News & Video

October 13, 2015

Eastgate/Westgate childcare provider info-sessions, Oct. 14, 15, 22, 23

Of particular interest to residents of Eastgate and Westgate, and especially to spouses and partners, four information sessions coming up in October address “Becoming a Licensed Family Childcare Provider” in the new MIT Campus Family Childcare network.

Once providers have taken the training and become licensed, planned for about January 2016, the childcare network will host infosessions for MIT grad students in need of affordable campus childcare options.

The October sessions are for anyone interested in the process of becoming a provider.

  • Wed. Oct. 14 at 10 am, in Westgate Lounge
  • Thu. Oct. 15 at 3 pm, in Eastgate Lounge
  • Thu. Oct. 22 at 3 pm, in Westgate Lounge
  • Fri. Oct. 23 at 10 am, in Eastgate Lounge

Licensed MIT Childcare providers in the network will run their own business and set their own fees and contracts, earning about $8-10 per child per hour. The sessions will explain the financial assistance available for start-up costs and technical assistance provided to you to help you through the licensing process with the Massachusetts Office of Early Education and Care (EEC). You will also learn about the professional trainings, marketing materials, and referrals that this program can provide. There will be ongoing assistance and networking with other Family Childcare Providers. Bring all you questions to the session. RSVP to Nina Dickerman at: or 617-603-4644.

October 13, 2015

Grad students meet the protein behind a light-sensing mechanism

MIT scientists, working with colleagues in Spain, have discovered and mapped a light-sensing protein that uses vitamin B12 to perform key functions, including gene regulation.

The result, derived from studying proteins from the bacterium Thermus thermophilus, involves at least two findings of broad interest. First, it expands our knowledge of the biological role of vitamin B12, which was already understood to help convert fat into energy, and to be involved in brain formation, but has now been identified as a key part of photoreceptor proteins — the structures that allow organisms to sense and respond to light.

Second, the research describes a new mode of gene regulation, in which the light-sensing proteins play a key role. In so doing, the scientists observe, the bacteria have repurposed existing protein structures that use vitamin B12, and put them to work in new ways.

“Nature borrowed not just the vitamin, but really the whole enzyme unit, and modified it … and made it a light sensor,” says Catherine Drennan, a professor of chemistry and biology at MIT.

The findings are detailed this week in the journal Nature. The paper describes the photoreceptors in three different states: in the dark, bound to DNA, and after being exposed to light.

“It’s wonderful that we’ve been able to get all the series of structures, to understand how it works at each stage,” Drennan says.

The paper has nine co-authors, including Drennan; graduate students Percival Yang-Ting Chen, Marco Jost, and Gyunghoon Kang of MIT; Jesus Fernandez-Zapata and S. Padmanabhan of the Institute of Physical Chemistry Rocasolano, in Madrid; and Monserrat Elias-Arnanz, Juan Manuel Ortiz-Guerreo, and Maria Carmen Polanco, of the University of Murcia, in Murcia, Spain.  Read more

October 13, 2015

Two new “Committed to Caring” professors, Solomon and Smith

The final two rounds of MIT “Committed to Caring” faculty honorees for 2014–2015 are being posted on the infinite display and on posters around campus: October 13 and December 7. Meanwhile, the Committed-to-Caring call for nominations for 2015–2016 stays open until Dec. 7 at 11:59 p.m.

Each year, graduate students nominate MIT “Committed to Caring (C2C)” professors, who go above and beyond expectations to make a positive impact on the lives of graduate students. A selection committee chooses the top nominees, and ODGE has the pleasure of showcasing each professor’s work and the student testimonials to the professor’s impactful teaching.

Tuesday, October 13, Eboney J.N. Hearn, Assistant Dean of Diversity Initiatives in the ODGE, announces and congratulates two new Committed to Caring (C2C) professors.

  • Frank Solomon, Biology
    “Talk to Frank”
    Professor Frank Solomon cares about and respects students. He truly listens, and he understands. For these reasons, when someone in Course 7 is having trouble, be it academic, professional, or personal, they are advised, “Go talk to Frank.” One such student recalls, “That single conversation was more helpful to my professional life than any other I have ever had.” Frank Solomon’s caring and effective style of teaching has been recognized before, with the School of Science Prize for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, in 2011. What makes Frank’s impact unique is that students come to him with the big issues. Solomon believes it is very important to ask, “How are we training people, and for what?” 
  • Kord Smith, Nuclear Science and Engineering
    A door always open
    In addition to Professor Kord Smith’s commitment to helping his students academically, he takes an interest in their personal development and well-being. Despite the norm of continual research throughout the summer, Kord encourages his students to pursue internships outside of MIT, and he has personally facilitated many of these connections. Smith relates to his students’ MIT experiences, having attained his PhD here, and he often shares stories of his own path. Additionally, he plans and organizes retreats for his students, to help them experience a balanced work life. According to his nominators, “His door has always been open to students,” even on some Saturdays.

As you spot the newest C2C professors this week, we’re hoping it reminds you to recognize someone who’s shown a commitment to caring! Nominate your professors here. Who’s gone above and beyond to create a supportive and positive working environment? Who’s check in on your well-being, or provided stellar opportunities for networking and professional advancement? Who’s helped you or your fellow students professionally with outstanding formal or informal mentoring?

Over the course of the C2C campaign, we have been delighted to showcase many individual styles of teaching and caring at MIT! 

October 13, 2015

“PhD Movie 2” screening and Q&A, Jorge Cham of PhD Comics, Oct. 15

The PhD Movie 2 film screening will take place on Thursday, October 15, 6 pm in 26-100.  The PhD Movie 2 looks at themes of competition in research, overcoming writer’s block, and finding your voice.  Those of you who are fans of the comic are in for a rare treat – Jorge Cham will be with us for the screening and there will be a live Q&A with him following the movie.  Please pre-register for this event here.  This event is open to MIT only.

Film synopsis: Winston is now an integral part of Prof. Smith’s Lab. However, the current economic situation has put the lab in peril as research funding levels are at an all-time low. The group must travel to an important academic conference and square off against a rival research group as they compete for results and grant money. Meanwhile, Cecilia’s advisor declares he is going on sabbatical, which means she has to finish writing her thesis or be stuck in grad school another year.

For more information about the film, visit this website.  Contact:  Photo by PhDcomics


October 12, 2015

An online-blended path to an MIT master’s degree

On October 7, MIT announced a pilot program allowing learners to take a semester’s worth of courses completely online in the Institute’s top-ranked, one-year Supply Chain Management (SCM) master’s program, then complete an MIT master’s degree by spending a single semester on campus.

MIT also announced a new academic credential for the digital age: the “MicroMaster’s,” which can be earned through MITx by students who pass a comprehensive examination upon the successful completion of the same semester’s worth of online SCM courses. Classes toward these degrees begin on Feb. 10, 2016.

The announcement was made by MIT President L. Rafael Reif by email to the MIT community. The pilot will be led by Professor Sanjay Sarma, MIT’s dean of digital learning, and by Professor Yossi Sheffi and Dr. Chris Caplice, who run the SCM program and its online offerings. Read more.

October 9, 2015

Lemelson-MIT student prize, deadline Oct. 13

The Lemelson-MIT Program is searching for the most inventive students to apply for the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize.  Winning Grad students will receive $15K in each category: healthcare, food and agriculture, transportation, and consumer devices.  In order to qualify, applicants must be the lead/primary inventor of at least two inventions with tested prototypes.  In addition, eligible graduate students must be full-time, degree-seeking students as of Spring 2016.  Applications are open now through October 13, 2015. Contact:

October 9, 2015

Zurovcik: Wound therapy device (sNPWT)

Before pursuing a doctorate at MIT, Danielle Zurovcik SM ’07, PhD ’12 had never designed or developed a medical device. But her exposure in Professor Alex Slocum’s Precision Engineering Research Group (PERG) led her to develop a simplified negative pressure wound therapy device (sNPWT) that would later become known as the Wound-Pump.

During her D-Lab Scale-Ups fellowship, the device was applied in the field after the earthquake in Haiti and during a study in Rwanda. After witnessing its successful application, Zurovcik realized that the device could solve an immediate and critical need.

Zurovcik is the founder and CEO of WiCare (Worldwide Innovative Healthcare Inc.), a company that develops effective and inexpensive medical devices. WiCare’s goal is to make high-quality healthcare available to remote or impoverished areas of the world. The Wound-Pump is the company’s first product. Read more.  Photo by: Danielle Zurovcik and WiCare, Inc

October 9, 2015

MIT Connect offers free lunches, dialogue

Are you interested in having multiple free lunches with fellow MIT graduate students across campus this semester?  Connect arranges for friendly, informal, platonic lunches between assigned pairs of graduate students—and some surprise guests—from all over campus, and all walks of life.

MIT Connect pairs members of the graduate student community based on a few questions that algorithmically help match you with others who share your interests—and schedule. If you are selected for the lunch program, you will receive $10.00 in TechCash for food and non-alcoholic drinks, per person. After the lunches have completed, you will be sent a questionnaire to gauge your experience of the program.

Given the incredible interest last semester, spots are limited and will be assigned via lottery so sign up and get connected here! Questions? Contact:  Photo by Grant Hutchinson



October 9, 2015

The Revere Piano Quartet on Oct. 11

The Revere Piano Quartet currently include: Jin-Kyung Joen, violin; Ronald Gorevic, violin/viola; MIT Emerson Instructor Eugene Kim, cello; and Tae Kim, piano.

Featured on this program is the rarely heard Suite for 2 Violins, Cello and Piano Left Hand, by Erich Korngold, and the Fauré, Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 45. The performance will take place in Killian Hall on October 11 at 7 pm.

Photo By: esc861

October 8, 2015

Edoh: Intricacies of African print cloth, Oct. 8

MIT PhD candidate Amah Edoh will present the intricacies—historical, political, cultural, and technical—of African print cloth, October 8 at 4 pm in Bldg. 2-105. In this talk, Amah Edoh traces the trajectory of wax cloth (also known as “African print cloth”) from Holland to Togo to elucidate how African-ness is being imagined and produced visually and materially in the present historical moment.

Edoh’s research interests focus on the interplay of place and expertise in the politics of knowledge production, with a particular emphasis on Africa and material culture. She was a 2004 Fulbright Scholar to Zambia and holds a Masters in Population and International Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. Edoh is currently a PhD candidate in MIT’s Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society.

MIT Global Studies and Languages

October 8, 2015

Grad Rat seeks webmaster for upcoming year, Deadline Oct. 12

The GradRat Ring committee would like to hire a webmaster for the next year. Duties include updating, maintaining and responding to inquiries about the GSC GradRat website. This is a paid position. Previous experience with website maintenance is preferred. The application process takes place until October 12.

The contact information for this is:

October 8, 2015

Effective Scientific Communication in the Digital Era, Oct. 9

This panel discussion will be held on Friday, October 9, 3:30–5 pm in Building 4-370 and will feature insights from communication experts Christie Aschwanden (Fivethirtyeight), Joe Palca (NPR), and Wade Roush (Knight Science Journalism at MIT), on how scientists can best utilize the evolving digital landscape to disseminate their work and reach out to non-scientific audiences. After an initial perspective is provided by each of the panelists, audience members will have the opportunity to engage with the experts through an interactive Q&A session.  Photo by nasamarshall

October 8, 2015

Konisky: Effective climate strategy for Americans

Global warming may be a hot topic of conversation among scientists and political policymakers, but when it comes to swaying public opinion, the subject leaves most Americans cold, according to David Konisky PhD ’06, associate professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University.

“Global warming is not an major factor for Americans when judging energy sources,” Konisky says. “Most of the public isn’t willing to pay very much to address climate change.”

Konisky is a 2006 PhD graduate of the MIT-SHASS Department of Political Science, which observes its 50th anniversary this fall. He was on campus Thursday, Sept. 17, to present a talk entitled, “Cheap and Clean: How Americans Think About Energy in the Age of Global Warming.” The talk, sponsored by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), summarized the key findings of Konisky’s award-winning 2014 book of the same title, which he co-authored with Harvard University professor of government, Stephen Ansolabehere.

Americans have a consumer point of view about energy

Konisky said their research found that Americans look at energy the way they look at other consumer products — by weighing key attributes: In the case of energy, Americans care most about financial cost and local environmental harm.

This consumer-type analysis trumps other biases one might expect to see in this arena, Konisky said. “It turns out that just knowing how people perceive the environmental harms and economic costs of energy sources explains about 80 percent of the variation in their attitudes [toward the use of various fuels]. Other factors — like political preferences, education, and income — don’t really matter much.”  Read more

October 8, 2015

Chain reaction building at MIT Museum, Oct. 9

Chain reaction building will have an 18th Century theme, as we meet to create a mini chain reaction (Rube Goldberg type) machine, using balls, levers, and ramps.

Participants will be provided with kits for building, construction assistance, and space to partake in the thrill of an evening of inspired engineering. Join experienced builders and first timers, as we build contraptions derived from the 18th century. Light refreshments provided. Open to all builders! Free with museum admission (and free with MIT ID).

The event takes place on October 9, 5–8 pm in The MIT Museum, N51, 265 Mass Avenue. To learn more, contact

October 7, 2015

External fellowship opportunities, Oct. and Nov. deadlines

Please note the following reminders about upcoming fall deadlines for the following external fellowship opportunities. To find more information about each fellowship, visit the ODGE external fellowships page:

  • Reminder: American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowships (Deadlines vary by program: September 23, 2015; October 21, 2015; November 2, 2015; November 4, 2015; November 17, 2015; March 2016)
  • Reminder: Jefferson Science Fellowship (Deadline: November 2, 2015)
  • Reminder: Fannie & John Hertz Foundation Fellowship (Deadline: October 30, 2015)
  • Reminder: National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) (Deadline: varies by area of study, please see ODGE external fellowships page.)
  • Reminder: UK Kennedy Scholarships (Deadline: October 28, 2015, for students from the UK to study at MIT)
  • New: Ford Foundation Fellowship Program (Dissertation Fellowship Deadline: November 13, 2015, Postdoctoral Fellowship Deadline: November 13, 2015,Predoctoral Fellowship Deadline: November 20, 2015)
  • New: The National GEM Consortium Fellowship Program (Deadline: November 15, 2015)
  • New: The National Physical Science Consortium (NPSC) Fellowship Program (Deadline: November 30, 2015)
  • New: Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship (Deadline: November 13, 2015)
  • New: CLIR Mellon dissertation research fellowships (Deadline: November 20, 2015)

Read more. Photo by Dafne Cholet.

October 7, 2015

IDEAS Fall Generator Dinner 2015, Oct. 8

Working on a project to help underserved communities? Need funding? Want to recruit new members for your IDEAS Global Challenge team? Want to get involved, but don’t yet have an idea?

Join MIT IDEAS Global Challenge for dinner on October 8, 7-9 pm, in Walker Memorial, Morss Hall to pitch an idea and find a team for the challenge.

During the event, there will be openings for 20-30 sixty-second pitches from attendees. You must sign up in advance to request a slot.

Sign up to pitch an idea or your skills when you register for this event. Those selected to pitch will be contacted before the event with instructions on the process.

Note: Pitching is optional! If you don’t want to pitch, just attend to mix and mingle, meet potential teammates, or hear about some of the exciting projects already underway.  Photo by MITChallenge

October 7, 2015

Al-Obeidi: “Glasswings” coating for solar cells wins MADMEC

Biomimicry—known as “innovation inspired by nature”—has led to the invention of bullet trains, vaccines, adhesives, and light bulbs, among other things. Now, add to that list the winning invention of last night’s MADMEC competition: Influenced by the anti-reflective wings of the glasswing butterfly, an MIT team created a low-cost coating for solar cells that mitigates reflection, allowing the cells to absorb nearly all light to boost efficiency.

For that invention, the two-student team, aptly named Glasswings, took home the grand prize of $10,000 from the ninth annual MADMEC contest, organized each year by MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) and sponsored this year by Saint Gobain, BP, and Dow Chemical.

With the prize money, Glasswings plans to continue research and development and, potentially, launch a company to commercialize the invention, team member Ahmed Al-Obeidi, a graduate student in DMSE, told MIT News after the competition.  Read more

October 7, 2015

Interested in practicing a new language? Join Language Conversation Exchange

Do you want to practice a new language or share the love of your native language with a fellow MIT community member?  Or, do you just want to make new friends and learn about a new culture?  Come join this community of 500+ members and share your love of languages. Contact:,

October 7, 2015

Aeronautics guest speaker on Oct. 8

The lectures “Current Aerospace Medicine and Human Factors Research at the FAA” and “Aerospace Medicine Implications of Exponential Medical Technologies” will be coming to MIT on Thursday, October 8 from 9:30–11am in room 1-190.

Photo by Oliver Holzbauer

October 6, 2015

Call for Abstracts, Oct. 6: MIT SIAM-CCE Student Seminar Series

The MIT Chapter of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), in collaboration with the Center for Computational Engineering, is holding a Student Seminar Series this Fall 2015 semester at MIT. Postdocs and research scientists are also welcomed to present.

This seminar series will serve as a means of bringing together the diverse MIT community with a common interest in Applied Math and Computational Sciences. The areas of application are not restricted to any particular discipline, and presentations on Engineering, Computer Science, Math, Biology, Operations Research, and any other field are welcomed. If you are interested in presenting your research, practicing for your quals presentation or PhD defense, or just getting feedback from a different audience, your are invited to take advantage of this opportunity.

The seminars will be held weekly, starting in mid October, on Thursdays, 4-5 pm. We invite you to submit a short abstract before Tuesday, October 6 with a title, your name, and department to We only have 4 speaking slots this semester; so, please hurry up and take one before they are all filled!  Contact:  Photo by Michael Kappel


October 6, 2015

Group Health & Wellness coaching class, Oct. 7 or Oct. 15

The one-hour six-week class, “Change for Good: Creating the Healthy Life You Want,” is starting up soon! You bring your own agenda and work on whatever goals you choose. Some Goals Include: Organizing Your Life, Getting Better Sleep, Becoming More Active, Increasing Energy and Focus, Cultivating Mindfulness.

Class meets for 6 weeks at 7 pm (October 7 start date) or 4 pm (October 15 start date) at MIT Medical. Limited to six participants. The cost is $48. Contact to learn more.

October 6, 2015

Professor Miyagawa shares his Alabama roots, ed-tech career, Oct. 6

Want to know how your professors made their academic and career choices?  Come hear their stories at the new faculty talks series.

On Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 5:15 pm in 3-133, come hear Professor Shigeru Miyagawa share his journey from growing up in Alabama as a Japanese-American, to an academic career bridging Japan and America, linguistics and culture, and education and technology at MIT.

Dates and speakers for the rest of the series:

  • Maria Zuber, Oct. 14, 5:15 pm, 6-120
  • Paula Hammond, Oct. 28, 5:15 pm, 6-120
  • Will Broadhead, Nov. 10, 5:15 pm, 3-133
  • Robert Langer, Nov. 30, 4:15 pm, 6-120

October 6, 2015

MIT Museum “Re:Making Life” series, Oct. 7, 14, 21

Beginning on Sept 30, the MIT Museum is offering a series of discussions about synthetic biology (“Re:Making Life”), with short presentations by MIT and Harvard researchers and opportunities for conversations by all attendees.  Explore what “synbio” is, how scientists are using innovative techniques to modify organisms, and for what purposes.  These events are free, and light refreshments will be served.

All talks will be held at the MIT Museum (265 Mass. Ave, Cambridge, MA)

From DNA to Designer Genomes: Wed., Sept. 30 from 6:00-7:30 pm

Breaking the “SynBio” Barrier: Wed., Oct. 7 from 6:00-7:30 pm
Customizing Nature: Wed., Oct. 14 from 6:00-7:30 pm
Who Needs Rules?: Wed., Oct. 21 from 6:00-7:30 pm

For more information, please visit this site.

Photo by Mehmet Pinarci

October 6, 2015

“Let’s Chat” drop-in counseling Tues. thru Fri.

“Let’s Chat” offers a drop-in counseling office two hours daily, Tuesday through Friday each week, in MIT Building 8-316 from 1-3 pm. This drop-in service provides easy access to informal, free, confidential consultations—and no advance appointment is necessary.  Students who want a low-energy-barrier way to talk to someone can sign up for one of several 20-minute sessions by simply marking an “X” on one of the designated times on the daily schedule, which will be posted outside the door to 8-316.  Some common concerns include stress, sadness, anxiety, difficulty adjusting, family problems, or relationship issues.

This service will be staffed by clinicians from MIT Mental Health and Counseling, and is open to ALL students —graduate, undergraduate, any department.  For more information please visit this site.

October 6, 2015

One-Day NSF/NIH Grant Workshops at UMass Boston, Oct. 8–9

The Writing/Designing NSF Proposals workshop will be held at the University of Massachusetts Boston on October 9, 2015. This one-day comprehensive workshop is geared for those who wish to submit winning research proposals to the National Science Foundation (NSF). It is taught by experienced faculty who have received various NSF grants and serve as evaluators on NSF review panels.  Additionally, a Writing/Designing NIH Proposals workshop will be held at the University of Massachusetts Boston, on October 8, 2015.

Space is limited and since this class fills up quickly, registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Workshop Fee: $375.00 (including tuition, materials, certificate of completion, and continental breakfast)

In order to register, please visit this site.  Contact: (866) 704-7268  Photo by Ramiro Ramirez

October 6, 2015

Mosely: Celebrating the connective power of origami

Science and art come together in compelling ways for Jeannine Mosely. A software engineer at Akamai Technologies in Cambridge, she contributed to the development of cell-phone technology as a graduate student at MIT and has made a mark as a master of origami.

When she talks about the ancient art of folded paper, which her mother introduced her to at age five, it becomes clear that it shares a creative root with programming: the ability to find inspiration in a blank page.

Mosely earned undergraduate degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, followed by graduate degrees in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. After MIT she began to work with the powerful new tools of computer-­aided design at Cambridge-based ICAD.

Meanwhile, she realized that business cards were an interesting shape for use in origami and began using them to build cubes. Watching her seven-year-old son Simon stack those cubes inspired her to create a stable and expandable structure: an illustration of a Menger sponge, a mathematical fractal formed by endlessly dividing each face of a cube into nine squares and removing the resulting smaller cube in the middle of each face and the center of the original cube.  Read more

October 5, 2015

Basics of Scientific Writing, Oct. 7

The Basics of Scientific Writing seminar will take place on Wednesday, October 7 from 3-4 pm in the Singleton Auditorium, Building 46-3002.

Dr. Sonal Jhaveri will discuss the basics of how to write a research paper that is targeted for publication in a professional journal. Dr. Jhaveri is an MIT alumna (BS, MS). She received her PhD from Harvard University, has been Principal Investigator on a number of grants from NIH, NSF and other private foundations, has co-authored 60 professional articles, and has consulted on a number of science and medical writing projects. She currently teaches Science Communication to graduate and medical students as well as postdocs, both at MIT and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Please register for the event here.  Photo by Abd allah Foteih

October 5, 2015

Zhang and Frogner: More-flexible machine learning

At the Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems in December, MIT researchers will present a new way of doing machine learning that enables semantically related concepts to reinforce each other. So, for instance, an object-recognition algorithm would learn to weigh the co-occurrence of the classifications “dog” and “Chihuahua” more heavily than it would the co-occurrence of “dog” and “cat.” In experiments, the researchers found that a machine-learning algorithm that used their training strategy did a better job of predicting the tags that human users applied to images on the Flickr website than it did when it used a conventional training strategy.

“When you have a lot of possible categories, the conventional way of dealing with it is that, when you want to learn a model for each one of those categories, you use only data associated with that category,” says Chiyuan Zhang, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and one of the new paper’s lead authors. “It’s treating all other categories equally unfavorably. Because there are actually semantic similarities between those categories, we develop a way of making use of that semantic similarity to sort of borrow data from close categories to train the model.” Zhang is joined on the paper by his thesis advisor, Tomaso Poggio, the Eugene McDermott Professor in the Brain Sciences and Human Behavior, and by his fellow first author Charlie Frogner, also a graduate student in Poggio’s group. Hossein Mobahi, a postdoc in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and Mauricio Araya-Polo, a researcher with Shell Oil, round out the paper’s co-authors.

October 5, 2015

Keith Ellenbogen on underwater photography, Oct. 7, 21, and ongoing

Please join us on October 7, 5pm in Physics’ Cosman Seminar Room, 6C-442 for The Art of Underwater Photography, the next seminar in MIT CAST visiting artist, Keith Ellenbogen’s underwater photography series:

Visualizing Marine Conservation
featuring Caleb McClennen, Executive Director, Marine Conservation; Wildlife Conservation Society Merry Camhi, Director, New York Seascape Program; Wildlife Conservation Society Keith Ellenbogen, Photographer and MIT CAST Visiting Artist

Upcoming seminar dates (all 5 PM, Cosman Seminar Room, 6C-442):

A Window into the Underwater World: Framing Fish at the New England Aquarium
October 21, 5pm
Presentation and Discussion by:  Steve Bailey, Curator of Fishes New England Aquarium and Keith Ellenbogen

The White Sharks of Cape Cod: Science, Art and the Public Imagination
November 18, 5pm
Presentation and Panel Discussion:  Dr. Greg Skomal, Senior Marine Fisheries Scientist, MA Marine Fisheries, Great White Shark Researcher and TV Personality (shark week) and Keith Ellenbogen

Seeing the Invisible Ocean: Art at Technology’s Cutting Edge
December 9, 5pm
Presentation and Discussion: Keith Ellenbogen and Allan Adams, Associate Professor of Physics

500 P.S.I. Exhibition of Photographs by CAST Visiting Artist Keith Ellenbogen
Through May 1, 2016
Location: 6C 4th floor, Center for Theoretical Physics exhibition space

October 2, 2015

Apple Picking, Oct. 3

We will be visiting Russell Orchards located in Ipswich, MA on Saturday, October 3, at 9 am. The farm offers variety activities such as pick your own apples and petting barnyard animals. This will be a perfect opportunity to enjoy nature and to have some fun.  Contact:   Photo by Jordan Confino

October 2, 2015

HUBweek and Solve, Oct. 5–8

During the first week of October, there will be two huge events:

  • HUBweek (October 3–10), a first-ever weeklong celebration of the arts, science and innovation culture of Boston, co-sponsored in locations throughout Boston and Cambridge by MIT, Harvard University,The Boston Globe and Massachusetts General Hospital, and
  • Solve (October 5–8), the launch of an ongoing program on the MIT campus to bring together a global group of creative thinkers, doers and influencers to explore, model and test new solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

There are public sessions of Solve:

  • Monday afternoon, October 5, Kresge Auditorium: Solve’s opening convocation, featuring a keynote address from Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs and roundtables on Solve’s “Cure” and “Make” pillars
  • Tuesday evening, October 6, Bartos Theater: Roundtable on the “Fuel” pillar, with Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons Ltd.
  • Wednesday evening, October 7, Bartos Theater: Roundtable on the “Learn” pillar, with Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder, Emerson collective
    You must register in order to attend, with seats available on a first-come, first-served basis. In the event that any of these sessions become sold out, you can watch the live stream here.

At locations throughout Greater Boston, HUBweek will showcase the region’s strengths in art, science and technology through more than 80 events, most of which are free and open to the public, including “Inside Kendall Square,” on Thursday, October 8 – a day for celebrating the most innovative square mile on the planet. Registration for HUBweek is now open.

Additional details on HUBweek and Solve are available here.


October 2, 2015

Apply to MIT $100K Pitch Competition, Deadline Oct. 2

Apply now for the first phase of the 2015-16 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition.

Pitch is an elevator pitch competition, and new this year: submit your best idea for a start-up in a 90-second video posted to YouTube. Industry experts will judge the entries.

The teams who best articulate how they will create and capture value will move on the Final Round. Finalists will pitch in front of a live audience and jury on Wednesday, October 28 and compete for the chance to win $4,000.  The deadline for applications is October 2.  For more information visit this site.

October 2, 2015

Sun: How the brain encodes time and place

When you remember a particular experience, that memory has three critical elements — what, when, and where. MIT neuroscientists have now identified a brain circuit that processes the “when” and “where” components of memory.

This circuit, which connects the hippocampus and a region of the cortex known as entorhinal cortex, separates location and timing into two streams of information. The researchers also identified two populations of neurons in the entorhinal cortex that convey this information, dubbed “ocean cells” and “island cells.”

Previous models of memory had suggested that the hippocampus, a brain structure critical for memory formation, separates timing and context information. However, the new study shows that this information is split even before it reaches the hippocampus.

“It suggests that there is a dichotomy of function upstream of the hippocampus,” says Chen Sun, an MIT graduate student in brain and cognitive sciences and one of the lead authors of the paper, which appears in the Sept. 23 issue of Neuron. “There is one pathway that feeds temporal information into the hippocampus, and another that feeds contextual representations to the hippocampus.”  Read more

October 2, 2015

China National Day BBQ, Oct. 4

Come and join the CSSA to celebrate China National Day (which is Oct. 1st) with free BBQ!

The BBQ will be held on October 4, 12–2 pm in the Ashdown Hulsizer Room. Special Chinese style BBQ will be served. No registration is required. Contact:  Photo by boB Rudis

October 2, 2015

Where do I go? Who do I ask? Financial literacy talk, Oct. 6

The ODGE has recently partnered with the MIT Federal Credit Union to make an online financial literacy platform available to the entire MIT community including our graduate students!

The iGrad platform (link can be found at been customized for MIT and includes videos, articles, games, a job board, searchable scholarship database, and interactive modules on a wide range of topics, including emergency-funding, credit card management, identity protection, spending-smarts, etc.

To help roll out this exciting new tool, the ODGE is happy to announce a fall semester workshop (and pizza) series for graduate students on various financial literacy topics as part of the ODGE’s larger financial literacy initiative (an MIT news article will be out shortly providing more details on this initiative).

RSVP is required and spots are limited (free pizza!) so RSVP here.

  • 12:00-1:30 on Tuesday, October 6 (68-180): Financial Resources on Campus: Where Do I Go, Who Do I Ask?
  • 12:00-1:30 on Tuesday, October 20 (68-180): Securing Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • 12:00-1:30 on Monday, November 16 (W20-308): Navigating Credit and Debt: From Student Loans to Credit Cards
  • 12:00-1:30 on Tuesday, December 1 (W20-308): Personal Budgeting for the Uninitiated and Overwhelmed

Read more.

October 1, 2015

Bulgarian Independence Day Celebration, Oct. 4

Come celebrate the Bulgarian Independence. Enjoy delicious traditional Bulgarian food. Stop by Ashdown House Sunday, October 4 at 1 pm. If possible, let us know you are coming. Send your RSVP here or contact: Photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis

October 1, 2015

Field trip to an artist’s studio, Oct. 3

The List Visual Arts Center wants you to meet artist Lina Viste Gronli in her Somerville, MA studio! Visit the studio of a contemporary artist and see works in progress while enjoying light food and drinks with other arts enthusiasts from MIT.  The bus leaves from outside of the List Center (Bldg. E15) at 1 pm, on Saturday, October 3, returning just after 4. The exhibition “List Projects: Lina Viste Gronli” is on view at the List (Bldg. E15) until October 25.  LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE. Sign up here.  Contact:  Photo by cgc76

October 1, 2015

Fifth annual graduate arts gala at Harvard MCZ, Oct. 2

Join the MIT GSC and Graduate Arts Forum for this fall’s graduate arts gala on Friday, October 2, from 7:30–10 pm at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Mix and mingle amongst stuffed mammals, birds, and paleolithic-era fossils, while enjoying live jazz, complimentary wine, and hors d’oeuvres.

Space is limited and you must be 21+ to register. Students are permitted to bring a guest (who must also be 21+).  RSVP here or contact:  Photo by: Chris Devers

October 1, 2015

Narasimhan: Learning language by playing games

MIT researchers have designed a computer system that learns how to play a text-based computer game with no prior assumptions about how language works. Although the system can’t complete the game as a whole, its ability to complete sections of it suggests that, in some sense, it discovers the meanings of words during its training.

In 2011, professor of computer science and engineering Regina Barzilay and her students reported a system that learned to play a computer game called “Civilization” by analyzing the game manual. But in the new work, on which Barzilay is again a co-author, the machine-learning system has no direct access to the underlying “state” of the game program—the data the program is tracking and how it’s being modified.

“When you play these games, every interaction is through text,” says Karthik Narasimhan, an MIT graduate student in computer science and engineering and one of the new paper’s two first authors. “For instance, you get the state of the game through text, and whatever you enter is also a command. It’s not like a console with buttons. So you really need to understand the text to play these games, and you also have more variability in the types of actions you can take.”

Narasimhan is joined on the paper by Barzilay, who’s his thesis advisor, and by fellow first author Tejas Kulkarni, a graduate student in the group of Josh Tenenbaum, a professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. They presented the paper last week at the Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing conference.  Read more

October 1, 2015

Open mic lunch hour at the Lewis Music Library, Oct. 2

Open mic will be held in the Lewis Music Library, 14E-109, on Friday, October 2, from 12–1 pm.  Come jam, perform, or just listen.  This is your chance to play our piano or your own instrument.  Everyone is welcome. Free audience supplied for all performers. Light refreshments will also be provided.  Contact: 617-253-5636  Photo by Nic McPhee

September 30, 2015

Research paper submissions for IAAC due Nov. 30

The 6th IEEE International Advance Computing Conference (IACC- 2016) is accepting research papers for their conference on February 27–28. The deadline to submit is November 30, and the conference listing at IEEE can be viewed here.

Prospective authors are invited to submit full and original research papers in the areas of: High Performance Computing, Advances in Communication and Networks, Advanced Algorithms, Image and Multimedia Processing, Databases and Data Management, and Teaching and Learning Systems. For a detailed list of topics please visit the conference websitePhoto by Ivan Walsh

September 30, 2015

3 Grad Students Bring Art to Airbnb

What do technology and art have in common? Thanks to three MIT grad students, it’s Tekuma, a platform that connects artists and Airbnb hosts.

Although those two demographics seem like a strange pair, their venture makes so much sense. Tekuma’s goal is to create pop-up art galleries in apartment spaces around the world. It gives artists, who don’t always have the best luck making it big, the chance to display their work—and make some money off of it. At the same time, Airbnb hosts can boost their rental appeal, giving their guests a dynamic aesthetic experience. And don’t forget the travelers, who then have a unique stay.

Tekuma’s three co-founders, Marwan Aboudib, Kun Qian, and Tengjia Liu, met during their first semester of their Master of Architecture program at MIT. They were all a part of the same studio project, and that’s where the roots of Tekuma first sprouted.

After pouring sweat and tears into the project, the class ended and the three had a feeling of let-down. “We worked so hard all semester and pulled all-nighters. There was so much excitement to get our 15 minutes of fame when we’d present our finished project,” said Aboudib. “But then the day of, no one showed up except for the judges.”  Read more

September 30, 2015

MIT MTA concert: Jeremy Huw Williams, Oct. 2

MIT Music and Theater Arts is hosting a concert by Welsh baritone Jeremy Huw Williams and pianist Paula Fan featuring music by Shadle, Child, Harbison, and Alwyn on Friday, October 2, 2015 at 8pm in Killian Hall (160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge).  Admission is free.

Welsh baritone Jeremy Huw Williams and pianist Paula Fan will present the world premiere of Primordia: A Song Cycle to Early Poems of Wallace Stevens by Charles Shadle; the premiere of a new version of The Great Panjandrum by Peter Child; the US premiere of  William Alwyn’s Nocturnes, and John Harbison’s The Flute of Interior Time.

Visit this site for more information.  Photo by Christina Raphaelle

September 29, 2015

DOE Scholars Program application, deadline Dec. 15

The Department of Energy (DOE) Scholars Program is now accepting applications for Summer 2016. The deadline is December 15, 2015.

The DOE Scholars Program offers unique opportunities that introduce students or post-graduates to the agency’s mission and operations. Participants in the DOE Scholars Program gain a competitive edge as they apply their education, talent and skills in a variety of scientific research settings within the DOE complex. Appointments are available in a variety of disciplines at participating DOE facilities nationwide.
Being selected as a DOE Scholar offers the following benefits:

* Career possibilities with the nation’s leading sponsor for scientific research
* Opportunities to learn from top scientists and subject matter experts
* Stipends are a minimum of $600 per week (depending on academic status)
* Travel arrangements to and from appointment site

Applicants must be US Citizens and undergraduates, graduates or post-graduates of an accredited college or university. The program is open to majors in: Engineering; Physical Sciences; Environmental Sciences; Computer Science and Information Technology; Physics; Business; Policy; Program Management; Mathematics; Statistics; Safety and Health; Accounting and Finance; Law; Communications; and other related areas.

Visit the website for more information or to apply. Contact:  Photo by: DonkeyHotey

September 29, 2015

Inoue: Extending super-resolution techniques in RNA imaging

Overcoming limitations of super-resolution microscopy to optimize imaging of RNA in living cells is a key motivation for physics graduate student Takuma Inoue, who works in the lab of MIT assistant professor of physics Ibrahim Cissé.

Inoue, 26, was the first student to join Cissé’s lab at MIT in January 2014, and he built the lab’s super-resolution microscopy setup to study enzyme clusters that enable gene copying and protein production within living cells. Inoue, who this September enters his fourth year toward his PhD, originally started his experimental work in an atomic physics lab, where he worked on an imaging setup to trap extremely cold atoms in a vacuum. He is studying biophysics, atomic physics, and condensed matter physics.

After learning that Cissé needed someone to set up his super-resolution microscopy, Inoue switched to Cissé’s lab. Because he did not have a biology background, Inoue says, “I wasn’t very much familiar with that, but the tools that you use and the methods for imaging are very common with what I had previously done. By building the setup, I got used to what things we can do in the lab. Then I made the transition to actually targeting some biomolecules within the cell to image and for me that was RNA.”  Read more


September 29, 2015

“It’s Alive!” play reading on Oct. 1

Its Alive! play reading series presents an Homage to Oliver Sacks (1933-2015) the late British neurologist and author.

On Thursday, October 1 at 7 pm, in the Rinaldi Building (E33), there will be a free reading of The Man Who by Peter Brook, English theater and film director. The play is based on the 1985 Oliver Sacks book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, a best-selling collection of case histories about some of his neurologically impaired patients. Photo by C. Mario del Río

September 28, 2015

Effective CVs for the Academic Job Search, Sep. 29

The CV is used for the academic job search and in some cases for PhDs seeking a research position in other settings. This workshop will be held on September 29, 2015, 1:30-3 pm in 5-217 and will cover the important elements of a CV, including strategies for how to showcase your particular knowledge and experiences effectively. We will also discuss some aspects of the academic job search – such as writing a research or teaching statement, or obtaining letters of recommendation. It’s helpful to bring a copy of your CV or a draft with you to refer to as we go through the material in the workshop.  Please register here in advance.  Photo by desiitaly

September 28, 2015

“Getting from Here to There” faculty talks, Sep. 30

Want to know how your professors made their academic and career choices?  Come hear their stories at the new faculty talks series.

On Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 5:15pm in 6-120, Professor Emery Brown will share his journey to becoming a renowned neuroscientist, anesthesiologist, statistician, and MIT faculty member.

Dates and speakers for the rest of the series:

  • Shigeru Miyagawa, Oct. 6, 5:15 pm, 3-133
  • Maria Zuber, Oct. 14, 5:15 pm, 6-120
  • Paula Hammond, Oct. 28, 5:15 pm, 6-120
  • Will Broadhead, Nov. 10, 5:15 pm, 3-133
  • Robert Langer, Nov. 30, 4:15 pm, 6-120

September 28, 2015

Pace: 3D-printed heart models for surgical planning

Researchers at MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a system that can take MRI scans of a patient’s heart and, in a matter of hours, convert them into a tangible, physical model that surgeons can use to plan surgery. The models could provide a more intuitive way for surgeons to assess and prepare for the anatomical idiosyncrasies of individual patients. This fall, seven cardiac surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital will participate in a study intended to evaluate the models’ usefulness.

Golland and her colleagues will describe their new system at the International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention in October. Danielle Pace, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, is first author on the paper and spearheaded the development of the software that analyzes the MRI scans.

Mehdi Moghari, a physicist at Boston Children’s Hospital, developed new procedures that increase the precision of MRI scans tenfold, and Andrew Powell, a cardiologist at the hospital, leads the project’s clinical work. Read more

September 28, 2015

Water Pollution Control Overview from Len Miller, Sep. 29

Leonard Miller, one of the Co-Founders of the US EPA, will be giving this month’s MIT Water Club Lecture Series talk on Tuesday, September 29, at 4:30pm in 1-150.  The lecture will provide an overview of the historical evolution of the US EPA, and the regulation of wastewater in the United States.  While discussing regulation development from the 60’s until now, relevant policy/engineering issues and some short case histories will be presented.  Not only does Len have extensive experience in government, but also in private practice as one of the leading environmental lawyers in the US.  The lecture is open to everyone, and snacks will be served!  Contact: Photo by Wilfredo Rodríguez

September 25, 2015

New graduate student child care network at MIT launching Jan. 2016

The MIT Work-Life Center, in collaboration with the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE), the Graduate Student Council (GSC), and the Division of Student Life (DSL), will launch a new Family Childcare Network pilot in Eastgate and Westgate campus housing this academic year. The MIT Family Childcare Network will support the training, state licensing, and program operations of child care providers, who will care for children of graduate students in the providers’ licensed homes located within Eastgate and Westgate. The Family Childcare Network is the product of ongoing efforts to support graduate student families and enhance their educational experience at MIT. It will launch as a two-year pilot.

The first phase of the pilot program will involve recruiting caregivers from among graduate student spouses and partners residing in Eastgate and Westgate. Only those spouses and partners eligible to work in the United States may become licensed to provide care in the network. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Office of Early Education and Care (OEEC) will license caregivers who meet the requirements, which focus primarily on home safety but also include some training and caregiving experience. Read more. Photo: Mim Adkins Photography

September 25, 2015

Dr. AnnMaria De Mars: as diverse as tech gets, Sep. 28

An informal discussion with a judo world champion on the psychology of success in the tech industry.

AnnMaria De Mars is the CEO and founder of 7 Generation Games, a startup that develops educational video games in which students learn about math and Native American history. She is also the president of The Julia Group, a consulting firm offering software development for statistical analysis and psychometrics. The mother of four daughters, she was the first American to win the world judo championships. In 2013, she was listed as one of Forbes’ 40 Women to Watch Over 40.

On Monday, September 28 Mars will host an informal discussions in Building 3-270 from 1–2 pm. Light refreshments will be available and it is recommended that you preregister using this form.

September 25, 2015

MIT-Mexico Program alumni launch careers

“In just the past year I have published a book with the housing commission of the Mexican Senate and presented at international urbanism conferences,” says MIT alumna Jody Pollock. “I am not sure I would have been able to have such an impact if I had stayed in the US.” Pollock, who received her Master’s in City Planning in 2013, traveled to Mexico two years ago for a three-month internship and stayed for a career.

As a graduate student at MIT, Pollock interned with Mexico’s federal police through the MIT-Mexico Program, one of the 20 country programs that comprises the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI). In Mexico City, Pollock researched forced internal displacement and, she says, “proposed public policy recommendations in order to address the problem.”

After her internship, Pollock connected with another MIT program that set her up with a position at a housing organization. Pollock is now the senior program manager at Fundación IDEA, a Mexican public policy think tank. “The opportunities for professional development in Mexico are huge,” Pollock says, “and it seems like a very dynamic place to be right now.” She doesn’t attribute her move to Mexico City solely to work, however: “I decided to stay in Mexico because I loved it. I have found a great community of friends here,” Pollock shares.  Read more

September 25, 2015

TPP Pizza Night at Muddy Charles Pub, Sep. 29

Join the Technology and Policy Student Society for our next installation of pizza night!
The feature food will be Pizza! There will be vegetarian options! It will be at the Muddy Charles Pub on Tuesday, September 29 at 5 pm. Co-sponsored by the GSC Funding Board. Open to MIT community. Please contact for more details.

September 24, 2015

Sep. 24: Jim Crow and Segregation Outside of the South

Police shootings and the Black Lives Matter campaign have shone a spotlight on how different the everyday experiences are of white Americans and Americans of color. While much attention has been paid to these seemingly daily occurrences, the historical forces that led to our current situation have been less discussed: Is the de facto segregation that exists in many Northern cities a result of the lack of forced integration of the type that took place in the South? And is the mass incarceration of and police brutality inflicted on black Americans a result of these same forces?  The Communications Forum will be hosting a discussion, “Jim Crow and the Legacy of Segregation Outside of the South,” this Thursday, September 24 at 5 pm, in 3-270.


Melissa Nobles, the Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and Professor of Political Science at MIT

Tracey Meares, the Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law at Yale Law School

Moderator: Seth Mnookin, director of the Communications Forum and the associate director of the Graduate Program of Science Writing at MIT

For more information, please visit this site.  Photo by Tina Leggio

September 24, 2015

Apply for Graduate Student Life Grants before Oct. 16

The Graduate Student Life Grants program is a request-for-proposal process inviting graduate students, spouses, faculty, or staff to submit creative, community building ideas for possible funding.

The ODGE encourages all graduate students to apply for funds–especially in collaboration with other students or student groups. Proposals may address a specific constituency such as families; they may cross departments or focus within a discipline; they may target several residence halls or a variety of student groups. The grant’s purpose should in some way explore the role and relevance of community in creating a more balanced and fulfilling graduate experience.

Previous successful grants include Weekly Wednesdays at the Muddy Charles, Teaching MIT to Code and Collaborate, Science Policy Bootcamp, Ballroom Dance Workshop, and Skydive Saturday.

The application deadline is Friday, October 16, 2015.  Proposal authors will have the opportunity to answer any questions from the selection panel; funds will be released in early December 2015. Please contact us with any questions:

September 24, 2015

Community Fellowship: Institute Community and Equity Office (ICOE)

There is one opening still available in the Graduate Community Fellows program in the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education, as follows:

  • Institute Community and Equity Office

Graduate Community Fellows are a cadre of graduate students who work on projects and assignments that enhance MIT graduate community in unique ways. Fellows receive partial stipend support for the length of their appointment period. Each Fellow reports to a staff member either in the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education or in a partner organization, and focuses on a specific project. Join the fellows program for positions that are fun and rewarding! Please see our web site for position description and an application form. Contact Julie Kukharenko,, with any questions.

September 24, 2015

Botla & Bhatia: More personalized online shopping

All activity on your social media accounts contributes to your “social graph,” which maps your interconnected online relationships, likes, preferred activities, and affinity for certain brands, among other things.

Now MIT spinout Infinite Analytics is leveraging these social graphs, and other sources of data, for very precise recommendation software that better predicts customers’ buying preferences. Consumers get a more personalized online-buying experience, while e-commerce businesses see more profit, the startup says.

The neat trick behind the software — packaged as a plug-in for websites — is breaking down various “data silos,” isolated data that cannot easily be integrated with other data. Basically, the software merges disparate social media, personal, and product information to rapidly build a user profile and match that user with the right product. The algorithm also follows users’ changing tastes.

Think of the software as a digital salesman, says Chief Technology Officer Purushotham Botla SM ’13, who co-founded Infinite Analytics and co-developed the software with Akash Bhatia MBA ’12. A real-world salesperson will ask consumers questions about their background, financial limits, and preferences to find an affordable and relevant product. “In the online world, we try to do that by looking at all these different data sources,” Botla says.  Read more

September 24, 2015

Scott: Code Wars lecture, Sep. 24

This lecture by Felicity Scott on Thursday, September 24 at 6 pm in the Long Lounge (7-429) will address the Open Land communes which emerged in Northern California during the late 1960s, focusing in particular on the escalating “code wars” and attempts to abandon private property rights, normative forms of life, and other trappings of modernity and capitalism elicited from the State.

September 23, 2015

Startup in America: Foreign entrepreneurship in the US, Sep. 25

International students at MIT (more than 40 percent of the graduate student population) face unique challenges in founding companies in the U.S. after graduation. On September 25, 6–7 pm in Stata Center (32-123), a panel of alumni entrepreneurs and experts in this field will share experiences and insight on navigating this complex process. Join the MIT Alumni Association and the Graduate Student Council for this panel discussion on legal options for international entrepreneurs, followed by a networking reception from 7–8 pm in La Sala de Puerto Rico, Stratton Student Center (W20-2nd floor). Register here today!

Alumni and friends of MIT: $10. MIT Students: free


  • Bernat Olle SM ’05, MBA ’07, PhD ’07
  • Perihan Abouzeid MBA ’15
  • Vince Lau
  • Catherine Fazio JD ’93, MBA ’14

Photo by Robert Scoble

September 23, 2015

Horelik: Finding 911 callers instantly

The nation’s 911 dispatch centers aren’t really equipped for the mobile world.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), around 70 percent of 911 calls today are made via mobile phones. Yet when fielding such calls, dispatchers rely on landline-based systems that sometimes fail to pinpoint a mobile caller’s location quickly — or at all — during time-sensitive emergencies. Experts have estimated that 60 percent of 911 calls come through with inaccurate or no location data.

Now RapidSOS, a startup with MIT roots, is gearing up to release a one-touch 911 app that automatically sends location and preset medical data from a smartphone to dispatch centers, with aims of drastically reducing the time it takes first responders to get to a scene.

In that way, RapidSOS acts as a fast “data pipeline” for 911, says Chief Technology Officer Nick Horelik PhD ’15, who co-founded the company and co-developed the app with Michael Martin of Harvard Business School.

This is important, Horelik adds, as smartphone location data are increasingly becoming extremely precise. “Location services will [soon] get down to inches instead of feet,” Horelik says. “We’re providing the pipeline to get that data to dispatchers.” Read more

September 23, 2015

Design Biennial at Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston

The Design Biennial is well underway, with a host art pieces to see in the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. The park itself serves as a stage to highlight the art and enhance the experience for the viewer. Many of the pieces are also interactive. A new mural, Lawrence Weiner’s “A Translation from One Language to Another,” is going up in Dewey Square Park. Permanent installations include Ross Miller’s “Harbor for Sculpture” and the animal sculptures on Jeff Briggs’s Greenway Carousel. The fully functioning carousel is open daily until October 12 and weekends until December 20. Many of the other featured works are leaving in late September or early October.

More information on the Greenway and many of the art exhibits can be found on their site.

Photo by deborahlee713


September 23, 2015

Jherek Bischoff at Lewis Music Library Sep. 24

Bischoff is a composer, producer, performer & film scoring professional from the west coast. Bischoff has served as an arranger, producer and muse to a who’s who of “in the know” creators including internet phenomenon Amanda Palmer, legendary New York musician David Byrne, Australian pop star Missy Higgins and novelist Neil Gaiman.

He will be performing at the Lewis Music Library at 5 pm, Thursday, September 24. Admission is free.

September 22, 2015

CAST Visiting Artists 2015–2016

MIT’s Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) welcomes the following visiting artists to campus in the 2015–2016 academic year. From photographers to filmmakers and architects to musicians, these artists will collaborate with MIT faculty and researchers and present public programs.

CAST Visiting Artists 2015–2016:

  • John Fitzgerald and Matthew Niederhauser, documenting suburbanization across the world and its physical, social, and environmental manifestations
  • Tomás Saraceno, collaborating with Lodovica Illari in MIT Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) for the Aerocene project
  • Keith Ellenbogen, acclaimed underwater photographer and videographer, documenting marine life with a focus on conservation
  • Lara Baladi, internationally recognized multi-disciplinary transmedia artist
  • Karim Ben Khelifa, award-winning photojournalist documenting some of the world’s longest standing conflicts

Visit the website for more information on each artist and tehir upcoming projects and presentations.

September 22, 2015

MSRP Alum: Prof. Asegun Henry at S3TEC Seminar at MIT

Asegun Henry, assistant professor of heat transfer, combustion, and energy systems, at Georgia Tech, and an alumni of the ODGE’s MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP), presented at a recent S3TEC Seminar at MIT about his work in heat transfer, particularly regarding phonon gas models. You can watch his talk here and find out more on his work on his faculty website.

September 22, 2015

Taste of Brazil, Sep. 22

The Graduate Student Council (GSC), MIT-Brazil (MISIT), and the MIT Alumni Association will be sponsoring a kick off for the “Taste of …” dinner series with Taste of Brazil.

Come to Morss Hall Tuesday, September 22 from 5:30–7:00 pm and enjoy several Brazilian dishes and beverages. There will also be information on Brazilian culture and visiting Brazil.

September 21, 2015

Innovation in the Built Environment: Sep. 21 panel on MIT-inspired startups

Technology startups are well known for disrupting and re-imagining the way we shop, share photos, and hail cabs, but what about the built environment? Taking place on Monday, September 21, at 12:30 pm in Long Lounge, 7-429, this panel features four speakers, all MIT alumni, from recent startup ventures that address key issues in building technology in new ways, from an innovative wearable device that adjusts thermal comfort to a community-driven web platform for urban planning discourse. The discussion with include insights from the panelists on both the details of their technological innovations and their experiences in founding and joining startup companies.  The panel will be moderated by Les Norford:

  • Jaime Gagne is the Principal Building Scientist at KGS Buildings, where she manages and develops KGS’s library of fault detection diagnostics for HVAC systems.
  • Sam Shames is co-founder of embr labs, where he is currently Head of Product.
  • David Quinn is a co-founder of coUrbanize, a startup that helps cities and real-estate developers communicate with residents.
  • David Warsinger is co-founder of Coolify, a national-award-winning startup providing cold storage to the developing world.

For more information on this panel, visit this site.

September 21, 2015

Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) International Fellowship Program application due Oct. 8

The Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE) is accepting applications for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) International Student Research Fellowship Program. Students interested should send preliminary application materials directly to the ODGE by 5 pm on Thursday, October 8. MIT is able to submit 7 nominations to HHMI.

HHMI will award three-year fellowships to international predoctoral students studying in the United States who are ineligible for fellowships and training grants through U.S. federal agencies to support years three, four, and five of a Ph.D. program.

Eligible fields include those in the biomedical or related sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, math, computer science, interdisciplinary research at the interface of the physical and biological sciences, among others.

Each fellow will receive an annual stipend of $30,000, an educational allowance of $3,000, and an annual institutional allowance of $10,000 for tuition. MIT is able to nominate 7 students for this fellowship.

More information is available on HHMI’s website.

Preliminary applications must be submitted electronically as a single consolidated PDF file to by 5pm on Thursday, October 8 for review by an internal MIT faculty committee.

Please feel free to contact Scott Tirrell, Manager of Graduate Fellowships in the ODGE with any questions by emailing or calling 617-324-7021.

September 21, 2015

Matus: Studying human waste to examine community health

Matus is a fourth-year PhD student in computational and systems biology at MIT. She is part of a team collecting samples of sewage to understand community health and behavior.

The project that Matus is now involved in has two goals: collecting sewage samples from manholes around Cambridge and Boston, and collecting stool samples from individuals. Though both have the same aim — to use human waste as a resource for understanding health — one is firmly entrenched in community health, while the other focuses on individuals’ health.

“I want to design systems to tackle problems that have real people on the other end of them,” says Matus. She expects that her desire to guide her experiments with real-world needs will nudge her toward a career in industry after she completes her PhD.

Read the full article about Matus and her research.

September 21, 2015

MindHandHeart Innovation Fund, application cycle closes Sep. 30

The MindHandHeart Innovation Fund seeks to leverage the enthusiasm and problem-solving skills of the MIT community to find new and inventive ways of increasing awareness about mental health, building communities of support, and promoting life and wellness skills. The Fund offers grants of up to $10,000 to invest in cutting-edge ideas developed by MIT’s faculty, students, and staff offering  grassroots solutions to promote mental health and well-being within the MIT community or, potentially, beyond.

The criteria for funding are simply that the goals of the project align with the MindHandHeart Initiative and that the project has a benefit to the MIT community.

The first application cycle closes at midnight on September 30. Apply online.

The MindHandHeart Initiative was launched this September to tap into MIT’s community spirit and innovative problem-solving skills, to enhance mental health and well-being at MIT. Students, faculty, staff, and health and wellness experts are collaborating in several working groups to launch promising new efforts and coordinate existing support services. Over time, MindHandHeart hopes to help members of our community feel more comfortable asking for help, and overall, to build a healthier, stronger community.