Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, October 18, 2000
Cardinal Chronicle weekly campus column


ED VYTLACIL WILL ATTEND THE NOBEL AWARD ceremonies in Stockholm this December thanks to a summertime chat he had with JAMES HECKMAN. Vytlacil, an economics assistant professor, says that Heckman was the chair of his thesis committee at the University of Chicago when the two started talking about Nobel prizes. "I told him, 'Jim, I think you're going to win,'" Vytlacil recalls. Heckman replied, "No, no chance." But when he insisted, Heckman said, "If I win, I'll fly you first-class to Sweden for the ceremony." Vytlacil says he hasn't talked to Heckman yet, but after the award was announced Oct. 11, the freshly minted Nobel laureate called his wife and said, "You gotta get hold of Ed; he won the bet."

MORE NOBELS BY ASSOCIATION: WHEN THE phone rang before 6 a.m. on Oct. 10, DAVID HEEGER, associate professor of psychology, thought, "This better be good." It was. Heeger's dad, a physics prof at UC-Santa Barbara, called to announce that he had just won this year's Nobel in chemistry. "I started jumping up and down and I woke the whole house up," he recalls. Heeger plans to take his family to the ceremony. "I've had this proud little smirk on my face for a week," he says.

"I DON'T WEAR MAKEUP. I DON'T DO MY HAIR. And I can hardly walk straight in heels." That's what Stanford alum and Miss California RITA NG told millions of television viewers watching the Miss America contest on Saturday. Despite her confession, Ng was named second runner-up in the beauty pageant. Because Ng made it to the final cut, the three-hour show included video clips of Ng, a member of the Class of 2000, on the Farm. Ng lost to Miss Hawaii, who became the first Asian American to win the crown. Now Ng can return to pursuing another dream -- becoming a pediatrician.

KARLETTA CHIEF DIDN'T HAVE TO WEAR A swimsuit and high heels to become Miss Navajo Nation. Instead, the Stanford alum and doctoral student in environmental engineering and science demonstrated her prowess in fire building and making fry bread, a traditional Native American food. That's because Miss Navajo isn't about looks, it's about cultural preservation. "It's a pretty big deal," says DENNI WOODWARD of the American Indian and Alaska Native Program. "We have a number of Navajo students who are thrilled about it." Twenty-four-year-old Chief, who is taking a year off from school, will speak at the 30th Anniversary Banquet of the Stanford American Indian Organization during Reunion Homecoming Weekend.

Write to Lisa Trei at lisatrei@ leland or mail code 2245.