is rarely about what’s right and wrong,” says Wolpe. “It’s often about two rights in conflict.”

Afraid in the voting booth

Drew Westen, professor of political science, did a Q&A for the Washington Post in November about the role of fear in the 2016 election and among conservative voters. “The fear of mortality—not fear in general, but fear of death—tends cross culturally to shift people to the right. That’s true in every country and every culture. It prompts people to more strongly hold to traditions, rituals,” says Westen.

Students discover long-lost grave

The Emory Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project’s work to uncover the history behind unsolved or unpunished racially motivated murders in the Jim Crow South was featured in the Wall Street Journal in January. Through the project, some families are discovering—for the first time—the circumstances surrounding the deaths of their loved ones. Emory students helped discover the grave of Isaiah Nixon, shot to death in 1948 after voting.

Supportive prairie voles

An Emory discovery that prairie voles show an empathy-based consoling response when other voles are distressed was covered by the New York Times, the Atlantic, Popular Science, and other outlets. This discovery ends the long-standing belief that detecting the distress of others and acting to relieve that stress is uniquely human.

The search for alien molecules

Susanna Widicus Weaver, professor of chemistry who leads an astrochemistry group at Emory, was quoted in a Scientific American article about the search for molecules not found on Earth. As powerful new telescopes have come online over the past ten years, the search for alien molecules has accelerated. “It’s amazing, and it’s overwhelming at the same time. These data sets are so big that they often have to mail them to scientists on flash drives because they can’t download them,” Widicus Weaver says. 

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