News & Video

August 29, 2014

Davis and Wadhwa: Algorithm to extract audio from visual information

Grad students Abe Davis (EECS) and Neal Wadhwa (18) and researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass.

In other experiments, they extracted useful audio signals from videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and even the leaves of a potted plant. The researchers will present their findings in a paper at this year’s Siggraph, the premier computer graphics conference. “When sound hits an object, it causes the object to vibrate,” says Abe Davis, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and first author on the new paper. “The motion of this vibration creates a very subtle visual signal that’s usually invisible to the naked eye. People didn’t realize that this information was there.” Continue reading at MIT News. Photo by Tess Watson

August 29, 2014

Fun with flower arranging Aug. 31

Join Westgate residents on August 31 at 2pm to make a flower arrangement! No experience necessary; children 5 years old and up are welcome to participate. Participants will meet in the Westgate BBQ Area, or Westgate Lounge in case of rain. Register here to attend. Contact sarah.andries@hotmail.com with any questions.

August 28, 2014

Krippendorf: Co-founder of the world’s best cookie jar

You shouldn’t feel bad about your lack of self-control. Willpower fatigue—or the inability to make a lot of good decisions in a row—is well documented by social scientists. But that still doesn’t make it a good excuse for sucking down cookie number 14 of the day. Luckily, David Krippendorf, MIT MBA grad, understands your inner fat-kid desires. He’s the creator of the Kitchen Safe, a locking, time-release cookie jar that solves the perennial problem of too many cookies in the kitchen.

The plastic container has a lid with a programmable timer. You tell it when to re-open and it goes to work keeping whatever you crave out of reach. Krippendorf says that there’s no way to circumvent the timer once it’s set—even taking out the batteries will only freeze it in place. If you really need to get into the bin, your best bet is channeling hangry Godzilla and stomping it to smithereens. Continue reading on Outside Online.

August 28, 2014

The Afterbirth and the Academy

When people asked me what I expected from childbirth, I told them that I thought it would be bloody and painful. And it was. But what nobody tells you about having a baby is that the delivery may be the easiest part. Contrary to popular belief, what comes afterward isn’t instant bliss; the first weeks and months of parenthood are largely uncharted territory for many new parents. They’re often just as difficult and terrifying as labor and delivery themselves, if not more so.

As a pregnant graduate student, I did what most parents-to-be do—I took a prenatal class, made a baby registry, and tried to cram in as much work as possible before the big day. Despite all that, I wasn’t nearly prepared for the reality of daily life with a baby. I hadn’t considered how to balance the challenges of nursing with the demands of my graduate-student life, not to mention the feelings of confusion and exhaustion that babies often bring. Continue reading on Vitae.

 

August 27, 2014

Pulido: Independent director for Bankinter

The Board of Directors of Bankinter will appoint MIT alumna Maria Teresa Pulido to the Director of Corporate Strategy at Ferrovial to fill the existing vacancy until the date in the board of management of the bank, as reported by the company. Bankinter knew Pulido was fit for the postition. She received a polished degree in Economics from Columbia University and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT and has over twenty years of professional experience in strategic consulting and corporate and private banking (Citi and Deutsche Bank). Pulido also has experience with business development projects, strategy, organization, and change management. Continue reading on abc.es.

August 27, 2014

MIT Fall Career Fair Sep. 19

On Friday, September 19th, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, 400 companies will be participating in the annual MIT Fall Career Fair. The fair will be located on the first and second floors of the Johnson Athletics Center (Building W34) and will only be open to MIT students and alumni. If you’re looking for exposure to companies in your field or seeking a full time job or summer internship, then make sure to register on the Career Fair website. Registered participants will have access to resume, CV, and networking tips and the career week schedule of networking events prior to the Career Fair. Once registered, students will be able to upload their resumes and browse the 400+ companies at fair.

August 27, 2014

ODGE staff members lend a hand

On July 30th, MIT hosted CityDay, an annual one-day volunteer opportunity for MIT faculty. The Public Service Center secured service placements for MIT faculty who registered for the CityDays campaign, provided the staff with logistical support, and sponsored a celebratory BBQ for those who completed their service and returned to campus. ODGE staff members assisted the Heading Home Inc. program, an organization which provides support to formerly homeless or low-income families in and and around the Boston community. The service also bestows emergency, transitional and permanent housing for the homeless in order to help individuals “get back on track” and restore and develop stability in their lives. Click “more” for images from the event.

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August 26, 2014

Winter GEARs technology for developing markets

Several years ago, as a graduate student at MIT, Amos Winter spent a summer in Tanzania surveying wheelchair technology. What he found was a disconnect between products and the lives of their customers. “You had normal wheelchairs that worked fine indoors but were tough to take off-road, and you had hand-powered tricycles that worked pretty well on smooth terrain over long distances, but were difficult to manage off-road and way too big to use indoors,” Winter says. “I saw a need for a product that could go fast and efficiently on rough terrain, but was still small enough to use indoors.” Continue reading this article on MIT News.

August 26, 2014

Fall 2014: 6.811, Principles and Practice of Assistive Technology (PPAT)

Principles and Practice of Assistive Technology (PPAT) or 6.811 is a popular course

in which small teams of students work with a person with a disability in the Cambridge area and design a device, app, or other solution that allows them to live more independently. The course was developed by Professor Seth Teller who has instructed PPAT for the past three years. This fall, Professor Rob Miller will oversee PPAT with Grace Teo and William Li as co-instructors. A handful of PPAT alumni will be back in class to assist as TAs and laboratory assistants. To learn more about the course and curriculum visit MIT CSAIL.

August 26, 2014

Israeli Dancing Aug. 27

The MIT Folk Dancing Club and Hillel MIT are planning an night filled with Israeli Dancing for Wednesday, August 27th, to take place 32-044, the Stata Center basement. Teaching and beginner dances will start at 8:00 pm, followed by open requests until 11:00 pm+. Kosher snacks will be provided. The event is free for all MIT students. Don’t miss out on the fun! The event begins at 8:00 pm and will end at 11:30 pm. Email fdc-request@mit.edu with any questions. Photo by Embassy Tel Aviv

August 25, 2014

Master of Science in Management Studies program celebrates five-year anniversary

In 2009, the Master of Science in Management Studies degree program debuted at MIT Sloan. Five years in, the program is now an integral part of the school’s portfolio. Open to students who have received or are working toward an MBA or a comparable master’s degree program at an institution abroad, the intensive, customizable, nine-month program is designed for students from outside the United States who want to deepen their knowledge of management education. They spend a year at MIT Sloan pursuing a master’s degree in management studies, and ultimately graduate with a Master of Science degree from MIT in two semesters. The average MSMS student is similar to a second-year MIT Sloan MBA student, and has approximately 4.5 years of work experience and, on average, is about 28 years old. Continue reading about this program on the MIT Sloan Newsroom.

August 25, 2014

The Professor Is In: I Didn’t Get the Job. Can I Ask Why?

Well, I didn’t get the job. I thought the campus visit was great, but in the end the offer went to someone else. Can I contact the department to find out why?

If you made it to the campus-visit stage, then yes, in my opinion, you can contact the search-committee chair or department chair and ask for some feedback on your candidacy. But there’s a caveat: You have to stick to general, non-desperate sorts of questions. Questions like: “I would like to ask if you can provide any feedback on my materials or visit that would provide insight as I move forward in my job search.” Continue reading this article on Vitae.

August 25, 2014

Join the GSC Green Team

Have you seen the GSC Green Team in snazzy shirts at brunch? Become a member to get your own shirt, work with event organizers to help make more sustainable events, and educate attendees on how to do their part. Other benefits include eating first, meeting new people, and helping promote sustainability across campus! If interested, contact gsc-sustainability@mit.edu for more information or to join.

August 22, 2014

Bakaya: What you miss with an online engineering masters

When MIT MBA student Priyanka Bakaya sat in on her chemical engineering friend’s class on Energy Ventures, a light bulb went off. She was finally able to see a path towards her entrepreneurship. Remembering her family friend Percy Kean’s invention for depolymerization, she signed into the program and started her own company. This type of connection would not have been possible taking a masters online. There is no easy way to “sit-in” on a class online like Bakaya did in real life. Typically everything is password protected and gated within online classrooms. Without coming to class, her first PK Clean depolymerisation plant in Salt Lake City might have remained a dream. To continue reading visit engineering.com.

August 22, 2014

Community conversation on issues raised in Ferguson today

Institute Community and Equity Officer Edmund Bertschinger invites MIT community members and alumni to participate in a gathering today, August 22 from noon to 3 pm in the Bush Room 10-105. It will be an opportunity to share thoughts and feelings with each other on the issues raised in Ferguson, MO. His hope is that this gathering will then spur each of us to continue the conversations in our own departments, small groups, homes and neighborhoods. Now, more than ever, is the time to come together as a caring community in solidarity and peace. This is an MIT-only event.

Noon – 12:30 pm
Refreshments/water provided or bring your own lunch

12:30 pm – 12:45 pm
Welcome – Ed Bertschinger, Institute Community and Equity Officer
Words of inspiration – Robert Randolph, MIT Chaplain

12:45 pm – 1:15 pm
Viewing of selected videos
Affinity groups announcements

1:15 pm – 1:45 pm
Guest Speaker – Malia Lazu, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Future Boston Alliance
MIT Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) Mel King Community Fellow, Class of 2011

1:45 pm – 3:00 pm
Facilitated conversations

August 21, 2014

MIT’s Open Style Lab featured on NECN

Open Style Lab’s founder, Grace Teo, was recently featured on the New England Cable News (NECN) morning newsroom and will soon be interviewed on WBNW-AM’s Money Matters radio show. Open Style Lab (OSL) is a 10-week program based at MIT consisting of student engineers, designers and occupational therapists to create clothing for people with disabilities which limit their clothing choice. This is Open Style Lab’s first year and the lab has 24 students and 8 clients this summer. Most of the engineers are from MIT, but the designers and occupational therapists are from other schools, such as, RISD, BU, Harvard, Tufts, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Each client is teamed up with an engineer, designer and occupational therapist, and has a unique clothing challenges relating to the disabilities which ranged from arthritis and paraplegia, to sensory processing disorder and amputations.

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August 21, 2014

Graduate Hillel Shabbat Dinner Aug. 22

Enjoy a delicious Shabbat dinner with fellow MIT grad students on Friday, August 22nd, at 7:30 pm. RSVP to the event by sending an email to Isaac Oderberg at oderberg@mit.edu. The dinner will take place in the Sidney-Pacific Multipurpose Room. Photo by Julie.

August 20, 2014

Pandit, co-founder of KPIT, on his way to owning billion dollar business

In the late 1980s, three guys from an accounting firm in Pune came up with the idea of offering IT services knowing they were entering uncharted territory. Two were accountants – Ravi Pandit, graduate of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Kishor Patil–teamed with an in-house tech expert, Shirish Patwardhan. During this time, personal computers were still getting popularized, and Indian businesses were new to computers in general. And the trio themselves were having to reorient–but they had an edge. All were part of Pandit’s father’s accounting firm, Kirtane & Pandit, which had a list of well-established clients. So the first 50 or 60 customers for the new IT company, christened KPIT, came from the accounting firm.

The company, founded in 1990, soon evolved into one of the fastest-growing IT enterprises in the country. Revenues went from $10 million in 2002 to $100 million in 2007 to $444 million in 2014. Profits have more than tripled to $42 million in the last seven years. This performance has earned it a spot on the Best Under A Billion list for the second straight year. Continue reading on Forbes.

August 20, 2014

Report of Institute-wide Task Force offers recommendations to help MIT evolve for a new world

The MIT education of the future is likely to be more global in its orientation and engagement, more modular and flexible in its offerings, and more open to experiments with new modes of learning. Those are some themes of the 16 recommendations contained in the final report of the Institute-Wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education, convened 18 months ago by President L. Rafael Reif to envision the MIT of 2020 and beyond.

Reif released the Task Force’s final report today with a letter to the MIT community, saying the occasion “marks the beginning of an exciting new period of educational experimentation at MIT.” The report’s recommendations aim to lay the groundwork for MIT to reinvent education for future generations of learners both on its campus and beyond. Continue reading at MIT News.

August 19, 2014

Levine’s algorithm to collect targeted data

Much artificial-intelligence research addresses the problem of making predictions based on large data sets. An obvious example is the recommendation engines at retail sites like Amazon and Netflix. But some types of data are harder to collect than online click histories —information about geological formations thousands of feet underground, for instance. And in other applications — such as trying to predict the path of a storm — there may just not be enough time to crunch all the available data. Dan Levine, an MIT graduate student in aeronautics and astronautics, and his advisor, Jonathan How, the Richard Cockburn Maclaurin Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, have developed a new technique that could help with both problems. Continue reading about his research on MIT News.

August 19, 2014

Submit your questions to Dear Kate

Each month, the GWAMIT mentors answer questions anonymously posed by students on Dear Kate, the GWAMIT Mentoring Committee’s advice blog. Questions are now being accepted for next month’s edition. Submit yours for next month’s edition! If your question is chosen, it will be submitted to a panel of GWAMIT mentors and their replies will be featured in the GWAMIT blog. The namesake of the Dear Kate advice column is Katharine McCormick, a 1904 graduate from MIT. She was also a suffragist and a philanthropist. GWAMIT hopes to continue her legacy and dedication to the advancement of women through this advice column. Photo by Monty

August 18, 2014

Liao’s new theory: magnets may act as wireless cooling agents

The magnets cluttering the face of your refrigerator may one day be used as cooling agents, according to a new theory formulated by MIT researchers.

The theory describes the motion of magnons — quasi-particles in magnets that are collective rotations of magnetic moments, or “spins.” In addition to the magnetic moments, magnons also conduct heat; from their equations, the MIT researchers found that when exposed to a magnetic field gradient, magnons may be driven to move from one end of a magnet to another, carrying heat with them and producing a cooling effect.

“You can pump heat from one side to the other, so you can essentially use a magnet as a refrigerator,” says Bolin Liao, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. “You can envision wireless cooling where you apply a magnetic field to a magnet one or two meters away to, say, cool your laptop.” Continue reading about his research on MIT News.

August 18, 2014

Sharing the “How” as well as the “What” of MIT Education

What really goes on behind the scenes in designing a course at MIT? What considerations underlie the multitude of decisions leading to the material presented on OCW (OpenCourseWare) course pages? What do MIT faculty say about what worked and what didn’t? OCW has initiated a new venture designed to pull back the curtain on these issues. Named OCW Educator, it is explicitly addressed to educators, reaching out to our colleagues at MIT and across the world to share what we can about teaching the courses we teach. Learn more about the MIT OpenCourseWare’s new project on MIT Faculty Newsletter. Photo by Michael Coghlan 

August 18, 2014

Mentor an International Graduate Student

Have you ever wanted to help welcome a new international graduate student to MIT? If so, you can become a mentor for the International Graduate Student Mentorship Program (IGSMP). As a mentor you will guide your mentee through their first year at MIT and help them navigate life in a new environment. Information you provide in the google doc signup form will help the GSC match you to a mentee according to national/regional origins or similar interests. Photo by Kaht

August 15, 2014

Alumnus Roush serves as the Knight Science Journalism director this academic year

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, the Kenan Sahin Dean of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), has announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum will join MIT in 2015 as the director of Knight Science Journalism at MIT, a fellowship program that enables world-class journalists to spend a year at MIT studying everything from science, technology, and engineering to history of science, literature, policy, and political science.

Until then, MIT’s Knight Science Journalism program will be led by Wade Roush, former editor-at-large at the online innovation news service Xconomy. His appointment as acting director is effective July 1, 2014. Roush is a PhD graduate of the MIT-SHASS Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), in which the Knight program resides. “It’s an incredible honor to be asked to lead the fellowship program for the coming year, especially given my historical connections to MIT through STS and founding Knight program director Victor McElheny, a longtime mentor and friend,” Roush says. “The Knight fellowships are invaluable to the media business because there’s no better opportunity for journalists covering science, technology, health, and the environment to devote a year to deep learning and professional renewal.” Learn about MIT’s Knight Science Journalism on MIT News.

August 15, 2014

Things you should know before publishing a book

A few years ago I was desperately seeking a book contract. Things weren’t going well on the project I’d spent years working on, and I wanted a quick fix. In a frenzy I put together a crappy proposal for an advice book for graduate students and professors on writing and publishing and sent it to an editor I didn’t know at Harvard University Press. Five days later, Elizabeth Knoll responded by telling me she was already publishing a how-to-write-better book for academics, Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword (it’s excellent). Then she conveyed in the kindest way something I already knew: What I had proposed wasn’t a book. I had merely submitted a bunch of prose framing a table of contents for a collection of my Chronicle columns. She suggested we brainstorm an idea for a real book. Continue reading this article on The Chronicle of Higher Education.

August 15, 2014

Free weekly yoga and meditation on Saturdays

Join the Art of Living at MIT every Saturday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm for some fun, relaxing yoga and meditation. These sessions are held year-round in 24-121 and feature group dance warmups, sun salutations, the lotus yoga sequence, pranayama, and meditation. In addition, the group participates in fun mindfulness games on days prior to the ‘YesPlus’ happiness workshops. If interested, please RSVP online or contact artofliving-officers@mit.edu with any questions. Photo by Tucker Sherman.

August 15, 2014

Indian Independence Day Celebrations Aug. 16

MIT Sangam is inviting the MIT student body to join them in celebrating the Indian Independence Day on Saturday, August 16th, beginning at 11:30 am. Meet the organization at 11:30 am at the Student Center steps for the flag hoisting ceremony. Free lunch and a discussion led by the Association for India’s Development (AID-MIT) will follow afterwards at 12:00 pm at 1-190. If interested, signup for the event and and contact MIT Sangam at sangam-exec@mit.edu with any questions. Photo by T. A Joseph.

August 14, 2014

El-Zanfaly studies learning through making — with one eye on her native Egypt

After taking Design and Computation Group and Neil Gershenfeld’s class on rapid prototyping, MAS.863 (How to Make (Almost) Anything) in 2010, Dina El-Zanfaly felt inspired. “That class (MAS.863) changed my whole life,” El-Zanfaly says. “Every week you learn a new skill and you use another machine.” El-Zanfaly realized the value of her new skill set, but also wished she and other design-minded young people in her home country could have access to laser cutters, 3-D printers, and CNC (computer numeric control) mills. So after the class was finished, she approached Gershenfeld and asked him, “Why don’t we have this in Egypt?” El-Zanfaly got to work, and by early 2012, with help and funding from several aspiring Egyptians, Fab Lab Egypt became the first fabrication lab in the Middle East. Read more about El-Zanfaly’s Fab Lab and other lab startups at MIT News.

August 14, 2014

Three-tiered Conflict Management Training by Conflict Resolution@MIT Aug. 27

Want more ease in your interactions with other people or more confidence in dealing with labmates, roommates, or authority figures? Would you like to learn why others behave the way they do (or even why *you* behave the way you do)? Due to overwhelming demand, the Three-Tier Conflict Management Training by Conflict Resolution@MIT is being piloted over the course of the fall semester this year! With skills modules in negotiation, reflective listening, dealing with emotions in difficult conversations, behavior change, and inter-cultural communication – among others – you’ll come away with plenty of tools to help you manage the challenges in your life and work.

The training is tiered at 16-hour, 32-hour, and 40-hour levels, and will take place over the course of the fall semester. The dates, times, and tier descriptions are as follows. Read more

August 14, 2014

GSC Summer Harbor Islands Day Trip Aug. 16

Spend the day outdoors and enjoy the harbor islands with your fellow grad students on a day trip planed by the GSC activities co-chairs. You’ll take ferry rides to George’s Island and Spectacle Island and get to explore the areas. Barbecue and games will be provided, and the event is also opened to families! The day trip will take place on Saturday, August 16th, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Students need to meet at Long Wharf by 9:30 am that morning. Tickets go on sale soon, so sign up to be notified when ticket sale information becomes available. Email gsc-ac@mit.edu if you have any concerns or would like more information. Photo by Beverley Goodwin

August 14, 2014

MITaly Ferragosto BBQ Aug. 15

The GSC Funding Board is sponsoring a BBQ in celebration of Ferragosto, a traditional Italian holiday. The BBW will take place on Friday, August 15th, starting at 5:00 pm at the Tang BBQ pits.  On Ferragosto, people gather together on the beach, grill food, and play soccer and volleyball on the sand. The Mitaly organization will be recreating that same atmosphere outside of Tang for the evening. Contact mitalyboard@mit.edu if you would like more information about the event. Photo by Beniamino Baj

August 13, 2014

Six MIT grad students awarded Fulbright grants

Nine MIT students and alumni recently won U.S. Student Fulbright grants for the upcoming academic year which are to be used for research programs or academic/humanitarian projects the student wishes to pursue. The Fulbright Program is an educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government to help increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the U.S. and other countries. Fulbright applicants go through a holistic selection process where their academic or professional achievement are considered, as well as leadership potential in their field of study. Read more

August 13, 2014

The worst advice grad students get

During my last year of grad school I participated in a professional-development workshop on crafting academic book proposals with A Real Editor. As long as we submitted our proposals in advance, she’d read them and offer a critique. We were all very excited—and scared. If she liked our work, we could’ve had an “in” at one of the best presses around; if she didn’t, it could’ve meant a pass from the press for years to come. Continue reading this article on Vitae.

August 13, 2014

Torah & Tonics Aug. 14

The Graduate Hillel will be sponsoring a dinner and Torah study on Thursday, August 14th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the Sidney-Pacific courtyard. Enjoy some grilled food and listen and take part in a discussion with guest speaker, Rabbi Fisher, as he talks about his studies in Israel these past few weeks. For more information about the event email grad-hillel-admin@mit.edu. Photo by Michael Maslin

August 12, 2014

Wu’s wrist-mounted device gives you two extra robotic fingers

Harry Asada, the Ford Professor of Engineering in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and graduate student Faye Wu recently presented a paper on a robot that enhances the grasping motion of the human hand at the Robotics: Science and Systems conference in Berkeley, Calif. The robot, which the researchers have dubbed “supernumerary robotic fingers,” consists of actuators linked together to exert forces as strong as those of human fingers during a grasping motion. The device, worn around one’s wrist, works essentially like two extra fingers adjacent to the pinky and thumb. A novel control algorithm enables it to move in sync with the wearer’s fingers to grasp objects of various shapes and sizes. Wearing the robot, a user could use one hand to, for instance, hold the base of a bottle while twisting off its cap. Learn more about Wu’s research at MIT News.

August 12, 2014

ASML Wilton Scholarship: Apply by Aug. 14

The ASML Wilton Technology Scholarship is merit-based and annually supports talented individuals who have completed the Bachelor of Science program from a recognized US college or university in the Northeast, and who are further motivated to pursue a 2 years full time Master of Science degree in the technical and scientific disciplines (listed below) at a recognized university (anywhere in the US).

The ASML Wilton scholarship will provide approximately $10,000 per year – paid in installments and upon receipt of eligible expense and academic performance documentation.  Continued funding will be dependent on continued academic performance for up to 2 consecutive years during the MSc program. Students who receive a scholarship are not obliged to work at ASML after graduating.  They do, however, want to get to know you and give you the opportunity to get to know them during the scholarship period.  They will include other support like a personal mentor who shares his/her technical knowledge and experiences with you, and who introduces you to the latest R&D activities as well as a network of accomplished people in this field.  They will also invite you to visit their site and meet with members of their team.

Read more

August 12, 2014

On ‘Poor Husbands’ and Two-Body Problems

In the fall of 2008, I had a campus interview for a tenure-track position in the religious-studies department of a flagship state university. At lunch with faculty members, the chair, and the dean, I made harmless small talk. Harmless, that is, until, during a lull in the conversation, and female instructor asked: If you take the job, what would your poor husband do? Everyone at the table turned to look at me. Lunch came to a screeching halt. “My poor husband,” I responded, “will just have to figure it out.”Some folks chuckled; others looked away. The chair apologized profusely after lunch for such an inappropriate (and illegal) question. He informed me that the offending instructor did not represent the department, and he assured me that my marital status had no impact on my candidacy.

I didn’t get the job. During the rejection phone call, the chair told me that I had impressed the department; they just wanted to go in a different direction. I couldn’t help but wonder if the mention of my husband had affected the search committee’s direction. Did the careless mention of my marriage plant doubts about whether I would take a position if offered? Continue reading on Vitae.

August 12, 2014

GSC BBQ hosted by GAME Aug. 12

The Graduate Association of Mechanical Engineers (GAME) organization will be hosting a BBQ on August 12th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Kresge Pits. Burgers, hot dogs, sodas, chips, and juice will be provided! Join in on the good company and email misava@mit.edu if you would like to learn more about the event. Photo by Luke Jones

August 11, 2014

Perry and Ousterhout develop new system to reduce data-transmission delays

In August, grad students Jonathan Perry and Amy Ousterhout will be attending the annual conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication. The MIT researcher team will present a new network-management system that, in experiments, reduced the average queue length of routers in a Facebook data center by 99.6 percent — virtually doing away with queues. When network traffic was heavy, the average latency — the delay between the request for an item of information and its arrival — shrank nearly as much, from 3.56 microseconds to 0.23 microseconds.

Like the Internet, most data centers use decentralized communication protocols: Each node in the network decides, based on its own limited observations, how rapidly to send data and which adjacent node to send it to. Decentralized protocols have the advantage of an ability to handle communication over large networks with little administrative oversight. Continue reading at MIT News.

 

 

August 11, 2014

Apply to attend Global Young Scientists Summit by Sep. 22 (deadline extended)

MIT will nominate a total of five participants made up of 3 PhD students and 2 postdocs to attend the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Singapore International Summit: “Global Young Scientists Summit @ One-North: An International Meeting of Bright Young Researchers, Nobel Laureates and Eminent Scientific Leaders” on January 18-23, 2015 in Singapore. The nomination process is being coordinated by the Office of the Vice President for Research (for postdocs) and the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (for graduate students).

NRF will cover all local expenses only; participants or their research advisers are responsible for airfare. ODGE will provide one coach class round trip airline ticket for the top graduate student applicant.

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August 11, 2014

Mega Muddy Monday Aug. 11

The MechE and Chemistry departments are hosting a dinner at the Muddy Charles on Monday, August 11th at 5:30 pm. Food and drinks will be available. Summer’s almost over, so take a break from your research, satisfy your hunger, and meet new people after a long day of working in the lab. Email snnagel@mit.edu if you have any questions. Photo by Frank Hebbert

August 8, 2014

Van Lehn and scientists explain how gold nanoparticles deliver drugs

A special class of tiny gold particles can easily slip through cell membranes, making them good candidates to deliver drugs directly to target cells. A new study from MIT materials scientists reveals that these nanoparticles enter cells by taking advantage of a route normally used in vesicle-vesicle fusion, a crucial process that allows signal transmission between neurons. In the July 21 issue of Nature Communications, the researchers describe in detail the mechanism by which these nanoparticles are able to fuse with a membrane. The findings suggest possible strategies for designing nanoparticles — made from gold or other materials — that could get into cells even more easily.

“We’ve identified a type of mechanism that might be more prevalent than is currently known,” says Reid Van Lehn, an MIT graduate student in materials science and engineering and one of the paper’s lead authors. “By identifying this pathway for the first time it also suggests not only how to engineer this particular class of nanoparticles, but that this pathway might be active in other systems as well.” Continue reading about the research at MIT News.

August 8, 2014

What Mentors Often Miss

Two ma­jor ingredients in men­tor­ing are of­ten left out of ac­a­dem­ic and pro­fes­sion­al-de­vel­op­ment di­a­logues on the sub­ject. One is a sim­ple yet nov­el ap­proach: Care. Professors should deep­ly care for those they men­tor. Be­come a friend. Cer­tain­ly not the most schol­ar­ly of per­spec­tives, au­then­ti­cal­ly car­ing for a men­tee mat­ters more than any­thing else be­cause it al­lows both par­ties to sus­tain a re­la­tion­ship be­yond what’s mu­tu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial. And I don’t mean car­ing in the very dis­tant, arm’s-length (and dare I say, dis­in­gen­u­ous?) way all pro­fes­sors “care” for our stu­dents. The kind of car­ing nec­es­sary for a suc­cess­ful men­tor­ing re­la­tion­ship re­quires an emo­tion­al in­vest­ment not just in the ac­a­dem­ic jour­ney of the stu­dent but also in the per­son­al one. We must go be­yond the role of teach­er while not ab­di­cat­ing that role, ei­ther. Continue reading on the Chronicle of Higher Education.

August 8, 2014

Singapore’s National Day Celebration Aug. 9

The MIT Singapore Students Society (MITSSS) will be hosting Singapore’s National Day Celebration on Saturday, August 9th, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Singaporean food and drinks will be provided, so spend Saturday evening trying out new ethnic entrees, meeting new people, and celebrating with MITSSS. The event will be located in ‘The Warehouse’ (NW30) in the Colbert Room. Contact mitsss-com@mit.edu if you have further questions about the event. Photo by avlxyz

August 7, 2014

Elitzer founds MIT Bitcoin Club and kickstarts bitcoin interest at business schools worldwide

An MBA student at MIT Sloan School of Management helped kick-start a bitcoin storm at business schools across the globe. Dan Elitzer, founder and president of the MIT Bitcoin Club, along with sophomore Jeremy Rubin, raised $500,000 for a project to distribute $100 in bitcoin to every undergraduate student at MIT this fall. Plans for the MIT Bitcoin Project involve a range of activities – including working with professors and researchers to study how students use the bitcoin they will receive, as well as spurring academic and entrepreneurial activity within the university in this burgeoning field. Continue reading about Elitzer and bitcoin on BusinessBecause.

August 7, 2014

Random Reflections on Getting Published

At least a third of the papers I’ve written were nixed by my first-choice venues, and I had to submit various papers to multiple journals before they found a home. In one recent case, it took two years, four journals, and 16 extraordinarily polarized reviews before my manuscript saw the light of day. I got feedback ranging from “The tone of the article reveals one of the most dramatic lack of even-handedness in its presentation of arguments that I have read in my entire career” to “This is a near-perfect essay—clear, informative, balanced, and timely.” As these quotes illustrate, there aren’t any foolproof techniques, primarily because reviewers often disagree on what a good paper actually looks like. Now that we’re totally clear on what I don’t know, here are several things I do know. Continue reading on Vitae. Photo by LCC

August 7, 2014

MIT Water Club Summer BBQ Aug. 8

If you’re interested in learning more about the MIT Water Club and want to meet individuals in the Boston water sector from industry, policy, and academia then celebrate summer by barbecuing with the MIT Water Club. At the event, you can network, meet new friends and colleagues, and enjoy food from the grill in the close proximity to our own Charles River. All are welcome. The event will take place on August 8th from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and is sponsored by the Graduate Student Council and the MIT Water Club. Photo by Jun Seita.

August 6, 2014

Hi-Story sharing and discussion on “business and knowledge” Aug. 9

Three entrepreneurs, including Chinese famous entrepreneur Yue Yuan, will be here at MIT to share their stories and discuss their experience with “business and knowledge.” Attendees will be allowed to ask the speakers questions and join in their discussions. The first 20 people to register will be guaranteed to attend, so register by August 6th if you’re interested. The event will take place on Saturday, August 9th, from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm and will be held in 1-246. Email tailin@mit.edu if you have any questions concerning the event. Photo by velkr0

August 6, 2014

Alumna Liu, founding partner in Procyon Ventures

In a matter of days, two new early-stage venture firms announced they’re making moves to the Boston-Cambridge area. The first, Procyon Ventures, has a founding partner from MIT Sloan and plans to pour money into data and analytics. A twenty-something self-proclaimed “investor by accident,Millie Liu graduated from MIT’s School of Management in 2012, and was previously working on an algorithm startup called Twithinks. But what started as a conversation with Chinese investors about an investment in her company turned into a new venture fund, designed in part to help said investors get access to other early-stage stage startups cropping up in the U.S. tech scenes, Liu told BetaBoston. Continue reading about Liu’s company on BostonInno.

August 6, 2014

MIT Grad Life Hackathon Aug. 8

What would you build if you had 24 hours? The MIT GSC is hosting a hackathon from Friday, August 8th, at 8:00 pm to Saturday, August 9th, at 8:00 pm. The coding contest will take place in the Sidney Pacific Multipurpose Room and food a drinks will be available throughout the 24 hours. The event will give students an opportunity to network and win prizes! Register at s-p.mit.edu/hackathon if interested and email sp-vp-info@mit.edu if you have any questions regarding the event. Photo by Michael Himbeault

August 6, 2014

Karaoke at the Thirsty Ear Pub Aug. 7

Serenade your friends and sing like a rock star at the Thirsty Ear Pub on Thursday, August 7th! The event will begin at 9:00 pm and a 21+ I.D. and MIT photo ID are required for entry. Karaoke night is free and only open to MIT. Email ear-info@mit.edu for more information.  Photo by Ed Schipul  

 

August 5, 2014

Preston gets a charge out of water droplets

Last year, MIT researchers discovered that when water droplets spontaneously jump away from superhydrophobic surfaces during condensation, they can gain electric charge in the process. The team consists of postdoc Nenad Milikov, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Evelyn Wang, former postdoc Ryan Enright, and MIT graduate Daniel Preston. Now, the researchers have demonstrated that this process can generate small amounts of electricity that might be used to power electronic devices. This approach could lead to devices to charge cellphones or other electronics using just the humidity in the air. As a side benefit, the system could also produce clean water. Learn more about the project on MIT News

August 5, 2014

Women In Bio – Greater Boston Keynote Event Aug. 7

On August 7thMichelle Dipp, Co-Founder and CEO of OvaScience, will speak about her path to becoming one of the only women CEOs in the biotech/pharma industry for the Wonmen in Bio (WIB). A networking reception on the beautiful outdoor patio at Wolf, Greenfield and Sacks will follow. OvaScience is a global life science company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of new fertility treatments. Prior to founding OvaScience, Dr. Michelle Dipp held research and executive positions at Sirtris Pharma and GlaxoSmithKline. She has also worked in health care private equity at The Wellcome Trust in London. Michelle is also a Founder and Partner of Longwood Fund, which founds and invests in healthcare companies. Registration is required, so if you’re interested be sure to register on WIB by August 6th.  Photo by Christopher Michel

August 5, 2014

Service Outing with the Greater Boston Food Bank Aug. 6

Help end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts by sorting donated food on a service outing with the Graduate Association of Mechanical Engineers (GAME)! On Wednesday, August 6th at 5:00 pm, join the group leaving from 77 Mass Ave to the Greater Boston Food Bank at 70 S. Bay Ave in Boston. T/MBTA transportation will be provided for those who travel with the group, and there will be a pizza dinner provided during a brief orientation. While all grad students are welcome, there are limited spots, so sign up online or contact jsircar@mit.edu with any questions. This event is funded by the GSC-PSC Service Fund.

August 4, 2014

Cheng works on phase-changing robots

Anette Hosoi, a professor of mechanical engineering and applied mathematics at MIT, and her former graduate student Nadia Cheng, alongside researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and Stony Brook University are currently in the works of building a robot that can phase-change. Designed with wax and foam, robots would be capable of switching between hard and soft states. The robots might have the potential to be utilized in surgeries to move through the body and reach a particular point without damaging any of the organs or vessels along the way. Continue reading about the finding on MIT News.

August 4, 2014

YesPlus: Stress Management and Happiness Workshop Aug. 7-11

On Thursday, August 7th through Monday, August 11th, join the Art of Living Foundation to learn techniques to overcome academic, personal, and professional stress and get closer to achieving your full potential. Trained faculty from this international non-profit will be leading classes from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm (Thursday, Friday, and Monday) and 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on de-stressing and powerful breathing techniques. These include Sudarshan Kriya, pranayama, yoga, meditation, and practical wisdom through fun games. These classes will take place in rooms on MIT campus (to be announced), and tuition is $250. If interested, register online and contact artofliving-officers@mit.edu with questions. Photo by Le Batteur de Lune

August 4, 2014

MIT Comedy Night at the Thirsty Ear Pub Aug. 5

On Tuesday, August 5th, join us for another MIT Comedy Night at the Thirsty Ear Pub, with headliner Gary Petersen (Boston Comedy Festival). The night will be hosted by Adam Langlois and feature Jenny Chalikian, Casey Malone, Micky McCauley, Kevin Seyfried, and Sean Sullivan. Doors will open at 8:00 pm and the show will start at 8:30 pm. Please have your 21+ government ID and MIT ID ready to show at the door. Snacks and soda will be provided, as the event is presented by the Thirsty Ear Executive Committee and sponsored by the GSC Funding Board, Peter de Florez ’38 Humor Fund, and GradRat. Any questions can be e-mailed to teec-comedy@mit.edu.

August 1, 2014

Campbell develops algorithim for robot collaborative learning

Machine learning, in which computers learn new skills by looking for patterns in training data, is the basis of most recent advances in artificial intelligence, from voice-recognition systems to self-parking cars. It’s also the technique that autonomous robots typically use to build models of their environments.

“A single computer has a very difficult optimization problem to solve in order to learn a model from a single giant batch of data, and it can get stuck at bad solutions,” says Trevor Campbell, a graduate student in aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, who wrote the new paper with his advisor, Jonathan How, the Richard Cockburn Maclaurin Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “If smaller chunks of data are first processed by individual robots and then combined, the final model is less likely to get stuck at a bad solution.”

Continue reading about Campbell’s research on MIT News.

August 1, 2014

‘She’s So Schizophrenic!’: How Not to Alienate Your Colleagues with Psychiatric Disabilities

Dr. Joseph P. Fisher, a learning specialist at the Office of Disability Support Services at George Washington University, has worked throughout his career helping students with disabilities. One time he was working with a student earning a graduate degree in education. The student told him – in an offhand fashion, during a work session on a writing project – that her special-education professor kept using an acronym unfamiliar to her: “FLK.” When the student asked the professor what “FLKs” were, the professor told her: “Funny Little Kids” – that is, kids with learning or developmental disabilities. “The professor in question was being horrible about disabled children in front of a disabled adult with an invisible disability,” Joseph told me. “Someone was saying this in an instructional setting at the graduate level.” Someone should have known better. Continue reading at Vitae.

August 1, 2014

GAME Service Event with the Red Sox Green Team Aug. 2

Join the Graduate Association of Mechanical Engineers (GAME) on Saturday, August 2nd from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm for a service event promoting recycling while enjoying baseball. Watch a free baseball game (Red Sox vs. Yankees) and get a hot dog, soda, and a free t-shirt! This event is in collaboration with the Red Sox Green Team, a corps of volunteers who spread throughout the stadium during inning breaks to gather plastic recyclables and educate fans. All grad students are welcome to participate, and this event is funded by the GSC-PSC Service Fund. There are limited spots, so if you are interested, sign up online or contact jsircar@gmail.com with any questions.

July 31, 2014

Colatat analyzes the rise in autism diagnosis

The headlines are as unavoidable as they are alarming. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1 in 68 8-year-old children were diagnosed with some form of autism in 2010, up from 1 in 150 a decade before. No one knows exactly why that rate keeps rising. Researchers have delved into everything from mercury exposure to parental age. But Phech Colatat, who has just earned his PhD in economic sociology from MIT Sloan, thinks we’ve been looking for answers in the wrong places. Learn more about Colatat’s research on the MIT Sloan website.

July 31, 2014

Trouble finding mentors on campus? Go online.

The summer after my first year of graduate school, I took a trip to several East Coast cities. Having settled on a dissertation topic, I quickly realized there were few professors at my institution, the University of California at Berkeley, who shared my research subject. Hoping to find some mentors with similar scholarly interests, I packed my bags and headed east. I scoured cities from New York to D.C. with a brief stop in Philly in hopes of finding my intellectual Yoda. Continue reading this article on The Chronicle.

July 31, 2014

Win $250 by entering the MIT Global photo contest

As recently announced by MIT News, providers of global opportunities for MIT students (GECD, MISTI, and D-Lab) have partnered for a campus-wide international photo contest! Current students, staff and faculty can submit pictures of their MIT-related travel and win Amazon gift cards of $250 value. See the GECD web site for contest details. View submissions at their tumblr and by following the hashtag #etmundus, and email srmurray@mit.edu with any questions. Photo by Worapol Sittiphaet.

July 30, 2014

Morton and Shah’s research show progress toward better cancer treatment and bone replacement

Personalized cancer treatments and better bone implants could grow from techniques demonstrated by graduate students Stephen W. Morton and Nisarg J. Shah, who are both working in chemical engineering professor Paula Hammond’s lab at MIT. Morton’s work focuses on developing drug-carrying nanoparticles to target hard-to-treat cancers — such as triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) — while Shah develops coatings that promote better adhesion for bone implants. Continue reading about Morton and Shah’s research on MIT NewsPictured are Shah (left) and Morton (right); photo by Denis Paiste. 

July 30, 2014

GSC Legislative Actions Subcommittee meeting Jul. 31

On Thursday, July 31st at 5:30 pm, join the GSC Legislative Actions Subcommittee (LASC) outside of 50-220 to discuss political issues concerning MIT graduate students. Learn about going to Washington DC with LASC to advocate on Capitol Hill for MIT graduate students, and contribute to op-ed articles on political issues! This meeting, LASC will also be discussing how negative data affect the scientific community. New members are always welcome and free food will be provided at the meeting. For more information, see the LASC website or contact gsc-lasc@mit.edu with any questions.

July 30, 2014

Chinese Valentine’s Day movie and game night Aug. 1

Come and celebrate Chinese Valentine’s Day! On Friday, August 1st, join members of the MIT community in the Ashdown House Hulsizer room at 6:00 pm for a dinner of Chinese food and drinks. After dinner is served, everyone is invited to choose a romantic movie to watch and board games to play. If interested in attending, please sign up online. Contact cast-board@mit.edu with any additional questions. Photo by Garry Knight

July 29, 2014

2014-15 Hugh Hampton Young Fellows named

Five new graduate students and one continuing recipient have been chosen to receive the prestigious Hugh Hampton Young Memorial Fund Fellowship in the 2014-15 academic year. This highly selective research fellowship at MIT is named for the pioneering medical researcher Hugh Hampton Young. Recipients are chosen for both academic achievement and exceptional strength of character, focusing heavily on the perceived potential of the candidate to positively impact humanity. Photo by Doris Ulmann.

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July 29, 2014

New MITx Courses coming in Fall 2014

EdX offers interactive online classes and massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world’s best universities. MITx courses embody the inventiveness, openness, rigor and quality that are hallmarks of MIT, and many use materials developed for MIT residential courses in the Institute’s five schools and 33 academic disciplines. Sign up for any of the 18 new courses that will be added to MITx this fall:

  • 3.032x: Mechanical Behavior of Materials
  • 3.086x: Innovation and Commercialization
  • 3.091x: Introduction to Solid State Chemistry
  • 4.605x: Global Architecture
  • 6.00.1x: Introduction to Computer Science & Programming
  • 6.004.1x: Computation Structures: Digital Circuits
  • 6.002x: Circuits and Electronics
  • 6.341x: Discrete-Time Signal Processing
  • 6.832x: Underactuated Robotics
  • 8.EFTx: Effective Field Theories
  • 15.S23x: U-Lab: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies
  • 24.00x: Introduction to Philosophy
  • MAS.S69x: Big Data and Social Physics
  • Media Lab: Design and Development of Educational Technology
  • Media Lab: Introduction to Game Design and Development
  • ESD.SCM1x: Supply Chain Fundamentals
  • Virology-x: Virology
  • VJx: Visualizing Japan

July 29, 2014

Proposal for the East Campus/Kendall Square gateway study

MIT provost Martin A. Schmidt has released a follow-up of the on-going redesign of the East side of MIT’s campus and Kendall square. MIT will advance a proposal with ideas for the new East Campus/Kendall Square layout of this buzzing area in the Cambridge community. The board of MIT is aiming to “achieve the vibrancy and integration that is essential for that critical gateway area of the campus.” The new layout includes space for the MIT Museum, an Innovation Space, and room for a new graduate student residence building with a child care facility. In this vision, a new residence will be built to house the current residents of Eastgate as well as additional graduate students; Eastgate will then be replaced by a lab building.  The MIT executive board members are hoping to begin this process in the fall.