UAB Magazine Online Features
A Pianist Reaches Out
By Jo Lynn Orr
Artist-in-residence Yakov Kasman travels the world giving piano performances. Back in his office at UAB, he welcomes future performers and talented amateurs alike for personal instruction.
As a young artist, Yakov Kasman, D.M.A., faced many closed doors—which is why he works to open them for burgeoning musicians. Kasman, an associate professor of piano and artist-in-residence at UAB, is a tireless recruiter of students to a program that has steadily gained recognition both nationally and internationally (see slideshow below). He maintains a schedule of performances that takes him around the world, and he has instructed several rising stars in piano circles, but his students are often headed for careers far from the concert hall.
“I think every person has some sort of talent in classical music,” Kasman says. “The task of a teacher is to discover it, feed it, and help this talent to grow.”
Examining an Economic Expert
By Glenny Brock
Friedrich Hayek's warnings against the dangers of government intervention have won the late economist a new following. But Hayek's views are more complex than many of his fans realize, says UAB philosopher and economist Erik Angner.
Austrian economists are hot these days. In 2010, The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich A. Hayek, which was originally published in 1944, rocketed to the top of Amazon’s list of bestselling nonfiction books—propelled in part by praise from commentator Glenn Beck. Hayek’s warning against the dangers of government intervention has earned him renewed attention in recent years, but his ideology was far more nuanced than many of his fans may realize, says Erik Angner, Ph.D., UAB assistant professor of philosophy and economics, director of the UAB Center for Ethics and Values in the Sciences, and author of the book Hayek and Natural Law (2007: Routledge). Here, Angner offers a closer look at a man who is often described as one of the key economists of the 20th century.
Opposition to Intervention
Unlike many contemporary authors who write about Friedrich Hayek, UAB's Erik Angner (above), says he approaches his subject as a scholar rather than a proponent or critic.
Angner explains that contemporary conservatives like Hayek for his opposition to government intervention in the marketplace. They emphasize three main tenets of his philosophy:
1. Government intervention leads to increased debt and inflation, particularly when the government spends money it doesn’t have.
2. Economic control is, in effect, political control. For instance, monetary policy defined by a central banking authority represents government encroachment on overall freedom.
3. Individual freedom is a precondition for prosperity. “Hayek believed that the price system fulfilled a critical function in society, and the price system only works if people can choose freely what to buy and at what price” Angner explains. Consequently, Hayek opposed government monopolies and price ceilings or floors that limit consumer choice. Moreover, Hayek believed that interference with the price system could be the first step toward government intervention in other aspects of people’s lives.
New Devices Zap Excess Pounds, but Are They Safe?
By Tara Hulen
Fat-zapping lasers and other new technologies offer appealing nonsurgical options for weight loss, but the techniques may not be for everyone.
For every woman who has squeezed into torturously tiny shapewear and every man who wants to flatten a fleshy spare tire, fantasy has now become reality. Two new devices recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can cause fat cells to die and disappear, along with an inch or so of bulges. But they aren’t for everyone, a UAB expert says.
Zeltiq freezes fat cells and causes them to shrivel and die over several months; Zerona uses low-level laser therapy to purge fat from surface-level cells over a period of weeks. The treatments don’t produce the same results as liposuction, but they offer a noninvasive option to smooth small trouble spots without any incisions, anesthesia, or downtime, and typically they are less expensive than surgery.
Mixing Military Life and Medical School
By Doug Gillett
Jason Patten (left) and Scott and Rozalyn Love are three of approximately 20 students from the UAB School of Medicine who are serving in the military in some capacity.
These days Jason Patten is most likely found in one of two places: in a classroom at the UAB School of Medicine, or in the cockpit of an F-16 high above Alabama.
After six years of training and flying with the Air National Guard post in Montgomery, Patten began applying to medical schools in 2006. Now he’s a third-year student living two of his childhood dreams at once—being a doctor and a fighter pilot. “It’s a lot of work balancing everything, but it’s worth it,” he says. “I have no complaints.”
The balancing act means that Patten sometimes must attend classes, then drive to Montgomery the same night to practice his dogfighting skills with fellow pilots. And regular deployments to the Middle East have challenged him to keep up with classes from 5,000 miles away.