These experts from the UW-Madison faculty and staff have agreed to comment on breaking news, ongoing developments and trends in their areas of expertise. If you need help arranging interviews, email University Communications.
Experts on today’s news…
Dave Schroeder on: Equifax data breach
Dave Schroeder, an expert on information technology and cybersecurity, can comment on the Equifax data breach that exposed the personal and financial data of 143 million people.
"Concerned individuals should consider placing a freeze on their credit records via each credit bureau -- TransUnion, Experian, Equifax -- and using a credit monitoring service," Schroeder says. "This is good general advice in today's world of repeated breaches of personal information. Equifax is offering free credit monitoring for all impacted individuals, and you do not waive your rights to participate in individual or class action lawsuits in the future by using this service."
Majid Sarmadi on: Feeling 'Bluetiful;' Crayola adds new shade of blue
Majid Sarmadi, an expert on color theory and technology, can comment on Crayola's unveiling of "Bluetiful," the name of its new blue crayon. Scientists at Oregon State University accidentally discovered the brilliant blue hue while experimenting with materials for use in electronics. Bluetiful was the top pick of fans during two months of online voting, beating out Dreams Come Blue, Blue Moon Bliss, Reach for the Stars and Star Spangled Blue. Bluetiful will make its debut later this year. It's replacing the recently retired dandelion.
"Discovery of the new color is very exciting because it provides a new color option for artists, fashion, and textile industry," Sarmadi says. "It is also important for producing new paint for interior and exterior of buildings, cars, paper and plastics, maybe even for cosmetics. It also provides a new vocabulary for marketing of the new products colored with the new color."
Psychology professor Karen Schloss can talk about her studies of color preferences, which have shown that people like blue because they feel good about things that are blue.
“It turns out, if you look at all of the things that are associated with blue, they're mostly positive,” Schloss explained to artsy.net. “It’s really hard to think of negative blue things."
Bassam Shakhashiri on: Autumn leaves
Bassam Shakhashiri, an award-winning chemistry professor and science educator, and genetics assistant professor Xuehua Zhong, whose research includes epigenetic regulation in plant growth and development, can talk about the science behind leaves changing color each fall.
Harold Tobin on: Natural disasters
When Tobin was designing the brand new UW-Madison course called "Natural Hazards and Disasters" last spring, he could not have known the fall would have in store at least two record-setting hurricanes, massive western wildfires, or the most powerful Mexican earthquake to happen in a century. Yet, as an expert in natural disasters, Tobin is poised to share his knowledge, like this piece of information he shared with his class this week: "Hurricanes are heat engines."
Xudong Wang on: Stepping up for renewable energy
UW–Madison's newest source of renewable energy is underfoot at Union South. Materials science and engineering professor Xudong Wang has installed a prototype floor that makes usable electricity from the moving feet of union visitors — who can watch the flow of energy on monitors powered by their steps.
Christopher Velden on: Hurricane Irma
Velden is an expert on hurricane behavior and forecasting and can discuss efforts to monitor Irma’s trajectory and wind speeds. He says Irma is already a storm for the record books. Sarah Griffin can talk about predictions for Irma using satellite technology. Derrick Herndon is available to talk about Irma’s intensity and anticipated forecast.
Shane Hubbard on: Rainfall and flooding in Texas
Hubbard can talk about decision-making in response to natural disasters like Harvey. He can also discuss damage and estimate losses faced by communities in southeastern Texas in the wake of the storm.
Andrew Ruis on: Back to school: Lunch and learn
Andrew Ruis, researcher with the Epistemic Games Group housed within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the School of Education, can talk about the origins of American school meal initiatives to explain why it was (and, to some extent, has continued to be) so difficult to establish meal programs that satisfy the often competing interests of children, parents, schools, health authorities, politicians, and the food industry. Ruis is a historian and author of "Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat" who specializes in the history of medicine and public health and the history of food and nutrition.