University of Wisconsin-Madison is a big-idea powerhouse. Throughout its 169-year history, and particularly from 1972-2016, it has ranked in the top five research universities in the country—not by accident, but by a meticulously cultivated ecosystem fueled by some of the brightest brains, a uniquely cooperative spirit, collaborative infrastructure, innovative partnerships and a thriving entrepreneurial spirit. (Last year, for the first time in more than four decades, it slipped to number six, after sustaining several years of state funding cuts since 2001.) UW-Madison remains a $15 billion economic engine for the state, generating $24 for every Wisconsin taxpayer dollar spent and attracting $890 million a year in competitive federal grants alone….

Big Ideas at UW-Madison

Big Ideas at UW-Madison

Madison Magazine cover story, August 2017

A snapshot of just a few of the biggest ideas coming out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, including using plant leaves as scaffolding to grow human stem cells; harnessing technology to combat loneliness and addiction; helping lactating women who take medication for depression through a discovery in dairy cows; traveling in a tube at the speed of sound; measuring the dark matter that surrounds us; and growing human skin for burn victims.


—Maggie Ginsberg is an award-winning freelance writer in Madison, Wisconsin

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