Monthly Archives: February 2016

February 29, 2016

Seminar with Prof. Kristala Jones Prather, Mar. 1

Join us on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 12:00-1:00pm in E25-202 for A [POWER] Seminar with Prof. Kristala L. Jones Prather!

POWER’s professional career development seminars focus on the speaker’s personal experiences, insights into their current work, as well as work-life integration issues. Prof. Prather will discuss what has contributed to her success, the challenges she has overcome, and advice for current postdocs. She will also talk about maintaining a balanced life, in light of the rigors of an industrial and academic career. We hope that the interactions will assist women postdocs in navigating their careers and will also help them build the professional connections. RSVP today and read for information!

This event is organized by the Postdoctoral Organization for Women Engaged in Research (POWER), sponsored by Committee on Race and Diversity- a diversity & inclusion event. Refreshments will be provided. Read more

February 29, 2016

Be an iDiplomat! Apply by Mar.1

As an Innovation Diplomat, during the course of your MIT internship abroad you will examine the policies and institutions that help or hinder innovation. Prior to departure, participating students attend training sessions to introduce core Innovation Diplomacy concepts and research the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems of their regions. While abroad, students interview key stakeholders to better understand the local ecosystem. iDiplomats receive a $500 stipend to offset the costs of local travel. After the internship, students write up their findings to receive 9 units of academic credit.

The iDiplomats Program is open to all MIT students (undergraduate and graduate) who are participating in internship or work abroad through an MIT program and who will be returning to MIT the following fall semester. If you are currently planning to go abroad, but have not yet finalized the details, you may still apply for this program. Your acceptance to the iDiplomats Program would be contingent upon your placement in a primary MIT abroad program. Apply by March 1 for Summer 2016! Questions? Email idiplomats@mit.edu .

February 29, 2016

Grad Gala ticket sales open today

Enjoy an evening out in Boston with friends and good company! This year’s Grad Gala will be at Sheraton Boston on April 16! Dress up and mingle with the MIT graduate community! Treat yourself to a seated dinner, live music, and a night of dancing! The theme for this year is Starry Night (Van Gogh)! Have fun at the photobooth or chat with friends as you sip on delicious drinks! Early bird tickets: $45. Regular tickets: $50. Limit 2 per person. Must be MIT graduate student to buy tickets. Tickets go on sale on February 29th, 2016 at noon. Must be 21+ to attend event. Event is sponsored by Graduate Student Council, MIT Federal Credit Union, and Grad Rat. Contact: gsc-gradgala@mit.edu

February 26, 2016

Nushelle de Silva named Queen’s Young Leader

Nushelle de Silva, first-year PhD student at MIT in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art was named a Queen’s Young Leader for Sri Lanka. The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognizes and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their Award from Her Majesty The Queen. With this support, Award winners will be expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities. If you are from a Commonwealth nation and have been contributing to the progress of that nation in any capacity, consider applying for the award.

February 26, 2016

Assistive Technologies Hackathon, Feb. 27

Come hack for a good cause at this multidisciplinary hackathon. Student teams will be paired with members of the Cambridge and Boston communities who live with disabilities. Students will be given access to machine shop, tools, and materials to successfully brainstorm, design, and prototype solutions to client problems. February 27, 8 am – 10 pm at Beaverworks.

February 26, 2016

Headspace meditation trial and raffle‏, sign up by Feb. 29

Interested in brief meditation? Meditation has been associated with stress reduction, better focus, and better relationships. We are taking a survey of MIT student experiences with the Headspace meditation app:

  • Meditate 10 minutes a day for 10 days using the Headspace app or Headspace.com.
  • Once in Headspace, click: “Sign up for free” 10-day trial
  • After you complete 10 days of meditation, complete a 6-question survey.
  • That’s it! Just begin your Headspace trial by February 29, 2016.

You’ll be eligible to win a $250 TechCash card or one of two $50 TechCash cards

To participate, email your name and MIT year to Zan Barry at bars@med.mit.edu. We will send you a link to the survey and results will be shared with participants. Photo by Charis Tsevis

February 25, 2016

Healthcare & BioInnovations Conference, Feb. 26

You’re invited to attend the Sloan Healthcare and BioInnovations Conference at the MIT Media Lab, February 26th, 8am-6pm. This year’s conference theme is Strategic Analytics: Changing the Future of Healthcare. With the latest trends in collecting and studying enormous amounts of healthcare data, analytics is growing immensely in the industry. Keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Gentleman of 23andMe, will share how genetic & trait data in the 23andMe database can be used to identify new therapies. Visit our website to learn more and get tickets. Are you working on a research project or start-up? Apply to the poster session! Free tickets for presenters & prizes for top 3. Contact: sandhyab@mit.edu

February 25, 2016

MIT Graduate School Leadership Institute, Feb. 26

Modeled after a successful program at Harvard, the MIT Graduate School Leadership Institute aspires to be a first-of-its-kind, peer-led collaboration across all MIT graduate schools to further develop the leadership skills, experience, and network of outstanding MIT graduate students who have already exhibited strong leadership capacity. Out of the hectic pace of studying at MIT, the program carves out dedicated time and space for purposeful, authentic reflection and connection. Given the universal need for leadership across disciplines, this cross-MIT program aims to establish long-term bonds and a leadership tool kit amongst a diverse set of graduate students with the goal of building robust leadership development and positive impact in the world.

After an initial pilot program in the spring of 2016, we hope to continue to expand this to as many students as possible! This spring pilot anticipates consisting of six Tuesday evening sessions at MIT on March 1, 8, 29, and April 5, 12, 26. Sessions will begin with a soft start over dinner provided to participants from 7:30-8:00pm, with then focused programming 8:00-10:00pm. For more information/application please email jentutak@gmail.com. Please note that limited space is available for the pilot and the group will be finalized by February 29. Special thanks to the MIT Leadership Center, ODGE, SAO, GSC, and other agencies which have help inform and support this pilot launch.

February 25, 2016

Thank-a-donor Project Pub Night, Feb. 26th

The Annual Fund is thrilled to announce the return of the thank-a-donor project! This project aims to gather as many heart-felt video expressions of gratitude from students so that we can share these videos with our donors. Come film a short expression of gratitude in the Hulsizer room in Ashdown on Friday, Feburary 26th, 6:30pm-9:30pm and receive a free cupcake! Bonus: after you film your expression of gratitude come join us across the hall in The Thirsty Ear Pub for free drinks and Wings over Somerville. Contact: Sarah Levesque ( sarahlev@mit.edu ).

February 24, 2016

Alumnus Chan Chun Sing on Lee Kuan Yew’s meritocracy nation

Channel News Asia (CNA) reported that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Chan Chun Sing, told the St Gallen Symposium Singapore Forum that instead of blindly chasing conventional definitions of success, society must have diverse groups of people and talents. Singapore must not become a ‘yardstick society’, Mr Chan said. “Don’t become a yardstick society in which we aimlessly, blindly chase goals regardless of what we’re good at. That’s the saddest thing we can do for ourselves,” he told the audience. “The whole society will then lose resilience because it has become monolithic.” Continue reading article. Photo from The Online Citizen.

February 24, 2016

Immigration Strategies for Entrepreneurship, Feb. 25

The Immigration Strategies for  Exploring Entrepreneurship workshop will take place February 25, 12 noon – 1:30 p.m. in 35-225, and is aimed at helping MIT postdocs and PhD students to understand the options available to them for working in the U.S. after leaving MIT. Topics covered include key immigration issues and the importance of developing appropriate strategies well in advance. Attendees must register here. The workshop will be held by MIT Venture Mentoring Service. Contact vms@mit.edu with questions or concerns. Photo by John Collins

February 24, 2016

Graduate Student Resource Fair, Feb. 25th

Join us on Thursday, February 25th, 2016 at 12:00-2:00 pm in the Stata Student Center for the Graduate Student Resource Fair! We’ve pooled teams from all major resource offices across campus and they are ready to provide information and support in anyway they can. Groups include the GECD, Conflict Management @ MIT, ISO, MHH, ODGE, LGBT @ MIT, Legatum Center, Lemelson Project, PKG PSC, Martin Trust Center, Title IX Office (TIX), Work Life Center, MIT Alumni Association, Dining, Housing, MIT Museum, MIT Recreation, DAPER, OSC, Ombuds Office, REFS, SAO, Spouses and Partners Connect, SOS, VPR, WCC, SDS. There will be free swag and raffle prizes!

 

February 24, 2016

Announcing spring Work-Life seminar series‏

We are pleased to announce the launch of the MIT Work-Life Center’s Spring 2016 Seminar Series.  Our presenters, who are experts in their fields, will share research-based strategies, tips, and information on more than 25 topics, including changing how you respond to stress; supporting your child’s emotional and intellectual development; understanding the U.S. college admissions process; navigating life as a young professional; and learning how to help an aging family member. Of interest are the workshops for young professionals and on work-life balance. All seminars are free of charge and open to the entire MIT community and their families; however, registration is required.

February 23, 2016

From Airbnb to Uber: An MIT Sloan Tour of Bay Area Tech

“I’ve always been curious about the West Coast, especially San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Growing up in India and then working in the oil & gas industry in Latin America and Texas, I didn’t have much opportunity (or reason) to visit the Bay Area.

“Now that I’m an MBA student at MIT Sloan, I want to explore the tech sector as a possible career path. So when I heard about the annual “Tech Trek” to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, I jumped at the chance. Not only could I finally check out the West Coast, I also could check out tech companies – including several that don’t recruit on the MIT campus – and see if they might be a good fit for me.” Continue reading Nilanjana Bhattacharyya‘s post on XconomyPhoto from Xconomy.

February 23, 2016

Taste of India, Feb. 23rd

Curious about Indian cuisine and culture? Come to Taste of India on Tuesday, Feb 23, 5:30 pm-6:30 pm in Morss Hall to try some delicious Indian dishes, and enjoy live performances! Featuring a performance from the MIT Ohms! See and hear this fantastic acapella group firsthand! Event is co-hosted by Sangam and GSC. Make sure you check it out! Help us out! Volunteers can eat before the crowd does. Sign up as a volunteer! Contact: gsc-ac@mit.eduPhoto by jj-walsh

February 22, 2016

Lecture and interactive panel discussion, Profs. Boyden and Jasanoff, Feb. 23

The MIT Sidney Pacific Presidential Fellows Distinguished Lecture Series cordially invites you to a lecture and interactive panel discussion on “Reverse Engineering, and Repairing, the Brain and Mind” by Prof. Ed Boyden and Prof. Alan Jasanoff on Tuesday, 23 Feb 2016, 6:30pm in the  Multipurpose Room, MIT Sidney Pacific. Prof. Jasanoff and Prof. Boyden direct MIT’s Center for Neurobiological Engineering. Post your questions and comments for the event to social media with the hashtag #neuroMITSP. Top questions will win dinner invitation. Get more info and register now (event almost at full capacity). Limited dinner spots available.

February 22, 2016

Chinese Lantern Festival, Feb. 22

Come and let us celebrate the Chinese Lantern Festival together on Feb 22, 6:00pm–9:30pm! Enjoy free Chinese refreshment with MIT students and scholars. This event is sponsored by GSC funding board. Contact: cast-board@mit.edu

February 19, 2016

International Mother Language Day, Feb. 19th

Join us on Friday, February 19th, 5:45 PM – 8:00 PM in W20-491, Stratton Student Center, to observe International Mother Language Day 2016, to honor the language martyrs and promote multilingualism. There will be cultural performances, fun activities for audiences and authentic Bangladeshi dinner. RSVP required. Contact: bd-exec@mit.edu

February 19, 2016

CityDays: One-day volunteer opportunity, Feb. 20

February 20 is a one-day volunteer opportunity for all members of the MIT community who would like to give back and learn about the community. Whether you’re a student, staff, or faculty member, you can sign up with your friends or as an individual volunteer. We will secure service placements and provide logistical support for all participants. To volunteer, sign up by Saturday, February 10. Email citydays-staff@mit.edu with any questions. Photo from The Opportunity Agenda

February 18, 2016

Africa Innovate Conference Startup Application due Feb. 20

Do you have an innovative company focused on shaping the future of Africa? The Africa Business Club invites you to apply to present at the 2016 Africa Innovate Conference Startup Showcase. The April 9th Showcase provides entrepreneurs with an audience of investors, innovators, and thought leaders focused on the next big thing in Africa. Apply now! The deadline is February 20th. For more information contact africanbcofficers@sloan.mit.edu.

February 18, 2016

Dessert Break at Eastgate, Feb. 19th

Join us on Friday February 19th, 2016 at 3:30 pm in the Eastgate Penthouse (E55-PH) to take a sweet break with a slice of cake. We will be serving various cakes from Wholefoods plus coffee. Contact: eastgate-spirc@mit.edu. Photo by Brian PDX.

 

February 18, 2016

Kitchen Chemistry Symposium, Feb. 19

The Kitchen Chemistry Symposium will feature Ayr Muir, CEO and Founder of Clover Food Lab. There will be a science lecture at the start, followed by a demo and lecture by Muir himself. A Q&A period is scheduled at the end of the presentation, followed by a reception outside of the lecture hall. This symposium will be held on Friday, February 19 in 6-120 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Contact mk12@mit.edu for details. Photo by Tony Webster

February 17, 2016

Apply for LEAP Grants by Feb. 29

Learn. Explore. Act. Prepare. LEAP grants support your public service through funding that can help you carry out a service project such as a volunteer day or philanthropy event in the U.S. These grants can also help you learn about service and social responsibility or build your skills to tackle a community challenge. Email hynd@mit.edu with questions. Visit the MIT Public Service Center website for more information and to apply! Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Dumstra, New York Army National Guard

February 17, 2016

Art Exhibition Opening Reception, Feb. 18th

Join us on February 18th at 6pm in List Visual Arts Center (E15) for a swanky opening reception to celebrate the new show by artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. View artworks that explore Internet scams and spam in the List’s galleries. Reception is free, with free food and drinks. Visit the website to learn more. Contact listinfo@mit.edu for more information.

February 16, 2016

McPherson: Emotional expression affects the brain’s creativity network

The workings of neural circuits associated with creativity are significantly altered when artists are actively attempting to express emotions, according to a new brain-scanning study of jazz pianists. Over the past decade, a collection of neuroimaging studies has begun to identify components of a neural circuit that operates across various domains of creativity. But the new research suggests that creativity cannot be fully explained in terms of the activation or deactivation of a fixed network of brain regions. Rather, the researchers said, when creative acts engage brain areas involved in emotional expression, activity in these regions strongly influences which parts of the brain’s creativity network are activated, and to what extent. The new study was led by first author Malinda McPherson, a classical violist and first-year graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology. Read more at EurekaAlert.

February 16, 2016

Sixth Annual Transportation Showcase, Feb. 17

Come to the Transportation Showcase on Wednesday, February 17, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the MIT Museum. The agenda includes:

  • 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. – Keynote Speech by Nicole Freeman, chief of Active Transportation for Seattle, former Director of Bicycle Programs for Boston.
  • 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. – Transportation Career Fair: Network with public agencies, private companies, and consulting firms from across the U.S.
  • 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. – Research Poster Session: Share your research with students and faculty to get feedback and find potential collaborators.

For more information, contact transportation.showcase@mit.eduPhoto by Brian Talbot

February 12, 2016

Social

TED Talk Social with iREFS on “Being Wrong”, Feb. 16th

What does “being wrong” mean for us in life, grad school and careers? How do we step outside the feeling of always needing to be right? Join the iREFs on Tuesday, February 16th, 5-6 pm in 32-144, for a fun and relaxing social where we reflect on these important questions, and others! Food will be provided. Contact: aabraham@mit.eduPhoto by JD Hancock

 

 

February 12, 2016

Battle of the Bands, Feb. 26

The Battle of the Bands will rage on February 26 (Friday), 7 pm in Lobdell Dining Hall (W20, 2nd floor). There will be free food and a cash bar (21+, must bring government ID). The winning band will be offered a performance opportunity (with compensation) at the annual Acoustic BBQ in May! Interested bands should sign up here. Note that bands must have at least one MIT graduate student member. All musical styles and genres welcome! For questions or concerns contact gsc-ac@mit.eduPhoto by Jane Baker

February 11, 2016

Enter the Crossing the Charles Competition by Feb. 15

The year 2016 marks one century of MIT’s campus in Cambridge. This spring, we will commemorate the Institute’s historic move across the Charles River with academic and celebratory programming as we Celebrate a Century in Cambridge. As we honor this milestone and explore the possibilities and implications of the century ahead, it’s time to engage in some spirited competition. We invite and challenge you to participate—in true MIT style!—in an innovative procession over land and water to celebrate the Institute’s historic relocation in 1916.

Kicking off the Moving Day celebrations on May 7, 2016, the Crossing the Charles Competition revives the spirit of the 1916 ceremonial flotilla in which the Bucentaur barge transported the Institute charter across the river to MIT’s new home in Cambridge. All MIT faculty, students, staff, and alumni are invited to form or join teams to create entries that demonstrate movement: physically, artistically, and creatively! Complete competition details may be found on the Moving Day page of the Celebrating a Century in Cambridge website. The deadline to register your team is Monday, February 15. Those who wish to participate in the crossing but prefer not to compete are encouraged to join the parade over the bridge. We are one MIT – and we hope our community will join the festivities! We look forward to Crossing the Charles with you on May 7.

February 10, 2016

Lu: Switchable material could enable new memory chips

Two MIT researchers have developed a thin-film material whose phase and electrical properties can be switched between metallic and semiconducting simply by applying a small voltage. The material then stays in its new configuration until switched back by another voltage. The discovery could pave the way for a new kind of “nonvolatile” computer memory chip that retains information when the power is switched off, and for energy conversion and catalytic applications.

The findings, reported in the journal Nano Letters in a paper by MIT materials science graduate student Qiyang Lu and associate professor Bilge Yildiz, involve a thin-film material called a strontium cobaltite, or SrCoOx. Usually, Yildiz says, the structural phase of a material is controlled by its composition, temperature, and pressure. “Here for the first time,” she says, “we demonstrate that electrical bias can induce a phase transition in the material. And in fact we achieved this by changing the oxygen content in SrCoOx.” Read more

February 10, 2016

Christine Ortiz to step down as Dean

“Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart announced today that Christine Ortiz will step down as MIT’s dean for graduate education at the end of this academic year, concluding six years of distinguished service. In an email to the MIT community, Barnhart thanked Ortiz for leading the Office of Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE), which includes the International Students Office (ISO) and Graduate Student Council (GSC) staff. Barnhart noted that Ortiz, who is the Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, plans to take a one-year leave from the Institute.” Continue reading on MIT News. Read more about Dean Ortiz’ plans on the Chronicle of Higher EducationPhoto by Justin Knight

February 9, 2016

Feast: Watch your tone

Customer service calls can be frustrating for consumers and agents alike. But MIT spinout Cogito believes it can use behavioral analytics to make those experiences less onerous. Cogito has developed voice-analytics software for call centers — refined through years of research that focused on human behavior — that tracks, in real-time, voice patterns of customers and agents, and offers feedback to make the conversations more productive. By doing so, Cogito also aims to make millions of call center workers happier and more productive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 5 million of 146 million workers in the U.S. are employed in call centers. That’s roughly one out of every 25 Americans.

Cogito recently secured funding in November to develop technology for customer-service applications. The company also continues its history of using the technology to monitor mental health. In December, Cogito partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to detect signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in returning soldiers. For this and other mental-health applications, the company created a mobile app to passively monitor smartphone sensors to detect behavioral information from voice recordings and texting, while prompting participants to fill out surveys about their mental health. Analyzing this data can reveal behavioral patterns, such as withdrawal or lethargy, that assessed indicated a user’s mental health. If symptoms are detected, “we will develop feedback mechanisms so that organizations, that care for [these] populations, and individuals and care teams that care for [these] populations can get ahead of risks,” says co-founder and CEO Joshua Feast, MBA ’07. Read more

February 9, 2016

MIT Clean Energy Prize, applications due Feb. 12

The MIT Clean Energy Prize is a student-led, nation-wide competition, designed to be a catalyst for energy entrepreneurship and innovation. The competition will award over $400,000 in cash prizes this year. Don’t miss out. Deadline for applications is February 12th. Teams can submit an application in 1 of 3 categories: (1) Renewable Energy, (2) Energy Efficiency, and (3) Infrastructure & Resources. A team that has an energy innovation focused on a developing country should apply for one of the three categories above, and additionally include their interest in being considered for the Development Prize.

February 9, 2016

New website Discussion encourages talk about the Institute

MIT | Discussion is a new website, based on Reddit, for “talking about the Institute”. It is an MIT-only forum where undergrads, grads, admin, and staff can talk about campus issues. Popular threads will be referred to relevant officers, faculty, and admin and encourage them to join, to make discussions more community-wide and impactful. Topics include campus life, academics, and mental health. TAs can get more candid feedback on classes and instruction. Sign up for weekly or daily digests now!

February 8, 2016

Cho: Your car’s secret weapon against winter?

Most of the advantages of electric cars are about efficiency. But in the winter, it’s the very inefficiency of your petrol-powered engine block that keeps your keister from freezing, since waste heat from the combustion process is what makes it through your heating system. On a January morning, your electric vehicle has to divert battery-stored energy through heating elements to keep you warm, and that’s power that isn’t driving the wheels. By some estimates, keeping your EV toasty warm can cut its range by 30 percent.

But some scientists are figuring solution to this problem. A trio at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which includes graduate student Eugene Cho, has developed a thin, transparent film that can store solar energy when the sun is shining, and release it as heat on command. That means that you can use this afternoon’s sunshine to defrost tomorrow morning’s windscreen. Read more

February 8, 2016

ReachOut: Teach Children, apply by Feb. 11

Help Cambridge children foster a love of reading and mathematics through a semester-long tutoring program. You can participate as a volunteer or, if eligible, receive a paid position through Community Service Work-Study. The deadline to apply is Thursday, February 11, 5 pm. There is an info session on Monday, February 8 at 7 pm in Room 5-231. Email reachout-staff@mit.edu with questions.

 

February 8, 2016

MLK Celebration Luncheon, Feb. 10

The MIT community is invited to the 2016 Martin Luther King Celebration Luncheon on Wednesday, February 10 from 11 am – 1 pm, at Walker Memorial (MIT Bldg. 50).
Seating is limited for the Program & Luncheon. Please register for the Program and Luncheon.

This year we have planned a silent march preceding the luncheon program to begin at 10:00 am in Lobby 7. There is no registration needed to attend the march.

The MIT community gathers every February at a celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Speakers have included leaders who are prominent both nationally and in the local Boston/Cambridge community, in accordance with Dr. King’s dual emphasis on global and local issues. The 2016 speaker will be Dr. Freeman Hrabowski.

February 5, 2016

Rosenzweig: Insights on citizen participation in authoritarian countries

Nigeria is one of just three countries where polio remains endemic, in part because many families there don’t comply with government vaccination programs. In a quest to find out why, Leah Rosenzweig, an MIT Political Science doctoral candidate, undertook a research project, expecting to find that distrust of government was the root cause. But Rosenzweig was surprised to discover a very different explanation. “Using qualitative and quantitative data, my coauthors and I found that distrust of government was not a significant variable,” she explains. “Most people actually know that the polio vaccination is good for them. But when the state and international organizations arrive at citizens’ doorsteps to vaccinate kids, citizens realize it’s a rare opportunity for them to bargain with the state. In this way they can make their voices heard about basic health care, malaria drugs, and other public services that they really need. We think this bargaining motive explains a lot of the non-compliance.”

In other words, declining a vaccination turned out to be a form of political participation — a way for communities to convey their opinions and desires to their leaders. “The question of participation is very interesting,” says Rosenzweig. “We often think of political participation very narrowly — voting, campaigning, basically electoral behavior. But in some contexts, particularly in the developing world, participation is often practiced outside of electoral cycles and systems, especially in authoritarian and transitional countries.” Read more

February 5, 2016

IDEAS Global Challenge deadline, Feb. 18th

Working on an innovative project that makes a positive change in the world? Enter it into the IDEAS Global Challenge for a chance to win up to $15k per team to make your idea a reality. Submit today and apply for a Development Grant. All teams must submit at least one Scope Statement by February 18th to be considered for the final round of proposals. Teams who are eligible will be invited to submit a Final Proposal on March 18. Teams must be led by a full-time MIT student and must demonstrate that MIT students have made a significant contribution to the innovation.

February 5, 2016

Images of Discovery at MIT Museum

Images of Discovery is an Ongoing exhibition at the MIT Museum. Visitors have the opportunity to make images using reproductions of custom designed equipment created by three distinguished image-makers while working at MIT. Learn more about Harold “Doc” Edgerton, Berenice Abbott and Felice Frankel in this unique exhibition. Images of Discovery presents an exciting opportunity for visitors to experience photography as a tool for communicating about—and inspiring a passion for—science and technology. Photograph- Ferrofluid by Felice Frankel

February 4, 2016

Dalca: A million photos of the Boston skyline

Five years ago, MIT graduate student Adrian Dalca had an apartment with a nice view, a camera, and an idea: What if I took some photos of the skyline? So he did. Many, many times. Dalca has accrued more than one million photos of the Boston skyline and the Charles River, all taken from his 22nd floor apartment in Cambridge with GoPros and SLR cameras, sometimes by hand, sometimes after he set the cameras up to take photos continually throughout the day. He has dubbed the photo series The Boston Timescapes Project.

What’s a guy to do with a million photos of the same view? To start, Dalca put together time-lapse videos that animate both short-term happenings (like a cool thunderstorm) and longer ones (like the breakdown of the ice on the Charles last spring.) Dalca’s cameras have also snapped still shots of big events, such as fireworks on the river, the smoke cloud from a forest fire in Blue Hills, and a double rainbow. “If there’s an event that you can point to, it’s likely I have a shot of it,” Dalca said. Read more

February 4, 2016

European Career Fair, Feb. 6

The 20th European Career Fair (ECF) is once again here and will be on Saturday, February 6th, 2016 in MIT Johnson Athletic Center. Organized by the MIT European Club, the ECF provides opportunities for students at all levels to connect with European employers in the Research, Finance and Technology sector. No matter what you are looking for – from a summer internships to leading management positions – at the ECF you can find it all. Submit your résumé to have it viewed by employers and please email support_ecf2016@mit.edu if you have any questions.

February 4, 2016

Submit to the MIT Sustainability Idea Bank by Feb. 15

Help make MIT a global leader in Sustainability! How can MIT leverage the campus to demonstrate innovative solutions on building design, energy systems, and transportation? Submit your ideas by February 15, 2016 to help build a stronger, more sustainable MIT.

February 3, 2016

Simaiakis: Cutting down runway queues

Most frequent fliers are familiar with long lines at airports: at the check-in counter, the departure gate, and in boarding a booked flight. But even after passengers are buckled in, the waiting may continue — when a plane leaves the gate, only to sit on the tarmac, joining a long queue of flights awaiting takeoff. Such runway congestion can keep a plane idling for an hour or more, burning unnecessary fuel. Now engineers at MIT have developed a queuing model that predicts how long a plane will wait before takeoff, given weather conditions, runway traffic, and incoming and outgoing flight schedules. The model may help air traffic controllers direct departures more efficiently, minimizing runway congestion.

Hamsa Balakrishnan, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems and an affiliate of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at MIT, says that in tests at various U.S. airports, the model encouraged controllers to hold flights back during certain times of day, leading to significant fuel savings. “In our field tests, we showed that there were some periods of time when you could decrease your taxi time by 20 percent by holding aircraft back,” Balakrishnan says. “Each gate-held aircraft saves 16 to 20 gallons of fuel, because it’s not idling. And that adds up.” Balakrishnan and former graduate student Ioannis Simaiakis have published their results in the journal Transportation Science. The team is working on airports across the country to further test the model. Read more

February 3, 2016

PIM Model Foundation 2016 applications now open

Philanthropy in Motion (PIM), an organization that educates young people on social impact and philanthropy, is hosting Model Foundation, a summer international philanthropy program that includes a grant-making conference at Yale Center Beijing as well as due diligence of China-based nonprofits and social enterprises. Through the program, students would not only gain unique insights into China’s social innovation space, but also have hands-on experience practicing philanthropy. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply online.

February 3, 2016

 Furry First Fridays, Starting Feb. 5

Take a break from your studies to pet a dog and de-stress. Our popular therapy dog program returns in February. Stop by Hayden Library on the first Friday of each month this term to spend some time with one of our furry friends from Dog BONES: Therapy Dogs of Massachusetts. Open to the MIT community. The event will be held at the Hayden Library, 14S, from 2pm to 4pm on the following days:

Friday, February 5
Friday, March 4
Friday, April 1

February 2, 2016

Zimanyi, Chen, and Kang: One enzyme maintains a cell’s pool of DNA building blocks

Cell survival depends on having a plentiful and balanced pool of the four chemical building blocks that make up DNA — the deoxyribonucleosides deoxyadenosine, deoxyguanosine, deoxycytidine, and thymidine, often abbreviated as A, G, C, and T. However, if too many of these components pile up, or if their usual ratio is disrupted, that can be deadly for the cell. A new study from MIT chemists sheds light on a longstanding puzzle: how a single enzyme known as ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) generates all four of these building blocks and maintains the correct balance among them. The paper’s lead author is former MIT graduate student Christina Zimanyi. Other authors are graduate students Percival Yang-Ting Chen and Gyunghoon Kang, and former graduate student Michael Funk.

Unlike RNR, most enzymes specialize in converting just one type of molecule to another, says Catherine Drennan, a professor of chemistry and biology at MIT. “Ribonucleotide reductase is very unusual. I’ve been fascinated with this question of how it actually works and how this enzyme’s active site can be molded into four different shapes.” Drennan and colleagues report in the journal eLife that RNR’s interactions with its downstream products via a special effector site causes the enzyme to change its shape, determining which of the four DNA building blocks it will generate. While many other enzymes are controlled by effectors, this type of regulation usually turns enzyme activity up or down. “I can’t think of any other examples of effector binding changing what the substrate is. This is just very unusual,” Drennan says. Read more

February 2, 2016

Breaking The Mold Conference, Feb. 5

Don’t miss the first conference of the Spring semester. Come join us for a half day Breaking The Mold conference on February 5 from 9 am to 2 pm at the MIT Media Lab. We will pivot our focus from what institutions are currently doing to increase diversity in the workforce, to what they should be doing in the future. Hear from leading academic experts in public policy from both HKS and MIT on groundbreaking research they have been doing to increase diversity. Learn more about the conference or purchase tickets now!

February 2, 2016

Volunteer for MIT ESL Program

The MIT English as a Second Language (ESL) Program for Service Employees is looking for volunteers to tutor employees for 1 hr/wk or to serve as substitutes as needed for the Spring semester that runs from Feb. 8 – May 13, 2016. Tutoring takes place Tuesday and Thursday nights, 11pm – Midnight. No experience is required, just a good command of English and an interest in helping individuals whose first language is not English. The goals of the program are to build employees’ confidence, to help them become more productive in their jobs, and to perhaps open up further opportunities for advancement. This is an opportunity to make a real and positive difference. For information please contact esl-admins@mit.edu. Photo from NEC Corporation of America.

February 1, 2016

Pacheco-Theard: Free Test Prep Startup

While many high school students spend months studying for the SATs, Rena Pacheco-Theard prepped for hers in a single evening. “A friend gave me her SAT book the night before because she was done with it. I assumed it was like every other test in school,” she recalls. Luckily, she tests well, and her scores were high enough to get into her top choice school. But as anyone who’s applied to college knows, SAT scores are just one piece of an increasingly complex application process that often involves the whole family.

Pacheco-Theard, a Sloan MBA, didn’t have those advantages. Growing up in the middle of five children in Coeur d’Alene, ID, she’s a first generation college student. While her parents were loving and supportive, “they couldn’t tell me what the SAT was or where to apply. Even the cost of applying to schools was prohibitively expensive,” she recalls. Now, Pacheco-Theard is on her second master’s degree, an MBA (’16) at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. But she acknowledges that her path could have turned out very differently. “The way things worked out for me, they don’t work out for most students,” she says. Which is exactly why she’s set out to level the admissions playing field with her startup, Prepify.

Prepify offers free adaptive SAT prep to students anywhere in the world. The startup has partnered with Bell Curves test prep for the content and is in the process of designing a personalized curriculum that responds to each student’s progress through the lessons. Read more