MIT News - Awards, honors and fellowships MIT News is dedicated to communicating to the media and the public the news and achievements of the students, faculty, staff and the greater MIT community. en Mon, 09 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0400 2020 MacVicar Faculty Fellows named Anikeeva, Fuller, Tisdale, and White receive MIT&#039;s highest honor in undergraduate teaching. Mon, 09 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0400 Alison Trachy | Registrar’s Office <p><em>This article has been updated to reflect the cancellation of the 2020 MacVicar Day symposium.</em></p> <p>The Office of the Vice Chancellor and the Registrar’s Office have announced this year’s Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellows: materials science and engineering Professor Polina Anikeeva, literature Professor Mary Fuller, chemical engineering Professor William Tisdale, and electrical engineering and computer science Professor Jacob White.</p> <p>Role models both in and out of the classroom, the new fellows have tirelessly sought to improve themselves, their students, and the Institute writ large. They have reimagined curricula, crossed disciplines, and pushed the boundaries of what education can be. They join a matchless academy of scholars committed to exceptional instruction and innovation.</p> <p>For nearly three decades, the <a href="">MacVicar Faculty Fellows Program</a> has been recognizing exemplary undergraduate teaching and advising around the Institute. The program was&nbsp;named after Margaret MacVicar, the first dean for undergraduate education and founder of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). Nominations are made by departments and include letters of support from colleagues, students, and alumni. Fellows are appointed to 10-year terms in which they receive $10,000 per year of discretionary funds.</p> <p>This year’s MacVicar Day symposium — which had been scheduled for this Friday, March 13 — has been canceled after <a href="" target="_self">new MIT policies on events</a> were set in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus.</p> <p><strong>Polina Anikeeva</strong></p> <p>“I’m speechless,” Polina Anikeeva, associate professor of materials science and engineering and brain and cognitive sciences, says of becoming a MacVicar Fellow. “In my opinion, this is the greatest honor one could have at MIT.”</p> <p>Anikeeva received her PhD from MIT in 2009 and became a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering two years later. She attended St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University for her undergraduate education. Through her research — which combines materials science, electronics, and neurobiology — she works to better understand and treat brain disorders.</p> <p>Anikeeva’s colleague Christopher Schuh says, “Her ability and willingness to work with students however and whenever they need help, her engaging classroom persona, and her creative solutions to real-time challenges all culminate in one of MIT’s most talented and beloved undergraduate professors.”</p> <p>As an instructor, advisor, and <a href="">marathon runner</a>, Anikeeva has learned the importance of finding balance. Her colleague Lionel Kimerling reflects on this delicate equilibrium: “As a teacher, Professor Anikeeva is among the elite who instruct, inspire, and nurture at the same time. It is a difficult task to demand rigor with a gentle mentoring hand.”</p> <p>Students call her classes “incredibly hard” but fun and exciting at the same time. She is “the consummate scientist, splitting her time evenly between honing her craft, sharing knowledge with students and colleagues, and mentoring aspiring researchers,” wrote one.</p> <p>Her passion for her work and her devotion to her students are evident in the nomination letters. One student recounted their first conversation: “We spoke for 15 minutes, and after talking to her about her research and materials science, I had never been so viscerally excited about anything.” This same student described the guidance and support Anikeeva provided her throughout her time at MIT. After working with Anikeeva to apply what she learned in the classroom to a real-world problem, this student recalled, “I honestly felt like an engineer and a scientist for the first time ever. I have never felt so fulfilled and capable. And I realize that’s what I want for the rest of my life — to feel the highs and lows of discovery.”</p> <p>Anikeeva champions her students in faculty and committee meetings as well. She is a “reliable advocate for student issues,” says Caroline Ross, associate department head and professor in DMSE. “Professor Anikeeva is always engaged with students, committed to student well-being, and passionate about education.”</p> <p>“Undergraduate teaching has always been a crucial part of my MIT career and life,” Anikeeva reflects. “I derive my enthusiasm and energy from the incredibly talented MIT students — every year they surprise me with their ability to rise to ever-expanding intellectual challenges. Watching them grow as scientists, engineers, and — most importantly — people is like nothing else.”</p> <p><strong>Mary Fuller</strong></p> <p>Experimentation is synonymous with education at MIT and it is a crucial part of literature Professor Mary Fuller’s classes. As her colleague Arthur Bahr notes, “Mary’s habit of starting with a discrete practical challenge can yield insights into much broader questions.”</p> <p>Fuller attended Dartmouth College as an undergraduate, then received both her MA and PhD in English and American literature from The Johns Hopkins University. She began teaching at MIT in 1989. From 2013 to 2019, Fuller was head of the Literature Section. Her successor in the role, Shankar Raman, says that her nominators “found [themselves] repeatedly surprised by the different ways Mary has pushed the limits of her teaching here, going beyond her own comfort zones to experiment with new texts and techniques.”</p> <p>“Probably the most significant thing I’ve learned in 30 years of teaching here is how to ask more and better questions,” says Fuller. As part of a series of discussions on ethics and computing, she has explored the possibilities of <a href="">artificial intelligence</a> from a literary perspective. She is also developing a tool for the edX platform called PoetryViz, which would allow MIT students and students around the world to practice close reading through poetry annotation in an entirely new way.</p> <p>“We all innovate in our teaching. Every year. But, some of us innovate more than others,” Krishna Rajagopal, dean for digital learning, observes. “In addition to being an outstanding innovator, Mary is one of those colleagues who weaves the fabric of undergraduate education across the Institute.”</p> <p>Lessons learned in Fuller’s class also underline the importance of a well-rounded education. As one alumna reflected, “Mary’s teaching carried a compassion and ethic which enabled non-humanities students to appreciate literature as a diverse, valuable, and rewarding resource for personal and social reflection.”</p> <p>Professor Fuller, another student remarked, has created “an environment where learning is not merely the digestion of rote knowledge, but instead the broad-based exploration of ideas and the works connected to them.”</p> <p>“Her imagination is capacious, her knowledge is deep, and students trust her — so that they follow her eagerly into new and exploratory territory,” says Professor of Literature Stephen Tapscott.</p> <p>Fuller praises her students’ willingness to take that journey with her, saying, “None of my classes are required, and none are technical, so I feel that students have already shown a kind of intellectual generosity by putting themselves in the room to do the work.”</p> <p>For students, the hard work is worth it. Mary Fuller, one nominator declared, is exactly “the type of deeply impactful professor that I attended MIT hoping to learn from.”</p> <p><strong>William Tisdale</strong></p> <p>William Tisdale is the ARCO Career Development Professor of chemical engineering and, according to his colleagues, a “true star” in the department.</p> <p>A member of the faculty since 2012, he received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and his PhD from the University of Minnesota. After a year as a postdoc at MIT, Tisdale became an assistant professor. His <a href="">research interests</a> include nanotechnology and energy transport.</p> <p>Tisdale’s colleague Kristala Prather calls him a “curriculum fixer.” During an internal review of Course 10 subjects, the department discovered that 10.213 (Chemical and Biological Engineering) was the least popular subject in the major and needed to be revised. After carefully evaluating the coursework, and despite having never taught 10.213 himself, Tisdale envisioned a novel way of teaching it. With his suggestions, the class went from being “despised” to loved, with subject evaluations improving by 70 percent from one spring to the next. “I knew Will could make a difference, but I had no idea he could make that big of a difference in just one year,” remarks Prather. One student nominator even went so far as to call 10.213, as taught by Tisdale, “one of my best experiences at MIT.”</p> <p>Always patient, kind, and adaptable, Tisdale’s willingness to tackle difficult problems is reflected in his teaching. “While the class would occasionally start to mutiny when faced with a particularly confusing section, Prof. Tisdale would take our groans on with excitement,” wrote one student. “His attitude made us feel like we could all get through the class together.” Regardless of how they performed on a test, wrote another, Tisdale “clearly sent the message that we all always have so much more to learn, but that first and foremost he respected you as a person.”</p> <p>“I don’t think I could teach the way I teach at many other universities,” Tisdale says. “MIT students show up on the first day of class with an innate desire to understand the world around them; all I have to do is pull back the curtain!”</p> <p>“Professor Tisdale remains the best teacher, mentor, and role model that I have encountered,” one student remarked. “He has truly changed the course of my life.”</p> <p>“I am extremely thankful to be at a university that values undergraduate education so highly,” Tisdale says. “Those of us who devote ourselves to undergraduate teaching and mentoring do so out of a strong sense of responsibility to the students as well as a genuine love of learning. There are few things more validating than being rewarded for doing something that already brings you joy.”</p> <p><strong>Jacob White</strong></p> <p>Jacob White is the Cecil H. Green Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and chair of the Committee on Curricula. After completing his undergraduate degree at MIT, he received a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a member of the Course 6 faculty since 1987.</p> <p>Colleagues and students alike observed White’s dedication not just to teaching, but to improving teaching throughout the Institute. As Luca Daniel and Asu Ozdaglar of the EECS department noted in their nomination letter, “Jacob completely understands that the most efficient way to make his passion and ideas for undergraduate education have a real lasting impact is to ‘teach it to the teachers!’”</p> <p>One student wrote that White “has spent significant time and effort educating the lab assistants” of 6.302 (Feedback System Design). As one of these teaching assistants confirmed, White’s “enthusiastic spirit” inspired them to spend hours discussing how to best teach the subject. “Many people might think this is not how they want to spend their Thursday nights,” the student wrote. “I can speak for myself and the other TAs when I say that it was an incredibly fun and educational experience.”</p> <p>His work to improve instruction has even expanded to other departments. A colleague describes White’s efforts to revamp 8.02 (Physics II) as “Herculean.” Working with a group of students and postdocs to develop experiments for this subject, “he seemed to be everywhere at once … while simultaneously teaching his own class.” Iterations took place over a year and a half, after which White trained the subject’s TAs as well. Hundreds of students are benefitting from these improved experiments.</p> <p>White is, according to Daniel and Ozdaglar, “a colleague who sincerely, genuinely, and enormously cares about our undergraduate students and their education, not just in our EECS department, but also in our entire MIT home.”</p> <p>When he’s not fine-tuning pedagogy or conducting teacher training, he is personally supporting his students. A visiting student described White’s attention: “He would regularly meet with us in groups of two to make sure we were learning. In a class of about 80 students in a huge lecture hall, it really felt like he cared for each of us.”</p> <p>And his zeal has rubbed off: “He made me feel like being excited about the material was the most important thing,” one student wrote.</p> <p>The significance of such a spark is not lost on White. "As an MIT freshman in the late 1970s, I joined an undergraduate research program being pioneered by Professor Margaret MacVicar," he says. "It was Professor MacVicar and UROP that put me on the academic's path of looking for interesting problems with instructive solutions. It is a path I have walked for decades, with extraordinary colleagues and incredible students. So, being selected as a MacVicar Fellow? No honor could mean more to me."</p> The 2020 MacVicar Faculty Fellows are: (clockwise from top left) Polina Anikeeva, Jacob White, William Tisdale, and Mary Fuller.Photos (clockwise from top left): Lillie Paquette, Sampson Wilcox, Webb Chappell, Jon SachsOffice of the Vice Chancellor, MacVicar fellows, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), Materials Science and Engineering, Literature, EdX, Electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), School of Engineering, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty, Awards, honors and fellowships, Education, teaching, academics, Mentoring, Undergraduate, Chemical engineering School of Engineering fourth quarter 2019 awards Faculty members recognized for excellence via a diverse array of honors, grants, and prizes over the last quarter. Fri, 06 Mar 2020 13:30:01 -0500 School of Engineering <p>Members of the MIT engineering faculty receive many awards in recognition of their scholarship, service, and overall excellence. Every quarter, the School of Engineering publicly recognizes their achievements by highlighting the honors, prizes, and medals won by faculty working in our academic departments, labs, and centers.</p> <p>Hal Abelson, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,&nbsp;received an <a href="">honorary doctorate in education from the Education University of Hong Kong</a>&nbsp;on Nov. 22, 2019.</p> <p>Jesús del Alamo, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, <a href="">won the University Researcher Award</a> from the Semiconductor Industry Association and the Semiconductor Research Corporation on Nov. 7, 2019.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Mohammad Alizadeh, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,&nbsp;won the&nbsp;<a href="">2019 VMware Systems Research Award</a>&nbsp;on Dec. 18, 2019.</p> <p>Hari Balakrishnan, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,&nbsp;was named a&nbsp;<a href="">2020 fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers</a> (IEEE)&nbsp;on Dec. 3, 2019.</p> <p>Irmgard Bischofberger, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, won the&nbsp;<a href="">2019 APS/DFD Milton van Dyke Award</a>&nbsp;on Dec. 4, 2019.</p> <p>Adam Chlipala, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,&nbsp;was named a distinguished member of the Association for Computing Machinery on Dec. 20, 2019.</p> <p>William Freeman, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, <a href="">won the Distinguished Researcher Award</a> from the IEEE Computer Society's Technical Committee on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence on Oct. 30, 2019.</p> <p>Shafi Goldwasser, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,&nbsp;received an <a href="">honorary doctorate of science from Oxford University</a> on June 26, 2019, and she received an <a href="">honorary doctorate in mathematics from the University of Waterloo</a>&nbsp;on June 13, 2019.</p> <p>Wesley L. Harris, of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was named a&nbsp;<a href="">2019 AAAS Fellow</a>&nbsp;on Nov. 26, 2019.</p> <p>Jonathan How, of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, won the&nbsp;<a href="">2020 AIAA Intelligent Systems Award</a>&nbsp;on Dec. 5, 2019.</p> <p>Roger Kamm, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering,&nbsp;won the&nbsp;<a href="">Shu Chien Achievement Award</a>&nbsp;on Jan. 2.</p> <p>David Karger, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was <a href="">inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences</a>&nbsp;on Nov. 12, 2019.</p> <p>Heather Lechtman, of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, <a href="">won the Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology</a>&nbsp;on Jan. 4.</p> <p>Charles Leiserson, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, <a href="">won the Test of Time Award for 1999</a> from IEEE Symposium on the Foundations of Computer Science on Nov. 9, 2019.</p> <p>Nancy Leveson, of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, won the&nbsp;<a href="">2020 IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies</a> on Dec. 18, 2019.</p> <p>Barbara Liskov, Institute Professor Emerita of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, received an <a href="">honorary doctorate in mathematics from the University of Waterloo</a>&nbsp;on June 13, 2019.</p> <p>Leonid Mirny, of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science,&nbsp;was selected for the&nbsp;<a href="">Chaires Blaise Pascal 2019</a>&nbsp;on Oct. 30, 2019.</p> <p>Dava Newman, of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was <a href="">elected to the Aerospace Corporation’s Board of Trustees</a>&nbsp;on Dec. 23, 2019.</p> <p>Wim van Rees, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering,&nbsp;won the&nbsp;<a href="">2019 APS/DFD Milton van Dyke Award</a>&nbsp;on Dec. 4, 2019.</p> <p>Ellen Roche, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering,&nbsp;was named <a href="">associate scientific advisor of <em>Science Translational Medicine</em></a>&nbsp;on Jan. 17.</p> <p>Kripa Varanasi, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, won the&nbsp;<a href="">2019 APS/DFD Milton van Dyke Award</a>&nbsp;on Dec. 4, 2019.</p> <p>Alan Willsky (post-tenure), of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,&nbsp;won the&nbsp;<a href="">IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal</a>&nbsp;on May 17, 2019.</p> <p>Maria Yang, Sang-Gook Kim, and Caitlin Mueller, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, won the&nbsp;<a href="">National Science Foundation LEAP HI Award</a>&nbsp;on Dec. 4, 2019.</p> <p>Xuanhe Zhao, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering,&nbsp;won the&nbsp;<a href="">Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award</a>&nbsp;on Jan. 2.</p> Members of the MIT engineering faculty receive many awards in recognition of their scholarship, service, and overall excellence.Photo: Lillie Paquette/School of EngineeringSchool of Engineering, Mechanical engineering, Awards, honors and fellowships, Faculty, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (eecs), DMSE, Aeronautical and astronautical engineering Agustín Rayo wins 2020 PROSE Award MIT philosophy professor&#039;s “On the Brink of Paradox” honored as one of the best books in professional and scholarly publishing. Wed, 04 Mar 2020 13:00:01 -0500 MIT Press <p>The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has announced the winners for the 2020 PROSE Awards, which annually recognize the best in professional and scholarly publishing. Among the winners is “<a href="" target="_blank">On the Brink of Paradox: Highlights from the Intersection of Philosophy and Mathematics</a>” (MIT Press, 2019) by Agustín Rayo, author and professor of philosophy at MIT.</p> <p>The book won for the textbook/humanities category. In it, Rayo, who is also associate dean of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, offers an introduction to awe-inspiring issues at the intersection of philosophy and mathematics and explores ideas at the brink of paradox: infinities of different sizes, time travel, probability and measure theory, computability theory, the Grandfather Paradox, Newcomb's Problem, and others. The book is based on a popular course (<a href="" target="_blank">and massive open online course</a>) taught by the author at MIT.</p> <p>The AAP unveiled 49 subject category <a href="" target="_blank">winners&nbsp;</a>for the 2020&nbsp;<a href="">PROSE Awards</a>&nbsp;honoring the best scholarly works published in 2019. The winners were selected by a panel of 19 judges from the&nbsp;<a href="">157 finalists</a>&nbsp;previously identified from the more than 630 entries in this year’s PROSE Awards competition. The subject category winners announced demonstrate exceptional scholarship and have made a significant contribution to a field of study.</p> <p>“I want to congratulate the winners of this year’s PROSE Awards and recognize the 10 MIT Press books that were named finalists,” says Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press. “'On the Brink' offers unique and compelling insights into mathematics and reflects the overall mission of the MIT Press to push the boundaries of what a university press can be. We are honored to be among the other winners for this distinguished prize.”</p> <p>Another MIT Press book, “<a href="">Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music</a>,” by Kyle Devine, also won a PROSE Award for the music and the performing arts category.</p> MIT Press, Awards, honors and fellowships, Books and authors, Faculty, Philosophy, Mathematics, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences Undergraduate Teaching Lab wins SafetyStratus College and University Health and Safety Award The award is given annually by the American Chemical Society. Tue, 03 Mar 2020 15:20:01 -0500 Danielle Randall Doughty | Department of Chemistry <p>The Department of Chemistry’s&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory</a>&nbsp;has been awarded the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">2020 SafetyStratus College and University Health and Safety Award</a> by the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS gives this award in recognition of the most comprehensive chemical safety programs in higher undergraduate education.</p> <p>The process of submitting the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory for this illustrious prize was initiated by Whitney Hess, manager of safety systems and programs at MIT.Nano, who worked diligently with laboratory Director John Dolhun to complete the comprehensive application required for the award.</p> <div> <p>“We feel very honored, this represents our collective efforts to strive for the highest standards in fostering a safe teaching lab and in enhancing the chemical safety education of our undergraduates,” said Dolhun and Hess in a joint statement. “We are motivated to continuously improve our lab operations and safety, in alignment with the research advances happening in the chemistry department that inspire our lab modules.”</p> <div> <p>Winners of the SafetyStratus College and University Health and Safety Award receive a $1,000 honorarium and an engraved plaque, which are presented at the 2020 CHAS Awards Symposium at the ACS Fall national meeting. The recipients will deliver a 15- to 20-minute presentation on any topic pertaining to chemical safety at the symposium.</p> <div> <p>MIT previously received this award in 2005 and 1991.</p> </div> </div> </div> Whitney Hess (left) and John DolhunPhoto: Danielle DoughtyChemistry, Awards, honors and fellowships, School of Science, Safety, Health, MIT.nano, Nanoscience and nanotechnology MIT students dominate annual Putnam Mathematical Competition Participating MIT students make history by taking all top five spots — the first time this has happened for any school. Tue, 03 Mar 2020 11:55:02 -0500 Sandi Miller | Department of Mathematics <p>Each December, thousands of undergraduates participate in the <a href="">William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition</a>, the premier math contest in the United States and Canada. The 80th annual exam was held on Dec. 7, 2019, and results were announced Feb. 18. For the first time in Putnam’s history, all five of the top spots in the contest, known as Putnam Fellows, came from a single school — MIT.</p> <p>MIT students also dominated the rest of the scoreboard: nine of the next 11, eight of the next 12, and 33 of the following 80 honorable mention rankings. Among the top 192 test-takers overall, 76 were MIT students.</p> <p>The 2019 Putnam Fellows, listed in alphabetical order, are seniors Ashwin Sah and Kevin Sun, junior Yuan Yao, sophomore Shengtong Zhang, and first-year Daniel Zhu. Yao and Zhang were 2018 Putnam Fellows, and Sah was a 2017 Putnam Fellow. Among the three top scorers — Sah, Zhang, and Zhu — two earned a nearly perfect score, and one (who prefers not to be named) earned a perfect score of 120 points. This is only the fifth time in Putnam's history that a test-taker received a perfect score.</p> <p>Competitors were also ranked by participating institution. Starting in 2019, the ranking is based on the three top scorers from each institution (while in previous years, it was based on the scores of three preselected individuals). MIT came in first as a team since the three top scorers, Sah, Zhang, and Zhu, are all from MIT. This is the MIT team’s fifth first-place win in the past seven years. This year, Harvard University came in second and Stanford University came in third.</p> <p>The Department of Mathematics will also honor two top-scoring female students, first-year Dain Kim and junior Qi Qi, at an awards dinner that will be held in the spring. Qi was one of three recipients for the 2019 Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize, given to top female contestants. She is the fourth MIT student to receive this honor since the award began in 1992.&nbsp;</p> <p>The honors come with cash awards. The institution with the first-place team receives $25,000, and each member of the team receives $1,000. Each Putnam Fellow receives $2,500, the next 11 highest-ranking individuals each receive $1,000, and the next 12 highest-ranking individuals each receive $250. The Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize carries a $1,000 award, and the Department of Mathematics will also give a $1,000 special prize to Dain Kim.</p> <p>“This was unprecedented,” says <a href="">Yufei Zhao</a>, Class of 1956 Career Development Assistant Professor of Mathematics, who coaches first-year students for the competitions via the Putnam Seminar in the fall, and also oversees the competition at MIT. “It was a pretty surreal result. I am extremely proud of our students’ phenomenal performance at the Putnam Competition. We are very happy to see that our undergraduate community is home to such an exceptional group of students.”</p> <p>The Department of Mathematics’ <a href="">PRIMES</a> program, which attracts many top high school math-inclined students to its STEM classes, also boasted of many alumni among the top scorers, including Zhu and 15 other MIT students, and three Harvard students — including a "next-12" finisher, Franklyn Wang, and an Elizabeth Lowell Putnam co-winner Laura Pierson.</p> <p>Many MIT Putnam competitors have prepared for the exam by participating in the first-year Putnam Seminar <a href="">18.A34 (Mathematical Problem Solving, Putnam Seminar)</a>, taught by Zhao, who was a three-time Putnam Fellow when he was an undergraduate at MIT. Through the seminar, Zhao encourages students to “use their experience in math competitions as a springboard onto higher mathematics,” and emphasizes the importance of good communication and presentation skills.</p> <p>A number of Putnam competitors go on to have successful research careers. Several faculty members of the Department of&nbsp;Mathematics were Putnam Fellows: Davesh Maulik, Bjorn Poonen, Peter Shor, David Vogan, and Zhao. In <a href="">Putnam’s history</a>, only eight participants were four-time Putnam Fellows, including Poonen, and three of them were MIT students. In fact, the first four-time Putnam Fellow was former MIT student Don Coppersmith '72, who went on to have a successful research career in cryptography.</p> <p>Success at math competitions “is neither necessary nor sufficient to becoming a good research mathematician,” according to Zhao. Nevertheless, he believes that the skills promoted by math competitions can be useful in research mathematics. Zhao regularly works with MIT undergraduate students to produce <a href="">cutting-edge research results</a>. “I am very fortunate to work with these amazing students,” says Zhao.</p> <p>Administered by the Mathematical Association of America, the competition included 150 MIT students among 4,229 test-takers from 570 U.S. and Canadian institutions. The six-hour exam, taken over two sessions on the first Saturday of December each year, consists of 12 problems worth 10 points each. Fewer than a fourth of all participants of this competition scored more than 10 points total, and the median score was 2.</p> <p>Complete results from the competition can be found on the <a href="">MAA website</a>. For more history on the competition, former MAA President Joseph A. Gallian wrote an interesting <a href="">2015 overview</a>.&nbsp;</p> MIT students set records at this year’s Putnam Competition: (left to right) Shengtong Zhang, Yuan Yao, Kevin Sun, Daniel Zhu, Qi Qi, and Dain Kim. Not pictured: Ashwin Sah. Photo: Sandi MillerMathematics, School of Science, Awards, honors and fellowships, Contests and academic competitions, Students, Undergraduate, Women in STEM Leigh Estabrooks wins Society of Women Engineers WE Local Engaged Advocate Award Lemelson-MIT Program invention education officer honored for the advancement and advocacy of young women in engineering. Mon, 02 Mar 2020 13:15:01 -0500 Carolyn Blais | Lemelson-MIT Program <p>Leigh Estabrooks, the invention education officer at the Lemelson-MIT Program, was recently awarded the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) 2020 WE Local Engaged Advocate Award in her home state of North Carolina. Estabrooks received the award for her contributions to the advancement of women in engineering. She has engaged young women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through inventing over the past 15 years at the Lemelson-MIT Program, part of MIT’s School of Engineering.</p> <p>“I invent inventors,” says Estabrooks when asked about her role as the invention education officer. “I try to help students understand that ‘inventor’ isn't an elite status, and that all kids, all students can invent — including female students. I am honored to receive this award from SWE and will continue working hard to encourage girls to consider inventing solutions to help others.”</p> <p>The Lemelson-MIT Program promotes invention and its societal benefits through a prize program for collegiate inventors, a grants initiative for teams of high school students, invention curriculum for middle school students, invention resources, and professional development for teachers. The program is led by Faculty Director Michael J. Cima, the associate dean of innovation for the School of Engineering, co-director of the MIT Innovation Initiative, and the David H. Koch Professor of Engineering. Estabrooks oversees all K-12 invention education initiatives, including the InvenTeams grants initiative for high school students, and develops, pilots, and scales educational offerings that compel K-8 students to consider invention as a way to help improve the lives of others.</p> <p>Estabrooks says the first step to encouraging students to think like inventors is to help them develop confidence in themselves and give them the freedom to solve problems of their own choosing. When kids identify a challenge in their local community that is meaningful to them, inventing a solution becomes a personal, driving force that encourages students to be fearless self-learners.</p> <p>“On top of everything else that a student is doing, inventing takes many hours,” says Estabrooks. “It's after-school work. It's weekend work. That’s why being invested in the problem is so important. Students are more likely to persevere when people in their very own family or community may be able to benefit from their hard work to invent a solution to their problem.”</p> <p>Estabrooks notes that inventing is vital to our economy. Along with Lemelson-MIT Executive Director Stephanie Couch, Estabrooks has written and published research on the emerging field of invention education and its importance in the United States. Estabrooks says that the students who have been part of Lemelson-MIT’s InvenTeams, “are doing amazing things like integrating computational thinking, coding, and computer science with microelectronics as they invent within the context of the internet of things.”</p> <p>Honing these types of skills throughout the invention process gives high school students the ability to tackle pressing challenges in today’s technological world. The U.S. economy has the potential to benefit when students go on to patent their inventions or become entrepreneurs who build companies to bring their inventions to the market. Nine InvenTeams to date have received U.S. patents for their inventions. MIT alumna Katelyn Sweeney '18 is an example of a 2012 InvenTeam member who is an inventor on a patent. Sweeney was mentored by Estabrooks and now builds economic and social value working in the development group as a mechanical engineer for a global communications company.</p> <p>Many of the high school girls that Estabrooks works with have had little exposure to STEM enrichment opportunities prior to InvenTeams. Estabrooks noticed the need to implement invention education programing in earlier grades. Lemelson-MIT’s JV InvenTeams activity guides were derived out of this need. A growing number of these guides, which include theme-based invention curriculum that focuses on the hands-on and minds-on aspects of inventing for middle school students, are available on the Lemelson-MIT website for free download.</p> <p>Currently, Estabrooks is reaching even younger female students through an afterschool program at Fletcher Maynard Academy, a public elementary school near MIT, with support from MIT’s Office of Government and Community Relations and a grant from the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL). The J-WEL grant includes assistance from professor of mechanical engineering Maria Yang, graduate student Dextina Booker, and Evelyn Gomez '10. The team is teaching Stepping into Coding and Inventing through Toy Design to over 30 girls in grades 3 through 5. The girls, along with other K-8 students in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will present their inventions at the first local <a href="" target="_blank">Invention Convention</a> on April 25, a free event, open to the public.</p> <p>Stephanie Couch says, “I am proud of Leigh for being recognized for her impactful and significant work in supporting and encouraging young women to invent and pursue STEM fields of study and careers. This recognition aligns with MIT’s ongoing commitment to create meaningful opportunities in K-12 STEM education for all students, and to prepare students for the future of work.”</p> Leigh Estabrooks (second from left) stands with South Brunswick High School InvenTeam members at EurekaFest 2015.Photo: Lemeleson-MIT ProgramLemelson-MIT, School of Engineering, Innovation Initiative, Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL), K-12 education, Awards, honors and fellowships, Staff, STEM education, Invention Kazunori Akiyama receives 2020 Young Astronomer Award Awards program annually recognizes three early-career scientists under 35 who have made outstanding contributions to astronomy. Mon, 02 Mar 2020 10:00:00 -0500 Nancy Wolfe Kotary | MIT Haystack Observatory <p>Kazunori Akiyama, a Jansky Fellow of National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) at MIT Haystack Observatory, has received the 2020 Young Astronomer Award from the Astronomical Society of Japan (ASJ). Akiyama will receive a medal, plaque, and $1,000 prize for his significant contributions to the first-ever <a href="" target="_self">images of a black hole</a> taken with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT).</p> <p>The awards program, established in 1988 via donations from members of the ASJ society, annually recognizes up to three early-career scientists who are under 35 years of age and who have made outstanding contributions to astronomy in the past five years. This year, Akiyama shares the prize with two other awardees.</p> <p>“It is a great honor and pleasure to receive the Young Astronomer Award. This award reflects the tremendous efforts and giant accomplishments made by many highly skilled EHT colleagues across the world,” Akiyama says.</p> <p>In 2010, as a graduate student at the University of Tokyo and National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Akiyama joined an international project later named the Event Horizon Telescope. He made significant contributions to early EHT observational experiments in the early 2010s, including those of the supermassive black hole M87— images of which were finally captured and published in 2019. His PhD work won the President Award and the Research Award of the University of Tokyo in 2015.&nbsp;</p> <p>Akiyama has been working at Haystack Observatory, a radio science research center in Westford, Massachusetts, as a postdoc of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science since 2015 and as a NRAO Jansky Fellow since 2017. Akiyama developed new imaging techniques and a software package named SMILI, one of the three software packages used to create the first images of M87.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Kazu authored one of the three algorithms used by the EHT; his work was an essential part of the historic first imaging of a black hole by the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration," says Colin Lonsdale, director of Haystack Observatory and vice-chair of the EHT board. "Kazu's achievements honored by this award provide an example of the important contributions being made by early-career scientists, and of the value of strong collaboration amongst academic research institutions worldwide. We are proud to have him working with us at Haystack and contributing to EHT research."</p> <p>More than 200 scientists officially established the EHT collaboration in 2017. Akiyama serves as a co-leader of the EHT imaging working group. Akiyama co-led the <a href="" target="_blank">fourth of the six EHT papers</a> on the first M87 EHT results, which reports on how the imaging process of the EHT data revealed the shadow of the black hole M87, illuminated by surrounding light-emitting plasma. The entire Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration has received many prominent honors and awards, including the <a href="" target="_blank">2020 Breakthrough Prize</a>, and is funded by the National Science Foundation, the European Research Council, and funding agencies in East Asia, including the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.</p> <p>“The first images of M87 opened up a new era of black hole astrophysics, where the enigmatic nature of the black holes will be studied with images or even movies filmed with the EHT,” Akiyama says. “I plan to continue exploring new facets of&nbsp; black hole research in the next decades of the exciting EHT era.”</p> Kazunori Akiyama has been working at MIT Haystack Observatory, a radio science research center in Westford, Massachusetts, as a postdoc of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science since 2015 and as a NRAO Jansky Fellow since 2017.Photo: Nancy Wolfe Kotary/MIT Haystack ObservatoryHaystack Observatory, Astronomy, Awards, honors and fellowships, Black holes, Japan, Staff, Space, astronomy and planetary science Four MIT researchers elected to the National Academy of Engineering for 2020 New members have made advances in computer architecture, network coding, ocean engineering, higher education, and quantum computation. Wed, 26 Feb 2020 11:40:01 -0500 School of Engineering | School of Science | MIT Schwarzman College of Computing <p>Four MIT researchers are among the 87 new members and 18 foreign associates <a href="" target="_blank">elected to the&nbsp;National Academy of Engineering</a> for 2020.</p> <p>Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of&nbsp;technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or&nbsp;developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”</p> <p>The four elected this year include:</p> <p><a href="">Joel Emer</a>, professor of the practice in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, for quantitative analysis of computer architecture and its application to architectural innovation in commercial microprocessors.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Muriel Médard</a>, the Cecil H. Green Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, for contributions to the theory and practice of network coding.</p> <p><a href="">Peter Shor</a>, the Morss Professor of Applied Mathematics, for pioneering contributions to quantum computation.</p> <p><a href="">Dick K.P. Yue</a>, the Philip J. Solondz Professor of Engineering and professor of mechanical and ocean engineering, for contributions to ocean engineering and innovation of OpenCourseWare to make higher education freely available worldwide.</p> <p>Including this year’s inductees, 142 members of the NAE are current or retired members of the MIT faculty and staff, or members of the MIT Corporation.</p> Four MIT researchers are among the 87 new members and 18 foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Image courtesy of the National Academy of EngineeringFaculty, Awards, honors and fellowships, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (eecs), School of Engineering, School of Science, MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, Mechanical engineering Thirty-eight exceptional MIT students named 2020 Burchard Scholars Students expand intellectual horizons and leadership skills at dinner-seminars with MIT faculty.   Tue, 25 Feb 2020 12:50:01 -0500 School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences <p>The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) announced 38 exceptional sophomore and junior students as the new Burchard Scholars for 2020.</p> <p>The selective Burchard Scholars program, named in honor of John Ely Burchard, the first dean of SHASS, recognizes sophomores and juniors who have&nbsp;demonstrated outstanding abilities and academic excellence in&nbsp;some aspect of the humanistic fields — the humanities, arts, and social sciences — as well as in STEM fields.</p> <p>Over one calendar year, from February to December, the Burchards attend a series of dinner-seminars with distinguished MIT faculty, as well as cultural events in the Boston, Massachusetts, metropolitan area. The experiences provide a challenging, intellectual space in which the scholars further expand their intellectual horizons.</p> <p><strong>Excellence in both the humanistic and STEM fields</strong><br /> <br /> “The Burchard Scholars are an extraordinary group of MIT undergraduates who have demonstrated enthusiasm and aptitude for the humanities, social sciences, or arts,”&nbsp;says Margery Resnick, professor of literature and director of the Burchard program. “Selection is competitive, and the students who are chosen are thoughtful, smart, and grateful for the opportunity to discuss ideas with faculty and fellow students.”<br /> <br /> The scholars themselves represent a diverse swath of studies across the Institute. This year, the Burchards come from over a dozen different fields of study, among them biology, anthropology, mechanical engineering, management, and music. What binds the group together&nbsp;is a powerful&nbsp;curiosity about ideas. This year’s selection process was especially competitive, with 100 applicants vying for a spot.</p> <p><strong>Developing powerful skills</strong><br /> <br /> The Burchard Scholars program is designed to provide promising students a challenging and friendly arena in which to develop and hone skills in expressing, critiquing, and debating ideas with peers and mentors. The scholars learn respectful and adaptable approaches for engaging in complex intellectual discussions.&nbsp;</p> <p>Many of the MIT students who receive Rhodes, Marshall, and other major scholarships and fellowships are former Burchard Scholars. Most recently, senior Steven Truong, a 2019 Burchard Scholar, was awarded a Marshall Scholarship.</p> <p><strong>The 2020 Burchard Scholars are:</strong><br /> <br /> Paolo Adajar, junior in mathematical economics, computer science, and public policy<br /> <br /> Ifeoluwapo Ademolu-Odeneye, sophomore in mathematics with computer science&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Boluwatife Akinola, junior in mathematical economics&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Anna Aldins, sophomore in music and theater arts<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Isabel Barnet, sophomore in mechanical engineering<br /> <br /> Israel Bonilla, junior in aeronautics and astronautics<br /> <br /> Owen Broderick, junior in management<br /> <br /> Kevin Costello, junior in mathematics and music<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Hope Dargan, junior in computer science and engineering, and in history<br /> <br /> Nadezhda Dimitrova, junior in aeronautics and astronautics&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Jade Fischer, junior in earth, atmosphere, and planetary sciences &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Rogerio&nbsp;Guimaraes Jr., junior in electrical engineering and computer science and in linguistics and philosophy<br /> <br /> Madeline Holtz,&nbsp;sophomore in chemistry<br /> <br /> Lily Huo, junior in biological engineering<br /> <br /> Aditya Jog, junior in biology<br /> <br /> Shuli Jones, sophomore in computer science and engineering&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Melissa Klein, junior in mechanical engineering, and in music and theater arts&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Maximillian Langenkamp, junior in electrical engineering and computer science&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Keiran Lewellen, sophomore in physics<br /> <br /> Bhavik Nagda, junior in computer science and engineering&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Neosha Narayanan, sophomore in materials science and engineering&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Avery Nguyen, sophomore in materials science and engineering&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Samuel Nitz, junior in computer science, and in molecular biology&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Isloma Osubor, junior in mechanical engineering and management<br /> <br /> Noopur Ranganathan, junior in anthropology, and in biology<br /> <br /> James Santoro, sophomore in management<br /> <br /> Haniya Shareef,&nbsp;sophomore in biological engineering&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Aaditya Singh, junior in brain and cognitive science, and in computer science and engineering&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Nailah Smith, sophomore in electrical engineering and computer science&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Madison Sneve,&nbsp;sophomore in biology<br /> <br /> Edwin Song, sophomore in mathematical economics&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Sarah Spector, junior in electrical engineering and computer science, and in Latin American and Latino/a studies<br /> <br /> Shobhita Sundaram, sophomore in electrical engineering and computer science&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Sarah Weidman, junior in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, and in physics&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> Alyssa Wells-Lewis, junior in mechanical engineering&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Kevin Wesel, junior in biology<br /> <br /> Carine You, sophomore in electrical engineering and computer science</p> "The Burchard Scholars are an extraordinary group of MIT undergraduates who have demonstrated enthusiasm and aptitude for the humanities, social sciences, or arts,” says Margery Resnick, an MIT professor of literature and director of the Burchard program.School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Arts, Humanities, Leadership, Social sciences, Students, Undergraduate, awards, Awards, honors and fellowships Charlotte Minsky and Lyndie Mitchell Zollinger named 2020 Gates Cambridge Scholars MIT seniors will pursue graduate studies at Cambridge University. Tue, 18 Feb 2020 13:25:01 -0500 Office of Distinguished Fellowships <p>MIT seniors Charlotte Minsky and Lyndie Mitchell Zollinger have won the prestigious&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Gates Cambridge Scholarship</a>, which offers students an opportunity to pursue graduate study in the field of their choice at Cambridge University in England.&nbsp;</p> <p>Minsky, from Greenfield, Massachusetts, is completing her bachelor’s degree in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, as well as history. She had always thought her dual interest in science and the humanities were disparate until she joined the MIT and Slavery project, which illuminated for her the ways that science and technology can be tools for the structures of oppression. Minsky then realized that she could combine both science and history, and that the combined studies would allow her to struggle with the historical legacies of science. At Cambridge, she plans to read for an MPhil in history and philosophy of science before returning to the United States to earn a PhD in planetary science.&nbsp;</p> <p>Regarding Minsky's work on the MIT and Slavery project, Professor Anne McCants notes, "I was awed by the sophistication of the public presentation she gave of her research on the relationship between MIT and the economy of the post-Civil War reconstruction South, an event that was attended by all members of the MIT upper administration, as well as live-streamed for a global public audience. For someone so young, her clarity of thinking, personal confidence, and historical humility about the remaining questions were all quite extraordinary. I can honestly say that I had never seen anything like it before from a student, let alone one not even halfway through college.”</p> <p>Minsky has proven herself equally adept at scientific research, and is currently working with Professor Ray Jayawardhana's group at Cornell University on testing a new method to characterize exoplanet atmospheres. She previously studied with Professor Julien de Wit (assistant professor in earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences) to investigate the propagation of biases in exoplanet atmosphere models, as well as with Professor Benjamin Weiss and Research Scientist Mary Knapp, searching for the theorized Planet 9 by using archival radio data. She plans to continue similar work during her doctoral research.&nbsp;</p> <p>Minsky is the current vice president for the Undergraduate Association (UA), and former chief of staff to the UA. She is the former president and co-founder of the Prison Education Initiative, and regularly teaches astronomy to inmates, as well as educating the MIT community about mass incarceration. She also served as the president of Queer West, a LGBTQ+ community and advocacy organization at MIT.</p> <p>Mitchell Zollinger, from Sandy, Utah, was raised with a passion for learning, teaching, building, and medicine. After conducting research at the University of Utah’s Chemistry Department, she decided to come to MIT to study engineering. Mitchell Zollinger will graduate from MIT with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and then pursue a doctorate in engineering at the University of Cambridge. During an unfortunate accident when a giant hamster wheel fell on top of her in one of her mechanical engineering classes, she realized the importance of a mechanical perspective on medical challenges. At Cambridge, she will develop mechanical models of the progression of traumatic brain injuries. This will provide clinicians with a range of patient-specific predicted outcomes to assist them in choosing the best treatment options, and will improve patients’ lives by saving vital time and reducing the risk of further brain damage.</p> <p>Mitchell Zollinger’s work at Cambridge will build upon her summer research at the University of Auckland, where she worked to develop implantable sensors for the brain. Previously, she worked with Steven Gillmer of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, investigating the complexity of motions and required forces to open doors for people in wheelchairs. Her end goal was to create robotic assistive devices for people in wheelchairs who struggle with things like this on a day-to-day basis. “The most important thing about Lyndie’s research,” says Gillmer, “is she is doing it for the well-being of others.” She was also selected as one of only seven juniors to be a Pappalardo Apprentice.</p> <p>Mitchell Zollinger has always been committed to encouraging women in STEM, as she herself was encouraged in the field by a female neighbor who had a doctorate in science. AT MIT, she has served as a residential tutor for the Women’s Technology Program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, where she worked with high school girls to introduce and encourage them to pursue STEM fields. Mitchell Zollinger plans to continue similar initiatives through her future career as an academic in engineering.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mitchell Zollinger led the effort to create the Addir Interfaith Engagement Association to expand the group’s efforts beyond conversation about diversity to promoting greater mutual respect and understanding across the Institute. She has also been pivotal to the establishment of the Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life’s student advisory board.&nbsp;</p> <p>Minsky and Mitchell Zollinger were advised in their applications by Kim Benard of the Office of Distinguished Fellowships team in Career Advising and Professional Development, who remarks “Charlotte and Lyndie are superb examples of an MIT education, combining compassion with creativity to create a better world. We are proud that they will be representing the Institute at Cambridge, and we are equally proud of the other students who interviewed.”</p> <p>Established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship provides full funding for talented students from outside the United Kingdom to pursue postgraduate study in any subject at Cambridge University. The 2020 awards process was extremely competitive, with 28 ultimately chosen. Since the program’s inception in 2001, there have been 30 Gates Cambridge Scholars from MIT.</p> Lyndie Mitchell Zollinger (left) and Charlotte Minsky have been named 2020 Gates Cambridge Scholars.Photos courtesy of Mitchell Zollinger and MinskyEAPS, Lincoln Laboratory, Women in STEM, Mechanical engineering, Awards, honors and fellowships, History, School of Science, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, School of Engineering, Undergraduate, Students, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ), Social justice, Exoplanets SENSE.nano awards seed grants in optoelectronics, interactive manufacturing The mission of SENSE.nano is to foster the development and use of novel sensors, sensing systems, and sensing solutions. Thu, 13 Feb 2020 16:40:01 -0500 MIT.nano <p>SENSE.nano has announced the recipients of the third annual SENSE.nano seed grants. This year’s grants serve to advance innovations in sensing technologies for augmented and virtual realities (AR/VR) and advanced manufacturing systems.</p> <p>A center of excellence powered by MIT.nano, SENSE.nano received substantial interest in its 2019 call for proposals, making for stiff competition. Proposals were reviewed and evaluated by a committee consisting of industry and academia thought-leaders and were selected for funding following significant discussion. Ultimately, two projects were awarded $75,000 each to further research related to detecting movement in molecules and monitoring machine health.&nbsp;</p> <p>“SENSE.nano strives to&nbsp;convey the breadth and depth of sensing research at MIT," says Brian Anthony, co-leader of SENSE.nano, associate director of MIT.nano, and a principal&nbsp;research scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “As we work to grow SENSE.nano’s research footing and to attract partners, it is encouraging to know that so much important research — in sensors; sensor systems; and sensor science, engineering — is taking place at the Institute.”</p> <p>The projects receiving grants are:</p> <p><strong>P. Donald Keathley and Karl Berggren: Nanostructured optical-field samplers for visible to near-infrared time-domain spectroscopy</strong></p> <p>Research Scientist Phillip “Donnie” Keathley and Professor Karl Berggren from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science are developing a field-sampling technique using nanoscale structures and light waves to sense vibrational motion of molecules. Keathley is a member of Berggren’s quantum nanostructures and nanofabrication group in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE). The two are investigating an all-on-chip nanoantenna device for sampling weak sub-femtojoule-level electronic fields, in the near-infrared and visible spectrums.</p> <p>Current technology for sampling these spectra of optical energy requires a large apparatus — there is no compact device with enough sensitivity to detect the low-energy signals. Keathley and Berggren propose using plasmonic nanoantennas for measuring low-energy pulses. This technology could have significant impacts on the medical and food-safety industries by revolutionizing the accurate detection and identification of chemicals and bio-chemicals.</p> <p><strong>Jeehwan Kim: Interactive manufacturing enabled by simultaneous sensing and recognition</strong></p> <p>Jeehwan Kim, associate professor with a dual appointment in mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering, proposes an ultra-sensitive sensor system using neuromorphic chips to improve advanced manufacturing through real-time monitoring of machines. Machine failures compromise productivity and cost. Sensors that can instantly process data to provide real-time feedback would be a valuable tool for preventive maintenance of factory machines.</p> <p>Kim’s group, also part of RLE, aims to develop single-crystalline gallium nitride sensors that, when connected to AI chips, will create a feedback loop with the factory machines. Failure patterns would be recognized by the AI hardware, creating an intelligent manufacturing system that can predict and prevent failures. These sensors will have the sensitivity to navigate noisy factory environments, be small enough to form dense arrays, and have the power efficiency to be used on a large number of manufacturing machines.</p> <p>The mission of SENSE.nano is to foster the development and use of novel sensors, sensing systems, and sensing solutions in order to provide previously unimaginable insight into the condition of our world. Two new calls for seed grant proposals will open later this year in conjunction with the Immersion Lab NCSOFT collaboration and then with the SENSE.nano 2020 symposium.</p> <p>In addition to seed grants and the annual conference, SENSE.nano recently launched Talk SENSE — a monthly series for MIT students to further engage with these topics and connect with experts working in sensing technologies.</p> A center of excellence powered by MIT.nano, SENSE.nano received substantial interest in its 2019 call for proposals, making for stiff competition.Photo: David SellaMIT.nano, Mechanical engineering, Electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), Materials Science and Engineering, Nanoscience and nanotechnology, Awards, honors and fellowships, Augmented and virtual reality, Computer science and technology, Artificial intelligence, Research, Funding, Grants, Sensors, School of Engineering, Research Laboratory of Electronics Understanding law in everyday life Susan Silbey, a pioneer in studying popular attitudes toward the legal system, discussed her research while giving MIT’s annual Killian Lecture. Thu, 13 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0500 Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office <p>Toward the end of her Killian Lecture at MIT on Tuesday afternoon, Susan Silbey showed the audience a photo of a lawn chair on a city street, being used to save a parking spot during a snowstorm.</p> <p>That’s a familiar image to Boston-area residents. But in this case, the picture had a particular symbolism. Silbey’s scholarship has helped establish a groundbreaking framework for thinking about the interaction of legal codes and civic attitudes. So when people use chairs to hold parking spots, which is illegal, it reflects one specific attitude toward the law, which Silbey helped codify: that the law is there to be negotiated, challenged, and defeated.</p> <p>That is not the only view people have of the law. Some people regard the law as impartial and just, and others believe the entire legal system is oppressive. But to endure, Silbey emphasized in her remarks, a legal system cannot simply be regarded as being “outside of everyday life. … It must be located as securely within, to be powerful, to be effective, to be a rule of law.”</p> <p>And, she added, “it must be experienced in property relations, in market exchanges, in contracts … and in chairs, holding parking spots in newly shoveled, snowy streets.”</p> <p>Thus even little legal evasions, as they play out over time, “are evidence of law’s endurance in everyday life,” noted Silbey, who is the Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities, Sociology, and Anthropology, and a professor of behavioral and policy sciences at the Sloan School of Management.</p> <p>Silbey outlined her influential ideas on Tuesday, discussing her scholarship while accepting MIT’s James R. Killian, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award, the highest such honor at the Institute. The award was established in 1971 to honor Killian, who served as MIT’s 10th president, from 1948 to 1959, and chair of the MIT Corporation, from 1959 to 1971.</p> <p>“I find it very difficult to find the exact words to express how deeply and truly honored I am by this award,” Silbey said, to an audience of about 250 people in MIT’s Room 10-250. “I thank you.”</p> <p><strong>Studying her father’s job</strong></p> <p>The roots of Silbey’s work, she recounted for the audience, go back to her childhood, when her father, a enforcement supervisor in New York State’s labor department, would take her to his office in lower Manhattan. He seemed to know the legal status of every nearby business — whether they had underpaid workers, committed other infractions, or complied with the law.</p> <p>“It only dawned on me a few years ago that I have spent my entire career studying my father’s work,” Silbey said, adding that the key question she sought to address has been, “How do we empirically observe the rule of law?”</p> <p>Indeed, Silbey added, “If we think about law as statues, constitutions, or even courtrooms and juries, it cannot tell us what the law means to most people.”</p> <p>For much of the lecture, Silbey discussed the influential three-part typology of attitudes toward the law that she developed with Patricia Ewick, a professor of sociology at Clark University. Silbey and Ewick introduced their concepts in the 1998 book, “The Common Place of Law: Stories from Everyday Life.”</p> <p>As Silbey and Ewick see it, people generally adopt one of three main postures vis-à-vis the legal system: They can be “before” the law, “with” the law, or “against” the law.</p> <p>Those who are “before” the law follow the rules closely and regard the legal system as a stable, impartial edifice.</p> <p>“Legality is imagined as an objective realm of disinterested action, removed and distant from the lives of individuals,” Silbey said. “This is also the law’s story about itself, of its own awesome grandeur.”</p> <p>By contrast, people who are “with” the law regard the legal system as a game, with victory possible through skill, experience, good lawyers, and other resources.</p> <p>In this view, Silbey remarks, “There is no [objective] justice — you either win, or you lose.”</p> <p>Finally, those who are “against” the law view the entire system as an expression of unequal power, and adopt a posture of resistance to it.</p> <p>For these people, Silbey said, “legality is understood to be arbitrary and capricious,” although, she noted, people who are “against” the law are “rarely cynical” about it. They believe in the possibility of justice, but think the system denies it to them.</p> <p>Significantly, Silbey added, “We need all three to explain law’s enduring force and organizing presence.” We cannot plausibly claim the law is always impartial, but it cannot sustain legitimacy if always regarded as a game.</p> <p>Silbey was introduced by MIT chair of the faculty Rick Danheiser, who formally presented the Killian Award to her, telling Silbey it had been granted for “your insatiable curiosity, your extraordinary record of professional accomplishment, your generous mentorship, and last but not least … your important leadership contributions at MIT.”</p> <p>Silbey earned her BA in political science from Brooklyn College and her MA and PhD in political science from the University of Chicago. She was a faculty member in Wellesley College’s Department of Sociology from 1974 through 2000, when she joined the MIT faculty.</p> <p>At MIT, Silbey has also extended her research into studies of gender roles in science and engineering, while also extensively evaluating issues of compliance with the law in laboratory settings.</p> <p>Silbey’s record of service at the Institute includes tenures as chair of the MIT faculty, from 2017 to 2019; secretary of the faculty; and head of the anthropology section, from 2006 to 2014. In 2017, she even received a “Rookie Advisor” award for excellence in advising first-year undergraduates.</p> <p>In her closing remarks, Silbey made a point of thanking her faculty and staff colleagues, co-authors, family members, and particularly “my beloved late husband, Robert Silbey, who’s always been there for my entire life, more than 50 years.” Robert Silbey was an MIT faculty member from 1966 to 2011. A professor of chemistry, he served as dean of the School of Science from 2000 to 2007.</p> <p>“He is the reason I have been at MIT,” Silbey added. “These years have been marvelous. I used to say to him daily … I have never been happier in my work than the years I have been at MIT, capped by this most auspicious award. And I thank you very much.”</p> Susan Silbey, the Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities, Sociology and Anthropology, and Professor of Behavioral and Policy Sciences at the Sloan School of Management, delivering the 48th Annual James R. Killian, Jr. Faculty Achievement Award Lecture at MIT on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. Image: Jake BelcherAwards, honors and fellowships, Faculty, Special events and guest speakers, Law, Anthropology, Sociology, Policy, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Sloan School of Management Brainstorming energy-saving hacks on Satori, MIT’s new supercomputer Three-day hackathon explores methods for making artificial intelligence faster and more sustainable. Tue, 11 Feb 2020 11:50:01 -0500 Kim Martineau | MIT Quest for Intelligence <p>Mohammad Haft-Javaherian planned to spend an hour at the&nbsp;<a href="">Green AI Hackathon</a>&nbsp;— just long enough to get acquainted with MIT’s new supercomputer,&nbsp;<a href="">Satori</a>. Three days later, he walked away with $1,000 for his winning strategy to shrink the carbon footprint of artificial intelligence models trained to detect heart disease.&nbsp;</p> <p>“I never thought about the kilowatt-hours I was using,” he says. “But this hackathon gave me a chance to look at my carbon footprint and find ways to trade a small amount of model accuracy for big energy savings.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Haft-Javaherian was among six teams to earn prizes at a hackathon co-sponsored by the&nbsp;<a href="">MIT Research Computing Project</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="">MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab</a> Jan. 28-30. The event was meant to familiarize students with Satori, the computing cluster IBM&nbsp;<a href="">donated</a> to MIT last year, and to inspire new techniques for building energy-efficient AI models that put less planet-warming carbon dioxide into the air.&nbsp;</p> <p>The event was also a celebration of Satori’s green-computing credentials. With an architecture designed to minimize the transfer of data, among other energy-saving features, Satori recently earned&nbsp;<a href="">fourth place</a>&nbsp;on the Green500 list of supercomputers. Its location gives it additional credibility: It sits on a remediated brownfield site in Holyoke, Massachusetts, now the&nbsp;<a href="">Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center</a>, which runs largely on low-carbon hydro, wind and nuclear power.</p> <p>A postdoc at MIT and Harvard Medical School, Haft-Javaherian came to the hackathon to learn more about Satori. He stayed for the challenge of trying to cut the energy intensity of his own work, focused on developing AI methods to screen the coronary arteries for disease. A new imaging method, optical coherence tomography, has given cardiologists a new tool for visualizing defects in the artery walls that can slow the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart. But even the experts can miss subtle patterns that computers excel at detecting.</p> <p>At the hackathon, Haft-Javaherian ran a test on his model and saw that he could cut its energy use eight-fold by reducing the time Satori’s graphics processors sat idle. He also experimented with adjusting the model’s number of layers and features, trading varying degrees of accuracy for lower energy use.&nbsp;</p> <p>A second team, Alex Andonian and Camilo Fosco, also won $1,000 by showing they could train a classification model nearly 10 times faster by optimizing their code and losing a small bit of accuracy. Graduate students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Andonian and Fosco are currently training a classifier to tell legitimate videos from AI-manipulated fakes, to compete in Facebook’s&nbsp;<a href="">Deepfake Detection Challenge</a>. Facebook launched the contest last fall to crowdsource ideas for stopping the spread of misinformation on its platform ahead of the 2020 presidential election.</p> <p>If a technical solution to deepfakes is found, it will need to run on millions of machines at once, says Andonian. That makes energy efficiency key. “Every optimization we can find to train and run more efficient models will make a huge difference,” he says.</p> <p>To speed up the training process, they tried streamlining their code and lowering the resolution of their 100,000-video training set by eliminating some frames. They didn’t expect a solution in three days, but Satori’s size worked in their favor. “We were able to run 10 to 20 experiments at a time, which let us iterate on potential ideas and get results quickly,” says Andonian.&nbsp;</p> <p>As AI continues to improve at tasks like reading medical scans and interpreting video, models have grown bigger and more calculation-intensive, and thus, energy intensive. By one&nbsp;<a href="">estimate</a>, training a large language-processing model produces nearly as much carbon dioxide as the cradle-to-grave emissions from five American cars. The footprint of the typical model is modest by comparison, but as AI applications proliferate its environmental impact is growing.&nbsp;</p> <p>One way to green AI, and tame the exponential growth in demand for training AI, is to build smaller models. That’s the approach that a third hackathon competitor, EECS graduate student Jonathan Frankle, took. Frankle is looking for signals early in the training process that point to subnetworks within the larger, fully-trained network that can do the same job.&nbsp;The idea builds on his award-winning&nbsp;<a href="">Lottery Ticket Hypothesis</a>&nbsp;paper from last year that found a neural network could perform with 90 percent fewer connections if the right subnetwork was found early in training.</p> <p>The hackathon competitors were judged by John Cohn, chief scientist at the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, Christopher Hill, director of MIT’s Research Computing Project, and Lauren Milechin, a research software engineer at MIT.&nbsp;</p> <p>The judges recognized four&nbsp;other teams: Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) graduate students Ali Ramadhan,&nbsp;Suyash Bire, and James Schloss,&nbsp;for adapting the programming language Julia for Satori; MIT Lincoln Laboratory postdoc Andrew Kirby, for adapting code he wrote as a graduate student to Satori using a library designed for easy programming of computing architectures; and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences graduate students Jenelle Feather and Kelsey Allen, for applying a technique that drastically simplifies models by cutting their number of parameters.</p> <p>IBM developers were on hand to answer questions and gather feedback.&nbsp;&nbsp;“We pushed the system — in a good way,” says Cohn. “In the end, we improved the machine, the documentation, and the tools around it.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Going forward, Satori will be joined in Holyoke by&nbsp;<a href="">TX-Gaia</a>, Lincoln Laboratory’s new supercomputer.&nbsp;Together, they will provide feedback on the energy use of their workloads. “We want to raise awareness and encourage users to find innovative ways to green-up all of their computing,” says Hill.&nbsp;</p> Several dozen students participated in the Green AI Hackathon, co-sponsored by the MIT Research Computing Project and MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. Photo panel: Samantha SmileyQuest for Intelligence, MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, Electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), EAPS, Lincoln Laboratory, Brain and cognitive sciences, School of Engineering, School of Science, Algorithms, Artificial intelligence, Computer science and technology, Data, Machine learning, Software, Climate change, Awards, honors and fellowships, Hackathon, Special events and guest speakers Robert Gallager wins 2020 Japan Prize The EECS emeritus professor is recognized for groundbreaking contributions in information and coding theory. Fri, 07 Feb 2020 16:05:01 -0500 Anne Stuart | Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science <p>Robert G. Gallager, an emeritus professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), has been named as a 2020 Japan Prize Laureate.</p> <p>Gallager, who was honored in the “Electronics, Information, Communication” prize field, was recognized for “pioneering contributions to information and coding theory,” according to an announcement from the Secretariat of the Japan Prize Selection Committee.</p> <p>The Japan Prize “honors individuals whose original and outstanding achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity for mankind,” according to the Tokyo-based Japan Prize Foundation, which administers the award. Gallager and this year's other laureate, Svante Paabo, director of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, will be honored at a ceremony at the National Theatre of Japan in Tokyo on April. 14.</p> <p>Gallager was recognized for inventing low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes, which can achieve coding efficiency very close to its theoretical limit, known as the Shannon-limit. “His invention was crucial in enabling error-free communication over noisy communication channels and led to the realization of today's highly reliable high-speed and large-capacity communication,” according to the announcement.</p> <p>The foundation noted that while Gallager first proposed LDPC codes in the 1960s, “his ideas were not adopted for the next 30 years, partially due to the difficulties of its practical implementations.” That limitation changed with rapid improvements in computer-processing capability during the 1990s. Since the early 2000s, LDPC codes have been widely adopted in digital communication and storage systems, the foundation noted: “It has become an extremely important basic technology that supports our modern digital society.”</p> <p>Speaking briefly at a Feb. 4 press conference in Tokyo, Gallager encouraged today’s researchers to avoid becoming discouraged when their ideas aren’t immediately fruitful. “Don’t necessarily be upset at the idea that what you do is not useful, because perhaps it will be useful later,” he said. “Do something which is novel and interesting, and which you hope will be useful in the future.”</p> <p>Gallager joined the MIT faculty in 1960, after receiving a BS from the University of Pennsylvania and SM and ScD from MIT, all in electrical engineering. MIT Press published his ScD thesis on LDPC codes as a monograph in 1963. He served as co-director of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) from 1986 to 1999, was named Fujitsu Professor in 1988, and became an emeritus professor in 2001.</p> <p>His many previous awards and honors include the Centennial Medal, Medal of Honor, and Third Millennium Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Marconi Prize. He is a fellow of the IEEE, the National Academies of Science and Engineering and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.</p> <p>Since its inception in 1985, the Foundation has awarded the Japan Prize to 98 laureates from 13 countries. Each laureate receives a certificate of merit, a commemorative medal, and a cash prize of 50 million Japanese yen (at current exchange rates, slightly more than $450,000).</p> Robert G. Gallager, emeritus professor of electrical engineering and computer science (left) with Svante Pääbo, director of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, during a press conference in Tokyo on Feb. 4, 2020. Gallager and Pääbo are this year's Japan Prize Laureates.Photo Courtesy of the Japan Prize Foundation Awards, honors and fellowships, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (eecs), School of Engineering, Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS), Faculty Kate Byrd is chosen as one of Aviation Week Network’s “20 Twenties” The annual award recognizes young leaders in engineering and aerospace. Tue, 04 Feb 2020 13:45:01 -0500 Erin Lee | Lincoln Laboratory <p>Kate Byrd, an associate staff member in MIT Lincoln Laboratory's Advanced Sensors and Techniques Group, was recently named one of <a href="">Aviation Week Network</a>'s 20 Twenties for 2020. Byrd was nominated for the award by Harvard University, where she studied electrical engineering from 2018 to 2019.</p> <p>The awards program, offered in collaboration with the <a href="" target="_blank">American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics</a> (AIAA), recognizes top science, technology, engineering, and math undergraduate and graduate students for their academic excellence, the research projects they undertake, and their contributions to the broader community.</p> <p>“I'm honored to have been recognized by AIAA. The recognition is reflective of my excellent colleagues at Harvard and MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the collaborative environment that supports the growth and mentorship of those early in their career,” Byrd says.</p> <p>Since joining the laboratory in 2015, Byrd has been involved in a variety of projects, including a lower-leg biomechanical measurement system called the Mobility and Biomechanics Insert for Load Evaluation that is designed to monitor and prevent musculoskeletal injuries in soldiers. The technology recently won an <a href="" target="_self">R&amp;D 100 Award</a>. She is currently leading a hardware team to build a handheld radar that can detect moving objects through obstacles such as walls. The radar can help disaster relief workers find and rescue people buried under rubble or trapped in a building by detecting the victim's breathing rate. She is also developing suites of ultrawideband antennas that are small enough to be worn on the body and that can cover a wide range of waveforms to decrease the probability of detection and intercept by adversaries during tactical communications.</p> <p>Byrd's work on antennas fostered a newfound interest in hardware design and motivated her to return to school. She began by pursuing part-time graduate studies in RF and analog integrated circuits at Boston University and wireless communication at Northeastern University. In 2018, she returned to graduate studies full-time to study electromagnetics and machine-learning methods through the laboratory's Lincoln Scholars tuition assistance program and received an MS degree in engineering sciences from Harvard University in 2019.</p> <p>The 20 Twenties program recognized Byrd as one of “tomorrow’s engineering leaders”; similarly, Byrd makes it her mission to find and encourage talented young individuals. She is the chief operating officer for Girls Who Build, a nonprofit program that teaches high school students engineering concepts through hands-on workshops. She is also involved with the Lincoln Laboratory Women’s Network and helps recruit new hires at conferences.</p> <p>“I like being involved in recruitment because I can stay in touch with the research and projects students are engaging with at the undergraduate level and also help the laboratory identify upcoming talent,” Byrd says.</p> <p>Byrd and 19 other winners will be recognized at the 20 Twenties annual Laureates Gala, which celebrates both industry veterans and the young innovators following in their footsteps. The ceremony will be held on March 12 at the National Building Museum in Washington.</p> Kate Byrd of MIT Lincoln Laboratory is one of Aviation Week Network's 20 Twenties for 2020.Photo: Nicole FandelLincoln Laboratory, Awards, honors and fellowships, Staff, Women in STEM, Mentoring Gerald Fink awarded the Genetic Society of America’s Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal Award recognizes scientists for lifetime achievement in genetics research who has a strong history as a mentor. Tue, 04 Feb 2020 13:35:01 -0500 Merrill Meadow | Whitehead Institute <p><a href="">Gerald R. Fink</a>,&nbsp;Whitehead Institute founding member and former director and professor of molecular genetics in the MIT Department of Biology, has been awarded the 2020 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal, bestowed by the Genetics Society of America (GSA). The award recognizes a distinguished scientist who has a lifetime achievement in the field of genetics and a strong history as a mentor to fellow geneticists. The&nbsp;GSA is an international community of more than 5,000 scientists who advance the field of genetics.</p> <p>Fink, who is also the Herman and Margaret Sokol Professor at Whitehead Institute, is a former GSA president and the 1982 recipient of the GSA Medal. In honoring him with the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal, GSA is recognizing Fink’s discovery of principles central to genome organization and regulation in eukaryotic cells.</p> <p>This year, the Morgan Medal will also be awarded to David Botstein, chief scientific officer for Calico Labs and professor emeritus of molecular biology at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University, in recognition of his multiple contributions to genetics, including the collaborative development of methods for defining genetic pathways, mapping genomes, and analyzing gene expression.&nbsp;</p> <p>“These awards to Gerry and David are richly deserved and I am so pleased they are being honored together,” says Whitehead Institute Director&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">David Page</a>. “Gerry Fink has fundamentally changed the way researchers approach biological problems, and his many discoveries have significantly shaped modern science. David Botstein has helped drive modern genetics, establishing the ground rules for human genetic mapping.” Page has worked closely with both men: beginning his research career as an investigator in Botstein’s lab, and collaborating with Fink for more than three decades at Whitehead Institute.&nbsp;</p> <p>The medals will be formally presented to Fink and Botstein at the Allied Genetics Conference in April.</p> Gerald Fink has received the 2020 Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal.Photo: Jared Leeds/Whitehead InstituteWhitehead Institute, Awards, honors and fellowships, Biology, Genetics, School of Science Mehtaab Sawhney named 2020 Churchill Scholar MIT senior will pursue graduate studies in mathematics at Churchill College, Cambridge University. Thu, 30 Jan 2020 10:00:01 -0500 Julia Mongo | Office of Distinguished Fellowships <p>Mehtaab Sawhney, a senior from Commack, New York, has been named a 2020 Churchill Scholar and will pursue a year of graduate studies at Cambridge University in the U.K. Sawhney will graduate this February with a BS in mathematics and a minor in computer science. At Cambridge, he will undertake Part III of the Mathematics Tripos master’s degree before returning to the U.S. to enroll in a mathematics PhD program. He aspires to become a professor of mathematics specializing in combinatorics.</p> <p>Sawhney completed his first year of undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and then transferred to MIT. At MIT, he has contributed to more than a dozen published or submitted academic papers, a rare feat for an undergraduate student. The majority of his research has been done in combinatorics under the tutelage of Professor Yufei Zhao in the MIT Department of Mathematics.</p> <p>“Mehtaab is an incredibly talented and energetic mathematician,” states Zhao. “I constantly learn so much from talking to him. Working with Mehtaab on research has been one of the most fun and rewarding activities that I have done since joining MIT as a faculty member.”</p> <p>Sawhney began his impressive rise in mathematics in high school, where he was a participant in the United States Mathematical Olympiad. He found the activity of solving problems fascinating. In high school, he got his first real taste of research through the MIT Primes-USA Program, which pairs high school students with graduate students to solve problems collectively but remotely. Here he first encountered combinatorics, an area of mathematics that focuses on counting.</p> <p>Sawhney continued to work on math problems in the Math Olympiad, International Science and Engineering Fair, and then eventually the Putnam Mathematical Competition (where he was an honorable mention in both 2016 and 2018). He volunteers his time with the U.S. Mathematical Olympiad and the U.S. Team Selection Test as a grader and reviewer.</p> <p>The Churchill Scholarship provides funding to American students for a year of master’s study at Cambridge University, based at Churchill College. The program was set up at the request of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to honor his vision of U.S.-U.K. scientific exchange. The Churchill Foundation annually awards scholarships to 15 American students for study in science, mathematics, or engineering. MIT nominates two candidates each year. MIT students interested in learning more about applying for the Churchill Scholarship, and other distinguished fellowships, should contact Kimberly Benard, assistant dean of Career Advising and Professional Development.</p> Mehtaab Sawnhey is a 2020 Churchill Scholar.Photo courtesy of Mehtaab SawnheyAwards, honors and fellowships, Students, Mathematics, School of Science Nathan Howard wins Nuclear Fusion Award Researcher unravels the mystery of heat loss in turbulent fusion plasmas. Wed, 29 Jan 2020 13:50:01 -0500 Paul Rivenberg | Plasma Science and Fusion Center <p>Nathan Howard, research scientist at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC), has won the 2019 Nuclear Fusion Award from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for a&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">paper</a>&nbsp;that explains heat losses due to turbulence in the core of magnetically confined fusion plasmas.</p> <p>Understanding and predicting plasma turbulence has been a key challenge for fusion researchers. Simulations of turbulent plasma conditions have not always been able to match experimental observations of heat loss in magnetically confined plasmas, making it impossible for researchers to be confident predicting the performance of future tokamaks, like&nbsp;<a href="">ITER</a>, the next-step fusion reactor being built in France. In collaboration with colleagues from MIT, the University of California at San Diego, and General Atomics, Howard discovered that only by performing multiscale simulations, which simultaneously capture both short wavelength (electron scale) and long wavelength (ion scale) plasma turbulence, could he match the experimental observations.</p> <p>Before this, many researchers had assumed that the turbulence caused by electrons would be negligible in relation to the greater turbulence caused by ions, which is 60 times larger. In fact, this work found that the smaller-scale electron-scale turbulence interacts with the ion-scale turbulence in a way that contributes significantly to the experimental results and would need to be considered in any simulation.</p> <p>The multiscale simulations took approximately 120 million CPU hours and roughly a year to run on the Edison supercomputer at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), requiring Howard to get increases from the U.S. Department of Energy to his already-large allocation. Additionally, while the NERSC system only allows jobs to run without interruption for 36 hours, Howard's simulations took months to complete, necessitating frequent restarts.</p> <p>“I’d wake up in the middle of the night and basically switch jobs around so I could keep the simulation running as frequently as possible because I wanted the answer faster. They still took months and months to do.”</p> <p>What most excites Howard about the research is that the multiscale results of his paper have been incorporated into a reduced transport model called Trapped Gyro-Landau Fluid (TGLF), a model that provides results in a fraction of the time of a supercomputer.</p> <p>“This allows you to predict the electron temperature, electron density, ion temperature profiles that you see in the experiment, but do it in a matter of minutes, not years,” says Howard. “That’s really what was cool about this work: Not only did it show that you can match these experiments with these large-scale simulations, but the results were fed back into TGLF and created a slightly different TGLF model that is now used to predict performance and interpret results on a number of fusion devices.”</p> <p>Noting that the reduced model is now being used to predict performance of the PSFC’s proposed path to fusion, SPARC, Howard says, “It’s come full circle.”</p> <p>Howard continues to explore similar simulations, but is looking at higher performance discharges than before, to see if the observed multiscale interactions still exist and to gain greater insight into how and when turbulence occurs.</p> <p>Inaugurated in 2006, The Nuclear Fusion Award is given annually to recognize work published in the journal <em>Nuclear Fusion</em> that has made the largest scientific impact. Past recipients have included other members of the PSFC community: Senior Research Scientist John Rice (2010) and Director Dennis Whyte (2013).</p> <p>Howard authored the winning paper as a postdoc supported by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), using data from the PSFC’s Alcator C-Mod tokamak. He credits co-authors Chris Holland (University of California at San Diego), and Jeff Candy (General Atomics), as well as MIT colleagues Anne White, head of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, and Martin Greenwald, PSFC deputy director. He is also grateful for significant support and encouragement from program managers at the Department of Energy.</p> <p>“There is support for good science wherever it goes. And I think that is one thing that is great about the PSFC. It allows you to pursue what you feel is interesting research, and let it take you in a direction that you think might be most interesting and impactful. Working here, combined with the ORISE, really allowed me to do that.”</p> <p>Howard will receive the award at the&nbsp;<a href="">IAEA Fusion Energy Conference </a>to be held in France in 2020.</p> <p>The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.</p> Research Scientist Nathan Howard used data from MIT's Alcator C-Mod tokamak as the basis for an award-winning paper.Photo: Paul RivenbergPlasma Science and Fusion Center, Nuclear science and engineering, Physics, School of Engineering, Plasma, Fusion, Awards, honors and fellowships, Staff Accelerating the pace of engineering The 2019-20 School of Engineering MathWorks Fellows are using MATLAB and Simulink to advance discovery and innovation across disciplines. Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:00:01 -0500 Lori LoTurco | School of Engineering <p>Founded in 1984 by Jack Little ’78 and Cleve Moler, MathWorks was built on the premise of providing engineers and scientists with more powerful and productive computation environments. In 1985, the company sold its very first order&nbsp;— 10 copies of its first product, MATLAB — to MIT.</p> <p>Decades later, engineers across MIT and around the world consistently rely on MathWorks products to accelerate the pace of discovery, innovation, and development in automotive, aerospace, electronics, biotech-pharmaceutical, and other industries.&nbsp;MathWorks’ products and support have had a significant impact on <em>MITx,</em> OpenCourseWare, and MIT’s digital learning efforts across campus, including the Department of Mathematics, one of the School of Engineering’s closest collaborators in the use of digital learning tools and educational technologies.</p> <p>“We have a strong belief in the importance of engineers and scientists,” says Little. “They act to increase human knowledge and profoundly improve our standard of living. We create products like MATLAB and Simulink to help them do their best work.”</p> <p>As the language of technical computing, MATLAB is a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numeric computation. It is used extensively by faculty, students, and researchers across MIT and by over 4 million users in industry, government, and academia in 185 countries.</p> <p>Simulink is a block diagram environment for simulation and model-based design of multidomain and embedded engineering systems, including automatic code generation, verification, and validation. It is used heavily in automotive, aerospace, and other applications that design complex real-time systems.</p> <p>This past summer, MathWorks celebrated 35 years of accelerating the pace of engineering and science. Shortly following this milestone, MathWorks awarded 11 engineering fellowships to graduate students within the School of Engineering who are active users of MATLAB or Simulink. The fellows are using the programs to advance discovery and innovation across disciplines.</p> <p>“PhD fellowships are an investment in the world’s long-term future, and there are few investments more valuable than that,” says Little.</p> <p>The 2019-20 MathWorks fellows are:</p> <p><a href="">Pasquale Antonante</a> is a PhD student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He uses MATLAB and Simulink to build tools that make robots more accurate.</p> <p><a href="">Alireza Fallah</a> is a PhD student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He uses Matlab and Symbolic Math Toolbox to develop better machine-learning algorithms.</p> <p><a href="">James Gabbard</a> is a SM/PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He uses MATLAB to model fluids and materials.</p> <p><a href="">Nicolas Meirhaeghe</a><strong> </strong>is a PhD student in medical engineering and medical physics in the Bioastronautics Training Program at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He uses MATLAB to visualize activity in the brain and understand how it is related to an individual’s behavior.</p> <p><a href="">Caroline Nielsen</a> is a PhD student in the Department of Chemical Engineering. She uses MATLAB to implement and test new applications of non-smooth analysis. She also intends to use MATLAB to in the next phase of her research, developing methods to simultaneously optimize for minimal resource use and operating costs.</p> <p><a href="">Bauyrzhan Primkulov</a><strong> </strong>is a PhD student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He uses MATLAB to build computational models and explore how fluids interact in porous materials.</p> <p><a href="">Kate Reidy</a><strong> </strong>is a PhD student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She studies how 2D materials — only a single atom thick — can be combined with 3D materials, and uses MATLAB to analyze the properties of different materials.</p> <p><a href="">Isabelle Su</a><strong> </strong>is a PhD student in civil and environmental engineering. She builds computational models with MATLAB to understand the mechanical properties of spider webs.</p> <p><a href="">Joy Zeng</a><strong> </strong>is a PhD student in chemical engineering. Her research is focused on the electrochemical transformation of carbon dioxide to fuels and commodity chemicals. She uses MATLAB to model chemical reactions.</p> <p><a href="">Benjamin "Jiahong" Zhang</a><strong> </strong>is a PhD student in computational science and engineering. He uses MATLAB to prototype new methods for rare event simulation, finding new methods by leveraging mathematical principles used in proofs and re-purposing them for computation.</p> <p><a href="">Paul Zhang</a><strong> </strong>is a PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science. He uses MATLAB to develop algorithms with applications in meshing — the use of simple shapes to study complex ones.</p> <p>For MathWorks, fostering engineering education is a priority, so when deciding where to focus philanthropic support, MIT — its very first customer — was an obvious choice.</p> <p>“We are so humbled by MathWorks' generosity, and their continued support of our engineering students through these fellowships,” says Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the School of Engineering. “Our relationship with MathWorks is one that we revere — they have developed products that foster research and advancement across many disciplines, and through their support our students launch discoveries and innovation that align with MathWorks’ mission.”</p> MathWorks fellows with Anantha Chandrakasan (back row, center), dean of the MIT School of Engineering. Not pictured: Fellows Pasquale Antonante, Alireza Fallah, and Kate Reidy.Photo: David DegnerSchool of Engineering, MITx, OpenCourseWare, Mathematics, Electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), Mechanical engineering, Chemical engineering, Civil and environmental engineering, Awards, honors and fellowships, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, Alumni/ae, Startups, Aeronautical and astronautical engineering, DMSE, Computer science and technology, School of Science MIT.nano receives international sustainability award “Go Beyond” Award celebrates commitment to excellence in efficiency and sustainability. Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:20:01 -0500 MIT.nano <p>MIT.nano, the campus facility for nanoscience and nanotechnology research, has been awarded the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) 2019 “Go Beyond” Award for excellence in sustainability in laboratory and other high-technology facility projects.</p> <p>In selecting the recipients, I2SL looks for projects that “go beyond the facility itself to consider shared resources, infrastructure and services, and neighboring communities, as well as contributing to increased use of energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable designs, systems, and products.”</p> <p>Designed by Wilson HGA and completed in 2018, the 216,000 square-foot facility, located in the heart of MIT’s campus, is a shared resource for MIT faculty, students, and researchers, as well as external academic and industry users. MIT.nano offers state-of-the-art equipment and environmental controls that would be challenging for individual labs or departments to afford or maintain on their own.</p> <p>“To meet MIT’s goal of designing the most energy-efficient academic cleanroom, we benchmarked against 16 national facilities to establish energy-use drivers and identify best-in-class measures for energy reduction,” explains Samir Srouji, design principal at Wilson HGA. “The design anticipates a 51 percent source energy savings and 50 percent reduction in CO<sub>2</sub> emissions, a true feat for a cleanroom project.”</p> <p>MIT.nano has 47,000 square feet of cleanroom suites that make up two, two-story spaces in the center of the facility. The majority of the cleanroom area under filter is rated ISO 5 (i.e., Class 100), meaning the air is&nbsp;continuously filtered and replaced every 15-30 seconds to maintain a standard that allows no more than 100 particles of 0.5 microns or larger within a cubic foot of air.</p> <p>Despite such resource-intensive technical requirements, MIT and Wilson HGA achieved high sustainability metrics by implementing 60 energy conservation measures (ECM), six of which are considered “go beyond” ECMs, meaning they are not standard practice in cleanroom design and significantly reduce energy use. These measures are:</p> <ul> <li>glycol “run-around” heat recovery from exhaust;</li> <li>variable-volume exhaust and make-up air;</li> <li>condenser heat recovery from sub-cooling chiller;</li> <li>100 percent filter coverage in cleanroom ceiling to lower fan static;</li> <li>variable air volume (VAV) recirculation air handling unit (RAHU), based on occupancy and particle counters; and</li> <li>reheat in RAHUs, avoiding central reheat of all make-up air.</li> </ul> <p>No other cleanroom to date has implemented more than three “go beyond” ECMs, according to Wilson HGA.</p> <p>“MIT.nano is the most technically complex building on campus with thousands of monitoring points spread throughout the facility,” says Dennis Grimard, managing director at MIT.nano. “These points help maintain MIT.nano’s sustainability goals by constantly monitoring the building’s health and operation. Significant resources have also been committed from MIT’s Department of Facilities to ensure the building continues to operate properly.”</p> <p>MIT has made increased efficiency and reduced waste a priority over the past several years, including the creation of the <a href="">Office of Sustainability</a> in 2013. One of the ways MIT is carrying out this commitment is by ensuring new buildings and renovations, from the earliest design stages, are focused on efficiency and sustainability in their energy, water, waste-handling, and other systems.</p> <p>“MIT faces the unique challenge of a growing campus paired with ambitious goals in reducing emissions while increasing investments in energy efficiency,” says Julie Newman, director of sustainability at MIT. “The MIT.nano design team boldly approached this challenge by designing a best-in-class&nbsp;particle-free lab that integrates sustainable and high-performance design standards while concurrently preparing for a changing climate.”</p> <p>MIT.nano boasts a 40 percent water use reduction and over 90 percent of construction waste was diverted. The facility is on track to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (<a href="">LEED</a>) Platinum certification. In order to reach this level, buildings must attain 80 or more points based on compliance with different aspects of sustainability. It is the highest LEED certification possible.</p> <p>The Go Beyond Award is the latest honor for MIT.nano. The building has previously received the <a href="" target="_blank">53rd&nbsp;annual Lab of the Year Award</a> from&nbsp;<em>R&amp;D Magazin</em>e and the <a href="" target="_blank">2019 Education Facility Design Award of Merit</a>, presented by the American Institute of Architects Committee on Architecture for Education.</p> Designed by Wilson HGA and completed in 2018, the 216,000 square-foot MIT.nano building, located in the heart of MIT’s campus, is a shared resource for MIT faculty, students, and researchers, as well as external academic and industry users.Photo: Wilson ArchitectsMIT.nano, Facilities, Sustainability, Awards, honors and fellowships, Campus buildings and architecture, Nanoscience and nanotechnology Communicating respect for graduate students Anna Frebel, Wesley Harris, and Harry Tuller honored by graduate students as “Committed to Caring.” Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:00:00 -0500 Courtney Lesoon | Office of Graduate Education <p>Mitigating the stresses of graduate school requires dedicated community support and mentorship. Professors Wesley Harris, Anna Frebel, and Harry Tuller have been honored by graduate students as “Committed to Caring” for the manifold ways they demonstrate their respect for students.</p> <p><strong>Anna Frebel: listening and lifting up</strong></p> <p>Frebel says that “it is a gift to be able to tell, especially&nbsp;younger women, 'You can do it — I believe in you and your ideas.'”</p> <p>Frebel joined the MIT physics faculty in 2012 as assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor of physics with tenure in 2018. Frebel is best known for her discoveries, and subsequent analyses, of the oldest stars in the universe. Her research offers insight into how these stars can be used to understand the first billion years after the Big Bang, the beginning of star and galaxy formation, and the origin of the chemical elements.</p> <p>The career path of a woman in physics is bumpier than it should be. “I have seen too many cases where women have been left unprepared for what's to come because advisors were too busy or didn't care to share insight,” Frebel laments. To help address a lacuna in advising, Frebel developed a series of professional&nbsp;career development seminars to&nbsp;offer&nbsp;graduate women in MIT’s Department of Physics practical tools&nbsp;and insights on many unspoken topics and expectations in academia.</p> <p>It is paramount for a department to develop policies to set expectations for peer behavior and community values while also, in Frebel’s words,&nbsp;“broadcasting&nbsp;that poor behavior in the workplace is never welcome in the first place.” For example, the Department of Physics has developed a list of <a href="" target="_blank">Community Values</a>. Frebel’s advocating for students is a mentoring guidepost identified by the Committed to Caring (C2C) program.</p> <p>Frebel’s goal is to make time, demonstrate respect for her students, and to treat them as junior colleagues.&nbsp;Such behaviors, she says, “govern healthy relationships” between faculty and students. One student remarks that Frebel's “compassion and commitment to caring” have made the department a friendlier, stronger, and more inclusive place.</p> <p><strong>Wesley Harris: transcending boundaries</strong></p> <p>Professor Wesley Harris looks out for his students whether their struggles are research-related or personal. “Anytime I come across [Harris] in the hallway,” one student nominator writes, “I know I can always speak my mind and … get some insightful guidance and unwavering support.”</p> <p>Wesley L. Harris is the C.S. Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. Harris joined the MIT faculty in 1972. He has since served as associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA, as vice president of the University of Tennessee Space Institute, and as dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Harris’ research foci include fluid dynamics, unsteady aerodynamics, and aeroacoustics. His research extends beyond the field of aeronautics and astronautics to include the microcirculation and hemodynamics of sickle cell disease, as well as studies of lean financial management methods and the sustainment of capital assets.</p> <p>In spring 2015, after MIT had witnessed several suicides on campus, Harris dedicated an entire lecture of his Analytical High Speed Aerodynamics course to talk about suicide with his students. Having such courageous conversations with students is a mentoring guidepost identified by the C2C program.</p> <p>“I was truly touched by his effort to communicate, and I could tell he really cared,” one student remembers. “I had never seen a faculty member try this hard to bridge the divide [between faculty and students] until then, and I have not seen another faculty member try and do the same since.”</p> <p>The relationship between a faculty mentor and their graduate student is one that requires mutual respect and trust. Harris notes that, especially initially, “the power balance favors the faculty member in the partnership. Hence, it is incumbent upon me to reach out to my students.”</p> <p>Students in the Harris lab regularly present research updates to their lab mates. In these meetings, Harris and each attending student offer the presenter both critical and encouraging feedback. Harris affirms, “Our community is never a no-praise zone.”</p> <p><strong>Harry Tuller: encouraging and energizing</strong></p> <p>Keeping each of his students’ needs in mind, Professor Harry Tuller’s mentorship style is personalized and enthusiastic. As one student notes, he is “an amazingly kind and curious man, who is willing to help anyone who shows up and tries.”</p> <p>Harry Tuller is the R.P. Simmons Professor of Ceramics and Electronic Materials in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and director of the Crystal Physics and Electroceramics Laboratory at MIT. Currently, his research emphasizes modeling, processing, characterizing, and optimizing energy-related devices such as sensors, batteries, fuel cells, and solar/photolysis cells, as well as integrating sensor, actuator, and photonic materials into microelectromechanical systems. His research has been extensively published in over 485 articles, 15 co-edited books, and 33 patents.</p> <p>When Tuller notices that a student is losing enthusiasm for their work, he reaches out to set up a meeting. Proactive outreach is a mentoring guidepost identified by the C2C program. One of his students had to take a break from school owing to anxiety and depression, and Tuller provided the necessary support for the student to get help. He later aided the student’s successful transition back into work.“[Tuller] met with me on multiple occasions,” the student said, “to help me parse through my own anxieties and concerns with anecdotes from himself and his past students.”</p> <p>Every student responds to challenges and rewards differently, Tuller says, so it is important to provide advising suited to the individual. Learning what types of stressors affect each student can go a long way in alleviating anxiety-provoking situations for students and in helping students manage their own stress.</p> <p>In order to keep moving forward, Tuller urges students to “communicate their research goals clearly and convincingly and to be open to constructive criticism.” Tuller’s consistent contact and tailored support has contributed to his students’ resounding success.</p> <p><strong>More on Committed to Caring</strong></p> <p>The Committed to Caring program is an initiative of the Office of Graduate Education and contributes to its mission of making graduate education at MIT “empowering, exciting, holistic, and transformative.”</p> <p>C2C invites graduate students from across MIT’s campus to nominate professors whom they believe to be outstanding mentors. Selection criteria for the honor include the scope and reach of advisor impact on graduate students’ experience, excellence in scholarship, and demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.</p> <p>By recognizing the human element of graduate education, C2C seeks to encourage excellent advising and mentorship across MIT’s campus. More information about these and other C2C honorees and their advising practices may be found on the Committed to Caring pages.</p> Left to right: Anna Frebel, Wesley Harris, and Harry Tuller are recognized as MIT faculty “Committed to Caring.”Photos: Joseph LeePhysics, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Materials Science and Engineering, Mentoring, Awards, honors and fellowships, Leadership, Faculty, Community, Graduate, postdoctoral, Women in STEM, DMSE, School of Science, School of Engineering Bradford Parkinson SM ’61 awarded Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering “Father of GPS” honored with three colleagues for creating the first truly global, satellite-based positioning system. Fri, 24 Jan 2020 15:10:01 -0500 Mary Hopkins | Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics <p>Bradford Parkinson SM ’61, who received his master of science degree in the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro), was honored last month with the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering along with three colleagues responsible for creating the first truly global, satellite-based positioning system (GPS).</p> <p>The Queen Elizabeth Prize is the world’s most prestigious engineering accolade, a £1 million (about $1.3 million) award that celebrates the global impact of engineering innovation on humanity. Parkinson was honored along with Hugo Fruehauf, Richard Schwartz, and James Spilker Jr., whose widow received the award, at Buckingham Palace in December from the Prince of Wales.</p> <p>“This recognition reflects the responsibility incumbent upon those developing technology today to strive to do so for the good of humanity,” said Parkinson. “Day after day, we are astounded at the new ways in which people across the world use GPS. It is a ‘System for Humanity’ in each and every sense.”</p> <p>The global positioning system represents a pioneering innovation which, for the first time, enabled free, immediate access to accurate position and timing information around the world. An estimated 4 billion people use GPS, and its applications range from navigation and disaster relief to climate monitoring systems, banking systems, and the foundation of tomorrow’s transport, agriculture, and industry.</p> <p>Parkinson, often called the “father of GPS,” successfully built upon several separate systems to create the current GPS design. He directed the program and led the development, design, and testing of its key components, insisting that GPS needed to be intuitive and inexpensive, which is why it is accessible worldwide today. Leading the original advocacy for the system in 1973 as a U.S. Air Force colonel, he became the first director of the GPS Joint Program Office and led the original development of spacecraft, Master Control Station, and eight types of user equipment. He guided the program through the extensive test validation process, including being launch commander for the first GPS satellite launches.</p> <p>“One of the most important things we had when the project started was a vision of world impact,” said Parkinson. “Without that inspiration, it would have been difficult for us to weather the storms of doing something for the first time. Back in 1978, I made a few drawings that depicted GPS applications that I could personally foresee; they included an automobile navigation system, semi-automatic air traffic control, and wide-area vehicle monitoring, that seem to be rather accurate 41 years later.”</p> <p>GPS combines a constellation of at least 24 orbiting satellites with ground stations and receiving devices. Each satellite contains a set of atomic clocks that keep ultra-precise time down to a billionth of a second. The satellite broadcasts its time as well as a radio signal containing its location to GPS receivers on Earth, which require signals from at least four satellites to determine their position. GPS receivers measure the time delay in each signal to calculate the distance to each satellite, then use that information to pinpoint the receiver’s location on earth.</p> <p>Using GPS technology, simple smartphone apps can track disease outbreaks, self-driving tractors can optimize crop harvests, and sports teams can improve team performance. New applications for GPS continue to revolutionize entire industries, and its annual economic value has been estimated to be $80 billion for the United States alone.</p> <p>“This year’s laureates have demonstrated that engineering makes things happen. With the first global, satellite-based positioning system, they created an engineered system which provides free, immediate and accurate information about position and time, anywhere around the globe,” said Lord Browne of Madingley, chair of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation. “The world now depends on GPS completely and without exception. In honoring the 2019 prize winners, we hope to inspire the next generation of engineers to continue to push back the frontiers of the possible.”</p> <p>A professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, Parkinson received his undergraduate degree in engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1957, his master’s degree at MIT, and his doctoral degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford in 1966. During his military career, he served 21 years in the Air Force and five years In the U.S. Navy, retiring as a full colonel in 1978. At Stanford University, he led the development of many innovative applications of GPS, including: commercial aircraft (Boeing 737) blind landing using GPS alone, fully automatic GPS control of farm tractors on a rough field to an accuracy of two inches, and pioneering the augmentation to GPS (WAAS) that allows any user to achieve accuracies of two feet and very high levels of integrity assurance.</p> Bradford Parkinson was honored with the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.Photo courtesy of Bradford Parkinson.Aeronautics and Astronautics, School of Engineering, Alumni/ae, Technology and society, Invention, awards, Awards, honors and fellowships Pablo Jarillo-Herrero wins Wolf Prize for groundbreaking work on twistronics Professor of physics honored alongside Allan MacDonald and Rafi Bistritzer for pioneering research on twisted bilayer graphene. Thu, 16 Jan 2020 13:30:01 -0500 Carol Breen | Department of Physics <p>Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics Pablo Jarillo-Herrero was awarded the 2020 Wolf Prize in Physics&nbsp;for his experimental contributions to breakthrough developments in twisted bilayer graphene research, which uncovered unique electrical properties with the long-range potential for creating new superconducting materials.</p> <p>The condensed-matter experimentalist shares the prize with theorists Professor Allan MacDonald of the University of Texas at Austin, and Rafi Bistrizter of Applied Materials Israel.&nbsp;</p> <p>"It's an incredible and humbling honor to receive this recognition," says Jarillo-Herrero. "I see it as an acknowledgement, and appreciation, by the global physics community for the work of my fantastic group of graduate students and postdocs, as well as my collaborators here at MIT and around the world." He adds, "I hope this prize will motivate young physicists to pursue the beautiful field of 2D materials!"</p> <p>Professor Peter Fisher, head of the Department of Physics, notes, “The twisted graphene result is in a class of its own, and we are very excited about it. Pablo is a real leader at MIT and this work adds to his already great stature."</p> <p>Thanks to game-changing discoveries 15 years ago relating to the electronic properties of two-dimensional graphene — the world’s best electrical conductor — physics and materials science researchers have since developed a new field, dubbed&nbsp;“twistronics.”</p> <p>Twistronics researchers study how it is possible to "tune" the electronic properties of two-dimensional materials by changing, or "twisting," the angle of rotation between two adjacent crystalline layers of graphene. Such tuning through twisting is unprecedented in the history of quantum materials.&nbsp;</p> <p>In Jarillo-Herrero’s group, experiments were inspired by a <a href="" target="_blank">2011 paper</a> by theorists MacDonald and Bistritzer predicting the interesting properties of electrons resulting from the rotating, or twisting,&nbsp;of the atomic lattices of stacked layers of graphene.&nbsp;</p> <p>By creating and measuring bilayer graphene of multiple twist angles, Jarillo-Herrero's group reached a breakthrough in 2018 with the discovery of “<a href="" target="_blank">the magic angle</a>” — two layers positioned at 1.1 degrees — that resulted in unique, entirely unpredicted electronic behaviors.&nbsp;</p> <p>At this "magic angle," and at low temperatures, electrons in twisted bilayer graphene were seen to slow down tremendously, as predicted years earlier. However, the electron slowdown discovered by Jarillo-Herrero and collaborators also led to new, fascinating behaviors, such as novel insulating and superconducting states.&nbsp;</p> <p>The new field of twistronics, with the experimental and theoretical challenges of observing and tuning these new electronic behaviors into a single material platform, has become a next-generation game-changer and brings together multiple branches of condensed-matter physics.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>While most current research efforts are still focused on understanding the fundamental physics of these new “twisted” materials, the insights provided are expected to have a major impact in multiple areas of science and technology — ranging from the design of new superconductors operating at higher temperatures to the development of novel quantum devices for advanced quantum sensing, photonics, and computing applications.&nbsp;</p> <p>A native of Valencia, Spain, Jarillo-Herrero joined MIT as an assistant professor of&nbsp;physics in January 2008 and was promoted to full professor in 2018. His awards include an&nbsp;Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship; a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship; a DOE Early Career&nbsp;Award; a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers; an ONR Young Investigator Award; a Moore Foundation Experimental Physics in Quantum&nbsp;Systems Investigator Award; and the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics&nbsp;Prize. In 2018, Jarillo-Herrero was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.</p> <p>The annual international prize of the Israeli-based Wolf Foundation, the Wolf Prize is now in its 42nd year, and celebrates exceptional achievement worldwide in the sciences and arts done "in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples." Awards are given broadly, in fields ranging from physics, chemistry, mathematics, and agriculture to painting and sculpture, music, and architecture.&nbsp;</p> <p>Prior Wolf Prize laureates in the MIT Department of Physics include Lester Wolfe Professor of&nbsp;Physics Emeritus Daniel Kleppner (2005) and MIT Institute Professors Emeriti Bruno Rossi&nbsp;(1987) and Victor Weisskopf (1981).</p> A native of Valencia, Spain, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero joined MIT as an assistant professor of physics in January 2008 and was promoted to full professor in 2018.Photo: BBVA FoundationPhysics, Graphene, Superconductors, School of Science, Awards, honors and fellowships, Faculty, Carbon, Materials Science and Engineering, Quantum physics Three from MIT are named 2020 fellows of the IEEE Two staff members from Lincoln Laboratory and a professor in the School of Engineering are recognized for their influential research. Wed, 08 Jan 2020 16:25:01 -0500 Dorothy Ryan | Lincoln Laboratory <p>Among the newly selected 2020 class of fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) are three members of the MIT community: Hari Balakrishnan, the Fujitsu Chair Professor in the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Richard Lippmann and Daniel Rabideau, members of the technical staff at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. The <a href="" target="_blank">IEEE</a>, the world's largest technical professional organization, confers the rank of fellow on senior members whose work has advanced innovation in their respective fields and has furthered the IEEE mission to foster the development of technology to benefit society.</p> <p><strong>Hari Balakrishnan</strong></p> <p>Balakrishnan was elevated to fellow for his contributions to the design and application of mobile sensing systems. These contributions include advances in mobile and sensor computing, internet congestion control and routing, overlay networks and peer-to-peer systems, and data management. His current research interests are in networking, sensing, and perception for a world of mobile devices connected to cloud services running in large data centers.</p> <p>In 2010, Balakrishnan cofounded Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), which develops mobile sensing and artificial intelligence techniques to change driver behavior and make roads safer. This startup leveraged work on MIT's CarTel project that investigated how cars could be utilized as reliable mobile sensors. Today, this smartphone-centric telematics and analytics service provider has programs in more than 20 countries. Balakrishnan was previously a founding advisor to Meraki, which originated from an MIT wireless mesh networking project and was acquired by Cisco in 2012. He also cofounded StreamBase Systems (acquired by TIBCO) and was a network algorithms consultant for Sandburst (acquired by Broadcom). Like CMT, all these companies were spinoffs of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), where Balakrishnan is a principal investigator.</p> <p>He has received several MIT honors for excellence in research and teaching, including the Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award, the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Burgess and Elizabeth Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching, the Junior Bose Award, and the Eta Kappa Nu Best Instructor Award.</p> <p>Balakrishnan is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, a Sloan Research Fellow, and an ACM dissertation award winner. His best-paper awards include the IEEE Communication Society’s William R. Bennett Prize and the IEEE's Foundations of Computer Science Test of Time Awards from IEEE special-interest groups on communications and computer networks, operating systems, management of data, mobility, and embedded networked sensor systems.</p> <p><strong>Richard Lippmann</strong></p> <p>During his 37-year career at Lincoln Laboratory, Lippmann has been responsible for groundbreaking work in two emerging fields: neural networks and cybersecurity. His research on neural networks resulted in the publication of the highly influential paper, "An Introduction to Computing with Neural Nets." This 1987 paper concisely explained the applicability of a neural-network approach to a variety of problems, won the first <em>IEEE Signal Processing Magazine</em> award, led to a global increase in research into neural networks, and has been cited more than 11,000 times. Lippmann's work has been instrumental in helping scientists accept, understand, and apply neural networks; for example, neural networks are now recognized as the most effective approach for speech recognition.</p> <p>Lippmann also led the design and development of the first quantitative, objective, and repeatable evaluations of the performance of computer intrusion-detection systems. Developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1998-99, his approach looked at not only the probability that a network intrusion occurred, but also the probability that normal network traffic was tagged as an intrusion. This innovative approach allowed researchers to both better evaluate intrusion detection systems and apply modern machine-learning approaches. The datasets developed were made available to the cybersecurity community. They have been widely used and cited in more than 3,100 papers</p> <p>In the cybersecurity area, Lippmann and colleagues at Lincoln Laboratory developed security metrics that accurately estimate risk from important cyber threats and modeled the ways that adversaries progress through large enterprise networks. This collaborative work resulted in NetSPA (Network Security Planning Architecture), a software tool that creates attack graphs, has received two patents, and is used commercially.</p> <p>"Rich was the guiding technical force behind almost all the good technical ideas and impactful accomplishments of the laboratory’s first five years of cybersecurity activities," says Marc Zissman, an associate head of Lincoln Laboratory's Cyber Security and Information Sciences Division. "Everything good we did was something he suggested and did."</p> <p>Lippmann, a Lincoln Laboratory Fellow in the Cyber Security and Information Sciences Division, is currently investigating automated approaches to machine learning. He was a founding board member of the Neural Information Processing Systems conference; has given many talks on neural networks, including traveling around the world as an IEEE distinguished lecturer; served as the program chair for the 2008 Recent Advances in Intrusion Detection Conference; and has authored or coauthored more than 100 papers, reports, or books.</p> <p><strong>Daniel Rabideau</strong></p> <p>A nationally recognized expert in radar technology, Rabideau has made diverse contributions to the field. His work on modern adaptive signal-processing techniques has helped revolutionize radar capabilities in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance applications. For example, he developed novel algorithms for space-time adaptive processing to mitigate clutter in radar returns from airborne moving target indication systems. He later extended his work in adaptive signal processing to the problem of terrain-scattered interference.</p> <p>Rabideau performed pioneering work on digital-array radar and its offshoot, multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) radar, that expanded the capabilities of radar systems. The paper he coauthored on MIMO technology, "Ubiquitous MIMO Multifunction Digital Array Radar," has been cited almost 400 times, influencing the advancement of MIMO techniques, which have become accepted as a fundamental topic in radar textbooks and have been applied to military radar systems and to commercial products — for example, automotive radars used for autonomous driving.</p> <p>"Dan has unparalleled intuition when it comes to radar technology. He is an incredibly creative engineer with an innate curiosity which propels him toward tackling the most difficult problems," says Jennifer Watson, the leader of the Lincoln Laboratory Airborne Radar Systems and Techniques Group, in which Rabideau is currently an assistant leader.</p> <p>Rabideau also developed important technology for the U.S. Navy's surface radar, including novel waveform techniques and advancements to digital-array radar, and participated in the study that culminated in the Navy's road map for its surface assets. He worked on algorithm development and hardware requirements to enable advanced capabilities for U.S. Navy airborne radar systems.</p> <p>During his 24-year tenure at Lincoln Laboratory, he has helped build the laboratory's substantial portfolio of programs focused on bringing electronic protection capability to radars used by the Navy and the U.S. Air Force. He has led the development of new systems and architectures with resilience to electronic attack, and has thus become a subject-matter expert on electric protection who is consulted by program managers from various government agencies.</p> <p>Rabideau's involvement in the larger radar community includes participating in studies, such as the Discoverer II space-based radar study, and serving as a member of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society Radar Systems Panel and as a reviewer and session chair for the Tri-Service Symposium and IEEE Radar Conferences, most recently as the technical chair for the 2019 IEEE Radar Conference held in Boston, Massachusetts. An author or coauthor of more than 60 publications, he has served often as a technical reviewer for several IEEE journals, including the <em>IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing</em> and the <em>IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems.</em></p> <p>Newly elevated fellows can choose to be recognized at whichever of the 2020 IEEE conferences each wishes.</p> Left to right: Hari Balakrishnan, Richard Lippmann, and Daniel Rabideau have been named 2020 IEEE Fellows.Photos: MIT School of Engineering and MIT Lincoln LaboratoryLincoln Laboratory, School of Engineering, IEEE, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Awards, honors and fellowships, Cyber security, Computing, Radar, Faculty, Staff, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (eecs) School of Science recognizes members with 2020 Infinite Kilometer Awards Four members of the School of Science honored for contributions to the Institute. Fri, 03 Jan 2020 10:30:01 -0500 School of Science <p>The MIT <a href="">School of Science</a> has announced the winners of the 2020 Infinite Kilometer Awards, which are presented annually to researchers within the school who are exceptional contributors to their communities.</p> <p>These winners are nominated by their peers and mentors for their hard work, which can include mentoring and advising, supporting educational programs, providing service to groups such as the MIT Postdoctoral Association, or some other form of contribution to their home departments, labs, and research centers, the school, and the Institute.</p> <p>The 2020 Infinite Kilometer Award winners in the School of Science are:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Edgar Costa</a>, a research scientist in the Department of Mathematics, nominated by Professor Bjorn Poonen and Principal Research Scientist Andrew Sutherland;</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Casey Rodriguez</a>, an instructor in the Department of Mathematics, nominated by Professor Gigliola Staffilani;</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Rachel Ryskin</a>, a postdoc in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, nominated by Professor Edward Gibson; and</li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Grayson Sipe</a>, a postdoc in the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, nominated by Professor Mriganka Sur.</li> </ul> <p>A monetary award is granted to recipients, and a celebratory reception will be held later this spring in their honor, attended by those who nominated them, family, and friends, in addition to the soon-to-be-announced recipients of the 2020 Infinite Mile Award.</p> School of Science, Mathematics, Brain and cognitive sciences, Picower Institute, Awards, honors and fellowships, Graduate, postdoctoral, Staff, Community Bose grants for 2019 reward bold ideas across disciplines Three innovative research projects in literature, plant epigenetics, and chemical engineering will be supported by Professor Amar G. Bose Research Grants. Mon, 23 Dec 2019 14:40:11 -0500 MIT Resource Development <p>Now in their seventh year, the Professor Amar G. Bose Research Grants support visionary projects that represent intellectual curiosity and a pioneering spirit. Three MIT faculty members have each been awarded one of these prestigious awards for 2019 to pursue diverse questions in the humanities, biology, and engineering.</p> <p>At a ceremony hosted by MIT President L. Rafael Reif on Nov. 25 and attended by past awardees, Provost Martin Schmidt, the Ray and Maria Stata Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, formally announced this year’s Amar G. Bose Research Fellows: Sandy Alexandre, Mary Gehring, and Kristala L.J. Prather.</p> <p>The fellowships are named&nbsp;for&nbsp;the late Amar G. Bose ’51, SM ’52, ScD ’56, a longtime MIT faculty member and the founder of the Bose Corporation. Speaking at the event, President Reif expressed appreciation for the Bose Fellowships, which enable highly creative and unusual research in areas that can be hard to fund through traditional means. “We are tremendously grateful to the Bose family for providing the support that allows bold and curious thinkers at MIT to dream big, challenge themselves, and explore.”</p> <p>Judith Bose, widow of Amar’s son, Vanu ’87, SM ’94, PhD ’99, congratulated the fellows on behalf of the Bose family. “We talk a lot at this event about the power of a great innovative idea, but I think it was a personal mission of Dr. Bose to nurture the ability, in each individual that he met along the way, to follow through — not just to have the great idea but the agency that comes with being able to pursue your idea, follow it through, and actually see where it leads,” Bose said. “And Vanu was the same way. That care that was epitomized by Dr. Bose not just in the idea itself, but in the personal investment, agency, and nurturing necessary to bring the idea to life — that care is a large part of what makes true change in the world."</p> <p><strong>The relationship between literature and engineering</strong></p> <p>Many technological innovations have resulted from the influence of literature, one of the most notable being the World Wide Web. According to many sources, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the web’s inventor, found inspiration from a short story by Arthur C. Clarke titled “Dial F for Frankenstein.” Science fiction has presaged a number of real-life technological innovations, including&nbsp;the defibrillator, noted in Mary Shelley’s "Frankenstein;" the submarine, described in Jules Verne’s "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea;" and earbuds, described in Ray Bradbury’s "Fahrenheit 451." But the data about literature’s influence on STEM innovations are spotty, and these one-to-one relationships are not always clear-cut.</p> <p>Sandy Alexandre, associate professor of literature, intends to change that by creating a large-scale database of the imaginary inventions found in literature. Alexandre’s project will enact the step-by-step mechanics of STEM innovation via one of its oft-unsung sources: literature. “To deny or sever the ties that bind STEM and literature is to suggest — rather disingenuously — that the ideas for many of the STEM devices that we know and love miraculously just came out of nowhere or from an elsewhere where literature isn’t considered relevant or at all,” she says.</p> <p>During the first phase of her work, Alexandre will collaborate with students to enter into the database the imaginary inventions as they are described verbatim in a selection of books and other texts that fall under the category of speculative fiction—a category that includes but is not limited to the subgenres of fantasy, Afrofuturism, and science fiction. This first phase will, of course, require that students carefully read these texts in general, but also read for these imaginary inventions more specifically. Additionally, students with drawing skills will be tasked with interpreting the descriptions by illustrating them as two-dimensional images.</p> <p>From this vast inventory of innovations, Alexandre, in consultation with students involved in the project, will decide on a short list of inventions that meet five criteria: they must be feasible, ethical, worthwhile, useful, and necessary. This vetting process, which constitutes the second phase of the project, is guided by a very important question: what can creating and thinking with a vast database of speculative fiction’s imaginary inventions teach us about what kinds of ideas we should (and shouldn’t) attempt to make into a reality? For the third and final phase, Alexandre will convene a team to build a real-life prototype of one of the imaginary inventions. She envisions this prototype being placed on exhibit at the MIT Museum.</p> <p>The Bose research grant, Alexandre says, will allow her to take this project from a thought experiment to lab experiment. “This project aims to ensure that literature no longer play an overlooked role in STEM innovations. Therefore, the STEM innovation, which will be the culminating prototype of this research project, will cite a work of literature as the main source of information used in its invention.”</p> <p><strong>Nature’s role in chemical production</strong></p> <p>Kristala L.J. Prather ’94, the Arthur D. Little Professor of Chemical Engineering, has been focused on using biological systems for chemical production during the 15 years she’s been at the Institute. Biology as a medium for chemical synthesis has been successfully exploited to commercially produce molecules for uses that range from food to pharmaceuticals — ethanol is a good example. However, there is a range of other molecules with which scientists have been trying to work, but they have faced challenges around an insufficient amount of material being produced and a lack of defined steps needed to make a specific compound.</p> <p>Prather’s research is rooted in the fact that there are a number of naturally (and unnaturally) occurring chemical compounds in the environment, and cells have evolved to be able to consume them. These cells have evolved or developed a protein that will sense a compound’s presence — a biosensor — and in response will make other proteins that help the cells utilize that compound for its benefit.</p> <p>“We know biology can do this,” Prather says, “so if we can put together a sufficiently diverse set of microorganisms, can we just let nature make these regulatory molecules for anything that we want to be able to sense or detect?” Her hypothesis is that if her team exposes cells to a new compound for a long enough period of time, the cells will evolve the ability to either utilize that carbon source or develop an ability to respond to it. If Prather and her team can then identify the protein that’s now recognizing what that new compound is, they can isolate it and use it to improve the production of that compound in other systems. “The idea is to let nature evolve specificity for particular molecules that we’re interested in,” she adds.</p> <p>Prather’s lab has been working with biosensors for some time, but her team has been limited to sensors that are already well characterized and that were readily available. She’s interested in how they can get access to a wider range of what she knows nature has available through the incremental exposure of new compounds to a more comprehensive subset of microorganisms.</p> <p>“To accelerate the transformation of the chemical industry, we must find a way to create better biological catalysts and to create new tools when the existing ones are insufficient,” Prather says. “I am grateful to the Bose Fellowship Committee for allowing me to explore this novel idea.”</p> <p>Prather’s findings as a result of this project hold the possibility of broad impacts in the field of metabolic engineering, including the development of microbial systems that can be engineered to enhance degradation of both toxic and nontoxic waste.</p> <p><strong>Adopting orphan crops to adapt to climate change</strong></p> <p>In the context of increased environmental pressure and competing land uses, meeting global food security needs is a pressing challenge. Although yield gains in staple grains such as rice, wheat, and corn have been high over the last 50 years, these have been accompanied by a homogenization of the global food supply; only 50 crops provide 90% of global food needs.</p> <p>However, there are at least 3,000 plants that can be grown and consumed by humans, and many of these species thrive in marginal soils, at high temperatures, and with little rainfall. These “orphan” crops are important food sources for farmers in less developed countries but have been the subject of little research.</p> <p>Mary Gehring, associate professor of biology at MIT, seeks to bring orphan crops into the molecular age through epigenetic engineering. She is working to promote hybridization, increase genetic diversity, and reveal desired traits for two orphan seed crops: an oilseed crop, <em>Camelina sativa </em>(false flax), and a high-protein legume, <em>Cajanus cajan </em>(pigeon pea).</p> <p><em>C. sativa, </em>which produces seeds with potential for uses in food and biofuel applications, can grow on land with low rainfall, requires minimal fertilizer inputs, and is resistant to several common plant pathogens. Until the mid-20th century, <em>C. sativa </em>was widely grown in Europe but was supplanted by canola, with a resulting loss of genetic diversity. Gehring proposes to recover this genetic diversity by creating and characterizing hybrids between <em>C. sativa </em>and wild relatives that have increased genetic diversity.</p> <p>“To find the best cultivars of orphan crops that will withstand ever increasing environmental insults requires a deeper understanding of the diversity present within these species. We need to expand the plants we rely on for our food supply if we want to continue to thrive in the future,” says Gehring. “Studying orphan crops represents a significant step in that direction. The Bose grant will allow my lab to focus on this historically neglected but vitally important field.”</p> Left to right: MIT Provost Martin Schmidt and President L. Rafael Reif stand with 2019 Bose Fellows Kristala Prather, Mary Gehring, and Sandy Alexandre, along with Judy Bose and Ursula Bose.Photo: Rose LincolnAwards, honors and fellowships, Grants, Faculty, Literature, Technology and society, Chemical engineering, Drug development, Chemistry, Biology, Microbes, Agriculture, Climate change, School of Science, School of Engineering, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Alumni/ae MIT Press authors earn coveted “best of” book honors in 2019 The book publisher continues to produce intellectually daring, scholarly work. Wed, 18 Dec 2019 15:30:01 -0500 MIT Press <p>The MIT Press recently announced that six MIT Press authors were awarded “best of” recognition in 2019. From Bill Gates’ recommendation of “Growth,” by one of his “favorite authors,” to “2016 in Museums, Money, and Politics,” which was selected as the <em>ARTnews</em> No. 1 pick for “Best Art Books of the Decade,” the authors of the MIT Press continue to produce intellectually daring, scholarly work.</p> <p>“We are thrilled to have this recognition given to our forward-thinking authors,” says Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press. “Their work and expertise continue to drive our mission and foster the exchange of ideas, reinforcing the importance of intellectual conversations across the arts and sciences&nbsp;that advance our world.”</p> <p>Awards were given to the following books:</p> <p>“Gyorgy Kepes: Undreaming the Bauhaus,” by John R. Blakinger, was selected by <em>The New York Times</em> as a top art book of 2019 by critic Martha Schwendener.</p> <p>“An overdue treatment of the Hungarian-born artist and designer Gyorgy Kepes explores his career,” wrote Schwendener. “Technology and war are often common threads in Kepes’s work. Innovating forms of camouflage during World War II, his designs coincided with clashes around M.I.T.’s connections with the military during the Vietnam War. Mr. Blakinger argues that Kepes represents a new form of modern artist fluent in and influenced by technology: ‘the artist as technocrat.’”</p> <p>“2016 in Museums, Money, and Politics<strong><em>,</em></strong>”<strong><em> </em></strong>by Andrea Fraser, was the No. 1 pick on the “The Best Art Books of the Decade” by Alex Greenberger, senior editor for <em>ARTnews.</em></p> <p>“Where would we be without Andrea Fraser’s “2016 in Museums, Money, and Politics?” asked Greenberger. “This book has become a touchstone at a time when activists are calling out board members for their political leanings … seeing it all collected neatly in one tome is powerful — as a cool-headed study, an intelligent research-based artwork, and a clarion call for change all in one.”</p> <p>“Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century,” edited by Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter, was No. 4 on Greenberger’s “Best Art Books of the Decade.”</p> <p>He wrote, “The closest thing to a movement that emerged this decade was a new kind of digital art — one that was termed ‘post-internet’ by some for the way it moved the slick aesthetics of the web into the world at large. Mass Effect has become the go-to critical companion to this style and work made by the artists whose pioneering pieces inspired it.”</p> <p>“Growth,” by Vaclav Smil, was recommended by Bill Gates on <em>Gates Notes
.</em></p> <p>“When I first heard that one of my favorite authors was working on a new book about growth, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it,” said Gates. “(Two years ago, I wrote that I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next Star Wars movie. I stand by that statement.) His latest doesn’t disappoint. As always, I don’t agree with everything Smil says, but he remains one of the best thinkers out there at documenting the past and seeing the big picture.”</p> <p>“Fables and Futures,” by George Estreich, was featured on <em>NPR Science Friday</em> as among “The Best Science Books of 2019.”</p> <p>“As new prenatal screening tools enter the market and we begin to seriously grapple with the idea of human genome editing, we would do well to think deeply about the consequences of such technologies on the rights and welfare of individuals we consider disabled,” wrote Valerie Thompson, editor for <em>Science Friday.</em> “I recommend 'Fables and Futures' to anyone who wants to seriously engage in the human genome editing debate at the society and species levels.”</p> <p>“Find Your Path: Unconventional Lessons from 36 Leading Scientists and Engineers,” by Daniel Goodman, was featured as a “Selected New Book on Higher Education” by <em>The Chronicle of Higher Education.</em></p> Six MIT Press authors were awarded “best of” recognition in 2019.Image courtesy of The MIT Press.Awards, honors and fellowships, Books and authors, MIT Press, Science communication, Arts, Economics, Politics, History, Science writing MIT education leaders honored with QS Reimagine Education Awards Awards honor innovations that enhance learning and employability. Wed, 18 Dec 2019 11:55:01 -0500 Suzanne Day | Office of Open Learning <p>Education leaders at MIT have received a pair of Silver Awards and a Bronze Award at the QS Reimagine Education Awards, an international conference on education held annually in December.</p> <p>A team that developed the <em>MITx</em> MicroMasters program in supply chain management was honored with a silver award for Best Online Program for Nurturing 21st Center Skills and with a bronze for the North American region. The <em>MITx</em> Biology group received a Silver Award for promoting the science of learning in learning-experience design. Chris Caplice, who directs the MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management, and Mary Ellen Wiltrout, lecturer in digital learning, biology, accepted the awards for these teams, respectively.</p> <p>The projects were selected for awards from a pool of more than 1,500 submissions across 16 categories.</p> <p>“It’s an honor for us to be recognized for the pioneering role that MIT has played in initiating the MicroMasters program movement —&nbsp;and for continuing to provide educational opportunities to our learners at a high level,” Caplice says. “We’re also very proud of our learners, who inspire us with their great achievements in the supply chain industry.”</p> <p>“We’re delighted to be recognized for our work that goes into the intentional design of learning experiences for MIT students and MOOC learners,” Wiltrout said. “Many in K-12, higher education, and professional education want to incorporate the learning sciences into their work and just aren’t sure how to do so. We want to empower these individuals with an easy-to-understand model and workshops on how to start designing digital learning materials supporting the learning sciences, even if hybrid or online teaching is new to them.”</p> <p>Launched in 2016, the <em>MITx</em> MicroMasters program in supply chain management is the world’s first-ever MicroMasters program. This flexible, affordable, and rigorously assessed online pathway to advanced education consists of a series of courses that culminate in a digitally delivered credential. The credential is recognized by employers and institutions as commensurate with one semester of graduate-level coursework at MIT. A successful credential earner completes a demanding sequence of <em>MITx</em> <span class="ILfuVd NA6bn duSGDe"><span class="e24Kjd">massive open online course</span></span>s (MOOCs) that demonstrates their mastery of the concepts and skills necessary for a strong foundation in the supply chain management profession. Nearly 2,000 learners around the world have received this credential to date.</p> <p>Wiltrout and team received their Science of Learning award for their leadership and best-practice sharing on incorporating learning sciences into the design of MOOCs and beyond. The team documented the principles from the learning sciences they put into practice in their hybrid learning experiences on MIT-campus and MOOC projects. They plan to promote the inclusion of the learning sciences in design through academic publications and talks, as well as hands-on workshops for instructors to learn how to apply these principles in the context of their own courses.</p> <p>“We’re exceptionally proud of the innovative work that these teams do to advance education every day,” says MIT Dean for Digital Learning Krishna Rajagopal. “The recognition reinforces our commitment to high standards as MIT faculty, our Digital Learning Lab, and <em>MITx</em> create new online learning opportunities for MIT students and for learners around the world.”</p> Chris Caplice (left), director of the MicroMasters Program in Supply Chain Management, and Mary Ellen Wiltrout, lecturer in digital learning for biology, receive awards for educational innovation at the QS Reimagine Education Awards. Photo: MIT Open LearningOffice of Open Learning, MITx, School of Science, Center for Transportation and Logistics, Massive open online courses (MOOCs), online learning, Education, teaching, academics, Awards, honors and fellowships Fostering forward momentum Thomas Kochan, Julie Shah, and Evelyn Wang honored by graduate students as &quot;Committed to Caring.&quot; Tue, 10 Dec 2019 10:30:01 -0500 Courtney Lesoon | Office of Graduate Education <p>The road to commencement is a long one, especially for graduate students whose degree programs may take upwards of six years. There are many moments when focus may be lost and excitement may dwindle. Faculty mentors can play a key role in helping students persevere.</p> <p>Professors Thomas Kochan, Julie Shah, and Evelyn Wang have been honored by their graduate students as “Committed to Caring” (C2C) for their uncanny ability to keep things moving along, even when the going gets tough. They accomplish this by encouraging their students to pursue passions, to communicate, and to collaborate.</p> <p><strong>Tom Kochan: modeling mentorship</strong></p> <p>In a C2C nomination letter, one student cites Kochan as “a model for the type of scholar, teacher, and mentor I would like to someday be.”</p> <p>Kochan is the&nbsp;George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management,&nbsp;a professor of work and employment research, and the co-director of the MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research focuses on updating America’s work and employment policies, institutions, and practices to keep up with a changing workforce and economy. His work calls attention to the challenges facing working families in meeting their responsibilities at work, at home, and in their communities.</p> <p>Students say that they feel relieved after talking through their research problems with Kochan, who demonstrates active listening (a Mentoring Guidepost identified by the C2C program). “When you talk, Tom listens,” says one nominator. “Not only did he help me work out a plan to address the struggles I was having with my work, but he also let me know that I was not in it alone.”</p> <p>Students say that Kochan helps them to work through research problems “without being judged negatively for mistakes.” Instead, he focuses on what is going well in the research. “He always sees the good — the best, the positive — in all of us.”</p> <p>Working together and learning from peers is one important step in this process. Kochan has worked hard to build a cohesive community of scholars at the Institute for Work and Employment Research who help each other to develop and then lead the field in new directions.</p> <p>Kochan remarks that building and sustaining a collaborative community of students, faculty, and alumni is the most important part of his job. “Nothing is more satisfying than to see how members of our community go on to do great research, lead our field in new directions, and work together.”</p> <p><strong>Julie Shah: communicating and collaborating</strong></p> <p>Professor Julie Shah is a stabilizing force for her graduate students, starting from the first day of their program and continuing well after graduation. “Somehow, after one of the most trying weeks in my graduate career,” one student recalls, “I came out of a conversation with Julie with a new excitement about research and about grad school.”</p> <p>Shah is an associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, where she develops innovative computational models and algorithms expanding the use of human cognitive models for artificial intelligence. Her research has produced novel forms of human-machine teaming in manufacturing assembly lines, health care applications, transportation, and defense.</p> <p>Dedicating time to meet with her students weekly is a priority for Shah. “The time I spend advising is some of the most important time I spend,” Shah says. “It allows my students and [me] to connect on the things that matter most, so that together we can recharge to tackle challenges.” Although weekly meetings seemed daunting at first, one student remarks that having that time is extremely beneficial for her workflow. “The time can be spent however I want, whether it's for debugging code, brainstorming ideas, sharing a nugget of new information, talking through a life stressor, or just running her through my progress so far.” Shah encourages and facilitates collaboration, and regular, open communication is an important first step.</p> <p>One student nominator recalls the words Shah said in their very first advisor/advisee meeting: “Now that you're in my lab, I am forever your advocate. I will always be on your team, and you never have to prove yourself to me.” This sentiment proved to be true, the student says. “Julie keeps her word.”</p> <p><strong>Evelyn Wang: wholehearted engagement</strong></p> <p>Evelyn Wang encourages her students to pursue their passions outside of work as an important part of maintaining good mental health in graduate school. One student recalls Wang encouraging them to continue practicing piano, and even attended their recitals. This is an example of encouraging work/life balance, a Mentoring Guidepost identified by the C2C program.</p> <p>Wang is the Gail E. Kendall Professor and department head in the Department of Mechanical Engineering as well as the director of the Device Research Laboratory at MIT. Her research interests include fundamental studies of micro/nanoscale heat and mass transport and the development of efficient thermal management, solar thermal energy conversion, and water harvesting systems.</p> <p>Being present for her advisees — even in a crunch — is a strength of Wang’s. One nominator recalls that Wang supported their decision to apply for a conference on the day of the deadline after their experiment had only just yielded results that afternoon. “After I showed Prof. Wang my results and expressed that I wanted to go for it, she decided to stay late to help me revise the abstract.” The next day, Wang gave the student positive and encouraging feedback. “One conference paper probably doesn't matter too much to her, but she knew what it meant for me and so helped me realize this goal.”</p> <p>According to her students, Evelyn Wang “makes it a priority to connect with the members of her group” and thereby promotes their professional development and maintains a friendly and encouraging work environment. Wang says,&nbsp;“I treat my group as a family, and we all do our best to support each other through successes and failures.”</p> <p><strong>More on Committed to Caring (C2C)</strong></p> <p>The Committed to Caring (C2C) program is an initiative of the Office of Graduate Education and contributes to its mission of making graduate education at MIT “empowering, exciting, holistic, and transformative.”</p> <p>C2C invites&nbsp;graduate students from across MIT’s campus to nominate professors whom they believe to be outstanding mentors. Selection criteria for the honor include the scope and reach of advisor impact on graduate students’ experience, excellence in scholarship, and demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.</p> <p>By recognizing the human element of graduate education, C2C seeks&nbsp;to encourage excellent advising and mentorship across MIT’s campus. More information about these and other C2C&nbsp;honorees and their advising practices may be found on the&nbsp;<a href="">Committed to Caring</a>&nbsp;pages.</p> (Left to right:) Julie Shah, Thomas Kochan, and Evelyn Wang have been honored by their graduate students as “Committed to Caring” for their uncanny ability to keep things moving along, even when the going gets tough. Photos: Joseph LeeSloan School of Management, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Mechanical engineering, School of Engineering, Mentoring, Awards, honors and fellowships, Leadership, Faculty, Community, Students, Graduate, postdoctoral Two MIT seniors named 2020 Marshall Scholars Talya Klinger and Steven Truong will begin graduate studies in the UK next fall. Mon, 09 Dec 2019 00:59:59 -0500 Julia Mongo | Distinguished Fellowships <p>Talya Klinger and Steven Truong are MIT’s newest Marshall Scholars. The students are recipients of the prestigious British government-funded fellowship, which provides outstanding young American scholars the opportunity to pursue two years of graduate study in any subject at any academic institution in the United Kingdom.</p> <p>The Marshall Scholarship program annually receives over 1,000 applications from top students representing higher education institutions across the United States. Around 40 scholars are selected each year.</p> <p>MIT’s Marshall applicants were advised and supported by the distinguished fellowships team, led by Assistant Dean Kim Benard in Career Advising and Professional Development. They were also mentored by the MIT Presidential Committee on Distinguished Fellowships, co-chaired by professors Will Broadhead and Tamar Schapiro.</p> <p>“MIT’s Marshall Scholarship applicants embody the academic excellence, personal integrity, and future-minded optimism that characterize MIT undergraduates at their best,” Broadhead says. “We on the Distinguished Fellowships Committee have been inspired by all of them and are especially pleased to congratulate Talya and Steven as they take their richly deserved places in this year’s class of Marshall Scholars.”</p> <p><strong>Talya Klinger</strong></p> <p>Hailing from Novato, California, Klinger is a senior majoring in physics with a minor in mathematics. As a Marshall Scholar, she will pursue a MASt in mathematics, followed by an MPhil in physics, at Cambridge University. After completing her two-year Marshall program, she plans to return to the U.S. for a PhD in physics. She hopes to have a career leading research on gravitational waves either as a professor or national lab scientist.</p> <p>Klinger has conducted physics research with the Hughes group at the MIT Kavli Institute, the Thaler group at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics, and the MIT Photon Scattering Lab. She has also conducted research abroad at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada, and the Weizmann Institute of Science Astroparticle Physics Lab in Israel.</p> <p>Deeply committed to social justice, Klinger helped found the MIT Prison Education Initiative, a student group that advocates for educational opportunities for local prison inmates. Klinger is also a dedicated teacher and mentor. She advises women considering majoring in physics and incoming first year students, and she has taught classes to middle and high school students through the MIT Educational Studies Program. She is vice president of the Society of Physics Students. A talented visual artist, Klinger has been an integral part of the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble, working as a costume and special effects designer. She has won writing awards for her essays and in high school was a nationally ranked classics scholar.</p> <p><strong>Steven Truong</strong></p> <p>Steven Truong, from Blaine, Minnesota, will graduate this spring with a double major in biological engineering and creative writing. At Imperial College London, he will read for an MS degree in biostatistics, and after one year will read for an MS degree in integrated immunology at Oxford University. Upon returning to the U.S., Truong will pursue an MD/PhD degree with the goal of working in both the research and clinical aspects of diabetes treatment. Many of his own family members have contended with the disease, including his father, Buu Truong, who passed away from diabetes complications during Truong’s junior year of college.</p> <p>The son of Vietnamese refugees, Truong spent two years researching diabetes therapies in the laboratories of professors Daniel Anderson and Robert Langer in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. He subsequently pursued diabetes research in the laboratory of Professor Douglas Lauffenburger in the Department of Biological Engineering and received a National Science Foundation summer grant to conduct research at the University of California at San Francisco Diabetes Research Center. Truong is also co-principal investigator for a diabetes research project that he founded in Vietnam the summer after his first year at MIT. Truong was a Goldwater Scholar and has won awards for his science fiction and other writing.</p> <p>Truong served as co-president of the Biological Engineering Undergrad Board and as opinion editor for the MIT student newspaper&nbsp;<em>The Tech</em>. He has volunteered with the Joslin Diabetes Center, MIT MedLinks, and the QuestBridge Scholars Network. In addition, Truong performs magic shows for MIT ClubChem and is a&nbsp;collegiate powerlifter.</p> Talya Klinger and Steven TruongImage: Ian MacLellanPhysics, Biological engineering, Comparative Media Studies/Writing, School of Science, School of Engineering, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Undergraduate, Awards, honors and fellowships MIT Dining wins the New England Food Vision Prize The $250,000 prize is awarded to six teams of college and university dining programs to bring more local food to campus menus. Fri, 06 Dec 2019 11:00:01 -0500 Division of Student Life <p>MIT Dining, in collaboration with the MIT Office of Sustainability, has been selected as one of six recipients of the 2019 <a href="" target="_blank">Henry P. Kendall Foundation New England Food Vision Prize</a>. Launched by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation in 2018, the New England Food Vision Prize Program gives out as many as six awards of up to $250,000 each to help New England college and university food-service directors explore bold and innovative ideas that strengthen the region’s food system.</p> <p>MIT’s concept — entitled “Food from Here”<em> </em>— combines resources from area universities, local food-processing collaboratives, and regional farms to sustainably increase the amount of local food served on campus. The proposed program meets the measurable, sustainable, and replicable goals of the Food Vision Prize while addressing recent recommendations from the MIT Food and Sustainability Working Group. Those recommendations call on MIT to ensure that students have access to “affordable, sustainable, and culturally meaningful food” and to “empower consumers to make informed choices,” all inspired by the Institute’s innovative spirit.</p> <p>“I am proud and excited about this award,” says Suzy Nelson, vice president and dean for student life. “We want to make sure that students have access to delicious and nutritious food — and having it come from regional growers and co-ops is a great way to contribute to the Massachusetts economy, to support farms and farmers, and to strengthen our food chain.”&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>“MIT Dining’s proposal aims to sustainably increase the amount of local and regional food served and sold on campuses,” says Mark Hayes, director of MIT Dining. In this proposal, MIT partnered with Lesley University and Emmanuel College to share food sources and solutions. “Lesley and Emmanuel are both close to MIT geographically, and we share the same food-service contractor — Bon Appetit Management Company (BAMCo) — making them a natural choice for partnership,” Hayes says.</p> <p>“Developing a visionary approach for new campus food systems is a huge task, so the idea is that if one university can figure out how to do that, that can be done elsewhere,” says Susy Jones, sustainability project manager at MIT. “By working with these partners from the outset, we can identify how to make something like this work in a way that is replicable.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Working together, MIT, Lesley, Emmanuel, and their food-processing and gleaning partners will identify a core set of locally grown surplus crops — like apples, eggplant, and squash — that can be used across campuses, allowing the schools’ chefs to forecast demand and commit to regular purchases.</p> <p>Boston Area Gleaners will help source the surplus produce from area farms. Commonwealth Kitchen and Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center will process the produce into products such as diced onions or crushed tomatoes that can be used year-round in recipes, sold in campus cafés, and made available in grocery and convenience stores.</p> <p>The Food Vision Prize supports this effort by allowing organizations to dedicate staff to managing the effort and rolling it out in a way that engages campus communities.</p> <p>“This award recognizes the innovative ways MIT is working to solve for sustainability across food systems,” says Director of Sustainability Julie Newman. “Building creative partnerships across campus and communities helps us tackle these big challenges, and this award supports our work in doing that.”</p> <p>MIT Dining is continually working to add value and choice to eating options at MIT. Send suggestions, comments, or other any food for thought to&nbsp;<a href=""></a>.</p> MIT Dining recently won the New England Food Vision Prize. "Food from Here" combines resources from area universities, local food-processing collaboratives, and regional farms to sustainably increase the amount of local food served on campus.Photo: MIT DiningDivision of Student Life, Campus Dining, Community, Food, Sustainability, Awards, honors and fellowships Three MIT seniors to join 2021 class of Schwarzman Scholars Two alumni have also been selected; the scholars will study global affairs at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. Wed, 04 Dec 2019 10:00:00 -0500 Julia Mongo | Distinguished Fellowships <p>Three MIT seniors, Mariam Dogar, Adedoyin Olateru-Olagbegi, and Jessica Quaye, and alumna Jessica Wang ’16, MEng ’17 are recipients of this year’s Schwarzman Scholarship distinguished fellowship. Another alumna was also awarded a scholarship but is waiting to make a public announcement until she has shared the news with her employer.</p> <p>The five winners were selected from an applicant of pool over 4,700 candidates and will join fellow Schwarzman Scholars from around the world in China next August. Scholars complete a one-year master’s degree in global affairs at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. Their education is complemented by internships, career development mentors, high-profile speakers, and opportunities to travel throughout China.</p> <p>Inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, the Schwarzman Scholarship program began in 2015 to bring together talented young leaders and prepare them for the geopolitical and economic challenges of the 21st century by deepening their understanding of China. Since its inception, 18 MIT students and alumni have been named Schwarzman Scholars.</p> <p>Kim Benard, assistant dean of distinguished fellowships in Career Advising and Professional Development prepares MIT’s applicants, with assistance from the Presidential Committee on Distinguished Fellowships’ faculty members. MIT students and recent alumni interested in learning more about the Schwarzman Scholarship program should contact <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>Hailing from Northborough, Massachusetts, <strong>Mariam Dogar</strong> is majoring&nbsp;in biology and minoring&nbsp;in urban studies and planning.&nbsp;She aims to make health care more accessible and equitable through reworking outdated policies and utilizing technology.&nbsp;Dogar has&nbsp;worked at the World Bank developing telemedicine policy recommendations for lower middle-income countries.&nbsp;She has two years of&nbsp;experience on the teaching team of MIT’s negotiation and leadership classes, where she shaped pedagogy and co-taught a workshop for MBA students in Malaysia. She has taught humanitarian design in Greece with MIT D-Lab, worked in digital health care investing in the Middle East, and volunteered in refugee programs in Jordan. She is a co-president of MIT Mock Trial and&nbsp;GlobeMed@MIT. She is also an executive member of PaksMIT and counselor for Camp Kesem.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Jessica Quaye</strong><strong>, </strong>an electrical engineering and computer science major, has conducted research with&nbsp;MIT.nano and the HCIE&nbsp;group in CSAIL. She&nbsp;has also sharpened her technical and business management skills through internships at Google, Microsoft, and Bain and Company. Quaye, a Tau Beta Pi Scholar, is president of the MIT African Students’ Association. She serves on MIT’s Undergraduate Association committees and the EECS&nbsp;Undergraduate Student Advisory Group. She founded the International Students of Color Working Group to support the needs of first-year international students, and she established the first MIT Global Teaching Lab initiative in Ghana. Quaye is from&nbsp;Accra, Ghana. As a Schwarzman Scholar, she hopes to deepen her understanding of public policy and dreams of one day driving policy change&nbsp;in&nbsp;Ghana.</p> <p><strong>Adedoyin Olateru-Olagbegi,</strong> from Hanover, Maryland, is majoring in computer science, economics, and data science. She envisions a world where quality health care is accessible to all, and plans to focus on health in developing countries with an emphasis on innovative digital tools. She has explored her interests in development and public health through classes that have taken her to South Africa and Colombia. As director of Camp Kesem at MIT, Olateru-Olagbegi organizes an annual summer camp for children affected by a parent’s cancer and oversees the MIT students who work with them. She has also held leadership roles with MIT Emergency Medical Services, the MIT Black Students’ Union, and Sigma Kappa Sorority, and has served on several MIT Institute Committees, including as a student advisor to President L. Rafael Reif.</p> <p><strong>Jessica Wang</strong> graduated from MIT in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in computer science and engineering and received a Master of Engineering in 2017. She is passionate about utilizing technology for good and bringing her joint engineering and design background to shape technology policy. She currently lives in San Francisco, where she builds collaborative design software at Figma. She works on diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace and volunteers with Larkin Street, a nonprofit serving homeless youth, as a YCore Fellow. In the past, she’s worked at a machine learning startup, Facebook, and Uber. At MIT, Wang researched online sociopolitical discourse and misinformation, writing her thesis on digital systems to bridge ideological divides. She served as president of MIT Chinese Students’ Club and held leadership positions in MIT TechX and HackMIT.</p> Clockwise from top left: seniors Mariam Dogar, Jessica Quaye, and Adedoyin Olateru-Olagbegi, and alumna Jessica Wang. Photos courtesy of Schwarzman ScholarsStudents, Alumni/ae, Undergraduate, awards, Awards, honors and fellowships, Biology, Urban studies and planning, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (eecs), School of Science, School of Architecture and Planning, School of Engineering, Graduate, postdoctoral, China Two MIT professors named 2019 fellows of the National Academy of Inventors Li-Huei Tsai and Christopher Schuh recognized for research innovations addressing Alzheimer’s disease and metal mechanics. Tue, 03 Dec 2019 10:00:01 -0500 David Orenstein | Picower Institute <p>The National Academy of Inventors has selected two MIT faculty members, neuroscientist Li-Huei Tsai and materials scientist Christopher Schuh, as members of its 2019 class of new fellows.</p> <p>NAI fellows “have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society,” the organization stated in its announcement.</p> <p>Schuh is the department head and the Danae and Vasilis Salapatas Professor of Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. His&nbsp;research is focused on structural metallurgy and seeks to control disorder in metallic microstructures for the purpose of optimizing mechanical properties; much of his work is on the design and control of grain boundary structure and chemistry.</p> <p>Schuh has published dozens of patents and co-founded a number of metallurgical companies. His first MIT spinout company, Xtalic Corporation, commercialized a process from his MIT laboratory to produce stable nanocrystalline coatings, which have now been deployed in over 10 billion individual components in use worldwide. Schuh’s startup Desktop Metal is a metal additive manufacturing company developing 3D metal printers that are sufficiently simpler and lower-cost than current options to enable broad use across many industries. Recently, Schuh co-founded Veloxint Corporation, which is commercializing machine components made from custom stable nanocrystalline alloys designed in his MIT laboratory.</p> <p>Tsai, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience and director of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, focuses on neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Her work has generated a dozen patents, many of which have been licensed by biomedical companies including two startups, Cognito Therapeutics and Souvien Bio Ltd., that have spun out from her and collaborator’s labs.</p> <p>Her team’s innovations include inhibiting an enzyme that affects the chromatin structure of DNA to rescue gene expression and restore learning and memory, and using light and sound stimulation to enhance the power and synchrony of 40-hertz gamma rhythms in the brain to reduce Alzheimer’s pathology, prevent neuron death, and preserve learning and memory. Each of these promising sets of findings in mice are now being tested in human trials.</p> <p>Tsai and Schuh join 21 colleagues from MIT who have previously been elected NAI fellows.</p> Li-Huei Tsai, left, is the Picower Professor of Neuroscience and director of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and Christopher Schuh, is department head and the Danae and Vasilis Salapatas Professor of Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.Photos courtesy of the Picower Institute and the Department of Materials Science and EngineeringDMSE, Picower Institute, School of Engineering, School of Science, Awards, honors and fellowships, Faculty, Brain and cognitive sciences, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E), Alzheimer's, Neuroscience, Materials Science and Engineering School of Engineering third quarter 2019 awards Faculty members recognized for excellence via a diverse array of honors, grants, and prizes over the last quarter. Wed, 27 Nov 2019 11:35:01 -0500 School of Engineering <p>Members of the MIT engineering faculty receive many awards in recognition of their scholarship, service, and overall excellence. Every quarter, the School of Engineering publicly recognizes their achievements by highlighting the honors, prizes, and medals won by faculty working in our academic departments, labs, and centers.</p> <p>Richard Braatz, of the Department of Chemical Engineering, won the <a href="">AIChE 2019 Separations Division Innovation Award</a> on Oct. 1.</p> <p>Michael Carbin, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, <a href="">won the Best Paper Award</a> at the International Conference on Learning Representations on May 8. He also <a href="">won the Distinguished Paper Award</a> at the International Conference on Functional Programming on Aug. 20.</p> <p>Vincent W. S. Chan, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was elected <a href="">2020-21 president of the IEEE Communication Society</a> on Sept. 5.</p> <p>Victor Chernozhukov, of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, was <a href="">named a fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics</a> on May 15.</p> <p>Michael Cima, of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, won the&nbsp;<a href="">W. David Kingery Award</a> from the American Ceramic Society on Oct. 16.</p> <p>James Collins, of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, won the <a href="">2020 Max Delbrück Prize in Biological Physics</a> from the American Physical Society on Sept. 26.</p> <p>Areg Danagoulian, of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, won the <a href="">2019 Radiation Science and Technology Award</a> from the American Nuclear Society on Nov. 17.</p> <p>Peter Dedon and Eric Alm, of the Department of Biological Engineering, won the <a href="">NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award</a> on Oct. 1.</p> <p>Esther Duflo, of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, won the <a href="">Nobel Prize for economics</a> on Oct. 14.</p> <p>Ruonan Han, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was <a href="">named the 2020-22 Distinguished Lecturer</a> by the IEEE Microwave Theory and Technique Society on Sept. 11.</p> <p>James M. LeBeau, of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, won the <a href="">Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers</a> on July 2.</p> <p>Nancy Lynch, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was <a href="">given a doctor honoris causa</a> (honorary doctorate) from the Sorbonne University on Sept. 11.</p> <p>Karthish Manthiram, of the Department of Chemical Engineering, won the <a href="">2019 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award</a> on Nov. 15.</p> <p>Devavrat Shah, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,&nbsp;won the <a href="">ACM Sigmetrics Test of Time Paper Award</a> on July 22.</p> <p>Suvrit Sra, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, won the <a href=";HistoricalAwards=false">NSF CAREER Award</a> on July 24.</p> <p>Anne White, of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering,&nbsp;was named a <a href="">fellow of the American Physical Society</a> on Nov. 17.</p> <p>Cathy Wu, of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, won the <a href="">Best PhD Dissertation Award first prize</a> from the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society on Nov. 12.</p> Photo: Lillie Paquette/School of EngineeringSchool of Engineering, Chemical engineering, Electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), Materials Science and Engineering, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), Nuclear science and engineering, Biological engineering, Awards, honors and fellowships, Faculty Heating by cooling Pablo Rodriguez-Fernandez resolves a fusion paradox to receive Del Favero Prize. Wed, 27 Nov 2019 11:30:01 -0500 Paul Rivenberg | Plasma Science and Fusion Center <p>The field of magnetic fusion research has mysteries to spare. How to confine turbulent plasma fuel in a donut-shaped vacuum chamber, making it hot and dense enough for fusion to take place, has generated questions — and answers — for decades.&nbsp;</p> <p>As a graduate student under the direction of Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering Professor Anne White, Pablo Rodriguez-Fernandez PhD ’19 became intrigued by a fusion research mystery that had remained unsolved for 20 years. His novel observations and subsequent modeling helped provide the answer, earning him the Del Favero Prize.</p> <p>The focus of his thesis is plasma turbulence, and how heat is transported from the hot core to the edge of the plasma in a tokamak. Experiments over 20 years have shown that, in certain circumstances, cooling the edge of the plasma results in the core becoming hotter.&nbsp;</p> <p>“When you cool the edge of the plasma by injecting impurities, what every standard theory and intuition would tell you is that a cold pulse propagates in, so that eventually the core temperature will drop as well. But what we observed is that, in certain conditions when we drop the temperature of the edge, the core got hotter. It’s sort of heating by cooling.”</p> <p>The counterintuitive observation was not supported by any existing theory for plasma behavior.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The fact that our theory cannot explain something that happens so often in experiments makes us question those models,” Rodriquez-Fernandez says. “Should we trust them to predict what will happen in future fusion devices?”&nbsp;</p> <p>These models were the basis for predicting performance in the Plasma Science and Fusion Center’s Alcator C-Mod tokamak, which is no longer in operation. They are currently used for <a href="">ITER</a>, the next-generation machine being constructed in France, and SPARC, the tokamak the PSFC is pursuing with <a href="">Commonwealth Fusion Systems</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>To solve the mystery, Rodriguez-Fernandez learned complex coding that would allow him to run simulations of the edge-cooling experiments. When he manually cooled the edge in his early simulations, however, his models failed to reproduce the core heating observed in the actual experiments.</p> <p>Carefully studying data from Alcator C-Mod experiments, Rodriguez-Fernandez realized that the impurities injected to cool the plasma perturb not only the temperature, but every parameter, including the density.&nbsp;</p> <p>“We are perturbing the density because we are introducing more particles into the plasma. I was looking at the Alcator C-Mod data and I was seeing all the time these bumps in density. People have been disregarding them forever.”</p> <p>With new density perturbations to introduce into his simulation, he was able to simulate the core heating that had been observed in so many experiments around the world for more than two decades. These findings became the basis for an <a href="" target="_blank">article</a> in <em>Physical&nbsp;Review Letters (PRL)</em>.</p> <p>To strengthen his thesis, Rodriguez-Fernandez wanted to use the same model to predict the response to edge cooling in a very different tokamak — DIII-D in San Diego, California. At the time, this tokamak did not have the capability to run such an experiment, but the MIT team, led by Research Scientist Nathan Howard, installed a new laser ablation system for injecting impurities and cold pulses into the machine. The subsequent experiments run on DIII-D showed the predictions to be accurate.</p> <p>“This was further support that my answer to the mystery and my predictive simulations were correct,” says Rodriguez-Fernandez. “The fact that we can reproduce core heating by edge cooling in a simulation, and for more than one tokamak, means that we can understand the physics behind the phenomenon. And what is more important, it gives us confidence that the models we have for C-Mod and SPARC are not wrong.”</p> <p>Rodriquez-Fernandez notes the excellent collegial environment&nbsp;at the PSFC, as well as a strong external collaboration network. His collaborators include Gary Staebler at General Atomics, home to DIII-D, who authored the Trapped Gyro-Landau Fluid transport model used for his simulations; Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory researchers Brian Grierson and Xingqiu Yuan, who are experts at a modeling tool called TRANSP that was invaluable to his work; and Clemente Angioni at the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching, Germany, whose experiments on the ASDEX Upgrade tokamak supported the findings from the PRL article.</p> <p>Now a postdoc at the PSFC, Rodriguez-Fernandez devotes half of his time to SPARC and half to DIII-D and ASDEX Upgrade. With all these projects, he is using the simulations from his PhD thesis to develop techniques for predicting and optimizing tokamak performance.&nbsp;</p> <p>The postdoc admits that the timing of his thesis could not have been better, just as the SPARC project was ramping up. He quickly joined the team that is designing the device and working on the physics basis.&nbsp;</p> <p>As part of the <a href="">Dec. 5 ceremony</a> where Rodriguez Fernandez will receive the Del Favero Thesis Prize, he will discuss his how his thesis research is connected to his current work on predicting SPARC performance. Established in 2014 with a generous gift from alum James Del Favero SM ’84, the prize is awarded annually to a PhD graduate in NSE whose thesis is judged to have made the most innovative advance in the field of nuclear science and engineering.&nbsp;</p> <p>“It’s very exciting,” he says. “The SPARC project really drives me. I see a future here for me, and for fusion.”&nbsp;</p> <p>This research is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fusion Energy Sciences.</p> For his prize-winning thesis, Pablo Rodriguez-Fernandez examined data from MIT's Alcator C-Mod tokamak (background).Photo: Paul Rivenberg/PSFCPlasma Science and Fusion Center, Nuclear science and engineering, School of Engineering, Physics, Fusion, Awards, honors and fellowships, Graduate, postdoctoral, Staff, Department of Energy (DoE) Clara Piloto wins Hipatia Award for expanding Spanish-language programs MIT Professional Education director of global programs honored for increasing female enrollment in programs aimed at professionals in Spanish-speaking economies. Tue, 26 Nov 2019 14:30:01 -0500 MIT Professional Education <p>The director of global programs at <a href=";utm_medium=web&amp;utm_campaign=pe-2020&amp;utm_content=Stem-award" target="_blank">MIT Professional Education</a> is among the recipients of the inaugural <a href="" target="_blank">Hipatia Women in Science Award</a>, a new distinction launched this year by Spain’s <em>El Economista</em> newspaper to promote the role of women in science. Clara Piloto, through her work at MIT Professional Education, won in the category of “Business and Science” for increasing female enrollment in MIT Professional Education’s Spanish-language Digital Plus Programs aimed at professionals in Spanish-speaking economies.</p> <p>“This is a remarkable accomplishment, and a testament to the commitment MIT Professional Education and MIT have to supporting inclusion and diversity,” says Bhaskar Pant, executive director at MIT Professional Education. “Clara and her digital blended programs team worked in partnership with a Spanish platform partner and developed innovative programs in Spanish that have effectively reduced the gender gap by eliminating many of the traditional barriers to professional education programs, such as cost, geography, and language. As a result, more learners — in particular, women in Latin America — have been empowered with MIT knowledge and training to help succeed in the 21st century.”&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the U.S. <a href="">National Science Foundation</a>, women today make up less than 25 percent of the STEM workforce in the United States. But the gap is even wider for women in Latin America. Statistics show only 2 percent of Latinas held science and engineering positions in 2015.</p> <p>“Gender and other disparities in STEM are depriving the global workforce of talented minds that could be creating the next breakthrough technology,” says Piloto. “Expanding our professional education offerings to include courses taught in Spanish with global reach will clear a path to professional growth and training opportunities for those not served by us previously.”</p> <p>MIT Professional Education expanded its offerings to include blended courses taught fully in Spanish in the fall of 2018. The Digital Plus Programs team collaborated with&nbsp;international education technology company, Global Alumni, to integrate MIT content with cutting-edge education technologies, and collaborative teaching methods aimed at promoting maximum interaction and engagement.</p> <p>When the program first rolled out last October, Piloto says she noticed only 15 percent of enrollees in the “Leadership in Innovation” course were female. In keeping with a key strategic objective of MIT Professional Education, she and her team decided to launch an initiative to promote greater gender diversity and improve access for women across Latin America and Spain.</p> <p>Over the past 12 months, female participation in Digital Plus Program courses has increased steadily and significantly. Women now make up a total of 32 percent of all participants in the various programs being delivered. As for that “Leadership in Innovation” course — this year, almost 40 percent of enrollees are women, up from a mere 15 percent.</p> <p>“For many people around the world, MIT seems unattainable,” says Piloto. “Our professional online and blended programs make MIT content accessible and practical for all. It’s rewarding to know our work will have a lasting, positive impact on society.”</p> <p>Piloto, a Cuban-born American, in conjunction with MIT Professional Education, received the “Hipatia Award” for these accomplishments at a ceremony held in Madrid on Oct. 29. Piloto was presented with a steel figure representing the abstract figure of women standing, an original creation by the Spanish sculptor Gonzalo De Salas.</p> <p>MIT Professional Education will continue to develop new Spanish course offerings and has plans to launch a new Professional Certificate of Digital Transformation in early 2020. Eventually, Digital Plus Programs expects to expand even further to include courses in other languages, such as Portuguese and Chinese.</p> <p>“We are very proud of the work of Clara and her team at MIT Professional Education,” says Pant. “It is their commitment that has created this opportunity for Spanish-speaking women professionals. We hope this success will inspire even more inclusion and diversity, and bring MIT knowledge to more people toward helping solve the world’s great challenges.”</p> Clara Piloto (center) and Bhaskar Pant (left) accept the Hipatia Business and Science Award on behalf of MIT Professional Education from Alfonso Ortín Castellano, director of communication at PharmaMar, in Spain.Photo: El Economista MIT Professional Education, Diversity and inclusion, Classes and programs, Leadership, Latin America, Women in STEM, Awards, honors and fellowships Six MIT faculty elected 2019 AAAS Fellows Baggeroer, Flynn, Harris, Klopfer, Lauffenburger, and Leonard are recognized for their efforts to advance science. Tue, 26 Nov 2019 11:00:00 -0500 MIT News Office <p>Six MIT faculty members have been elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)<em>.</em></p> <p>The new fellows are among a group of 443 AAAS members elected by their peers in recognition of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science. This year’s fellows will be honored at a ceremony on Feb. 15, at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle.</p> <p><a href="">Arthur B. Baggeroer</a> is a professor of mechanical, ocean and electrical engineering, the Ford Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, and an international authority on underwater acoustics. Throughout his career he made significant advances to geophysical signal processing and sonar technology, in addition to serving as a long-time intellectual resource to the U.S. Navy.</p> <p><a href="">Suzanne Flynn</a> is a professor of linguistics and language acquisition, and a leading researcher on the acquisition of various aspects of syntax by children and adults in bilingual, second- and third-language contexts. She also works on the neural representation of the multilingual brain and issues related to language impairment, autism, and aging.&nbsp;Flynn is currently editor-in-chief and a co-founding editor of&nbsp;<em>Syntax: A Journal of Theoretical, Experimental and Interdisciplinary Research</em>. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Wesley L. Harris&nbsp;</a>is the Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and has served as MIT associate provost and head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His academic research program includes unsteady aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, rarefied gas dynamics, sustainment of capital assets, and chaos in sickle cell disease. Prior to coming to MIT, he was a NASA associate administrator, responsible for all programs, facilities, and personnel in aeronautics.</p> <p><a href="">Eric Klopfer</a> is a professor and head of the Comparative Media Studies/Writing program and the director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade at MIT. His interests range from the design and development of new technologies for learning to professional development and implementation in schools.&nbsp;Much of Klopfer’s research has focused on computer games and simulations for building understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.</p> <p><a href="">Douglas Lauffenburger</a>, is the Ford Professor of Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Biology. He and his research group investigate the interface of bioengineering, quantitative cell biology, and systems biology. The lab’s main focus has been on fundamental aspects of cell dysregulation, complemented by translational efforts in identifying and testing new therapeutic ideas.</p> <p><a href="">John J. Leonard</a> is the&nbsp;Samuel C. Collins Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering and a leading expert in navigation and mapping for autonomous mobile robots. His research focuses on long-term visual simultaneous localization and mapping in dynamic environments. In addition to underwater vehicles, Leonard has applied his pursuit of persistent autonomy to the development of self-driving cars.</p> <p>This year’s fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News and Notes section of <em>Science</em> on Nov. 28.</p> From left to right, top to bottom: Suzanne Flynn, Wesley L. Harris, Eric Klopfer, Douglas A. Lauffenburger, John J. Leonard, Arthur B. BaggeroerFaculty, School of Engineering, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Mechanical engineering, Linguistics, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Comparative Media Studies/Writing, Biological engineering, Awards, honors and fellowships Five MIT students named 2020 Rhodes Scholars Ali Daher, Claire Halloran, Francisca Vasconcelos, Billy Andersen Woltz, and Megan Yamoah will begin postgraduate studies at Oxford University next fall. Sat, 23 Nov 2019 22:40:19 -0500 Julia Mongo | Distinguished Fellowships <p>Ali Daher, Claire Halloran, Francisca Vasconcelos, Billy Andersen Woltz, and Megan Yamoah have been selected for the 2020 cohort of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship program. They will begin fully funded postgraduate studies at Oxford University in the U.K. next fall. Each year, Rhodes awards 32 scholarships to U.S. citizens plus additional scholarships reserved for non-U.S. citizens. &nbsp;</p> <p>Halloran, Vasconcelos, Woltz, and Yamoah will join the 2020 American Rhodes Scholar class. Daher was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship for Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.</p> <p>The MIT students were supported by MIT’s Distinguished Fellowships team in Career Advising and Professional Development and the MIT Presidential Committee on Distinguished Fellowships. “It has been a gift to work with all of our applicants, and we are especially gratified when the Rhodes committee sees in them the same traits that we value so highly — not just academic excellence, but also thoughtfulness, creativity, initiative, and moral character,” says Professor Tamar Schapiro, who co-chairs the committee along with Professor Will Broadhead.</p> <p><strong>Ali Daher</strong></p> <p>Ali Daher, from Amman, Jordan, is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a concentration in biomedical engineering. At Oxford, he will pursue an advanced degree in research science engineering. Daher’s Rhodes Scholarship <a href="">was announced</a> Nov. 15</p> <p><strong>Claire Halloran</strong></p> <p>Hailing from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Claire Halloran is a senior majoring in materials science and engineering with minors in energy studies and public policy. At Oxford, Halloran will pursue an MSc in energy systems and a Master of Public Policy. She aspires to become a policy leader who will advocate for legislature that is both technically sound and appropriate for wider social contexts.</p> <p>Halloran is dedicated to creating clean-energy technologies, advocating for strong climate policy, and disseminating knowledge about climate change. Her research has focused on solar energy technologies, including a project on solar-to fuel conversion reactors for concentrated solar systems with the Electrochemical Materials Laboratory in the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and an independent research project on silicon and perovskite photovoltaics. During a spring study abroad semester at Oxford, Halloran worked on high-energy-density battery design with the Faraday Institution SOLBAT Project, and this past summer she interned at Form Energy, a startup focused on creating low-cost, long-lasting batteries.</p> <p>Halloran has interned with the Environmental Defense Fund and held climate policy fellowships with Our Climate and the Better Future Project. On campus, she founded and directs the MIT Climate Action Team, which works to organize the MIT community in support of policies to mitigate climate change. Halloran also holds an executive position and serves as a peer educator with the MIT Violence Prevention and Response team, facilitating peer conversations about sexual violence and healthy relationships.</p> <p><strong>Francisca Vasconcelos</strong></p> <p>Francisca Vasconcelos is from San Diego, California, and will graduate in 2020 with a double major in electrical engineering and computer science and in physics. Vasconcelos aspires to become an academic, leading a cutting-edge research lab to tackle problems in machine learning and physics, specifically in the domain of quantum computing. She hopes to develop the algorithms, derive the physics, and design the hardware that will drive forward the next revolution in computing, while inspiring and educating the next generation of quantum engineers. At Oxford, she will pursue an MSc in mathematics and foundations of computer science, as well as an MSc in statistical science.</p> <p>Vasconcelos currently conducts research under Professor William Oliver in the Engineering Quantum Systems Group of the Research Lab for Electronics. Her research focuses on extending quantum state tomography for superconducting quantum processors, but she has also worked on a waveguide quantum electrodynamics project and study of radiation induced quasiparticle formation in superconducting qubits. Vasconcelos has done additional research at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab NETMIT group, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, MIT Media Lab Camera Culture Group, and Rigetti Computing.</p> <p>Vasconcelos plays for the MIT women's club soccer team and has held leadership roles in the MIT Society of Women Engineers and MIT IEEE Undergraduate Research Technology Conference committee. Vasconcelos is an instructor for the MIT EECS IAP “Intro to Quantum Computing” course and is leading the development of a high school quantum computing curriculum with the nonprofit organization The Coding School.</p> <p><strong>Billy Woltz</strong></p> <p>Growing up on a farm in Logan, Ohio, Billy Woltz had limited options for internet service and STEM education. He arrived at MIT with an interest in physics and modeling complicated systems. He will graduate this spring with a double major in physics and electrical engineering and computer science.</p> <p>At Oxford, Woltz will pursue a second undergraduate degree in philosophy, politics, and economics to acquire skills for making an impact on both the technical and policy aspects of quantum computing. He plans to eventually earn a PhD in physics, conduct research on quantum technologies, and advise legislative bodies on science and technology.</p> <p>Woltz is currently a research assistant in the Engineering Quantum Systems Group in the Research Laboratory of Electronics where he is working on a superconducting qubit platform for quantum information processing. In the Department of Physics, Woltz designed an algorithm for automating data collection from CERN’s particle detectors with the Laboratory for Nuclear Science, and tested the effects of environmental fluctuations on microbial&nbsp;communities&nbsp;with the Physics of Living Systems Group.&nbsp;</p> <p>Woltz founded a summer camp to teach computer science skills to underserved Appalachian and refugee students in rural and urban Ohio communities. A 2018 NEWMAC Runner of the Year, he is captain of the MIT varsity track and field and cross-country teams, and has achieved five All-New England honors. He writes investigative journalism articles for the MIT newspaper&nbsp;<em>The Tech,</em>&nbsp;and likes to read and play guitar in his spare time.</p> <p><strong>Megan Yamoah</strong></p> <p>Megan Yamoah, from Davis, California,&nbsp;is a senior majoring in physics and electrical engineering. The daughter of immigrants from Ghana and Thailand, she seeks to expand on her engineering background to tackle questions involving technology and international development. At Oxford, she will pursue an MPhil in economics to acquire knowledge in development economics and study how innovation can positively impact emerging economies.</p> <p>A Goldwater Scholar with several first-author publications and a patent to her name, Yamoah has focused on the cutting edge of quantum computing. As a high school student, she conducted research in the Goldhaber-Gordon Laboratory at Stanford University. Since her freshman year at MIT, she has been assisting Professor William Oliver in the Engineering Quantum Systems Group in the Research Laboratory of Electronics. She also did a summer research internship in the Q Circuits Group&nbsp;at the&nbsp;École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. This past summer, Yamoah attended workshops for&nbsp;the MIT Regional Acceleration Program (REAP) where she connected&nbsp;with diverse stakeholders from around the world on developing initiatives for spurring innovation. &nbsp;</p> <p>As president of the MIT chapter of the Society of Physics Students, Yamoah worked to develop a physics department statement of values, the first of its kind at MIT. She is an executive board member of Undergraduate Women in Physics and has served multiple roles in the Society of Women Engineers. As a project committee member for MIT Design for America, Yamoah organized&nbsp;workshops for teams creating technology-based solutions for local challenges such as food insecurity.</p> Clockwise from upper left: Megan Yamoah, Billy Woltz, Fran Vasconcelos, Claire Halloran, and Ali Daher Photos: Ian MacLellanStudents, Undergraduate, Awards, honors and fellowships, education, Education, teaching, academics, Graduate, postdoctoral, Student life, Mechanical engineering, DMSE, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (eecs), Physics, School of Engineering, School of Science MIT senior wins 2020 Rhodes Scholarship for Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine region The Rhodes Scholarship offers opportunities for Arab students. Fri, 15 Nov 2019 10:01:21 -0500 Julia Mongo | Office of Distinguished Fellowships <p>Senior Ali Daher from Amman, Jordan, is a recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship for the Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine region. Daher will graduate this fall with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering with a concentration in biological engineering and then head to Oxford University for graduate study.</p> <p>As a Rhodes Scholar, he will undertake a degree in research engineering science with the Oxford Mechanobiology Group. Daher is passionate about applying mathematical and engineering principles in an interdisciplinary manner to find solutions to biological problems. He hopes that his future innovations in biomechanical engineering will have both medical and social impacts in society at large, and especially in the Middle East.</p> <p>“Ali impressed us from the very beginning with his combination of scientific acumen, ethical concern, and deep humanity. He plans not only to advance human health through biomedical device innovation, but also to influence advancements in scientific education in Jordan. Ali demonstrates the very best of MIT,” says Kimberly Benard, assistant dean for distinguished fellowships.</p> <p>At MIT, Daher worked on a predictive mathematical model for the aggressive brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme with Professor Pierre Lermusiaux in the Multidisciplinary Simulation, Estimation and Assimilation Lab. He also led a project developing a novel approach for better detection of pathogenic mutations as a researcher with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Genetics. As a research assistant in the Newman Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, Daher helped design a robotic medical device to assist survivors of neurological injuries with rehabilitation of gait and balance.</p> <p>Daher has held executive positions with the MIT Arab Student Organization and the MIT/Harvard Relay for Life, and he has been an orientation leader for MIT International Science and Technology Initiative’s (MISTI) programs for students interning in Jordan and Morocco. In addition to being a teaching assistant at MIT, Daher has tutored students at Jordanian universities and volunteered with displaced populations through Caritas Jordan. Daher plays basketball with MIT’s intramural leagues and in high school was a member of the Jordanian national basketball youth team. He also rediscovered a love of reading through his concentration in literature at MIT, which inspired him to become a Burchard Scholar.</p> <p>This is the fourth year that the Rhodes Trust has offered a scholarship specifically for talented young citizens from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine. The region awards two scholarships: one for an outstanding Syrian student, and the other for an outstanding student from Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, or Syria. Winners of the Rhodes Scholarship for U.S. students and other international regions will be announced Nov. 23.</p> Ali DaherImage: Ian MacLellanStudents, Undergraduate, Awards, honors and fellowships, Middle East, Education, teaching, academics, Mechanical engineering, School of Engineering Sixteen grad students named to the Siebel Scholars class of 2020 MIT students from the fields of bioengineering, business, computer science, and energy science receive the prestigious awards. Tue, 12 Nov 2019 11:15:01 -0500 Anne Stuart | Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science <p>Sixteen MIT graduate students are among the 2020 cohort of <a href="">Siebel Scholars</a> hailing from the world’s top graduate programs in bioengineering, business, computer science, and energy science. They were recognized at a luncheon and awards ceremony on campus on Oct. 31.</p> <p>“You’re among a very select group of students to receive this honor,” Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, told the students. “Your department heads obviously think very highly of your accomplishments.”</p> <p>Honored for their academic achievements, leadership, and commitments to addressing crucial global challenges, the MIT students are among 93 Siebel Scholars from 16 leading institutions in the United States, China, France, Italy, and Japan.</p> <p>Siebel Scholars each receive an award of $35,000 to cover their final year of study. In addition, they will join a community of more than 1,400 past Siebel Scholars, including about 260 from MIT, who serve as advisors to the Thomas and Stacy Siebel Foundation and collaborate “to find solutions to society’s most pressing problems,” according to the foundation.</p> <p>Past Siebel Scholars have launched more than 1,100 products, received at least 370 patents, published nearly 40 books, and founded at least 150 companies, among other achievements, according to the Siebel Scholars Foundation, which administers the program.</p> <p>MIT’s 2020 class of Siebel Scholars includes:</p> <ul> <li>Katie Bacher, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science</li> <li>Alexandra (Allie) Beizer, MIT Sloan School of Management</li> <li>Sarah Bening, Department of Biological Engineering</li> <li>Allison (Allie) Brouckman, MIT Sloan School of Management</li> <li>Enric Boix, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science</li> <li>M. Doga Dogan, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science</li> <li>Jared Kehe, Department of Biological Engineering</li> <li>Emma Kornetsky, MIT Sloan School of Management</li> <li>Kyungmi Lee, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science</li> <li>Graham Leverick, Department of Mechanical Engineering</li> <li>Lauren Milling, Department of Biological Engineering</li> <li>Hans Nowak, MIT Sloan School of Management</li> <li>Lauren Stopfer, Department of Biological Engineering</li> <li>Jon Tham, Sloan School of Management</li> <li>Andrea Wallace, Department of Biological Engineering</li> <li>Clinton Wang, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science</li> </ul> Faculty, staff, and graduate students gathered for a luncheon and awards ceremony celebrating MIT’s 2020 Siebel Scholars. Photo: Gretchen ErtlElectrical engineering and computer science (EECS), School of Engineering, Sloan School of Management, Biological engineering, Mechanical engineering, Awards, honors and fellowships, Students, Graduate, postdoctoral Ten Lincoln Laboratory technologies earn 2019 R&amp;D 100 Awards International awards recognize innovations that can have significant impacts on society. Mon, 04 Nov 2019 14:40:01 -0500 Dorothy Ryan | Lincoln Laboratory <p>Among the winners of the 2019 R&amp;D 100 Awards are 10 technologies developed by researchers at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, either exclusively or in collaboration with other organizations. <em><a href="">R&amp;D World</a></em><em> </em>magazine, and its parent company WTWH Media, announced on Oct. 29 the 100 winners named the year’s most influential innovations.</p> <p>"These 100 winning products and technologies are the disruptors that will change industries and make the world a better place in the coming years," says Paul Heney, vice president and editorial director for <em>R&amp;D World</em>.</p> <p>A 40-member judging committee composed of WTWH editors and leading technologists from academia, industry, and national laboratories selected the winners from hundreds of nominations sent in by companies and R&amp;D institutions from around the world.</p> <p>The following 10 inventions bring to 58 the number of R&amp;D 100 Awards presented to Lincoln Laboratory since 2010.</p> <p><strong>New capabilities for communications</strong></p> <p>The Aperture Level Simultaneous Transmit and Receive Phased Array represents the first-ever demonstration of a phased-array antenna system with sufficient isolation to enable practical multi-beam full-duplex communication. This technology allows multiple devices to share a single wireless channel while maintaining high data rates over long ranges. The problem of self-interference caused by transmitting and receiving on the same frequency is solved with a combination of adaptive digital beamforming to reduce coupling between transmit and receive antenna beams and adaptive digital cancellation to further remove residual noise. In this manner, the system effectively mitigates self-interference, which is particularly challenging for phased-array systems because of the close proximity of the multiple antennas in the array.</p> <p>The Dual-Mode Imaging Receiver<em> </em>integrates the previously disparate functions of high-frame-rate photon-counting imaging and single-photon-sensitive communications into a single optical receiver, enabling the user to simultaneously get a wide-field-of-view image of the source of the transmission while receiving data from one or more sources. This low-power, compact system requires only a single receive aperture to support multiple concurrent optical communication links from spatially separated users within the field of view, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for precision beam pointing. The receiver is enabled by a custom chip that provides automatic, concurrent, on-chip detection, tracking, and demodulation of the multiple communication signals.</p> <p><strong>Devices to advance biomedical research</strong></p> <p>The small, low-cost <a href="">ArtGu</a><a href="">t</a> (for artificial gut) device is the first in vitro platform to enable researchers to perform high-resolution, physiologically relevant gut microbiome studies. ArtGut emulates the physiochemical microenvironment of the human gut by mimicking the precise oxygen gradients and mucus substrates necessary to grow and maintain the gut's polymicrobial communities, and as such provides a solution to the lack of adequate testing models for studying the human gut microbiome.</p> <p>The Mobility and Biomechanics Insert for Load Evaluation (MoBILE) is a biomechanics laboratory built into a shoe insert and small ankle package. The insert and ankle package contain a variety of high-end sensors that measure a user’s weight and lower leg movements. MoBILE informs users when their gait significantly changes, when their biomechanics measurements are above acceptable thresholds, and when they are at risk for lower-leg injury. MoBILE helps users track the amount of weight they are carrying over time, select the best placement for carrying heavy equipment, and determine optimal rest cycles and training routines.</p> <div class="cms-placeholder-content-video"></div> <p><strong>Tools for improving decision making</strong></p> <p>The Gas Mapping LiDAR sensitively images methane gas plumes, identifies the source locations of gas leaks, and quantifies the leak rates so that the owners and operators of oil and natural gas infrastructure can determine and prioritize repairs before even visiting the site. Designed and built by <a href="">Bridger Photonics</a> and enabled by Lincoln Laboratory's high-power slab-coupled optical waveguide amplifier technology, the Gas Mapping LiDAR provides aerial photography and 3D lidar data overlaid with sensitive gas-concentration maps in simple, user-friendly formats so that the oil and gas operators can make quantitative cost-benefit analyses and efficiently schedule leak repair. Because the system is capable of at least 300 times more efficient detection of leaks than foot-patrol monitoring, it can help effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>The Visibility Estimation through Image Analytics (VEIA) software system, developed by the laboratory in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration, provides air traffic managers and pilots an inexpensive, yet effective, way to automatically extract data about meteorological visibility from cameras. By using edge detection that is sensitive to changes in the visual scene, the system's algorithm compares the overall edge strength of the current image to edges of an image of a clear day to estimate the visibility in miles. With the proliferation of web-based camera imagery for monitoring conditions near airports and other remote locations, VEIA can significantly expand the quantity of visibility observations available to the aviation community, especially in areas that are not covered by traditional sensor systems and where low visibility can have dire consequences.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Technology for enhancing efficiency </strong></p> <p>The Tactical Microgrid Standard (TMS) Open Architecture provides an interoperability standard for highly modular, resilient, scalable, and mission-specific microgrid solutions. This architecture offers a user-friendly family of interoperable devices useful for both military and commercial microgrid applications. The TMS architecture was developed by a U.S. Department of Defense-led consortium of government, industry, and academic partners, with Lincoln Laboratory in a lead role. This consortium was tasked to solve challenges faced by military personnel at remote bases, where reliable power is a critical foundation for successful operations.</p> <p>The Lightweight Deployable Array Panels for Space reduce the cost of launching space-based communications and remote sensing systems by minimizing the panels' weight and size, which translates to lower rocket fuel costs and the capacity to deploy more systems per launch. After a system equipped with the laboratory's panels reaches its designated altitude, the antenna panels deploy to create the desired radiating aperture size. The panels use Lincoln Laboratory’s patented weight-reduction technique for stacked patch antenna arrays along with an innovative packing system. This design minimizes the weight and maximizes the stowed volume efficiency without substantially affecting the radio frequency performance.</p> <p>The awards will be presented to the recipients at the <a href="">R&amp;D Conference</a> being held Dec. 4-5 in San Mateo, just outside San Francisco.</p> ArtGut has three chambers: At the top is a gas cap through which nitrogen diffuses via a rubber membrane to the sample chamber below, generating a steep oxygen gradient that mimics conditions in the human gut, and the chamber at bottom emulates the gut's mucus lining.Photo: Glen CooperLincoln Laboratory, Biomedical engineering, Software, Communications, Imaging, awards, Awards, honors and fellowships, Invention School of Science appoints 14 faculty members to named professorships Those selected for these positions receive additional support to pursue their research and develop their careers. Mon, 04 Nov 2019 11:50:01 -0500 School of Science <p>The <a href="">School of Science</a> has announced that 14 of its faculty members have been appointed to named professorships. The faculty members selected for these positions receive additional support to pursue their research and develop their careers.</p> <p><a href="">Riccardo Comin</a> is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics. He has been named a Class of 1947 Career Development Professor. This three-year professorship is granted in recognition of the recipient's outstanding work in both research and teaching. Comin is interested in condensed matter physics. He uses experimental methods to synthesize new materials, as well as analysis through spectroscopy and scattering to investigate solid state physics. Specifically, the Comin lab attempts to discover and characterize electronic phases of quantum materials. Recently, his lab, in collaboration with colleagues, discovered that weaving a conductive material into a particular pattern known as the “kagome” pattern can result in quantum behavior when electricity is passed through.</p> <p><a href="">Joseph Davis</a>, assistant professor in the Department of Biology, has been named a Whitehead Career Development Professor. He looks at how cells build and deconstruct complex molecular machinery. The work of his lab group relies on biochemistry, biophysics, and structural approaches that include spectrometry and microscopy. A current project investigates the formation of the ribosome, an essential component in all cells. His work has implications for metabolic engineering, drug delivery, and materials science.</p> <p><a href="">Lawrence Guth</a> is now the Claude E. Shannon (1940) Professor of Mathematics. Guth explores harmonic analysis and combinatorics, and he is also interested in metric geometry and identifying connections between geometric inequalities and topology. The subject of metric geometry revolves around being able to estimate measurements, including length, area, volume and distance, and combinatorial geometry is essentially the estimation of the intersection of patterns in simple shapes, including lines and circles.</p> <p><a href="">Michael Halassa</a>, an assistant professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, will hold the three-year Class of 1958 Career Development Professorship. His area of interest is brain circuitry. By investigating the networks and connections in the brain, he hopes to understand how they operate — and identify any ways in which they might deviate from normal operations, causing neurological and psychiatric disorders. Several publications from his lab discuss improvements in the treatment of the deleterious symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia, and his latest news provides insights on how the brain filters out distractions, particularly noise. Halassa is an associate investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and an affiliate member of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.</p> <p><a href="">Sebastian Lourido</a>, an assistant professor and the new Latham Family Career Development Professor in the Department of Biology for the next three years, works on treatments for infectious disease by learning about parasitic vulnerabilities. Focusing on human pathogens, Lourido and his lab are interested in what allows parasites to be so widespread and deadly, looking on a molecular level. This includes exploring how calcium regulates eukaryotic cells, which, in turn, affect processes such as muscle contraction and membrane repair, in addition to kinase responses.</p> <p><a href="">Brent Minchew</a> is named a Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Professor for a three-year term. Minchew, a faculty member in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, studies glaciers using modeling and remote sensing methods, such as interferometric synthetic aperture radar. His research into glaciers, including their mechanics, rheology, and interactions with their surrounding environment, extends as far as observing their responses to climate change. His group recently determined that Antarctica, in a worst-case scenario climate projection, would not contribute as much as predicted to rising sea level.</p> <p><a href="">Elly Nedivi</a>, a professor in the departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biology, has been named the <a href="">inaugural</a> William R. (1964) And Linda R. Young Professor. She works on brain plasticity, defined as the brain’s ability to adapt with experience, by identifying genes that play a role in plasticity and their neuronal and synaptic functions. In one of her lab’s recent publications, they suggest that variants of a particular gene may undermine expression or production of a protein, increasing the risk of bipolar disorder. In addition, she collaborates with others at MIT to develop new microscopy tools that allow better analysis of brain connectivity. Nedivi is also a member of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.</p> <p><a href="">Andrei Negu</a><a href="" target="_blank">ț</a> has been named a Class of 1947 Career Development Professor for a three-year term. Neguț, a member of the Department of Mathematics, fixates on problems in geometric representation theory. This topic requires investigation within algebraic geometry and representation theory simultaneously, with implications for mathematical physics, symplectic geometry, combinatorics and probability theory.</p> <p><a href="">Matĕj Peč</a>, the Victor P. Starr Career Development Professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science until 2021, studies how the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates affects rocks, mechanically and microstructurally. To investigate such a large-scale topic, he utilizes high-pressure, high-temperature experiments in a lab to simulate the driving forces associated with plate motion, and compares results with natural observations and theoretical modeling. His lab has identified a particular boundary beneath the Earth’s crust where rock properties shift from brittle, like peanut brittle, to viscous, like honey, and determined how that layer accommodates building strain between the two. In his investigations, he also considers the effect on melt generation miles underground.</p> <p><a href="">Kerstin Perez</a> has been named the three-year Class of 1948 Career Development Professor in the Department of Physics. Her research interest is dark matter. She uses novel analytical tools, such as those affixed on a balloon-borne instrument that can carry out processes similar to that of a particle collider (like the Large Hadron Collider) to detect new particle interactions in space with the help of cosmic rays. In another research project, Perez uses a satellite telescope array on Earth to search for X-ray signatures of mysterious particles. Her work requires heavy involvement with collaborative observatories, instruments, and telescopes. Perez is affiliated with the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.</p> <p><a href="">Bjorn Poonen</a>, named a Distinguished Professor of Science in the Department of Mathematics, studies number theory and algebraic geometry. He and his colleagues generate algorithms that can solve polynomial equations with the particular requirement that the solutions be rational numbers. These types of problems can be useful in encoding data. He also helps to determine what is undeterminable, that is exploring the limits of computing.</p> <p><a href="">Daniel Suess</a>, named a Class of 1948 Career Development Professor in the Department of Chemistry, uses molecular chemistry to explain global biogeochemical cycles. In the fields of inorganic and biological chemistry, Suess and his lab look into understanding complex and challenging reactions and clustering of particular chemical elements and their catalysts. Most notably, these reactions include those that are essential to solar fuels. Suess’s efforts to investigate both biological and synthetic systems have broad aims of both improving human health and decreasing environmental impacts.</p> <p><a href="">Alison Wendlandt</a> is the new holder of the five-year Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Professorship. In the Department of Chemistry, the Wendlandt research group focuses on physical organic chemistry and organic and organometallic synthesis to develop reaction catalysts. Her team fixates on designing new catalysts, identifying processes to which these catalysts can be applied, and determining principles that can expand preexisting reactions. Her team’s efforts delve into the fields of synthetic organic chemistry, reaction kinetics, and mechanics.</p> <p><a href="">Julien de Wit</a>, a Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences assistant professor, has been named a Class of 1954 Career Development Professor. He combines math and science to answer questions about big-picture planetary questions. Using data science, de Wit develops new analytical techniques for mapping exoplanetary atmospheres, studies planet-star interactions of planetary systems, and determines atmospheric and planetary properties of exoplanets from spectroscopic information. He is a member of the scientific team involved in the Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars (SPECULOOS) and the TRANsiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST), made up of an international collection of observatories. He is affiliated with the Kavli Institute.</p> Clockwise from top left: Riccardo Comin, Joseph Davis, Lawrence Guth, Michael Halassa, Sebastian Lourido, Brent Minchew, Elly Nedivi, Andrei Neguț, Matĕj Peč, Kerstin Perez, Bjorn Poonen, Daniel Suess, Alison Wendlandt, and Julien de Wit Photos courtesy of the faculty.School of Science, Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Brain and cognitive sciences, McGovern Institute, Picower Institute, EAPS, Kavli Institute, Chemistry, Faculty, Awards, honors and fellowships Bryan Reimer receives human factors innovator award MIT AgeLab research engineer directs a team that studies in-vehicle automation, robotics, AI, and the mechanics of driver attention, among other topics. Wed, 30 Oct 2019 16:00:01 -0400 Arthur Grau | Center for Transportation and Logistics <p>MIT Research Engineer Bryan Reimer recently received the Jack A. Kraft Innovator Award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). Reimer directs a multidisciplinary team at MIT AgeLab that explores human-centered topics across a range of emerging technologies. His team studies in-vehicle automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, and the mechanics of driver attention, among other topics. The team’s research develops theoretical and applied insight into driver behavior and aims to find solutions to the next generation of human-factors challenges associated with the automation of transportation. Reimer received this accolade partially because of the broad applicability of his research within the field of ergonomics and technology.</p> <p>The Jack A. Kraft Innovator Award was established in 1970 by the HFES to recognize significant efforts to extend or diversify the application of human-factors principles and methods to new areas of endeavor. Reimer&nbsp; accepted the award at the HFES annual meeting on Oct. 29 in Seattle, Washington.</p> <p>“It’s quite an honor to receive a professional award of this magnitude and be recognized alongside human-factors leaders that I’ve revered, and who have shaped the profession,“ says Reimer. “I am grateful for the support of my colleagues, who for over two decades have collaborated with me on this work. This collaboration, in combination with the appetite for innovation at MIT, I believe has positioned me to receive this award.”</p> <p>Serving as the basis for the honor is Reimer’s innovative work founding and managing three industry partnerships. The Advanced Human Factors Evaluator for Attentional Demand consortium aims to develop the next generation of driver-attention measurement tools. The Advanced Vehicle Technology consortium seeks to understand how drivers use emerging, commercially available vehicle technologies, including advanced driver assistance systems and automated driving systems. Finally, the Clear Information Presentation consortium explores the impact of typography and other design features on usability in glance-based environments such as while driving or while using smartphones.</p> <p>Kermit Davis, president of the HFES, says “The Kraft Award is one of our society’s top awards and honors an individual who has made major innovation in human factors and ergonomics (HF/E). Dr. Reimer’s work in automated and operator-assisted driving stood out because of its broad scope, extensive collaboration across diverse disciplines, and highly influential impact. His focus on this new area for HF/E not only expands the reach of our profession, but also addresses an important individual and societal issue regarding the interaction between humans and technology.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The AgeLab at MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics is a multidisciplinary research program that works with business, government, and non-governmental organizations to improve the quality of life of older people and those who care for them. The HFES is the world’s largest scientific association for human factors and ergonomics professionals, with over 4,500 members in 58 countries. Reimer’s work draws together traditional psychological methods with big-data analytics, deep learning, and predictive modeling. The receipt of this award illustrates how research across disciplines may yield significant results, both for the research community and society at large.</p> <div></div> Bryan Reimer, an AgeLab research scientist and the associate director of the New England University Transportation Center, was honored for his work developing a better understanding of how people engage with vehicle automation.Photo: MIT AgeLabCenter for Transportation and Logistics, AgeLab, Autonomous vehicles, Machine learning, Design, Awards, honors and fellowships, Staff, Aging Eric Alm and Peter Dedon receive NIH Transformative Research Award Award will support interdisciplinary research on the role of the human microbiome in health and disease. Thu, 24 Oct 2019 15:25:01 -0400 Zain Humayun | School of Engineering <p>Two MIT faculty members from the School of Engineering, Professor Eric Alm and Professor Peter Dedon, are among the recipients of the 2019 Transformative Research Award for studying how DNA modifications — the epigenome — affect microbial populations in the gut. Their work could pave the way for future developments in disease diagnosis and treatment.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">National Institute of Health Director’s Transformative Research Award</a> is part of the Common Fund’s&nbsp;<a href="" target="_self">High-Risk, High-Reward Research program</a>, which was created to accelerate the pace of biomedical, behavioral, and&nbsp;social science discoveries by supporting exceptionally creative scientists with highly innovative research. The Transformative Research Award promotes cross-cutting, interdisciplinary approaches and is open to individuals and teams of investigators who propose research that could potentially create or challenge existing paradigms.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Eric Alm</a>, professor of biological engineering and of civil and environmental engineering; director of MIT’s Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics; and associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, has developed many of the standard tools and algorithms used to identify bacteria in the human microbiome. His research group has focused on translating microbiome science into new therapeutic options for patients.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Peter Dedon</a>, the Singapore Professor of Biological Engineering, lead principal investigator in the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Antimicrobial Drug Resistance Program, and a member of the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences, has pioneered the development of systems-level bioanalytical and informatic tools for discovering epigenetic and epitranscriptomic mechanisms in infectious disease and cancer.</p> <p>The Transformative Research Award will allow Dedon and Alm to combine their expertise on a project that spans five years. In 2007, the Dedon lab discovered that many human gut bacteria contain special DNA modifications known as phosphorothioates. Now, Dedon and Alm will define how bacteria with these modifications are affected by inflammatory bowel disease. The team will use new tools to first identify all of the gut bacteria containing phosphorothioates. They will then determine how these modifications affect bacterial populations in people suffering from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. This understanding could help scientists develop new medical treatments. Dedon and Alm also propose to use these technologies to explore the diversity of other DNA modifications in microbiome bacteria and bacterial viruses, and their associations with disease.</p> <p>This year, the National Institute of Health awarded 93 grants through its High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program, totaling $267 million over five years. The awards support innovative research projects that have the potential to result in major scientific breakthroughs.</p> Eric Alm (left) and Peter DedonSingapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS), Biological engineering, Civil and environmental engineering, Broad Institute, Faculty, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Awards, honors and fellowships, School of Engineering American Physical Society honors three MIT professors for physics research James Collins, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, and Richard Milner have won top prizes for their work. Thu, 24 Oct 2019 14:55:01 -0400 Sandi Miller | Department of Physics <p>MIT professor of biological engineering <a href="" target="_blank">James Collins</a> and professors of physics <a href="" target="_blank">Pablo Jarillo-Herrero</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Richard Milner</a> have been awarded top prizes from the American Physical Society.</p> <p>Jarillo-Herrero, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics, received the 2020 <a href="">Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize</a> for the discovery of superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene. Milner has been awarded the 2020 <a href="">Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics</a> for pioneering work developing and using polarized internal targets in storage rings, and his leadership role in studying the structure of the nucleon in a wide range of electronuclear experiments. Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science, received the 2020 <a href="">Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics</a> “for pioneering contributions at the interface of physics and biology, in particular the establishment of the field of synthetic biology and applications of statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics in biology and medicine.”</p> <p><strong>Pablo Jarillo-Herrero</strong></p> <p>When his team of physicists at MIT and collaborators at Harvard University stacked two sheets of atomic-thick carbon (graphene), and twisted them to 1.1 degrees to form what they call “magic-angle graphene,” the sheets exhibited nonconducting behavior, similar to a class of materials known as Mott insulators. And when they applied voltage to this twisted graphene, electrons flowed without resistance, displaying an unconventional superconductivity at 1.7 kelvins.</p> <p>Graphene is light and flexible, stronger than steel, and more electrically conductive than copper. Jarillo-Herrero believes that this newly discovered superconducting behavior could be used to create a superconductor transistor useful for quantum devices. Since this discovery, he says, “These systems are quickly becoming an ever-growing platform to investigate new physics. By now, many physicists are using other experimental techniques to investigate magic angle graphene and other related systems.”</p> <p>Although his discovery earned him <em>Physics World’s </em>2018 Breakthrough of the Year award, receiving this prize from APS so relatively quickly caught him off guard. “Our discovery was published just last year; so, in that sense, getting the Oliver E. Buckley Award this early is very surprising, as it is the most prestigious award worldwide in the field of condensed matter physics,” says Jarillo-Herrero, who also noted that he is the first Spaniard to receive the award, and among the youngest. “I feel truly humbled, both by the recognition and the early stage at which it has come. Having been myself a first-generation college student, I also hope this prize will help encourage young people to pursue careers in physics and quantum materials research."</p> <p>The Buckley Prize recognizes outstanding theoretical or experimental contributions to condensed matter physics, and includes a $20,000 award. Ten other MIT physicists have received this award, including Xiaogang-Wen (2017), Jagadeesh Moodera, Paul Tedrow and Robert Mersevey (2009), and Mildred Dresselhaus (2008). "I never imagined I would be seeing my name in a list with the distinguished colleagues and friends that got this award earlier,” he said.</p> <p>Jarillo-Herrero joined MIT in 2008 and was promoted to full professor in 2018. He received his "licenciatura" in physics from the University of Valencia in Spain, in 1999; a master of science degree from the University of California at San Diego in 2001; and his PhD from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, in 2005.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Richard Milner</strong></p> <p>Milner’s research group performed a series of experiments carried out over three decades at electron storage rings at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) laboratory in Hamburg, Germany, and at the MIT-owned Bates Research and Engineering Center.</p> <p>“The scientific focus was to use electron scattering from internal gas targets to gain insight into the origin of spin and charge in the nucleon, as well as to understand fundamental aspects of the quantum mechanics of electron-proton scattering,” says Milner.</p> <p>Milner’s experimental work with internal polarized targets include the HERMES and Olympus projects at DESY, BLAST at the Bates Lab South Hall Ring, and the Darklight collaboration at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab).</p> <p>The Bonner Prize recognizes outstanding experimental research in nuclear physics, including the development of a method, technique, or device that significantly contributes in a general way to nuclear physics research, and includes a $10,000 award.&nbsp;</p> <p>“Richard is an experimental nuclear physicist who has made contributions to the field at all levels, from the most technical to providing leadership for the nuclear physics community,” physics department head Peter Fisher said in his nomination letter.</p> <p>Milner was a co-organizer of the Electron Ion Collider (EIC) collaboration that played a key role in the years 2005-10 in developing the EIC science case and in stimulating the involvement of users across the worldwide quantum chromodynamics community. He also has been a longtime proponent for the EIC, which would be the largest accelerator facility in the United States, second only to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The EIC would smash together beams of protons and electrons to provide “snapshots” into the fundamental structure of matter.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Fisher cited Milner’s leadership in the physics community, such as transitioning the Bates Lab from a national user facility to a research and engineering center to attract companies such as Raytheon and Passport. As former director of the MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Science (LNS), he attracted new faculty, and worked with the U.S. Department of Energy on several projects.</p> <p>Milner credits his physics colleagues Professor Robert Redwine, former director of the Bates Research and Engineering Center, and theoretical Senior Research Scientist T. William Donnelly; and, at LNS, Principal Research Scientist Douglas Hasell and Principal Research Engineer James Kelsey, “with essential contributions vital to the success of the experiments recognized by the&nbsp;Bonner Prize.”</p> <p>He joined the Department of Physics in 1988, was director of the then-called MIT-Bates Linear Accelerator Center from 1998 to 2006, and served as director of MIT LNS from 2006 to 2015. He is also collaborating on the Arts at MIT’s “<a href="">Visualizing the Proton</a>” project — a video for middle and high school science students that highlights physicists’ current understanding of the structure of the proton in terms of its fundamental constituents.</p> <p><strong>James Collins</strong></p> <p>Formerly known as the Biological Physics Prize, the Delbruck Prize includes $10,000, an allowance for travel to attend the meeting at which the prize is awarded, and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient or recipients. It is presented annually.</p> <p>“Max Delbruck was a world-class physicist whose work on bacteriophages helped to launch the molecular biology revolution,” says Collins. “To be associated with&nbsp;his name for our work in synthetic biology at the interface of biology and&nbsp;physics is a great honor."</p> <p>His many pioneering contributions at the physics-biology interface include applications of nonlinear dynamics and statistical physics to biological systems at multiple levels, ranging from human balance control to neurosensory function to cardiac dynamics to natural and synthetic gene networks.</p> <p>“He is an extraordinary physicist, besides being an outstanding engineer and biologist,” says his nominator, Gabor Balazsi, the Henry Laufer Associate Professor at Stony Brook University. “Collins has a unique ability to make fundamental discoveries by cross-disciplinary approaches.”</p> <p>“Collins' 2000 <em>Nature </em>paper (cited ~4000 times) marks the beginnings of synthetic biology, which is likely to have major impacts on biological physics by deciphering the function of natural gene regulatory networks,” wrote Laufer. “Collins’ radically innovative discoveries and path-blazing work are transforming biological physics, medicine, and the biomedical sciences in many ways that shape the future. His work clearly demonstrates how cutting-edge biological physics research can answer fundamental questions about life, and improve human lives.”</p> <p>Collins is the senior author of a recent study that uses CRISPR to create novel materials, such as gels, that can change their properties when they encounter specific DNA sequences. This could be used to respond to viral and bacterial outbreaks, monitor antibiotic resistance, and detect cancer. “The scientific possibilities get very exciting very quickly,” Collins said.</p> <p>Collins is a member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology faculty. He is also a core founding faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Collins' honors include a Rhodes Scholarship, a MacArthur Fellowship, and an NIH Director's Pioneer Award. Collins is also an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of&nbsp;Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.</p> American Physical Society honorees (left to right): Richard Milner and Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, professors of physics, and James Collins, professor of biological engineering.Physics, Biological engineering, Laboratory for Nuclear Science, School of Science, School of Engineering, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, Broad Institute, Awards, honors and fellowships, CRISPR, Diagnostic devices, Graphene Meet the 2019 tenured professors in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences SHASS faculty members Nikhil Agarwal, Sana Aiyar, Stephanie Frampton, Daniel Hidalgo, and Miriam Schoenfield were recently granted tenure. Tue, 22 Oct 2019 15:30:01 -0400 School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences <p>Dean Melissa Nobles and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) announced that five members of the school's faculty members have received tenure. Their extensive research and writing investigates a wide variety of topics, from&nbsp;the history of western thought to electoral behavior in low-income areas. They are:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Nikhil Agarwal</a>,<strong> </strong>associate professor of economics, joined the MIT faculty in 2014 after earning his PhD at Harvard University and teaching economic policy at Stanford University. He has received grants from the National Institute of Health and a Sloan Research Fellowship. He teaches Microeconomic Theory and Public Policy (Course 14.03), and courses on industrial organization.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Sana Aiyar</a>, associate professor of history, is a specialist in the history of modern South Africa, She is the author of "Indians in Kenya: The Politics of Diaspora" and her research focuses on colonial and postcolonial politics and society in the Indian Ocean. She formerly taught at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Stephanie Frampton</a>, associate professor of literature, is a classicist, comparatist, historian of media in antiquity, and the author of "Empire of Letters." She joined the MIT faculty in fall 2012 after teaching at Harvard University and the College of the Holy Cross.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">F. Daniel Hidalgo</a>, the Cecil and Ida Green Associate Professor of Political Science, focuses on the political economy of elections, campaigns, and representation in developing democracies, especially in Latin America, as well as quantitative methods in the social sciences.<br /> <br /> <a href="" target="_blank">Miriam Schoenfield PhD '12</a>, associate professor of philosophy, returned to MIT in 2017 after holding teaching positions at the University of Texas at Austin and at New York University. Her primary research interests are in epistemology with ethics and normativity more broadly.</p> Newly-tenured faculty in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences: (clockwise from top left) Nikhil Agarwal, Sana Aiyar, Miriam Schoenfield, F. Daniel Hidalgo, and Stephanie Frampton.School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty, Economics, History, Literature, Political science, Philosophy, awards, Awards, honors and fellowships Two from MIT elected to the National Academy of Medicine for 2019 Sangeeta Bhatia and Richard Young recognized for their contributions to “advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.” Mon, 21 Oct 2019 10:00:00 -0400 Anne Trafton | MIT News Office <p>Sangeeta Bhatia, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science and of health sciences and technology, and Richard Young, an MIT professor of biology, are among the 100 new members elected to the <a href="">National Academy of Medicine</a> today.</p> <p>Bhatia is already a member of the National Academies of Science and of Engineering, making her just the 25th person to be elected to all three national academies. Earlier this year, Paula Hammond, head of MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering, also joined that exclusive group; MIT faculty members Emery Brown, Arup Chakraborty, James Collins, and Robert Langer have also achieved that distinction.</p> <p>Bhatia, who is a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, develops micro- and nanoscale technologies to improve human health. She has designed nanoparticles and other materials to <a href="">diagnose</a> and <a href="">treat</a> disease, including cancer, and she has also engineered human microlivers that can be used to <a href="">model liver disease</a> and test new drugs. She and her students have founded several biotechnology companies to further develop these technologies.</p> <p>Young, who is a member of MIT’s Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, studies the regulatory circuitry that controls cell state and differentiation. His lab uses experimental and computational techniques to determine how signaling pathways, transcription factors, chromatin regulators, and small RNAs control gene expression. Since defects in gene expression can cause diabetes, cancer, hypertension, immune deficiencies, neurological disorders, and other health issues, improved understanding of this circuitry should lead to new insights into disease mechanisms and the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics.</p> <p>“I am humbled to have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine,” Young says. “More than just a personal honor, it is an affirmation of the importance of basic biomedical research to understanding, preventing, and treating disease.”</p> <p>Young was also elected to the National Academy of Science in 2012.</p> <p>Bhatia and Hammond, both of whom have spent most of their careers at MIT, are now the only two women of color to belong to all three of the National Academies.</p> <p>“I’m incredibly honored to be part of this group of thinkers and doers that I have long admired,” says Bhatia, the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “I’m grateful to have been supported by MIT for decades and to have benefited from the gender equity movement that Nancy Hopkins and colleagues initiated in the 90s. My position, salary, promotion trajectory,&nbsp;space, leadership opportunities, and sense of community with amazing people like Paula are all the products of deliberate, hard work to overcome systemic unconscious bias. I hope we can serve as examples of what is possible for the next generation of researchers and the institutions that support them.”</p> <p>“I am delighted to share this honor with my wonderful colleague, Sangeeta,” Hammond says.&nbsp;“We have truly benefited from the hard work of so many of our colleagues here at MIT who have stood up and voiced the importance of equity among scholars across race, culture, and gender. MIT has been an incredible place for me to further my career and to find outstanding male and female colleagues who continuously uplift and support each other. It is through the constant efforts we make together as a community to become a better place that we create opportunities for current and future scholars to shine.”</p> <p>The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from fields including health and medicine, as well as the natural, social, and behavioral sciences. Election to the National Academy of Medicine is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.</p> MIT professors Richard Young (left) and Sangeeta BhatiaImage: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute and Bryce VickmarkAwards, honors and fellowships, Faculty, Koch Institute, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), Whitehead Institute, Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology, Biology, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (eecs), Women in STEM, School of Science, School of Engineering Alan Edelman recognized with 2019 IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernbach Award Edelman&#039;s Julia programming language was recognized for solving large computational problems for high-performance computers. Thu, 17 Oct 2019 14:40:01 -0400 Sandi Miller | Department of Mathematics <p>Applied mathematics Professor <a href="">Alan Edelman</a> has been selected to receive the 2019&nbsp;<a href="">IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernbach Award</a>.</p> <p>Edelman was cited “for outstanding breakthroughs in high performance computing, linear algebra, and computational science and for contributions to the Julia programming language.”</p> <p>One of the IEEE Computer Society's highest honors, the Sidney Fernbach Award recognizes outstanding contributions in the application of high-performance computers (HPC) using innovative approaches.</p> <p>Edelman works on numerical computation, linear algebra, random matrix theory, and geometry, and says that he loves algorithms, theorems, compilers, DSLs, and old-fashioned performance tuning. But a lifelong goal has been improving HPC research.</p> <p>“Julia was invented to prove that HPCs’ biggest challenges could be solved with language,” says Edelman, who leads the Julia laboratory in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), and is chief scientist at Julia Computing. “Still, there is so&nbsp;much work to do.”</p> <p>Edelman’s interest in HPC emerged shortly after he arrived at MIT in the 1980s to earn his doctorate in applied mathematics. He said he “learned many lost lessons moonlighting” at Thinking Machines, where he started thinking about how “breakthroughs in HPC could come from raising the levels of abstraction through high-level languages that are built from the ground up for performance and productivity.”</p> <p>“HPC had missed out for too long on the key intellectual ingredient that would make all the difference: language. The ‘one true goal’ for HPC is the number of users. Performance, productivity, scalability, reproducibility, composability, and other obvious and non-obvious metrics are subsumed by this ‘prime directive.’”</p> <p>Edelman, who came back to MIT as faculty in 1993, eventually teamed up&nbsp;with <a href="" target="_blank">Jeff Bezanson</a> PhD ’15, <a href="">Stefan Karpinski</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="">Viral B. Shah</a> to create a programming language that they called <a href="">Julia</a>. This language was designed to help researchers write high-level code in an intuitive syntax and produce code with the speed of production programming languages.</p> <p>The free and open-source Julia 1.0 was released in 2018. Today, the Julia project has over 800 open source contributors, 2,000 registered packages, and over 10 million downloads. It is used in over 1,500 universities, including MIT, for solving difficult and large-scale problems in areas such as <a href="">climate modeling</a>, <a href="">scientific machine learning</a>, and <a href="">medicine</a>. Julia is also used by companies such as BlackRock, Capital One, Intel, Cisco, and Netflix, and by government agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.</p> <p>The Julia creators received the <a href="" target="_blank">2019 James H. Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software</a>. In addition, Edelman has also received the Householder Prize, the Chauvenet Prize, and the Charles Babbage Prize. &nbsp;<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Edelman will receive his award, which consists of a certificate and a $2,000 honorarium, on Nov. 19 at the Supercomputing 2019 Conference awards plenary session in Denver, Colorado.</p> Applied mathematics Professor Alan Edelman has been selected to receive the 2019 IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernbach Award. Mathematics, School of Science, Computer science and technology, Awards, honors and fellowships, Faculty, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) MIT economists Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee win Nobel Prize Professors share prize with Michael Kremer of Harvard University, are cited for breakthrough antipoverty work. Mon, 14 Oct 2019 06:09:00 -0400 Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office <p>Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, MIT economists whose work has helped transform antipoverty research and relief efforts, have been named co-winners of the 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, along with another co-winner, Harvard University economist Michael Kremer.&nbsp;</p> <p>“We are incredibly happy and humbled,” Duflo told <em>MIT News</em> after learning of the award. “We feel very fortunate to see this kind of work being recognized.”</p> <p>Banerjee told <em>MIT News</em> it was “wonderful” to receive the award, adding “you don’t get this lucky many times in your life.”</p> <p>The work of Duflo and Banerjee, which has long been intertwined with Kremer’s, has been highly innovative in the area of development economics, emphasizing the use of field experiments in research in order to realize the benefits of laboratory-style randomized, controlled trials. Duflo and Banerjee have applied this new precision while studying a wide range of topics implicated in global poverty, including health care, education, agriculture, and gender issues, while developing new antipoverty programs based on their research.</p> <p>Duflo and Banerjee also co-founded MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) &nbsp;in 2003, along with a third co-founder, Sendhil Mullainathan, now of the University of Chicago. J-PAL, a global network of antipoverty researchers that conducts field experiments, has now become a major center of research, facilitating work across the world.</p> <p>J-PAL also examines which kinds of local interventions have the greatest impact on social problems, and works to implement those programs more broadly, in cooperation with governments and NGOs. Among J-PAL’s notable interventions are deworming programs that have been adopted widely.</p> <p>In the statement released this morning, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which grants the Nobel awards, noted that the work of Duflo, Banerjee, and Kremer has “dramatically improved our ability to fight poverty in practice” and cited their “new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty.”</p> <div class="cms-placeholder-content-video"></div> <p><strong>“A collective effort”</strong></p> <p>Duflo, 46, is the second woman and the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel in economic sciences.</p> <p>“We’re fortunate to see this kind of work being recognized,” Duflo told <em>MIT News</em>, noting that their work was “born at MIT and supported by MIT.” She called the work in this area a “collective effort” and said that “we could not have created a movement without hundreds of researchers and staff members.” The Nobel award, she said, also represented this collective enterprise, and was “larger than our work.”</p> <p>Banerjee, 58, noted that experiment-based work in development economics was a little-explored area of research 20 years ago but has grown significantly since then.</p> <p>“The kind of work we’ve done over the years, when we started, was marginal in economics,” Banerjee said. In that light, he added, the Nobel award is “great for the development field” within economics, reflecting the signifance of work done by many of his colleagues.&nbsp;</p> <p>Duflo added that she and Banerjee were “absolutely delighted to share this award with Michael Kremer,” calling his work an “inspiration” for antipoverty researchers. Kremer is a former MIT faculty member and postdoc who served at the Institute from 1992 to 1999, and remains an affiliated professor with J-PAL; he is currently the Gates Professor of Developing Societies at Harvard University. The three award-winners have known each other since the mid-1990s and have long viewed their research efforts as being intellectually aligned. The Nobel statement also cited Kremer’s research on education in Kenya as a key launching point for the new experimental method.</p> <p>While J-PAL researchers conduct experiments globally, Duflo and Banerjee have situated much of their own research in Africa and India. They have studied a wide range of issues implicated in global poverty, producing significant results over time. In one widely noted experiment, Duflo and Banerjee found that immunization rates for children in rural India jump dramatically (from 5 percent to 39 percent) when their families are offered modest incentives for immunization, such as lentils.</p> <p>They have also studied educational issues extensively, often with additional co-authors, uncovering new results about improvements in student achievement (when classes are divided into small groups) and ways to improve teacher attendance. But the range of topics Duflo and Banerjee have studied is immense, and includes fertilizer use by Kenyan farmers, physician training in India, HIV prevention in Africa, the effects of small-scale lending programs, and the impact of aid programs in Indonesia, among many other studies.</p> <p>In one study conducted on three continents, Duflo and Banerjee also reported significant welfare gains from an intervention that helps the poor simultaneously in multiple ways, including job training, productive assets, and health information.</p> <p>Duflo and Banerjee have published dozens of research papers, together and with other co-authors. They have also co-written two books together, “Poor Economics” (2011) and the forthcoming “Good Economics for Hard Times” (2019).</p> <p>A significant part of J-PAL’s mission is to scale up successful experiments that can be applied more widely in society. When Kremer and economist Edward Miguel demonstrated the immense value of deworming children in the developing world, J-PAL helped start Deworm the World, a nonprofit that has treated millions of children in Africa.</p> <p><strong>Scholarship and impact</strong></p> <p>At a press conference for Duflo and Banerjee held today in MIT’s Building E51, MIT President L. Rafael Reif introduced the two economists, praising their scholarship and the impact of their work.</p> <p>“By providing an experimental basis for development economics, professors Banerjee and Duflo have reimagined their field and profoundly changed how goverments and agencies around the world intervene to help people beat poverty,” Reif said. “In doing so, they provide a proud reminder of MIT’s commitment to bringing knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges.” He added: “We’re deeply proud of our newest Nobel laureates and the entire economics department.”</p> <p>After an extended round of applause from students, faculty, and administrators at the start of the press conference, Banerjee joked, “It feels like I wandered onto the set of the wrong movie.”</p> <p>Speaking to <em>MIT News</em>, Nancy Rose, the economics department head and the Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics, lauded Duflo and Banerjee’s scholarship and mentorship, as well as their extensive efforts to turn their findings into real-world policy.</p> <p>“Esther and Abhijit have been exceptional colleagues and contributors to the MIT economics department,” said Rose. “Their passion for the power of economics to do good in the world inspires us all, and their generosity and compassion in working with students and colleagues has propelled countless careers forward.&nbsp;We couldn’t be more thrilled for this recognition of all they have done.”<br /> <br /> Rose added that “Abhijit, Esther, and Michael's work shows economic research at its finest.&nbsp;They have not only transformed the way economists approach the study of poverty and development economics, but deployed their findings to improve the lives of hundreds of million people across the globe.&nbsp;Their founding&nbsp;of MIT’s J-PAL has created a vibrant network of scholars who are bringing evidence-based antipoverty policy into every corner of the world.”</p> <p>Melissa Nobles, the Kenan Sahin Dean of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, praised the ethical foundations guiding the work of Duflo and Banerjee.</p> <p>“The significance of Abhijit’s and Esther’s scholarship is not only that it has transformed the ways in which economists and policymakers think about and approach poverty alleviation, but that, at the core, their research is guided by deeply humanistic values,” Nobles said. “In their vision, the materially poor are at the center, as are remedies for global poverty that actually work, that open doors for millions to education, health care, economic well-being, and safe communities — to the full promise of human life.”</p> <p>Duflo received her undergraduate degree from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris in 1994, after studying both history and economics. She earned a master’s degree in economics the next year, jointly through the École Normale Supérieure and the École Polytechnique. Duflo then earned her PhD in economics from MIT in 1999. She joined the MIT faculty the same year, and has remained at MIT her entire career.&nbsp;</p> <p>Currently Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT. Banerjee is the Ford International Professor of Economics at MIT.</p> <p>Previously, Duflo has earned a series of awards and honors, including a MacArthur Foundation fellowship (2009), the John Bates Clark Medal from the American Economic Association (2010), and, also in 2009, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for Development Cooperation.</p> <p>Duflo has also helped create an MITx MicroMasters program in <a href="">Data, Economics, and Development Policy</a>, which the Institute launched in 2016.&nbsp;</p> <p>In her remarks at the press conference, Duflo thanked a variety of people instrumental in the development of J-PAL, including Bengt Holmström, the 2016 Nobel laureate in economics, who encouraged Duflo and Banerjee to pursue the idea when he was department chair; former MIT president Susan Hockfield; Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel, the foundational supporter of the organization; and Rachel Glennerster, the long-time executive director of J-PAL (who is currently on leave and working as chief economist of Great Britain’s Department of International Development).</p> <p>Duflo also thanks her students, as well as another of her graduate advisors, MIT professor Joshua Angrist, a long-time advocate of using rigorous empirical methods in the social sciences.</p> <p>Asked at today’s press conference about the significance of being only the second woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, Duflo said she strongly wants to encourage other women to enter the discipline.</p> <p>“There are not enough women in the economics profession at all levels,” Duflo said. “That has to change.” The issue, she noted, “is something the profession is starting to reckon with.” Banerjee, for his part, observed that development economics has a higher percentage of female scholars than other subfields within the discipline, and he agreed that women should be encouraged to become scholars in economics.</p> <p>Banerjee received his undergraduate degree from the University of Calcutta, and a master’s degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. He earned his PhD in Economics from Harvard University in 1988. He spent four years on the faculty at Princeton University, and one year at Harvard, before joining the MIT faculty in 1993.</p> <p>Among other honors and awards, Banerjee was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004, and was granted the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for Development Cooperation in 2009.</p> <p>Duflo and Banerjee are the sixth and seventh people to win&nbsp;the award while serving as MIT faculty members, following Paul Samuelson (1970), Franco Modigliani (1985), Robert Solow (1987), Peter Diamond (2010), and Bengt Holmström (2016). There are now 12 MIT alumni, including Duflo, who have won the Nobel in economics; eight former faculty have also won the award.</p> MIT economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo stand outside their home after learning that they have been named co-winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in economic sciences. They will share the prize with Michael Kremer of Harvard University.Photo: Bryce VickmarkSchool of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Economics, Awards, honors and fellowships, Faculty, Nobel Prizes, Social sciences, Developing countries, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Poverty, International development, Office of Open Learning, EdX, MITx, India, Africa Longtime MIT Lincoln Laboratory researcher John Goodenough wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry One of three scientists recognized for developing the lithium-ion battery, Goodenough explored the physics of magnetic materials during his career at Lincoln Laboratory. Wed, 09 Oct 2019 16:40:07 -0400 Dorothy Ryan | Lincoln Laboratory <p>The Nobel Prize Committee awarded a share of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to John Bannister Goodenough for the development of the lithium-ion battery, which is used widely in portable electronics and which the committee stated has "enabled the mobile world." Goodenough, currently a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, began his engineering career in 1952 at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where he worked on random access memory for computers used by the Laboratory-developed SAGE air defense system.</p> <p>Goodenough's career at Lincoln Laboratory spanned 24 years, ending with his move in 1976 to become a professor of inorganic chemistry at Oxford University in the U.K. During his tenure at the Laboratory, Goodenough was a technical staff member and then a leader in several groups, overseeing pioneering work on computing and conducting seminal research on the magnetic and electrical properties of materials. In 1958, he was promoted to associate leader of the Digital Computer Development Group. A year later, he moved to the Computer Components Group as its leader. He became the leader of the Magnetism and Resonance Group in 1963 and transferred to the Electronic Materials Group as its leader in 1965.</p> <p>During his time at Lincoln Laboratory, Goodenough garnered honors for his contributions to science and engineering. In 1963, he was elevated to Fellow of the American Physical Society. In 1967, he was named a Docteur Honoris Causa of the University of Bordeaux for his interdisciplinary work in physics. The National Academy of Engineering elected Goodenough to membership in 1976, recognizing his work on designing materials for electronic components and his elucidation of the relationships between properties, structures, and chemistry. Also in 1976, he was invited by the Chemical Society to deliver a Centenary Lecture at seven universities in England and Scotland; this Centenary Lectureship, an honorary appointment, was offered to Goodenough for his contributions to solid-state chemistry.</p> <p>Goodenough shares this Nobel Prize with researchers M. Stanley Whittingham of Binghamton University, a state university in New York, and Akira Yoshino of Meijo University in Japan. He will receive the prize in December.</p> John Goodenough (left) received the National Medal of Science from U.S. President Barack Obama in 2011.Lincoln Laboratory, Staff, Awards, honors and fellowships, Nobel Prizes, Batteries