AS THE CHIEF OF PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital, Ken Alexander ’82 is no stranger to the measles, pertussis, or chicken pox.
He also works with children with HIV-related illness, pneumonia, and respiratory infections. He and his colleagues identify and treat infections caused by the typical viruses and bacteria as well as the little-known parasites and even fungi.
But when we sit down to visit near his offices on the north end of UC’s campus, Alexander wants to talk about something that isn’t a children’s disease at all.
“Kenneth was interested in everything,” says Alexander’s mother Marilyn. When her son was four or five, “He would climb on his [father’s] lap and I remember Jack reading radiochemistry out loud to him.”
Once, a small telescope triggered a fascination for the stars and “his dad spent some cold nights outside with him,” says his mother. He also loved music, played the trombone, and as a teen, made frequent trips out of town to play with the local orchestra.
Philip Abelson '33 developed the process, adopted by the Manhattan Project, for separating U-235 from U-238. He went on to make significant contributions to biochemistry, chemistry, engineering physics, and other fields. Neva Abelson '34 developed the test for the Rh factor in newborns. What was once Science Hall now carries their name. » More ...