Monthly Archives: April 2015

April 30, 2015

Zhu, Opel, and Gai stimulate both sides of immune system to combat tumors

The human immune system is poised to spring into action at the first sign of a foreign invader, but it often fails to eliminate tumors that arise from the body’s own cells. Cancer biologists hope to harness that untapped power using an approach known as cancer immunotherapy. Orchestrating a successful immune attack against tumors has proven difficult so far, but a new study from MIT suggests that such therapies could be improved by simultaneously activating both arms of the immune system. Until now, most researchers have focused on one of two strategies: attacking tumors with antibodies, […] the innate immune system, or stimulating T cells, […] the adaptive immune system.

By combining these approaches, the MIT team was able to halt the growth of a very aggressive form of melanoma in mice. “An anti-tumor antibody can improve adoptive T-cell therapy to a surprising extent,” says Dane Wittrup, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor in Chemical Engineering at MIT. “These two different parts of the immune therapy are interdependent and synergistic.”  Wittrup, an associate director of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and also a faculty member in the Department of Biological Engineering, is the senior author of a paper describing the work this week in the journal Cancer Cell. Lead authors are graduate students Eric Zhu and Cary Opel and recent PhD recipient Shuning GaiContinue reading on MIT News.

April 30, 2015

Discussion: Best Practices on Graduate Student Advising May 7

On Thursday, May 7th in room 3-270, The Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE) and the Academic, Research, and Careers Subcommittee (ARC) of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) will host a one-hour discussion starting at 4pm on Best Practices in Graduate Student Advising. This event is intended to discuss a new set of written guidelines that were drafted in collaboration with the Committee on Graduate Programs over the past year. The content of the two resulting documents, “Common Values on the Graduate Student Experience” and “Institute Policy Guiding the Graduate Student Experience” can be found incorporated into the Graduate Policies and Procedures on the ODGE website. Hardcopies of these documents will be available at the panel event and in the ODGE offices.Graduate student advising is critical to the success of our students, our disciplines, and to MIT, so your thoughts and comments on these documents are welcome at odge@mit.edu. The following panelists will be participating in this conversation: Professor Randall Davis (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), Professor Jeffrey Grossman (Department of Materials Science and Engineering), Professor Bengt Holstrom (Department of Economics/Sloan School of Management), Professor David Hardt (Department of Mechanical Engineering), Professor Leslie Kolodziejski (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), and Professor Kay Tye (Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences). They will be asked to describe effective advising, and how they and their respective graduate programs embody specific advising values. The discussion will be facilitated by MIT Ombudsperson Judi Segall.

April 30, 2015

New England Philharmonic: 2 world premieres May 2

The New England Philharmonic will perform its final season program at BU’s Tsai Performance Center May 2nd at 8:00 p.m. The exciting program includes 2 world premieres: Matthew Browne’s How the Solar System was Won (DMA composition candidate, the University of Michigan and this year’s Call for Scores competition winner) and Andy Vores’ Violin Concerto No. 2 – “Drive” (Featuring the NEP concertmaster, Danielle Maddon, as soloist). MIT students, faculty, and staff can receive the admissions tickets at a reduced price of $10 each if they visit this link. Photo by Henry Burrows

 

April 29, 2015

Kulkarni uses probabilistic programming to code less and do more

Most recent advances in artificial intelligence — such as mobile apps that convert speech to text — are the result of machine learning, in which computers are turned loose on huge data sets to look for patterns. To make machine-learning applications easier to build, computer scientists have begun developing so-called probabilistic programming languages, which let researchers mix and match machine-learning techniques that have worked well in other contexts. In 2013, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, an incubator of cutting-edge technology, launched a four-year program to fund probabilistic-programming research.

At the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference  in June, MIT researchers will demonstrate that on some standard computer-vision tasks, short programs — less than 50 lines long — written in a probabilistic programming language are competitive with conventional systems with thousands of lines of code. “This is the first time that we’re introducing probabilistic programming in the vision area,” says Tejas Kulkarni, an MIT graduate student in brain and cognitive sciences and first author on the new paper. Continue reading on MIT News.

April 29, 2015

Claire Tomlin CCE Seminar Apr. 30

The Distinguished Seminar Series in Computational Science and Engineering is excited to announce Claire Tomlin as their guest speaker for Thursday, April 30th! Tomlin will be discussing reachability and learning for hybrid systems. She’s a Charles A. Desoer Chair in the College of Engineering and a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley. The event will take place in 37-212. Lunch will be provided at 11:45 AM, and Tomlin’s seminar will begin at noon. Photo by Adam Greig 

April 29, 2015

Join us at the Collier Memorial dedication Apr. 29

In honor of Sean Collier, an MIT Police Officer who lost his life protecting the community in the week of the Boston Marathon bombings two years ago, MIT has created the Collier Memorial. On Wednesday, April 29th, a ceremony for Collier will be held at noon at the memorial, and afterwards there will be a picnic for the MIT community at North Court. Photo by Lorianne DiSabato

April 28, 2015

Four grad students receive Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Four MIT graduate students and an alumni are among 30 new recipients nationwide of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. The four current or incoming MIT graduate students who have won Soros Fellowships are Stephanie Speirs, whose mother emigrated from Korea, and who will pursue an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management; Yakir Reshef, from Israel, and Andre Shomorony, from Brazil, both of whom are currently enrolled in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) program; and Krzysztof Franaszek, from Poland, who will enroll in HST this spring. In addition, alumnus Allen Lin ’11, MEng ’11, whose parents are Taiwanese immigrants, will use his Soros Fellowship to pursue a PhD in systems biology at Harvard University.

The Soros Fellowships, established in 1997, award $90,000 for immigrants and children of immigrants to complete graduate studies in the United States. Applicants may propose graduate work in any discipline, and are selected for their potential to make significant contributions to American society, culture, or their academic field. Continue reading on MIT News.

April 28, 2015

New EdX course: Making Science and Engineering Pictures starts Jun. 15

Online registration is now open for the new EdX course Making Science and Engineering Pictures, a class intended to help grad students and post-docs raise the level of their research photography. The course starts June 15, 2015 and is taught by MIT research scientist and photographer Felice Frankel. Course information and registration is available online! Go check it out and start improving your photography skills.

April 28, 2015

SLUT: The Play May 1-3

For the conclusion of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, VPR has organized the showing of SLUT the Play, a production that addresses the impact of rape culture, gang mentality, and the over-sexualization of girls and women on individuals and communities. SLUT follows the journey of 16-year-old Joey Del Marco, who is assaulted by three of her friends during a night out in NYC. Through Joey’s story and those of girls in her community, audiences witness the damaging impact of slut culture and the importance of being heard. The play was developed by The Arts Effect in collaboration with high school students over two years of weekly creative sessions. Come get a chance to see it on May 1st and 2nd at 8 pm in Wong Auditorium and on May 3rd at 12 pm in Kresge! Buy your tickets online!

April 27, 2015

Kumar awarded MRS Silver Graduate Student Award

Priyank Kumar, graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was recently awarded the MRS Silver Graduate Student Award for a presentation on Bottom-up design of graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide for electronic and optoelectronic applications at the 2015 MRS Spring Meeting in San Francisco! The MRS Graduate Student Awards are intended to honor and encourage graduate students whose academic achievements and current materials research display a high order of excellence and distinction. MRS seeks to recognize students of exceptional ability who show promise for future substantial achievement in materials research. Emphasis is placed on the quality of the student and his or her research ability. The criteria for selection range from excellence in the conduct of materials research to displaying promise for future substantial achievement in materials research. Photo by Giuseppe Romano, MIT.

April 27, 2015

GWAMIT Empowerment Conference: Speak Out, Speak Up! THIS WEEK

This year’s Spring Empowerment Conference will take place during the week of April 27th, and the theme is Speak Out, Speak Up! Many of the speakers will be people who have had to (in some way) stand up for themselves or something in which they believe.

  • On Monday April 27th the week starts with the Kick-off Luncheon (RSVP) from 12 to 1 pm in Walker Memorial Hall.
  • On Tuesday the Feminism Showcase (RSVP) will take place in Stata from 11 am to 2 pm, followed later by the Comedy Night (RSVP) in the Thirsty Ear Pub from 8 to 10 pm.
  • On Wednesday from 10:30 am to 12 pm in the Mezzanine Lounge, the first event is Deconstructing Gender & Power @ MIT (RSVP), a workshop where participants will work together to define gender, power, and control and how this may impact the dynamics here at MIT. The second, from 6 to 7:30 pm in 32-155, is Trailblazing @ Any Age (RSVP), an event where two local students will be speaking about their experiences as minorities and how they have spoken out via their actions or words.
  • On Thursday come see a screening of the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell (RSVP) from 8 to 10 pm in 26-100.
  • Finally, the week concludes on Friday with Women, Politics, & the World (RSVP), a discussion from 12 to 1pm in 3-270 that will explore why women’s political participation is essential to building and sustaining democracy globally.

Also, for those that are interested, there are still ways you can get involved with the  running and advertising of the conference. If you’d like more information or are interested in helping out, email the conference organizers. Photo by Daniela Vladimirova.

April 27, 2015

Joan Jonas: Selected Films and Videos, 1972-2005

The MIT List Visual Arts Center presents seven seminal film and single-channel video works by pioneering artist and MIT Professor Emerita Joan Jonas, accompanying the List’s presentation of They Come to Us without a Word, Jonas’s new work made for the U.S. Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Selected from Jonas’s four-decade-long, distinguished career in video, performance, and installation art, the works are featured in an intimate exhibition in the List’s Bakalar Gallery at the MIT List Visual Arts Center for public viewing. The exhibition will be available until July 5th, 2015, so be sure to check it out soon! Photo by svennevenn

April 24, 2015

Interviewing While LGBTQ

“I never hid my sexual orientation on my application materials, yet neither did I state it directly. I left it to search committees to infer. Over the years, I have spoken to LGBTQ colleagues who took a variety of approaches on the academic job market. Some chose to be even more direct than I was, mentioning their sexual orientation and their partners in their cover letters and during interviews. Others chose to be discreet — and discrete — presenting a professional self neatly divorced from the personal. They had both a regular CV that listed everything about them, and a “closeted” CV on which all references to anything remotely LGBTQ-oriented (conferences, workshops, courses, publications) were scrubbed from the professional narrative.

Being LGBTQ on the academic market was a far more sensitive issue 10 years ago, yet it remains dicey for candidates in large swaths of the country. To help other LGBTQ people struggling through the interview process, I’d like to offer the following tips.” To check out what tips writer Richard D. Reitsma has to offer to increase your performance in the job market, continue reading at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Photo by nwlynch

April 24, 2015

Interfaith Evening Film Screening & Conversation Apr. 26

On Sunday, April 26th from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, come to a free film screening of Out of Cordoba, directed by Jacob Bender. This compelling documentary about Averroes the Muslim and Maimonides the Jew, the two leading thinkers of Islamic Spain, explores the historical importance of these two “wise men of Cordoba” and their contemporary impact on today’s Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and interfaith relations. The film will begin promptly at 5:40 pm and will last 82 minutes. A conversation with the director, moderated by Beena Sarwar, will be held following the conclusion of the film screening. Both events will take place at Christ Church Cambridge (Zero Garden Street, Cambridge, Ma 02138) in the auditorium located on the upper level. Light fare and refreshments will also be served, so don’t be late! To RSVP, please email Polly Malcolm.

April 23, 2015

cell phone radiation expert

Wang: Chief Science Officer for Pong Research on Cell Phone Radiation

Dr. Rong Wang, former MIT Hugh Hampton Young Fellow, leads the Pong scientific team and has been involved since its inception. Dr. Wang is responsible for the scientific integrity of Pong’s published content and serves as lead technical/scientific writer and media representative on scientific matters. She also participates in product research and development and helps identify and qualify new technologies and applications complementary to Pong. She is the resident expert on the biological and health effects of cell phone radiation and the ongoing studies surrounding this subject. Dr. Wang’s unique and solid training in both engineering and health disciplines from MIT and Harvard empowered her to work with a team of colleagues to develop the early prototypes for Pong’s internationally patented coupling antenna technology. A link to her most influential posts and research can be found in the full article at Pongcase.com

April 23, 2015

Sustainability Summit on Food, Farming, and the Future Apr. 24, 25

The 2015 MIT Sustainability Summit on Farming, Food, and the Future is right around the corner. Buy your early bird ticket today! The summit, taking place in McDermott Court on Friday and Saturday, April 24th and 25th, consists of two intensive days exploring food and farming challenges through the systems-thinking lens of the “Circular Economy.” Learn what it takes to build a flourishing, sustainable world from production to consumption, from farm to table and back again. In addition to a range of engaging panels with industry leaders, this year’s keynote speakers include Fedele Bauccio (CEO, Bon Appetit Management Company and 2014 EY Entrepreneur of the Year), Paul Matteucci (Operating Partner, U.S. Venture Partners), Ray Offenheiser (President, Oxfam America), and Britt Lundgren (Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, Stonyfield Farm). Plus, there will be tasty food from in-kind sponsors such as Boloco, Stonyfield, and Ben and Jerry’s! Original photo by fishhawk.

April 23, 2015

Boston Symphony Chamber Players May 3

On Sunday, May 3rd welcome the Boston Symphony Chamber Players to MIT as they perform a complimentary community concert in Kresge Auditorium at 6 pm. The program will consist of DVORÁK (arr. Ingman) Octet-Serenade in E for winds, strings, and piano, Op. 22, followed by BRAHMS (arr. Boustead) Serenade No. 1 in D for winds and strings, Op. 11. All are invited and the concert is free, but tickets are still required, with a maximum of two tickets per individual. Please register via Eventbrite, providing your MIT email address as the contact. It is important to note that because this is a community concert, a separate pool of tickets will be made available to the public. Registration will be monitored to ensure that those reserving MIT community tickets are affiliated with the Institute. A waitlist will begin when capacity has been reached.

April 22, 2015

Kao and Dementyev create thumbnail track pad for devices

Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory are developing a new wearable device that turns the user’s thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad. They envision that the technology could let users control wireless devices when their hands are full — answering the phone while cooking, for instance. It could also augment other interfaces, allowing someone texting on a cellphone, say, to toggle between symbol sets without interrupting his or her typing. Finally, it could enable subtle communication in circumstances that require it, such as sending a quick text to a child while attending an important meeting. The researchers describe a prototype of the device, called NailO, in a paper they’re presenting next week at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Computer-Human Interaction conference in Seoul, South Korea.

According to Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, an MIT graduate student in media arts and sciences and one of the new paper’s lead authors, the device was inspired by the colorful stickers that some women apply to their nails. “It’s a cosmetic product, popular in Asian countries,” says Kao, who is Taiwanese. “When I came here, I was looking for them, but I couldn’t find them, so I’d have my family mail them to me.”  To build their prototype, the researchers needed to find a way to pack capacitive sensors, a battery, and three separate chips — a microcontroller, a Bluetooth radio chip, and a capacitive-sensing chip — into a space no larger than a thumbnail. “The hardest part was probably the antenna design,” says Artem Dementyev, a graduate student in media arts and sciences and the paper’s other lead author. Continue reading on MIT News.

April 22, 2015

Inaugural Waste Research & Innovation Night Apr. 24

MIT Waste Alliance invites you to the first ever MIT waste poster night on Friday, April 24th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in Memorial Lobby (Lobby 10)! Highlighting research and start-ups around waste, this poster session will be a great opportunity for learning about different avenues being explored in waste research and waste-sector start-ups in the Boston area while connecting with others in the same field. This event is brought to you by MIT Waste Alliance, with funding from GSLG and collaboration with the MIT Sustainability Summit. If you have any questions please contact trashiscash@mit.eduPhoto by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – PNNL.

April 21, 2015

MLK Jr. Inspired Art and Performance Contest deadline Apr. 24)

Are you inspired by civil and human rights leaders such as Dr. King, Nelson Mandela, Ella Baker, Ellie Wiesel, Harvey Milk and Malcolm X? Express yourself! On Thursday, April 30th at 6:30 pm come to Wong Auditorium in building E51 for a great evening with dinner, entertainment, and the opportunity to win cash prizes by entering the Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspired Art and Performance Contest. Win cash prizes of up to $250.00 each! This contest is open to all MIT Undergraduates and Graduate Students and Wellesley students cross registered at MIT this semester. Your entry should be related to or inspired by any of the ideals of Dr. King and/or other civil rights leaders in the past or current human rights activists in the US and the World. These ideals include freedom, justice, peace, equality, civil rights, human rights and/or social justice. To participate, just create your work and submit the contest entry form by April 24th!

April 21, 2015

Before You Sign the Lease: Laws, Landlords, and Living with Roommates Apr. 21

On Tuesday, April 21, the MIT Work-Life Center will be hosting a presentation on renting apartments in the greater Boston area. Presenter Linder Jason (J.D. , M.Ed, and real estate lawyer and educator) will help you explore the important legal and relationship facts you need to know about renting an apartment in the greater Boston Area. Many people do not know their basic rights and responsibilities as tenants when renting an apartment. What do you do when your heat isn’t working? How do you know if someone will make a good roommate? In this seminar, you will learn about all the do’s and don’ts of the renting process, including what to look for in a landlord, a broker, roommates, and the condition of the apartment. You will also learn about moving in, moving out, and budgeting for savings, utilities, and parking, as well as important health and safety codes and laws. The seminar will take place in 76-156 (David H. Koch Institute) from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Remember to register for this event if you’re interested in attending. Photo by Jeremy T. Hetzel 

April 17, 2015

Liu makes sensor to detect rotting meat

MIT chemists have devised an inexpensive, portable sensor that can detect gases emitted by rotting meat, allowing consumers to determine whether the meat in their grocery store or refrigerator is safe to eat. The sensor, which consists of chemically modified carbon nanotubes, could be deployed in “smart packaging” that would offer much more accurate safety information than the expiration date on the package, says Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry at MIT.

It could also cut down on food waste, he adds. “People are constantly throwing things out that probably aren’t bad,” says Swager, who is the senior author of a paper describing the new sensor this week in the journal Angewandte Chemie. The paper’s lead author is graduate student Sophie Liu. Other authors are former lab technician Alexander Petty and postdoc Graham Sazama. Continue reading on MIT News.

April 17, 2015

Call for nominations for ODGE Awards: Deadline May 1

The Office of the Dean for Graduate Education is soliciting nominations for awards including the Ho-Ching and Han-Ching Fund Award, the Robert Guenassia Award, Louis G. Seigle Award, Neekeyfar Fund Award, and the Elie Shaio Memorial Award. Detailed information about these fellowships can be found at the ODGE Awards website. Each graduate department and program may nominate one student per award. Nominations should be coordinated through the graduate administrator and submitted by 5:00 pm on Friday, May 1, 2015 Photo by peddhapati.

April 17, 2015

CityDays: Patriots Day volunteer opportunity Apr. 21

CityDays: Patriots’ Day on Tuesday, April 21st is a one-day volunteer opportunity for all members of the MIT community, including all students, staff and faculty. As part of the annual CityDays campaign, the Public Service Center will secure service placements and provide logistical support for all participants. Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to sign up with friends or as an individual! Registration closes Tuesday, April 14th. Email the CityDays staff with any questions you have.

April 16, 2015

2015 Summer Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program

This summer, the Teaching and Learning Lab will be offering the Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program (KTCP). This workshop series is for students and postdocs interested in developing their teaching skills to support their teaching at MIT, as well as those who are planning careers in academe. To earn a certificate in the summer program, students must participate in 7 classroom workshops and a videotaped teaching presentation. Registration is required and is now open. Space is limited and sections fill very quickly! The Summer Program kicks off on Tuesday, May 26th with the first workshop: Students as Learners, You as Teacher. There will be seven sections offered, with one reserved for students in NON-science/engineering departments. For dates and times visit the Summer Schedule website. For any questions about the program, please contact Leann Dobranski.

April 16, 2015

Edgerton Coffee House: Request for Performers Apr. 19

Edgerton will be hosting a Coffee House on Sunday, April 19th, from 6-7pm in the Edgerton Large Lounge. Sushi and desserts will be served. In addition, if you like to sing, read poetry, dance, play the guitar, play the piano, or play in a small band, consider performing in this event. Email prmindell5@gmail.com by April 5th if interested in performing. Photo by Sameer Vasta

April 15, 2015

Sukhija improving teaching methods with entrepreneurship

Recently named one of Forbes’ “30 under 30” people to watch in education, Vinit Sukhija, MBA ’16, wasn’t always interested in the field. A class he took as an economics major in college first opened his eyes to the true importance of educational equity. “I took a public policy class on wealth and poverty in spring 2009, and it challenged me to grapple with the problem of educational inequity in our country,” Sukhija said.

Sukhija’s interest in the field was cemented when he discovered that a great teacher could significantly increase a student’s lifetime earnings. “[The statistics] for me were mind-blowing and helped me understand how transformative a great teacher could really be,” said Sukhija, citing the work of education economist Eric Hanushek, PhD ’68, who discovered that a talented teacher can raise a student’s lifetime earnings by more than $20,000. Sukhija joined Teach for America after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. Assigned to teach algebra in an underperforming Los Angeles high school, he soon noticed that the best teachers seemed to have something in common.

“The highest performing teachers—the ones winning prestigious teaching awards—had a unique entrepreneurial bent to them,” Sukhija said. “These teachers would analyze the nuanced challenges their students were facing and devise new and creative solutions to address them.” Continue reading on MIT Sloan.

April 15, 2015

Conflict Management Training applications open! Due May 8

Ever find yourself not knowing what to do when stuck facing a conflict? Attend the Conflict Management Training in June! Applications are now open and are due by Friday, May 8th at midnight. All successful and waitlisted applicants will be notified by Tuesday, May 12th at 5pm. Conflict Management@MIT offers a three-tiered conflict management training for all MIT affiliates three times per year, over the fall semester, and for two weeks in IAP and June. The training is tiered at 16-hour, 28-hour, and 40-hour levels. Tier 1 is conflict management for self-reflection, tier 2 is for leadership, and tier 3 is for advanced practice. For more information on what each tier specifically consists of, visit the conflict resolution website. For the upcoming June training, all tiers start on Monday, June 8th and run until either the 11th, 16th, or 19th. For specific dates and times visit the website. Note that all Tiers take the training together in the same cohort!

After completion of each successive tier, participants will receive a Certificate of Participation in recognition of their efforts; those completing the 40-hour training will also receive a Mediation certificate. There is no charge for current students; a fee applies to all faculty, staff, and others affiliated with MIT. Tuition reimbursement is available for MIT employees. MIT community members will be given priority. Non-students and non-MIT members please inquire for training rates.

April 15, 2015

Volunteer for “Ask a Scientist!” Apr. 18

On Saturday, April 18th, Cambridge will be hosting the Cambridge Science Festival carnival at the Cambridge Public Library (near Harvard Square). If you’re passionate about science and like teaching and explaining things, consider volunteering with the “Ask a Scientist” team. The team will answer kids’ questions and chat about interesting topics in the science community. You can volunteer for a shift from 12-2 pm or 2-4 pm. Remember to register if you’re interested in volunteering or email commit-exec@mit.edu for more information. Photo by Martin Cron

April 14, 2015

Keating: Cerebral curiosity

In 2007, Steven Keating had his brain scanned out of sheer curiosity. Keating had joined a research study that included an MRI scan, and he asked that the scan’s raw data be returned to him. The scan revealed only a slight abnormality, near his brain’s smell center, which he was advised to have re-evaluated in a few years. A second scan, in 2010, showed no change, suggesting that the abnormality was most likely benign. While the second scan provided reassurance, Keating’s knowledge of the abnormality — as a result of having access to the raw data from these scans — ultimately led to the detection of a baseball-sized tumor that was removed this past August. Continue reading article on MIT News.

April 14, 2015

Don’t Go It Alone

I spent much of my writing life “going it alone,” and though I still managed to publish articles and books, I now know that my solitary approach made that life harder — and lonelier — than it needed to be. Joining an academic writing group can make all the difference in your scholarly career. Trouble is, most advice on creating and using writing groups is geared toward fiction writers. Academic writers need something different.

Fiction writing groups tend to focus on content and critique, and members often read their writing aloud for others to evaluate. That kind of “workshopping” — in which a bunch of people give off-the-cuff (and sometimes conflicting) feedback about what you’ve written — is not what academics need. Thanks to the peer-review process, faculty manuscripts receive no shortage of feedback. Papers by graduate students are (or should be) critiqued by their advisers and mentors prior to submission. Meanwhile faculty members often seek guidance on their written work from trusted colleagues, mentors, and peers. Continue reading on Chronicle Vitae.

April 14, 2015

MIT Community Dialogue: You Are Not Alone Apr. 15

On Wednesday, April 15th from 6 to 7:30 PM, come to 32-123 in the Stata Center to listen and share with others at MIT in a community dialogue on mental wellness in the context of higher education led by Dr. Aileen Lee from South Shore Mental Health and undergraduate Karen Hao (’15). Hao will share her perspective as a student at MIT, will discuss her recent article in The Tech, and will offer recommendations for how the Institute can better “foster a truly safe and supportive community.” The conversation will focus on many issues, from how being first-generation or a student of color can present challenges to mental wellness to how to support and heal each other as a community. All are encourage to join the discussion and share their perspective.

April 13, 2015

Chiloyan explains heat transfer across tiny gaps with “phonon tunneling”

Conduction and thermal radiation are two ways in which heat is transferred from one object to another: Conduction is the process by which heat flows between objects in physical contact, such as a pot of tea on a hot stove, while thermal radiation describes heat flow across large distances, such as heat emitted by the sun. These two fundamental heat-transfer processes explain how energy moves across microscopic and macroscopic distances. But it’s been difficult for researchers to ascertain how heat flows across intermediate gaps.

Now researchers at MIT, the University of Oklahoma, and Rutgers University have developed a model that explains how heat flows between objects separated by gaps of less than a nanometer. The team has developed a unified framework that calculates heat transport at finite gaps, and has shown that heat flow at sub-nanometer distances occurs not via radiation or conduction, but through “phonon tunneling.” “This is right in the regime where the language of conduction and radiation is blurred,” says Vazrik Chiloyan, an MIT graduate student in mechanical engineering. “We’re trying to come up with a clear picture of what the physics are in this regime. Now we’ve brought information together to demonstrate tunneling is, in fact, what’s going on for the heat-transfer picture.” Continue reading on MIT News.

April 13, 2015

Panel on the Research in Learning More Apr. 14

Advances in cognitive psychology and neuroscience give new insight into how people learn. On Tuesday, April 14th from 2:30 to 4 PM, come to an interesting panel on the frontier of what we know in this field. Titled Research in Learning More: A Marriage of Cognitive Psychology and Digital Learning, this panel will explore applications of cognitive science for residential MIT and global learning. Please note this event will be in the new location of 20 Chimneys (W20). The panel moderators will be Karl SzpunarLaura Schulz, John Gabrieli, and Sanjay Sarma.

April 13, 2015

Sign up for Graduate Battle of the Bands May 2

This spring, the GSC is proud to present the first graduate Battle of the Bands! Take the stage, show your stuff and maybe even win some prizes! The event will be held on the evening of May 2nd in Morss Hall, and it will be spectacular. Signups start now, and you should sign up even if you’re just thinking about it to receive updates about the event! Each band must have at least one MIT graduate student. More information to come soon! Get excited, and see you on the stage! Photo by Sergiu Bacioiu.

April 10, 2015

Zurovcik receives Penn State Mechanical Engineering Alumni Society Award

Danielle Zurovcik received the Penn State Mechanical Engineering Alumni Society (PSMES) 2015 Outstanding Early Career Engineering Award. Zurovcik, is the inaugural recipient of the award, which recognizes a high achieving mechanical engineering alumnus of the school who is within 10 years of his or her terminal degree. Continue reading in PSU News.

April 10, 2015

Apply for Global Fellows Program by Apr. 15

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE) & the Dean for Undergraduate Education (DUE), and Global Education & Career Development (GECD), MIT and Imperial College London are jointly offering an intensive 5-day Global Fellows Program for PhD students from June 8-12. Through presentations, interactive work and hands-on activities, PhD students from Imperial (20) and MIT (20) will develop professional skills required to launch and manage a successful research career. Emphasis will be on creating and sustaining successful international research collaborations. Please note that this program is overnight and five days total in a location off campus in Dover, MA.  Info sessions will be held on February 18 from 3 – 4pm in 66-144 and on March 3 from 3 – 4pm in 24-121 if you would like to learn more about the Global Fellows Program and the application process. In addition, this short video will provides more information about the program. Contact globalphd@mit.edu with any further questions. The application form is due by April 15, 2015.

April 10, 2015

Sloan Health and Fitness Club hosts yoga and boot camp classes

The Sloan Health and Fitness Club will be hosting yoga classes on Sundays at 11:00 am (bring your own mat) and boot camp classes on Fridays at 10:00 am. The classes are free for MIT Sloan Health and Fitness Club members and SWIM members. Non-Club members must pay $5 per class. If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Sloan Health and Fitness Club, they are currently accepting new members. There is a biennial $30 membership fee. For more details on the organization or the fitness classes, email HFofficers@sloan.mit.edu for more information. Photo by lyn tally

April 9, 2015

Morris’ Koko deals with depression through a social network

Koko, an upcoming app based on an MIT experiment, is designed to build the world’s first social network for dealing with depression. If it takes off, it could change the way some of us think about our problems. Robert Morris grew up in the heart of Silicon Valley, just a few streets away from the garage where Steve Jobs got his start. But technology wasn’t his passion. The only operating system he really cared about was the human mind. After getting his undergraduate degree from Princeton in psychology, Morris moved on to MIT for PhD work on how to make mental health accessible to everyone, where his failure to more than dabble in computer science quickly caught up to him.

“Everyone around me was this brilliant coder, and there was this expectation that if I had an idea, I could just whip up a platform instantly to test it, like anyone else,” Morris remembers. He began getting depressed as he bashed his head against beginner’s programming mistakes. “I thought to myself: I’m a horrible programmer. I’ll never survive at MIT.” Continue reading on Fast Company.

April 9, 2015

MIT Clean Earth Hackathon Apr. 17-19

On April 17th through the 19th, Sustainability@MIT will host a hackathon event like no other in the MIT Media Lab Bartos Theatre: the MIT Clean Earth Hackathon. Tackle real-world challenges put forth by our industry and academic partners. Participants from all disciplines, backgrounds and work experiences are encouraged to apply! It’s free to register, and the deadline to do so is April 1st. For more information visit the event website.

April 9, 2015

Socialize at the April Social Science Happy Hour Apr. 10

Socialize with social people at the April Social Science Happy Hour. On Friday, April 10th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in E18-202, join others to discuss the latest and greatest in social science research. Hang out and chat over complimentary food and beverages. Meet other social science researchers in your field or in a field that is completely new to you. All are welcome! Photo by The Open University

April 8, 2015

Clevenson draws on unused potential for new magnetic field sensors

MIT researchers have developed a new, ultrasensitive magnetic-field detector that is 1,000 times more energy-efficient than its predecessors. It could lead to miniaturized, battery-powered devices for medical and materials imaging, contraband detection, and even geological exploration. Synthetic diamonds with nitrogen vacancies (NVs) — defects that are extremely sensitive to magnetic fields — have long held promise as the basis for efficient, portable magnetometers. A diamond chip about one-twentieth the size of a thumbnail could contain trillions of nitrogen vacancies, each capable of performing its own magnetic-field measurement.

The problem has been aggregating all those measurements. Probing a nitrogen vacancy requires zapping it with laser light, which it absorbs and re-emits. The intensity of the emitted light carries information about the vacancy’s magnetic state. The MIT researchers report their new device in the latest issue of Nature Physics. First author on the paper is Hannah Clevenson, a graduate student in electrical engineering who is advised by senior authors Englund and Danielle Braje, a physicist at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Continue reading on MIT News.

April 8, 2015

Dr. Cato Laurencin on Regenerative Engineering Apr. 9

The Institute of Medical Engineering and Science’s next Distinguished Speaker, Dr.Cato Laurencin of University of Connecticut will be giving his lecture “Regenerative Engineering: The Theory and Practice of a Next Generation Field” on Thursday, April 9th at 4:30 PM in E25-111.   Dr. Laurencin is an MIT alumnus and was named a Huge Hampton Young Fellow during his time in the institute. More recently, he was named one of the 100 Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. A welcome reception will be held prior to the lecture at 4:00 pm in the nearby room of E25-119.

April 8, 2015

Partners In Health Engage: 2nd Annual Strides In Solidarity Apr. 11

Partners In Health and MIT GlobeMed have organized a walk-a-thon in solidarity with community health works to take place on Saturday, April 11th, from 10am to 2pm at the Johnson Athletic Track. Complimentary food and drinks will be provided, as well as chances to win prizes, including Partners in Health swag. A ticket will also include a free Partners in Health bracelet, and the first 100 registrees will even receive a free event shirt! Please remember to register if you’re interested. Photo by Kim Becker 

April 7, 2015

How 5 Grads Got Their Groove Back: A Panel on Student Stress

On Wednesday, April 8 from 5:30 – 7pm in 34-101, come hear How 5 Grads Got Their Groove Back!  As part of National Graduate Student Appreciation Week, current grad students share some successful techniques they’ve used to cope, and invite audience questions and discussion. Panelists include:

  • Leilani Battle from Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Anna Rose from the Institute-wide REFS program
  • Rachael Harding from the Departmental REFS program
  • Krishor Nayar from the Art of Living @ MIT group
  • Jacqueline Kory from the Addir Interfaith Program

The panel will be moderated by Zan Barry, Senior Program Manager at MIT Community Wellness and followed by pizza.

April 7, 2015

YesPlus: Stress Mgmt. & Leadership Workshop Apr. 10-14

Attend YesPlus, a stress management and happiness workshop April 10-14, 6pm – 10pm on weekdays and 10am-4:30pm on weekends. Learn techniques to overcome academic, personal, and professional stress and get closer to achieving one’s full potential. De-stress and learn powerful breathing techniques like the Sudarshan Kriya, pranayama, yoga, meditation and practical wisdom through fun games. Trained faculty from the international non-profit Art of Living Foundation, an organization that operates in 152 countries, will be instructing. The tuition fee might potentially be $80 depending on an MIT grant approval, but the usual tuition fee is $250. Register for the workshop if interested! Photo by Lyn Tally

April 7, 2015

Community Wellness classes at MIT Medical

Community Wellness currently has open spaces in various classes and sessions offered at MIT Medical in CPR, health coaching, meditation, pilates, tai chi, weight management, and yoga. Classes are offered in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and taught by knowledgable instructors. Classes are kept small and suitable for all levels of experience! Visit the MIT Community Wellness page to learn more about the different available programs and how you can get started. Photo by Jean Henrique Wichinoski

April 6, 2015

Chen’s Bluesmart suitcase is taking off

One area of frustration while traveling is the wonderful box we cram our clothes and other needed accessories into – the suitcase. I’m confident in saying that all of us have had a rough experience at one time or another with a suitcase or the process of bringing a carry-on bag into the plane just to shove it into a small overhead compartment. Even worse is the possibility of having our luggage lost altogether.

To help solve this, and many other problems associated with the suitcase aspect of travel, a team of young entrepreneurs created Bluesmart – the world’s first smart-connected suitcase. Their first product is a carry-on bag that allows a traveler to charge their phone up to 6 times, check the weight of their luggage using a built in scale, lock the suitcase remotely via a mobile device, and even track where the bag is at any time. While creating the Bluesmart suitcase, the founding team researched FAA, TSA, and other agency policies and guidelines to make sure that every part of their device would be accepted. “We’ve flown with prototypes of the Bluesmart to many countries and we’ve never experienced any problems,” said co-founder Brian Chen. After a year of hard work on the design and research, the startup launched a crowdfunding campaign that put them on the map and provided them with an initial base of funding and customers. Continue reading on Under30CEO.

April 6, 2015

MassCPR – CPR Training Free For Grad Students Apr. 9

Receive American Heart Association CPR AED training and certification on Thursday, April 9th, from 6:00 – 10:00pm in La Sala (W20-202).The training is free for MIT students, and there will be free food and raffle prizes offered throughout the night. Sign up if you’re interested or email masscpr15@mit.edu to learn more information about the event. Photo by usagrc

April 6, 2015

Meditation Sessions for MIT Community Building

The MIT community is invited to mediation sessions hosted by the MIT Art of Living organization. Meditation sessions will be held weekly on Mondays at 5:45pm in 56-180 and Thursdays at 6pm in 56-162. Come and build connections and community through destressing and mediation. You’ll also learn some simple yogic breathing techniques for stress-management. RSVP here for the Community Building sessions if you’re interested in participating in the mediation sessions or contact artofliving-officers@mit.edu to find out more information about the organization. Photo by Ian Burt