Monthly Archives: October 2012

October 31, 2012

Looking for connections? Try MIT spouses&partners!

The purpose of MIT spouses&partners is to help newcomers to adjust to their new life at MIT and its surrounding area.  MIT spouses&partners assists and encourages spouses and partners to develop a family support system, and to build social and professional networks with each other, with MIT, and with surrounding communities.  MIT spouses&partners is organized and coordinated by MIT staff and funded by the Institute, provides information and referrals that connect spouses and partners with resources both at MIT and in the Boston area, fosters friendship in a new community, supports both the personal and professional growth of its membership, encourages spouses and partners to take initiative to organize and lead activities according to their interests, and offers confidential consultation and referral as needed.  Learn more about MIT spouses&partners and how to get involved.

October 31, 2012

GWAMIT 2012 Fall Leadership Conference Nov. 5–8

Registration is now open for the 2012 GWAMIT Fall Leadership Conference, which will be occurring November 5th through 8th, 2012.  All events are free.  Events include the Opening Keynote “Take Charge of Your Vision,” Look Like a Leader, Leadership in Academia and Industry Panel, Build Your Dream Team, and Become an Innovator.  For information regarding event times and locations, as well as the RSVP form, visit leadership.gwamit.org.  Anyone who wants to help setup, cleanup or take photographs at an event, please email gwamit-leadership@mit.edu.

October 30, 2012

Teaching What You Don’t Know

In the introduction to [Therese Huston’s Teaching What You Don’t Know], which was just released in paperback, Huston points out that graduate students and new faculty members traditionally expect to be able to teach courses in their areas of expertise. That seems like a benign enough assumption. However, she writes, “college and university faculty members often find themselves having to teach what they don’t know. They have to get up in front of their classes and explain something that they learned just last week, or two days ago, or, in the worst-case scenario, that same morning over a very hurried breakfast.” I can confirm that easily enough from my own dozen years of teaching at a liberal-arts college. Although my background is in 20th-century British literature, I regularly have to dip back into the 19th century for my survey course on British literature. With almost no formal training in rhetoric, I count “Argument and Persuasion” among my standard course offerings. Every member of my department could make similar claims. Read the whole article on The Chronicle of Higher Education.  photo by Brian Taylor

October 30, 2012

Shankar Tucker – Live in Concert on Nov. 4th!

Students for Bhopal, Association for India’s Development and Indian Raga are excited to present Shankar Tucker, live in concert at MIT on Sunday, November 4th, 2012 at 6:00pm in Kresge Auditorium.  Shankar, a graduate of the New England Conservatory blends classical Indian music, jazz and popular music to create a unique and original fusion.  The concert will feature Rohini Ravada and Rohan Kymal.  Check out videos of Shankar on his Youtube channel “The ShrutiBox.”  To buy tickets, visit this website.  MIT student tickets cost $10.  Contact kshekhar@mit.edu for more information.

October 29, 2012

MIT + Khan = Opportunity to teach and earn $1,000

MIT students interested in creating an educational video have the chance to earn $1,000 if their video is selected.  Last year Ian Waitz, MIT’s Dean of Engineering, launched the MIT-K12 project, driven by a series of questions: How can we change the perception of the role of engineers and scientists in the world?  What can MIT do, right now, to improve education at the K12 level?  What if MIT became a publicly accessible “experiential partner” to the country’s K12 educators?  What if MIT students generated short-form videos to aid the work those educators are already doing in their classrooms and homes?  Students interested in making a video for this important project can find more information on the website.

October 29, 2012

Election 2012 Discussion on Oct. 30

Political Science Professors Andrea Campbell, Devin Caughey, and Charles Stewart III will be hosting a lively discussion of issues surrounding the 2012 election on Tuesday, October 30th, 2012, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm in MIT Room E25-111. They will discuss the place of this election in historical context, the effect of voter ID laws and other election administration issues on the voting process, and the public policy issues at stake, such as the future of the Obama health reform, entitlement reform, and the fiscal issues facing the nation.

October 26, 2012

Your Official Job-Application Checklist

For the novice, the logistical challenges of an academic job search can be exasperating, especially when dozens of applications are involved. Getting things right (providing the correct materials, from CV to sample syllabi, in the style and form most sought by a particular search committee) and submitting the application on time (via sometimes complicated e-interfaces) are never as easy as they may sound on initial prospect. It follows that obsessiveness is a good quality in applicants for tenure-track positions. Most fields (although not all subfields) are buyers’ markets. With hundreds of candidates—many of them highly qualified—for one position in, say, 20th-century American literature, harried committees are often looking for some way to narrow the pool. A missing item (like Page 2 of your teaching-philosophy statement), a late upload (because you put off doing it until the midnight of the deadline and your hard drive crashed), or even a typo on the sixth paragraph of your cover letter may get you passed up before you’re even fully considered. So details matter. All the more reason to get the materials and the procedures right. Read the rest of the article on The Chronicle of Higher Education.  photo by Brian Taylor

October 26, 2012

An Interactive Lecture with Benjamin Zander on Oct. 30

The Sidney Pacific Committee on Scholarly Interactions and Music Committee jointly present Everybody Loves Classical Music…They Just Don’t Know It Yet!: An Interactive Lecture with Benjamin Zander, Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra on Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 in the MIT Sidney Pacific Graduate Residence Multipurpose Room (70 Pacific Street, Cambridge) at 6:00pm (for refreshments), with the lecture taking place at 6:30pm.  RSVP here. Maestro Zander is known the world over through his top rated TED talk (~3 million views) and as one of the best-known speakers on leadership.  He gave the opening Keynote address at the World Economic Forum, and in 2002 he was awarded the “Caring Citizen of the Humanities” Award by the United Nations.  In his talks, he is known for using music to help people open their minds and create joyful harmonies that bring out the best in themselves and their colleagues.
In addition, Maestro Zander says that coming to the preceding Boston Philharmonic Concert (on Sunday, October 28th, 2012 at Sanders Theatre) will significantly enrich your experience of the MIT Sidney Pacific lecture event.  The concert is at 3:00pm, but at 1:45pm Maestro Zander will explain the pieces being performed at the concert as only he can.

October 25, 2012

Join MIT EMS! Application deadline Oct. 28

MIT EMS is an ASA-approved student group, dedicated to providing emergency medical support resources to the MIT Community.  In addition to operating MIT’s ambulance at the Basic Life Support (BLS) level, MIT EMS also train undergraduate and graduate students, as well as MIT faculty and staff, in emergency medical skills.  If you would like to become an EMT, MIT EMS invites you to apply for the EMT-B class, which will be offered during IAP 2013.  Applications are open until October 28th, 2012.  Contact Shanasia Sylman (shanasia@mit.edu) for more information.

October 25, 2012

Westgate Halloween Party on Oct. 27

Come to the Westgate Halloween Party on Saturday, October 27th, 2012 in Westgate Basement Lounge (W-82).  At 5:30pm, there will be finger foods and Halloween crafts for the kids.  At 6:30pm, the MIT Marching Band is going to play a few songs.  At 6:45pm, there will be a costume parade; the band will lead a short parade around the Westgate playground.  Trick-or-treating at Westgate starts immediately afterward.  Costumes are encouraged but not required. All are welcome! Register online and contact bhaslam@mit.edu for more information.

October 24, 2012

Meet the MIT Summer Research Program 2012 Interns! (video)

The MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) provides nine exciting weeks of intensive research experience to undergraduates considering graduate school. This past summer, 39 interns conducted research in 14 different departments, working in labs under the guidance of experienced scientists and engineers who are MIT faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and advanced graduate students. Nineteen of the host labs were new to the program, joining over 250 faculty members who have been key to MSRP’s success since it began. MSRP seeks to promote the value of graduate education; to improve the research enterprise through increased diversity; and to prepare and recruit the best and brightest for graduate education at MIT. Students who participate in this program will be better prepared and motivated to pursue advanced degrees, thereby helping to sustain a rich talent pool in critical areas of research and innovation. Click “Read more” to see a great video about this past summer, or visit the MSRP page on the ODGE website.

Read more

October 24, 2012

All welcome to Economics Association Happy Hour Oct. 26

Join the Graduate Economics Association for September’s Happy Hour on Friday, October 26th, 2012, from 5:30pm to 7:00pm in MIT Room E52-244.  Socialize over bites and share ideas.  All are welcome!  Contact dcolino@mit.edu for more information.

October 23, 2012

YouTube Sports Director Golding: Winning at work and school

The MIT Executive MBA Program, launched in 2010, will graduate its second class in the spring. The rigorous 20-month MBA program has attracted scores of successful mid-career professionals who travel to campus for four one-week modules and 26 weekends over 20 months, in addition to a one-week international action learning trip, all while holding down a job. News@MITSloan recently chatted with EMBA ’13 candidate Frank Golding, YouTube Director, Head of Sport for North America, about why he chose MIT for his MBA and the future of sports on YouTube. Continue reading this article on News@MITSloan.

October 23, 2012

MIT Tango Festival Oct. 25-28

The MIT Tango Festival is taking place from October 25th through October 28th, 2012: four days of Argentine Tango festival with workshops, social dances, and live music. Saturday and Sunday feature intensive introductions to Argentine Tango as well as intermediate and advanced workshops withJaimes Friedgen & Christa Rodriquez.  For more information, including locations, visit the website or contact tango@mit.edu.

October 22, 2012

Objects by Architects Gallery on view through Nov. 1

The Keller Gallery at MIT Architecture presents the Objects by Architects Gallery, curated by Sarah M. Hirschman.  The Gallery will be open in the Keller Gallery at MIT Architecture, Room 7-408, Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 6:00 pm (or by appointment) until Thursday, November 1st, 2012.  The Gallery features work by: Molo, Stanley Saitowitz, Actual / Josh Jakus, Eternity Stew, Moorhead + Moorhead, Meejin Yoon / MY Studio, Deger Cengiz, Nervous System, Barbara Flanagan, Yung Ho Chang, Cheryl Baxter, Nader Tehrani / NADAAA, Atelier Manferdini, Lightexture, Incorporated Architecture and Design, FTF Design Studio, Fiyel Levent, Rael San Fratello, MOS, and Graypants.

October 22, 2012

Wellness Fair on Oct. 25

Sponsored by First-Year Experience, this year’s wellness fair is centered around the idea of stress reduction and finding little ways to make every day a little more manageable. On Thursday, October 25th, 2012, from 3:30pm to 5:00pm at Kresge Auditorium, learn about healthy eating and sleeping habits, get a massage, play with a puppy, and join representatives from numerous student groups, offices and departments across MIT who are there to provide guidance, advice and other methods of support.  For more information contact fye@mit.edu.

October 19, 2012

Master Students Thesis Workshops

Xiaolu Hsi, Ph.D, will be hosting a workshop entitled “Staring Down the Blank Screen – the Psychology of Thesis Writing for Master’s Students,” designed to help master’s students who will be writing a thesis as a part of their degree requirement.  Topics to be discussed are the essentials of thesis writing, self-direction, accessing support (like a thesis advisor, peers, and writing resources), time management, stress and sleep management, productivity, anxiety-induced procrastinating, as well as other interpersonal issues related to the thesis process.  These workshops will take place at MIT Medical Mental Health and Counseling Services on Monday afternoons at 5:00pm (dates available when you call 3-2916 to sign up).  There is a limit of 10 to 15 per workshop; a follow up session is available upon request.  For questions, email hsix@med.mit.edu.

October 19, 2012

Katherine Hartman, 2012-2013 Intel Fellowship winner

Katherine Hartman, Department of Materials Science And Engineering, has been officially announced as one of the eighteen 2012-2013 Intel Fellowship winners.  Her thesis title is “Materials Design for a Low-Cost, High Efficiency, Earth-Abundant Solar Cell Material: Tin Sulfide.”  The Intel PhD Fellowship program focuses on research in Intel’s technical areas; Hardware Systems Technology and Design, Software Technology and Design, and Semiconductor Technology and Manufacturing.  This prestigious award recognizes winning students as being tops in their areas of research.  See the entire announcement on Intel’s website.

October 19, 2012

Interfaith Dialogue on Oct. 23

The Addir Fellows Interfaith Dialogue is taking place on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 at 7:15pm in MIT Building W11 (the Main Dining Room) at the corner of Amherst and Massachusetts Avenue.  The panelists include Rabbi Michelle Fisher, Imam Suheil Laher, Tenzin Priyadarshi, Swami Tyagananda, and Reverend Kari Jo Verhulst.  Dessert will be available; all are welcome.  Addir is a word in Ancient Samarian that means “bridge.”  The Addir Fellows Program aspires to build bridges of dialogue and understanding.  Addir is co-sponsored by the Office of the Chaplain to the Institute in cooperation with the Board of Chaplains.  For more information, email ora@mit.edu, call (617) 610-1060, or visit https://studentlife.mit.edu/rl/interfaith-programs/mit-interfaith-dialogue-program-application.

October 18, 2012

GEM Grad Lab on Oct. 20

The GEM Grad Lab (Get Ready for Advanced Degrees) is a free event sponsored by the Massachusetts Consortium of S.T.E.M. Programs, designed to inform students from underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (S.T.E.M.) about the importance of pursuing an advanced degree, how to apply for graduate school and prepare a competitive application, and graduate school funding opportunities.  The event will take place on Saturday, October 20th, 2012, from 9:00am to 4:00pm EST (registration at 8:30am) at the Broad Institute, 415 Main Street, Cambridge.  A panel of speakers will also provide their insights and experiences about graduate school and beyond.  A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

October 18, 2012

Dean Christine Ortiz studies ancient fish to create a new kind of human body armor

In a research laboratory at the vaunted Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a group of scientists, engineers and architects observes an ancient armored fish, known as polypterus, which has a completely flexible yet protective outer coat that changes shape in response to threats. Looking closely at its skin and scales, the group extrapolates design principles to help them create a new kind of human body armor that could protect soldiers at war, disaster area first-responders, even athletes. Across the room, another team of scientists studies the molecular structure of human cartilage in order to understand why people who suffer from osteoarthritis feel pain. They map out a detailed and microscopic snapshot of the disease, work that could one day lead to personalized medical treatments for arthritis patients. This may seem like the futuristic setting for a sci-fi thriller coming to your local multiplex, but it’s actually the real-life innovation incubator of Christine Ortiz,  professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, and Dean of the school’s prestigious graduate education program… Read the rest of the article on NBC Latino.

October 17, 2012

MIT Energy Night on Oct. 19

MIT Energy Night will be held on Friday, October 19th, 2012 from 5:00pm to 8:30pm at the MIT Museum.  This event showcases energy research, initiatives, and entrepreneurship at MIT.  It is a large scale poster session and is free and open to the public.  Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served.  You do not need to RSVP.  Presenters are MIT graduate students, postdocs and MIT-affiliated start-ups.  In past years, MIT faculty, energy professionals, technology investors, local and national press have attended the event.  The event first started in 2006 with 30 poster presenters and 600 attendees. Last year, the event attracted 70 poster presenters and over 1,300 attendees!  For more information, visit the MIT Energy Night website.

October 17, 2012

Elizabeth Rapoport working on key to biolab on a chip

If you throw a ball underwater, you’ll find that the smaller it is, the faster it moves: A larger cross-section greatly increases the water’s resistance. Now, a team of MIT researchers has figured out a way to use this basic principle, on a microscopic scale, to carry out biomedical tests that could eventually lead to fast, compact and versatile medical-testing devices. The results, based on work by graduate student Elizabeth Rapoport and assistant professor Geoffrey Beach, of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE), are described in a paper published in the journal Lab on a Chip. MIT graduate student Daniel Montana ’11 also contributed to the research as an undergraduate. Continue reading this article on MIT news or click “More” to see the video. Read more

October 16, 2012

ODGE launches new strategic plan

The Office of the Dean for Graduate Education is pleased to make available our strategic plan for 2011 – 2016: “From Imagination to Impact: Empowering graduate students to create the future.” The one-year long ODGE strategic planning process involved extensive interaction with and input from graduate students, faculty, administrators, and staff.  The focus was on-campus residential graduate education, in the context of a largely decentralized MIT infrastructure where individual graduate programs and faculty members possess great autonomy in directing graduate education in their disciplines.  Five major themes emerged:

  • Supporting Educational Innovation and Excellence
  • Competitiveness in Graduate Funding
  • Administration and Policy
  • Diversity and Climate
  • Holistic Graduate Student Experience

To read more, visit the ODGE Strategic Plan webpage.

October 16, 2012

Michaël Bikard, Sloan PhD candidate, on new science-based inventions Oct. 17

Michaël Bikard, from MIT Sloan and the Center for Biomedical Innovation will present a talk entitled “Technology Spawning and the Genesis of New Science-Based Inventions” beginning at 3 p.m., Wednesday, October 17, in E25-401. New scientific knowledge sometimes remains underutilized as compared to its technological potential. The talk will examine two views of the process of science-based invention at the level of the knowledge-producing organization.

In one, widespread access to the new scientific knowledge is crucial, and the academic environment therefore fosters invention. In the other, control is paramount and scientific research conducted in firms leads to more new technologies. Analysis of follow-on inventions, based on 39 simultaneous discoveries between academia and industry involving 90 teams and cited in 533 patents, indicates that a scientific publication originating from a firm is 20-30 percent more likely to be cited in follow-on patents than its academic twin. Contrary to the idea that ease of access plays a crucial role, inventors that did not take part in the discovery appear more likely to draw their knowledge from firms rather than from the “Ivory Tower.” Read the rest of the article on News@MITSloan.

October 15, 2012

Naiyan Chen and how attention helps you remember

A new study from MIT neuroscientists sheds light on a neural circuit that makes us likelier to remember what we’re seeing when our brains are in a more attentive state. The team of neuroscientists found that this circuit depends on a type of brain cell long thought to play a supporting role, at most, in neural processing. When the brain is attentive, those cells, called astrocytes, relay messages alerting neurons of the visual cortex that they should respond strongly to whatever visual information they are receiving. Naiyan Chen, Computational & Systems Biology, is a lead author of the corresponding paper, along with research scientist Hiroki Sugihara; the senior author is Mriganka Sur, the Paul E. and Lilah Newton Professor of Neuroscience at MIT.  Read the rest of the article on MIT news.

October 15, 2012

Affects and Emotions for a Non-Capitalist Cinema Lecture on Oct. 15

Jesal Kapadia, an artist, co-arts editor for the journal Rethinking Marxism, and frequent collaborator with 16Beaver group in NY, will be lecturing for ACT on Monday, October 15th, 2012 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm in the ACT cube, Wiesner Building (E15-001, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge).  This lecture is free and open to the public and is part of the Experiments in Thinking, Action, and Form: Cinematic Migrations Fall 2012 Lecture Series.

What would a cinema that serves its subjects, rather than forces of capital, look like? A cinema of refusal, a cinematic non-form that breaks away from the conditions set by capital. A cinema made entirely of the process itself, that cannot be retained, that disappears and renews itself when recalled, that creates an unforgettable loss, but loss with value on the autonomous side. The evening involves performing live annotations and a screening of Kapadia’s footage shot in Sikkim, India–a dialogue and call-and-response with the activists who went on a yearlong relay hunger strike. What kinds of subject positions would be needed to create this counter-aesthetic practice, one that contains the will to keep social justice alive?

October 12, 2012

Register to Vote! Through October 17

The GSC Legislative Action Sub-Committee and MIT Political Science are both holding drives to register students to vote.  The deadline to register to vote in Massachusetts in the November election is Wednesday, October 17th, 2012; both the GSC and MIT PoliSci will be holding their drive through this deadline.
  • The GSC drive will take place in MIT Room 50-220, the RMV, and by mail and will end on October 17th at 8:00pm.  There will be free voter registration forms outside of 50-220 until the deadline.  Contact LASC (gsc-lasc-committee@mit.edu) for more information.
  • The MIT PoliSci drive will take place in Lobby 10 (under the dome) every day from 11:00am to 3:00pm until October 17th.  Contact Laura Chirot (chirot@mit.edu) for more information.

October 12, 2012

Experiments in Thinking, Action & Form: Cinematic Migrations

Desire for cinema perhaps existed before its creation.  Today, cinema can be thought as the umbrella term for the variety of moving images and time-based forms that currently circulate and which have intersecting, yet specific, histories of emergence.  These encompass the changing technological and spatial forms themselves—from collective halls to handheld devices—in which cinema appears, as well as the movement and interpretation of cinemas throughout the world.  Cinematic Migrations is a multi-faceted look at the role of cinema’s transmutations over time and its worldwide and circuitous shifts.  This lecture series will take place in the ACT Cube, Wiesner Bldg (E15-001), Lower Level; 20 Ames Street; Cambridge, MA on Mondays (October 15th, 19th, November 5th, 19th, and 26thfrom 7:00pm to 9:00pm.  These lectures are free and open to the public. Lecturers and guests participating in this series will examine these terms in different ways, along with their own explorations.

October 11, 2012

Paying it forward through engineering

Several years ago, SDM Fellow Rajesh Nair returned to his native India and noticed that the television stations focused almost solely on Bollywood stars and overpaid athletes. It disturbed him, because, as he put it, “India is actually built by entrepreneurs and innovators. And we never give them the due that they deserve.” Nair, who is the founder and CTO of Degree Controls, Inc., a U.S.-based engineering firm that specializes in thermal management for electronics, took action when he founded TechTop, an engineering competition for India’s college students. The first competition was held in 2006, and it has now grown into an annual event that attracts over 200 entrepreneurial proposals. Participants invent product proposals and then judges (Indian scientists, engineers,  IT professionals, and Nair himself) whittle the list down to 50 semi-finalists, and then 20 finalists, and finally, three winners. Several have gone on to form successful companies with the prize money, which is about 100K rupees. “It’s like a mini [MIT] $100K competition,” said Nair. To continue reading the article, visit News@MITSloan.

October 11, 2012

“Voices and Faces of the Adhan” film on October 20

Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo is a multi-platform initiative documenting the 1,400 year-old tradition of the adhan, Muslim call to prayer, and the muezzins who recite it in Cairo.  Join On Look Films as they share a sneak peak of the film, footage from the most recent shoot in Cairo, and a presentation followed by an open discussion on Saturday, October 20th, 2012 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in MIT Room 6-120.  Refreshments will be served. The film is part of the “Discover Islam” series, and is co-sponsored by the Addir Interfaith Program.

October 10, 2012

REENTRY, the new issue of The Graduate, available now!

The new edition of The Graduate is now available, titled and themed REENTRY. Read about 40-hour work weeks, on-campus housing affordability, taking advantage of MIT’s resources, and more!  Visit The Graduate website to see past publications as well.

October 10, 2012

Halil Tekin, EECS, replicates living structures

Living systems are made of complex architectural organization of various cell types in defined microenvironments. The intricate interactions between different cell types control the specific functions of the associated tissues, such as the functions of native liver and cardiac tissues, metastasis and invasion of tumors, and embryonic development. MIT researchers have developed a new versatile technique to control spatial distribution of multiple cell types in predefined 3-D geometries which was described in a paper published online Sept. 3 in Advanced Materials. Halil Tekin, the leading author of the paper, is a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. To read the rest of the article, visit MIT news.  photo by Halil Tekin

October 9, 2012

McGowan Foundation award presented to Danielle Sewell, MBA ’13

Danielle Sewell, MBA ’13, has been named as this year’s McGowan Fellow. The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund was established to realize the magnificent human potential that William McGowan, founder of MCI Communications, foresaw. The foundation’s vision is to have an impact on lives today, create sustainable change, and empower future generations to achieve their greatest potential. Read the rest of the article on News@MITSloan.

October 9, 2012

Annual MIT Family Weekend Concert on Oct. 12

The annual MIT Family Weekend Concert is taking place this Friday, October 12th, 2012, at 8:00pm at Kresge Auditorium.  Admission is free.  This concert will feature the MIT Wind Ensemble and the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble with Frederick Harri, Jr. as Music Director and Kenneth Amis as Assistant Conductor.  The MIT Wind Ensemble will play music from Russia, England, Australia, and America, including Prokofiev, March, op. 99; Vaughn Williams, Rhosymedre; Gorb, Yiddish Dances; Grainger, Children’s March; Bernstein, Overture to Candide.  The MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, celebrating its golden anniversary, will perform pieces from each decade of its history including works by Ellington, Mingus, La Porta, Sharifi, and others.

October 8, 2012

Yihua Wang makes dramatic femtosecond-resolution movie of electrons

For the first time, an MIT team has managed to create three-dimensional “movies” of electron behavior in a topological insulator, or TI. The movies can capture vanishingly small increments of time — down to the level of a few femtoseconds, or millionths of a billionth of a second — so that they can catch the motions of electrons as they scatter in response to a very short pulse of light. Electrons normally have mass, just like many other fundamental particles, but when moving along the surface of TIs they move as if they were massless, like light — one of the extraordinary characteristics that give these new materials such promise for new technologies. The dramatic new results are published this week in the journal Physical Review Letters, in a paper by MIT graduate student Yihua Wang, assistant professor of physics Nuh Gedik, and six other researchers. Read the rest of the article on MIT news.

October 8, 2012

Luce Scholars Program deadline on Oct. 22

The Luce Scholars Program is open to seniors, graduate students, alumni from recent classes and junior faculty.  It places young scholars from a wide variety of intellectual fields in 10-month internships in selected countries in Asia. Those who already have significant experience in Asia or Asian studies are not eligible for the Luce Scholars Program. On the other hand, candidates may have taken Asian language or Asia-focused courses on a U.S. campus (without majoring in Asian Studies). They may have spent up to a total of eight weeks, or have participated in a university-organized summer program, in one or more countries where Luce Scholars are placed. If in doubt as to whether your prior experience disqualifies you, please contact me. Nominees must be American citizens not yet 30 years old on July 1, 2013 and who have earned at least a bachelor’s degree or expect to receive one by July 1, 2013. Prospective MIT candidates must apply through the Center for International Studies (CIS).  MIT/CIS is permitted to forward THREE applications this year to the Luce Foundation. Applications must be received by CIS by Monday, October 22nd, 2012. More information is available online at http://web.mit.edu/cis/fo2_5.html.  Many of your questions can be answered on the FAQ page.  The Application Form is also available for download online as a Word document.

October 5, 2012

Fuming Shih and Frances Zhang, CSAIL, are investigating how much smartphone apps know about users

Chances are that if you own a smartphone you have downloaded a host of different applications, from weather tools to maps, social media applications and games. Many consumers are aware that smartphone applications tend to gather personal information about users, oftentimes tracking location and usage activity. New research from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory’s (CSAIL) Decentralized Information Group (DIG) shows that a majority of applications not only collect user information when the application is in operation, but also when the application is inactive or when the user has turned off his or her smartphone screen. Under the guidance of CSAIL Principal Investigator Hal Abelson — the Class of 1922 Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science — CSAIL graduate students Fuming Shih and Frances Zhang are investigating how much certain smartphone applications know about users. They started by exploring Google maps, a common download for smartphone users. Shih and Zhang found that the Google maps application continues to gather location information from users even when the application has been closed. Based on their initial investigation, the researchers were curious to see how many other applications continued to track users when not in operation. Read the rest of the article on MIT news.

October 5, 2012

Presidential Campaigns to Debate Energy at MIT on Oct. 5

The MIT Energy Initiative and the MIT Energy Club are co-sponsoring a televised energy debate with representatives from the two presidential campaigns on Friday, October 5th, 2012 at 7:00pm in Kresge Auditorium.  The speaker for President Barack Obama is Joseph Aldy, Faculty Research Fellow at the NBER and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard.  The speaker for Governor Mitt Romney is Oren Cass, Domestic Policy Director; Romney for President.  The moderator is Jason Pontin, Editor of Technology Review.  Contact the Energy Club (energyclub@mit.edu) for more details; registration is required and can be done online.

October 4, 2012

Archana Venkataraman (CSAIL) is mapping neurological disease

Researchers in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT have developed an algorithm that can analyze information from medical images to identify diseased areas of the brain and their connections with other regions. The MIT researchers will present the work in October at the International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention in Nice, France. The algorithm, developed by Polina Golland, an associate professor of computer science, and graduate student Archana Venkataraman, extracts information from two different types of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The first, called diffusion MRI, looks at how water diffuses along the white-matter fibers in the brain, providing insight into how closely different areas are connected to one another. The second, known as functional MRI, probes how different parts of the brain activate when they perform particular tasks, and so can reveal when two areas are active at the same time and are therefore connected. Read the rest of the article on MIT newsphoto by Marek Kubicki

October 4, 2012

Student Forums on the MIT Community on Oct. 4 and Oct. 10

The Presidential Transition Advisory Cabinet (PTAC) wants to know the opinions of what students think makes MIT’s community great.  These student forums will take place on Thursday, October 4th, 2012 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm in the Student Center (W20-201) as well as on Wednesday, October 10th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm in the Stata Center (32-144).  Students can also share their thoughts online in a 5 minute survey or request a coffee chat with a PTAC member.  For questions, email ptac@mit.edu.

October 3, 2012

Sha Huang (EECS) helps find a protein that impedes microcirculation of malaria-infected red blood cells

When the parasite responsible for malaria infects human red blood cells, it launches a 48-hour remodeling of the host cells. During the first 24 hours of this cycle, a protein called RESA undertakes the first step of renovation: enhancing the stiffness of the cell membranes. That increased rigidity impairs red blood cells’ ability to travel through the blood vessels, especially at fever temperatures, according to a new study from researchers at MIT, the Institut Pasteur and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). The study — coordinated by MIT’s Ming Dao, a principal research scientist in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE); Monica Diez Silva, a research scientist in DMSE; and YongKeun Park, an assistant professor of physics at KAIST — appears Aug. 30 in Scientific Reports, an online journal of Nature. Other MIT authors are Subra Suresh, former dean of the MIT School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering who is currently on leave from MIT serving as the director of the National Science Foundation; Jongyoon Han, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS); Sha Huang, an EECS graduate student; recent PhD recipient Hansen Bow; and the late Michael Feld, professor of physics. Read the rest of the article on MIT newsphoto by M. Scott Brauer

October 3, 2012

“American Masala: Race Mixing, the Spice of Life or Watering Down Cultures” on Oct. 10

The titular topic will be the subject of a discussion focused on the challenges mixed race families and individuals face; race mixing in the age of Obama; identity crises; the merging of cultures; the historical context; societal and family pressures; and what we might expect in the future.  The panel will be held at Harvard University in the Student Organization Center at Hilles (104 Event Hall, Radcliffe Quad, 59 Garden Street, Cambridge) on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.  Panelists include: Read more

October 2, 2012

Alvin Cheung (EECS) is making web applications more efficient

Most major websites these days maintain huge databases: Shopping sites have databases of inventory and customer ratings, travel sites have databases of seat availability on flights, and social-networking sites have databases of photos and comments. Almost any transaction on any of these sites requires multiple database queries, which can slow response time. At the 38th International Conference on Very Large Databases — the premier database conference — researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory presented a new system that automatically streamlines websites’ database access patterns, making the sites up to three times as fast. And where other systems that promise similar speedups require the mastery of special-purpose programming languages, the MIT system, called Pyxis, works with the types of languages already favored by Web developers. Alvin Cheung, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), is first author on the paper. He’s joined by his advisor, EECS professor Sam Madden, and by Owen Arden and Andrew Myers of Cornell University’s Department of Computer Science. Continue reading the article on MIT newsphoto by Christine Daniloff

October 2, 2012

Expanded Meditation for Your Well-being

Expanded Meditation for Your Well-being is offered for free twice a month by Community Wellness at MIT Medical.  Take 30 minutes to unwind and recharge on West Campus in the Stratton Student Center (W20-301/302); the dates are October 3rd, November 7th, December 5th, February 6th, March 6th, April 3rd, and May 1st.  The East Campus location in E25-202 will hold sessions on October 17th, November 19th, January 16th, February 20th, March 20th, April 17th, and May 15th.  All sessions start and end promptly from 12:10pm to 12:40pm and are led by Zan Barry and Lauren Mayhew of Community Wellness at MIT Medical.  All members of the MIT community are welcome.  For more information, visit http://wellness.mit.edu/classes/index or email wellness@med.mit.edu.

October 1, 2012

Tongjai Chookajorn (Materials Science and Eng.) is making stable nanocrystalline metals

MIT researchers have designed and made alloys that form extremely tiny grains — called nanocrystals — that are only a few billionths of a meter across. These alloys retain their nanocrystalline structure even in the face of high heat. Such materials hold great promise for high-strength structural materials, among other potential uses. Graduate student Tongjai Chookajorn, of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE), guided the effort to design and synthesize a new class of tungsten alloys with stable nanocrystalline structures. Her fellow DMSE graduate student, Heather Murdoch, came up with the theoretical method for finding suitable combinations of metals and the proportions of each that would yield stable alloys. Chookajorn then successfully synthesized the material and demonstrated that it does, in fact, have the stability and properties that Murdoch’s theory predicted. They have co-authored the paper with their advisor Christopher Schuh, the Danae and Vasilis Salapatas Professor of Metallurgy and department head of DMSE. Read the rest of the article on MIT newsphoto by Dominick Reuter

October 1, 2012

MIT plans to build new childcare facility

MIT plans to construct a roughly 14,000-square-foot Technology Children’s Center (TCC) that will nearly double the on-campus childcare slots available to Institute faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students. The new facility, at 219 Vassar St., is expected to open in late summer 2013. The center was made possible through the generosity of MIT alumni David H. Koch, who provided a lead gift, and Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson. To read the rest of the article, visit MITnewsphoto by Benjamin F. Reynolds