Published in Columbia News, October 29, 2014
Since the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in New York City on Oct. 23, there has been a daily barrage of news reports about the deadly disease. Public officials including Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey, as well as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, have weighed in on a range of issues, from mandatory quarantines to how the disease is transmitted.
At Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, researchers have developed a computer model that tracks and forecasts the growth of Ebola cases in West Africa, the epicenter of the disease. For Jeffrey Shaman, an associate professor of environmental health sciences who led the development of the model, that means that much of his day is devoted to sometimes arcane epidemiological measures such as the “basic reproduction number,” or R0, the projected number of cases generated by a single infected person in a fully susceptible population. If R0 is less than 1, the disease will extinguish itself. If it is greater than 1, it will spread—and the larger the number, the harder it will be to control. Right now the R0 in the U.S. is close to zero.Read more
by Cynthia Indriso '86PH
Common to every autobiography published of the Nobel laureates across all six prize categories is their acknowledgement of the key role that great mentors have played in helping them on their journey to excellence.
In the business world, the key role played by mentors has traditionally been less venerated, though this has changed in recent years.Read more
by Amol Sarva '98CC
originally published Dec. 18, 2013 in Wired magazine
The idea of stimulating brain performance seemed very plausible when I first heard about it, taking my PhD in cognitive science at Stanford. Your brain operates with electricity; why couldn't electric current or waves boost it a bit? Gentlemen physicists such as Volta and Galvani were fiddling with frogs' legs and cadavers back around the late 18th century. Another Italian wrote about curing melancholia with electricity in 1804. And today, everyone knows about the power of shock therapy.
But what appeared on my radar in 2003 was different: a headset that sent weak electromagnetic waves into your head. Lawrence Osborne, in The New York Times Magazine, reported that after his brain was electrically stimulated, he suddenly produced some incredible cat drawings. Admittedly, this was no peer-reviewed journal: in fact, no lab had been able to reproduce the findings of the man behind this and similar experiments, a University of Sydney physicist named Allan Snyder.Read more
by Vince Ponzo '03BUS
originally published in Columbia Business
No word captures the zeitgeist of today’s business environment better than ‘entrepreneurial’. The word is everywhere: in pop culture, on the news, and most importantly, reverberating through businesses of every size. So how can you learn to be more entrepreneurial within your organization?
First, let’s touch on why an entrepreneurial mindset is important. Today, the status quo for businesses is constant change, largely due to accelerating technological advancement, the erosion of brand loyalty driven by easy access to comparative information, and new local and global entrants regularly altering market equilibriums. An entrepreneurial mindset allows you to stay ahead in this competitive environment by creating and responding to opportunities in your business, industry, and career.
Now let’s discuss how to get there.Read more
by David S. Rose '83BUS
originally published in Columbia Business
Angel investing is when individuals invest their personal capital to help finance a recently founded company. Over the long run, carefully selected and managed portfolios of personal angel investments can produce an average annual return of more than 25 percent, which compares well to virtually any other use for your money. Even better, you often get a ringside seat at a venture that is out to change the world, direct access to company CEOs who may become the corporate magnates of tomorrow, and early access to the latest products and services before they become generally available.Read more