News & Video

July 30, 2015

Sign up for the Community Service Weekly Bulletin

At the heart of the MIT mission statement is a call to serve the nation and the world—and this charge is embodied by the MIT Public Service Center. Every year, we send thousands of students into communities locally, across the nation, and around the globe to apply their skills and knowledge for the betterment of humankind. In the Institute’s best traditions of hands-on experience, entrepreneurial spirit, and creative problem solving, these students donate their time, create new technologies, form communities and companies—and ultimately change lives everywhere they go.

As part of MIT’s Division of Student Life, we provide a central point of communication and support for the outreach and humanitarian efforts of the MIT community. We engage students, alumni, staff, faculty, and others in life-changing initiatives and social entrepreneurship ventures that provide needed resources to individuals and communities. Sign up for the weekly Community Service Bulletin of Events and Programs here. News and upcoming events are posted on the homepage.

July 30, 2015

Ph.D.s Do Have Transferable Skills

If you are thinking about leaving academia — or maybe just having a bad day — you’ve probably heard variations on both of those lies from people trying to help you. Even worse, you might have assumed that if one of them isn’t true, then the other must be.

Of course, the sensible voice might say that obviously the truth lies in the middle, right? But if you’re talking with people inside academia about career options outside it, you might hear fewer sensible voices than you want. As a result, you’ll bounce around, careening from unrealistic expectations (“You could write for Rolling Stone!” more than one absurdly optimistic senior academic told me) to utter despair (“I’m sorry, but they’re probably going to give that job to a real editor,” said a mentor when I applied for a job whose qualifications, in retrospect, I matched extremely well).

It’s not because academics are bad at giving advice (though some are), it’s because the only advice they know how to give is for their own career path (and even then, their “inside” advice may be woefully outdated). For positions inside academe, your mentors can help you craft cover letters, look at your CV, or write letters of recommendation for you. But for jobs outside of higher education? They probably don’t even know their own transferable skills, so they won’t be much help in identifying yours. Read the full article by Elizabeth Keenan at Vitae

July 30, 2015

Unreal images create real world upheaval

July 29, 2015

The MIT GECD is now offering the Versatile PhD resource tool

Global Education & Career Development (GECD) is pleased to announce MIT’s subscription to The Versatile PhD, a web-based resource for PhDs considering careers beyond academia. Our subscription, generously supported by ODGE, can be accessed by students and alumni via GECD’s webpage and student CareerBridge accounts. Once students register, they can simply log in to the site directly (www.versatilephd.com) Photo by Flazingo Photos

July 29, 2015

Long’s team develops Automatic Bug Repair System

At the Association for Computing Machinery’s Programming Language Design and Implementation conference this month, MIT researchers presented a new system that repairs dangerous software bugs by automatically importing functionality from other, more secure applications. Remarkably, the system, dubbed CodePhage, doesn’t require access to the source code of the applications whose functionality it’s borrowing. Instead, it analyzes the applications’ execution and characterizes the types of security checks they perform. As a consequence, it can import checks from applications written in programming languages other than the one in which the program it’s repairing was written.

Sidiroglou-Douskos and his coauthors — MIT professor of computer science and engineering Martin Rinard, graduate student Fan Long, and Eric Lahtinen, a researcher in Rinard’s group — refer to the program CodePhage is repairing as the “recipient” and the program whose functionality it’s borrowing as the “donor.” To begin its analysis, CodePhage requires two sample inputs: one that causes the recipient to crash and one that doesn’t. A bug-locating program that the same group reported in March, dubbed DIODE, generates crash-inducing inputs automatically. But a user may simply have found that trying to open a particular file caused a crash. Read the full article at MIT News

July 29, 2015

Update your bike! MIT PN2K presents: Island in the Sun Jul. 31

 Bring in your bicycle Friday, July 31, 3:00pm-7:00pm for a safety check and free minor repairs. Wash off the salt and other residues to help maintain the quality of your bicycle with our free bicycle pressure washer service. Join us at the MIT Student Center Plaza/Front Steps to learn about bicycle safety, mingle with the bicycle community, and clean your U-lock while waiting in line. Register your bicycles with MIT Parking and Transportation Office (from 3-5pm). Support us by donating and purchasing our PN2K bicycle accessories, including bike lights, helmets, T-shirts! Contact: pn2kmit-officers@mit.edu Photo by Kyle Van Horn

July 28, 2015

Frederic John Eppling, Laboratory for Nuclear Science physicist, dies at 95

Frederic John Eppling, a physicist at MIT’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science, died on July 16 of congestive heart failure at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts. He was 95.

Eppling was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on March 16, 1920. He was awarded BS (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude), MS, and PhD degrees in physics from the University of Wisconsin. He distinguished himself academically by designing and building a mass spectrometer.

During World War II, Eppling was assigned to Harvard University’s secret Radio Research Laboratory and helped to devise countermeasures against enemy radar. He also served with the U.S. Navy aboard the flagship USS Estes as lead radar officer during the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After 30 years, he retired as a captain from active Naval Reserve duty.

Eppling made significant contributions to particle, high-energy, and cosmic ray physics at MIT’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science. He worked there for more than 60 years, first as associate director of the laboratory, and later as a staff physicist in the Electromagnetic Interactions Group, where he was head of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer Administration and Communications Group. Read more about Eppling’s legacy at the MIT News Office

July 28, 2015

Ignore the Haters and Toot Your Own Horn

Self-promotion has a bad name in academia because it’s often viewed as crass and unseemly. It’s beneath the proper scholarly ethos of intellectual purity — the notion good work will “stand on its own merits” and needs no advertising.

Rachel Connelly and Kristen Ghodsee, authors of Professor Mommy: Finding Work-Family Balance in Academia, have argued that “one of the biggest myths of academia is that you only have to be smart enough and have good ideas to succeed. Nothing could be further from the truth.” They add: “Some professors will insist that nothing but merit counts, even if they are well aware of realities to the contrary. We believe that it is a cruel disservice to graduate students for advisers not to prepare them for the realities of academia, no matter how much they might wish things were otherwise.”

That academic culture is particularly fraught for women. A recent study by a political scientist, Barbara F. Walter, found that women are only half as likely as men to cite their own work (a basic form of self-promotion). Read the full article at Vitae

July 28, 2015

3 Questions: Lennon Rodgers on docking in space

MIT’s Lennon Rodgers, a research scientist who did graduate work in the MIT Space Systems Laboratory (SSL), led a team of students to build a universal docking port (UDP) for the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) testbed on the International Space Station (ISS). The flight versions were subsequently developed by graduate students Duncan Miller, David Sternberg, and Chris Jewison, working with Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., and launched to the ISS from Kazakhstan on Wednesday. The SPHERES with UDPs will be used to test autonomous, vision-based algorithms for complex docking maneuvers. Rodgers spoke with MIT News about what he hopes this mission will accomplish. Read the full article.

July 27, 2015

Rising Stars Workshop Application Deadline Aug. 31

MIT invites top early career women in civil and environmental engineering and related domains (e.g. mechanics, materials, environmental and earth science) who are interested in careers in academia to apply to attend this new innovative workshop to be held on the MIT campus. The event will bring together the next generation of female CEE leaders from across the country for two days of scientific interactions and career-oriented discussions. It will feature research presentations from the participants, faculty talks, panels on issues relevant to academic careers, and opportunities for informal networking with other MIT faculty.

Space is limited, so apply now. A group of 20 outstanding candidates will be selected from all submissions. Applicants must be female and be within approximately one year of graduating with their PhD or have obtained their PhD no earlier than 2010.

Applicants should apply by visiting the CEE Rising Stars web site. In addition, applicants must submit a nomination letter from a faculty member, a CV, and a one page research statement. Visit the web site for complete submission instructions. MIT CEE will cover meals and shared accommodation for two nights, and reimburse up to $600 in travel (air, rail).

July 27, 2015

Yang, Wang: The Cybersecurity Factory

Stolen credit card numbers. Stolen passwords. The personal information of about 4 million federal workers hacked. We know all too well that computers are dreadfully insecure. And all too often, the people who could do the most to help make them more secure are stuck in academia with little connection to the real world.

That’s the argument, at least, of computer scientist Jean Yang, a PhD student at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where she works on a privacy-centric programming language called Jeeves. She says she’s seen an amazing amount of security research come out of her lab in areas ranging from new encryption techniques to vulnerability detection systems. The problem is that little of this work ever finds its way into the real world. And it’s not just MIT. Researchers from around the world publish new work almost daily. So she and her friend and fellow PhD student Frank Wang, a member of the student-led venture capital firm Rough Draft Ventures, started The Cybersecurity Factory to encourage academics who research computer security to start companies to commercialize their work. Follow the full article at WIRED. Photo by American Advisors Group

July 27, 2015

Ashdown Colombian Independence Event Jul. 27

Join us this Monday July 27, 6-8 PM at the Hulsizer Room, Ashdown House to celebrate the Colombian Independence! Enjoy Colombian food and desserts and have lots of fun learning about Colombian culture and history. Contact: ashdown-events@mit.edu for any questions. Photo by Gabriel Britto

July 24, 2015

Candlepin Bowling Jul. 24

Come bowling this Friday night and make new friends with grad students and their partners! Sign up at here! Meet at Eastgate (E55) at 7:15pm this Friday July 24; we’ll depart via nearby Kendall station at 7:30 sharp. Bowling is free; bring money for shoes ($2), pizza and drinks. Contact eastgate-cec@mit.edu with any questions. Photo by tyle_r

July 24, 2015

David Elwell to direct the International Students Office

David Elwell has been named associate dean and director of the International Students Office (ISO) in the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE), effective August 31. Elwell comes to the position with over 20 years of experience in student and academic affairs, including 18 years as director of the International Students and Scholars Offices at both Brandeis University and Clark University. Elwell has been committed to advising international students for decades, has developed programming and support for international students and faculty, and is a nationally recognized expert at employment visa issues for nonimmigrant students and scholars.

In his current role, Elwell oversees institutional immigration compliance, visa processing, and international student and scholar (faculty/researcher) support services and advising. Elwell has developed experiential learning components of new programs targeting international student participation, partnering with academic departments at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He has also served as campus coordinator for two international scholarship programs and as a member of a university advisory committee for global initiatives.

Elwell joins a knowledgeable and caring team of nine professional advisors and administrators, serving over 3,500 international graduate and undergraduate students, and their 600-plus dependents. These constituents come from more than 115 countries and are active in over 60 student-led international and cultural groups. Follow the full article at the MIT Newsroom

July 24, 2015

Sign-up for Solve-a-thon Aug. 10–11

In October, MIT will convene extraordinary people to work on extraordinary problems facing our world in the areas of Cure, Fuel, Learn, and Make. Join us August 10th and 11th for a Solve-a-thon to put MIT’s collaborative and cross-disciplinary problem-solving approach into action and see how your ideas could impact future generations for the better! The two-day event allows team of 3-6 to work on a Solve-inspired challenge: design “wearable technology” to significantly improve targeted healthcare to a majority of the population. Register as a team or individual here!

August 10, 2015 | 5:00-9:00pmSala de Puerto Rico, W20-202: Meet other student Solvers over dinner and refreshments and gather with your team to begin to explore the problem and identify a solution.

August 11, 2015 | 5:00-8:30pm, social afterward, Wong Auditorium, E15-115: Present your proposal to a panel of judges from academia and industry, who will assess the potential success of your idea. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three teams. Dinner provided! Photo by DFID – UK Department for International Development

July 24, 2015

Colucci: How Do You Hack Healthcare? Use Design Thinking

MIT doesn’t have a medical school, so it might seem unusual that so many alumni and researchers are making a real-world impact in healthcare and medicine. But those two fields are rapidly evolving, and the need for MIT’s mindset of technology-focused solutions has never been greater.

“MIT is kind of like Switzerland—it’s neutral ground,” says Lina Colucci, a PhD candidate in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program. “You can’t get a medical degree from MIT, but it’s filled with designers, developers, and engineers. And everyone in the medical community wants to work with all of these brilliant people.”

Colucci is a co-director of MIT Hacking Medicine, a student-run group that bring together innovative thinkers to rethink and solve healthcare’s most pervasive problems.

“Hacking is such a core part of the MIT culture,” says co-director Priya Garg ’15. “And we wanted to bring that mentality to healthcare. Our methodology is to disrupt the silos that are prevalent in healthcare by applying MIT’s hacking ethos to create innovations.” Read the full article at Slice of MIT

July 24, 2015

LBGTQA Community Retreat to Provincetown Planning Group

We are in need of people who are around for the summer who can help to plan the 13th annual LBGTQA Community Retreat to Provincetown! This year the retreat will be held on September 25th-27th, and all are welcome to come help us organize this event! The trip is free for all MIT grad and undergrad students. Meetings are held weekly on Thursday evenings in Rainbow Lounge 50-005 at 5 pm through August 20th. E-mail afran@mit.edu if you would like to join in the planning, or just stop by to offer your input. Photo by Robert Linsdell

July 23, 2015

Apply to Organize the 2015 GWAMIT Leadership Conference

GWAMIT is currently recruiting conference co-chairs, event leads, and committee members for the annual Fall Leadership Conference to be held in October 2015. Apply here. This is a great opportunity to be a part of the 2015 organizing team! There are many different ways you can get involved depending on your interests and schedule. Please contact the GWAMIT Executive Board at gwamit-exec@mit.edu if you have questions. We also encourage you to read more about previous leaders and events!

July 23, 2015

Jun, Liu, Xu: Cutting cost and power consumption for big data

Random-access memory, or RAM, is where computers like to store the data they’re working on. A processor can retrieve data from RAM tens of thousands of times more rapidly than it can from the computer’s disk drive. But in the age of big data, data sets are often much too large to fit in a single computer’s RAM. Sequencing data describing a single large genome could take up the RAM of somewhere between 40 and 100 typical computers.

Flash memory — the type of memory used by most portable devices — could provide an alternative to conventional RAM for big-data applications. It’s about a tenth as expensive, and it consumes about a tenth as much power. The problem is that it’s also a tenth as fast. But at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture in June, MIT researchers presented a new system that, for several common big-data applications, should make servers using flash memory as efficient as those using conventional RAM, while preserving their power and cost savings.

Joining Arvind on the new paper are Sang Woo Jun and Ming Liu, MIT graduate students in computer science and engineering and joint first authors; their fellow grad student Shuotao Xu; Sungjin Lee, a postdoc in Arvind’s group; Myron King and Jamey Hicks, who did their PhDs with Arvind and were researchers at Quanta Computer when the new system was developed; and one of their colleagues from Quanta, John Ankcorn — who is also an MIT alumnus. Read the full article at MIT NEWS

July 23, 2015

MIT-WHOI Summer Picnic & Beach Day in Cape Cod Aug. 8

Grad students of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography invite you to a summer picnic in Cape Cod on Saturday, August 8, 2015 from 09:00am to 04:30pm
at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA. Grilled burgers/hot dogs (with vegan options), snacks, fruits and beverages will be provided. Enjoy the free food, play soccer/volleyball, swim in the ocean, ride on the bike path (bring your own bike), or stroll on the beach. Transportation via chartered bus ($10 per person) for MIT communities and their families can be purchased before Aug 5. Follow this link to sign up and get more information! Photo by Steve Newfield

July 22, 2015

Prof. Mujid Kazimi, leading educator and researcher in nuclear technology, dies at 67

Mujid S. Kazimi, the TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Engineering and one of the world’s foremost educators and researchers in nuclear technology, died suddenly on Wednesday in China. Kazimi, who was 67, suffered a heart attack while visiting Harbin Engineering University to participate in an international advisory committee. He held faculty appointments in MIT’s Departments of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE) and Department of Mechanical Engineering, and was director of both MIT’s Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems and the Kuwait-MIT Center for Natural Resources and the Environment. He served as NSE’s department head from 1989 to 1997.

Current NSE department head Richard Lester shared the news of Kazimi’s death in an email to the department’s faculty on Wednesday, describing it as “a devastating blow.”
“The international community knew Mujid as one of the world’s great nuclear engineers,” Lester told MIT News. “In NSE, we also knew him as a wonderful human being. Wise, kind, tough when he needed to be, but always gracious and respectful toward his students and his colleagues — he was a true gentleman, and he was a good man. His dedication and loyalty to his students, and to the department, were inspirational. It is a huge loss for our department, and for our field. But his colleagues in NSE are grateful for the privilege of knowing and serving with him.” Follow the full article about Kazimi’s legacy at MIT’s The Tech.

July 22, 2015

Pahlavan: Why do puddles stop spreading?

When you spill a bit of water onto a tabletop, the puddle spreads — and then stops, leaving a well-defined area of water with a sharp boundary. There’s just one problem: The formulas scientists use to describe such a fluid flow say that the water should just keep spreading endlessly. Everyone knows that’s not the case — but why?

This mystery has now been solved by researchers at MIT — and while this phenomenon might seem trivial, the finding’s ramifications could be significant: Understanding such flowing fluids is essential for processes from the lubrication of gears and machinery to the potential sequestration of carbon dioxide emissions in porous underground formations.The new findings are reported in the journal Physical Review Letters in a paper by Ruben Juanes, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, graduate student Amir Pahlavan, research associate Luis Cueto-Felgueroso, and mechanical engineering professor Gareth McKinley.

“The classic thin-film model describes the spreading of a liquid film, but it doesn’t predict it stopping,” Pahlavan says. It turns out that the problem is one of scale, he says: It’s only at the molecular level that the forces responsible for stopping the flow begin to show up. And even though these forces are minuscule, their effect changes how the liquid behaves in a way that is obvious at a much larger scale. “Within a macroscopic view of this problem, there’s nothing that stops the puddle from spreading. There’s something missing here,” Pahlavan says. Read the full article at MIT NEWS

July 22, 2015

[GCWS] 2015-2016 Graduate Seminars

We’re glad to announce our course offerings for 2015-2016. GCWS graduate seminars are open to students across disciplines at all GCWS member institutions. Masters and PhD students are eligible to apply as well as advanced undergraduate students doing work in a discipline related to the course topics. There is an application process for GCWS courses. Applications are accepted until the enrollment deadline and are reviewed by the seminar instructors immediately following. Students will be notified of their final acceptance two to three days after the deadline. Students may apply after the deadline, pending available space in the class.

FALL 2015
Workshop for Dissertation Writers in Women’s and Gender Studies
Understanding the Pornographic and the Obscene
American Motherhood and Mothering: Theory, Discourse, Practice, and Change
SPRING 2016
Feminist Inquiry
The Secret Sex Life of Anthropological Artifacts: Gender and Race in the Museum

Fall application deadline: August 24, 2015** Spring application deadline: January 4, 2016** **Rolling admission until course is filled. Please call or email the GCWS at gcws@mit.edu for more information about application procedures, member institution cross-registration policies, or credit questions, and visit our main website.

July 22, 2015

Join Violence Prevention & Response (VPR) Graduate Student Advisory Board

PR (Violence Prevention & Response) is currently soliciting help for a small group of graduate students to sit on the Violence Prevention and Response Graduate Advisory Board (VPR-GAB). The commitment is a short 1 hour evening meeting every other week with an invitation to stay on for monthly meetings in the future. Their purpose will be to assist with VPR’s programming and outreach efforts within the graduate community. We are looking for MIT grad students who would be willing to share information about what being a grad student is like, give feedback on ideas, and help tweak and/or plan various initiatives. We are looking for 10-20 students. The participants will be gifted generously for their time. Please let me know if you have any questions. If you’re interested, let Amanda know directly. Thank you again for your continued support of VPR and all of our efforts!

Meetings are Biweekly on Fridays at MIT Medical
July 10th @ 5:30-6:30pm
July 24th @ 5:30-6:30pm
Aug 7th @ 5:30-6:30pm
Aug 21st @ 5:30-6:30pm
Sept 4th @ 5:30-6:30pm
**Dinner will be provided. Children are welcome.**

Contact info: Amanda L. Hankins, MSW, Education & Prevention Specialist, Violence Prevention & Response, MIT Medical E23-498, (617) 258-6948 VPR 24-HOUR HOTLINE 617-253-2300 Photo by Farbs01

July 21, 2015

Conflict Management Training @ MIT – Apply today!

Interested in conflict management and how to resolve conflicts? Apply today for conflict management training! Sessions will take place at the MIT Stratton Student Center, August 3 – August 14, 2015. Training is free for MIT graduate students. Space is limited. Training is divided into 3 tiers. More information here! Contact: conflictmanagement@mit.edu Photo by Nicola Corboy

July 21, 2015

Earle: NASA’s New Horizons mission and first images of Pluto

Tuesday July 11 will go down as a huge day in the history of NASA. After traveling 3 billion miles over the course of nearly a decade, the spacecraft called New Horizons reached its target, passing close by the dwarf planet, Pluto. Members of the New Horizons science team, including MIT Professor Richard Binzel, graduate student Alissa Earle (MIT), and Cristina Dalle Ore (SETI Institute), react to seeing the spacecraft’s last and sharpest image of Pluto before closest approach later in the day. It was also a big day for MIT Professor Richard Binzel, who spent almost 35 years trying to get a mission to Pluto. For the past 15 of those years, he’s worked to make it possible for New Horizons to collect immense amounts of data from the ninth planet from the sun. He spent the day observing and celebrating at mission headquarters at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. Follow this radio news item at Radio Boston WBUR.

July 21, 2015

GSC Sustainability Meeting Jul. 21

Are you interested in promoting, improving, and increasing sustainability efforts at MIT? Come learn about how we’re reducing move-out waste, greening Grad Orientation 2015, and making the Student Center more sustainable. Join the group Tuesday, July 21, 5-6PM at 50-220 (GSC Office) where fresh fruit and snacks will be provided! Please RSVP now! Photo by neetalparekh

July 20, 2015

Design the logo for Grad Orientation 2015! Send samples by Jul. 22

Do you like to draw, design, or create things?  If so, design the logo for Grad Orientation 2015!

The GSC Orientation Committee is looking for a talented designer to create the Orientation logo for this year.  If you are interested, please send a few samples of your work to the Orientation Committee (gsc-oc@mit.edu) by 11:59 PM on Wednesday July 22.  Please also include ideas you have for this year’s logo.  They do not have to be polished at this point, but rough sketches and/or short descriptions will help give us an idea of what you are thinking about for the design.  We will choose one or two people based off the art samples and the logo ideas to help design this year’s Orientation logo.

Some guidelines: The logo should represent MIT and feature elements distinctive to MIT (ex. the letters “MIT”, the MIT Dome, or the Institute mascot) and incorporate the year 2015; it should also have a linear (not stacked) design. The color scheme should be a maximum of 2, possibly 3 colors. Because we are working on a deadline, we do need prompt responses to communications.

July 20, 2015

GWAMIT & Intel Women PhD Engineers Luncheon and Career Development Discussion Jul. 30

Intel will be in town this week, and we’d like to invite members of GWAMIT to join our women PhD engineers for a casual lunch and career development discussion. The event is on Thursday, July 30, 12:00 – 1:00 PM and lunch will be provided. Location still to be determined, check event page soon. RSVP now! The topic is open to anything of interest to GWAMIT members, and we encourage questions around work/life balance, working in a male dominated field, value of graduate degree, etc. This is your time to ask whatever is on your mind! Photo by Josh Bancroft

July 20, 2015

Smith’s LiquiGlide slides into consumer space

The days of wasting condiments — and other products — that stick stubbornly to the sides of their bottles may be gone, thanks to MIT spinout LiquiGlide, which has licensed its nonstick coating to a major consumer-goods company. Developed in 2009 by MIT’s Professor Kripa Varanasi and former grad student David Smith, LiquiGlide is a liquid-impregnated coating that acts as a slippery barrier between a surface and a viscous liquid. Applied inside a condiment bottle, for instance, the coating clings permanently to its sides, while allowing the condiment to glide off completely, with no residue.

In 2012, amidst a flurry of media attention following LiquiGlide’s entry in MIT’s $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, Smith and Varanasi founded the startup — with help from the Institute — to commercialize the coating. Today, Norwegian consumer-goods producer Orkla has signed a licensing agreement to use the LiquiGlide’s coating for mayonnaise products sold in Germany, Scandinavia, and several other European nations. This comes on the heels of another licensing deal, with Elmer’s, announced in March. But this is only the beginning, says Varanasi, an associate professor of mechanical engineering who is now on LiquiGlide’s board of directors and chief science advisor. The startup, which just entered the consumer-goods market, is courting deals with numerous producers of foods, beauty supplies, and household products. See the video and read the full article at the MIT News office

July 20, 2015

Chamberlain’s Tata Center team wins $100,000 Vodafone grant for mobile health technology

On June 10th-11th in Washington, D.C. the Vodafone Americas Foundation announced the winners of its 7th-annual Wireless Innovation Project, which supports “a spectrum of high potential mobile and wireless technology solutions.” Taking home a $100,000 grant were Research Scientist Rich Fletcher and graduate student Daniel Chamberlain, of the MIT Tata Center and D-Lab, for their promising work in developing “a mobile stethoscope and decision-support mobile application to provide critical diagnostic assistance to untrained health workers in developing countries.”

Chuck Pol, president of Vodafone Americas, said: “The 2015 winners represent the brightest of a new generation of problem solvers for critical global community needs, and we’re proud to recognize their cutting-edge visions.” Fletcher and Chamberlain’s smartphone software listens to a patient’s lung sounds, such as wheezing, crackling, and air flow, and helps make a diagnosis. While a simple stethoscope is used by doctors around the world for this purpose, the mobile technology component can help health workers without formal training, who are often the only medical resource available to rural and low-income residents of developing countries. Read the full story at Tata Center

July 20, 2015

SANGAM Indian Barbecue Jul. 26

Enjoy the Summer with an Indian Barbecue evening this July 26, 6 pm at the Kresge BBQ Pits! Indulge yourself in a variety of Indian spices and sauces. We will have vegetarian options as well. Contact: sangam-exec@mit.edu for questions. Photo by woodleywonderworks

July 17, 2015

Dissertation Boot Camp Jul 27-Aug 5

Is the August 6th deadline looming on you and you have yet to finish your thesis? Or maybe you haven’t even started?! Calm down, calm down. Take a deep breath and relax, and know that the GSC is providing a quiet place for you to work on your thesis with other graduate students during the July-August Dissertation Bootcamp! This will take place at Barker Library, 8th Floor from 10 am to 5pm, Mondays to Fridays from 27 July to 5th August! Breakfast will be provided everyday, and you can sign up to attend everyday or just the days that work best for you. Writing your thesis doesn’t have to be isolating! We are prioritizing the September List candidates for slots first! We definitely look forward to seeing you!

RSVP here now! Please email gsc-arc@mit.edu for any questions! Photo by andresmh

July 17, 2015

Sidney Pacific Brunch Jul. 19

Come enjoy Sid Pac’s monthly Sunday brunch this July 19th, 12-1pm! Meeting at the SP Mark MP Room. We’ll have our usual array of delicious brunch food. Bring your own plate and utensils to win prizes and help keep SP green. As always, prep is from 8am to 2pm – come at any time to help out, and skip the line! Contact: sp-brunch-chair@mit.edu  Photo by Annie Mole

July 17, 2015

Aguilar’s throwable tactical camera gets commercial release

Unseen areas are troublesome for police and first responders: Rooms can harbor dangerous gunmen, while collapsed buildings can conceal survivors. Now Bounce Imaging, founded by an MIT alumnus, is giving officers and rescuers a safe glimpse into the unknown. In July, the Boston-based startup will release its first line of tactical spheres, equipped with cameras and sensors, that can be tossed into potentially hazardous areas to instantly transmit panoramic images of those areas back to a smartphone.

“It basically gives a quick assessment of a dangerous situation,” says Bounce Imaging CEO Francisco Aguilar MBA ’12, who invented the device, called the Explorer.

Launched in 2012 with help from the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS), Bounce Imaging will deploy 100 Explorers to police departments nationwide, with aims of branching out to first responders and other clients in the near future. The softball-sized Explorer is covered in a thick rubber shell. Inside is a camera with six lenses, peeking out at different indented spots around the circumference, and LED lights. When activated, the camera snaps photos from all lenses, a few times every second. Software uploads these disparate images to a mobile device and stitches them together rapidly into full panoramic images. There are plans to add sensors for radiation, temperature, and carbon monoxide in future models. Follow the full article on MIT News

July 17, 2015

FAMILY DAY: Perfumed Prints Workshop Jul. 18

The exhibition “Anicka Yi: 6,070,430K of Digital Spit” is one to explore with all the senses. Come and make handmade collagraph prints you can touch, see, and even smell! Join families at the List for a special day of art and exploration! FREE and open to all; no advanced registration required! The event is on Saturday, July 18, 2015, 12:00PM-4:00PM at the MIT List Visual Arts Center.  At 2PM we also have our family-friendly tour at the List Visual Arts Center!

July 16, 2015

Summer Grill Night in the Eastgate Backyard Jul. 16th

Join the Eastgate Graduate Apartments Community this July 16th, at 7-9 pm for a delicious Summer Grill Night. The event is at the Eastgate Backyard (E55) across the plaza from the Sloan School. Contact eastgate-spirc@mit.edu for questions! This event is sponsored by the Eastgate Community Association and the Graduate Student Council. Photo by woodleywonderworks

July 16, 2015

Abraham: Networking groups come up short on referrals for women

“It’s not what you know, but who you know” says the old adage, but new research shows when it comes to business referrals, gender can matter a great deal. Mabel Abraham, PhD ’15, spent two years reviewing years of records from a referral-generating organization where entrepreneurs share contacts, pitch their services, and win new business. Her findings help explain the disproportionate results achieved by women in social networks, notably the disparity in receiving referrals from colleagues.

When it came to referring colleagues to others—friends, family and clients—women came up short in being connected to new business. Abraham found the gap is largely driven by male-dominated fields, where women received fewer referrals than men in the same field. Abraham calls this “anticipatory third-party bias” to explain when group members “expect that a client, friend, or family member has a preference for men over women, they disproportionately give referrals to male rather than female network group members.” Follow the full article on this research at the MIT Sloan Newsroom

July 16, 2015

Sidney Pacific Cultural Festival Jul. 18

Come & enjoy being immersed in a wide array of student cultures at MIT this Saturday, July 18th, 12-3pm! The Sidney Pacific Mark MP Room will have free food and drinks from many different cultures. Expect amazing musical and artistic performances and many cultural student groups to be featured. Contact: sp-cultural-chair@mit.edu Photo by yooperann

July 16, 2015

Colombo to retire from post as MIT’s dean for student life

Costantino (Chris) Colombo will retire from his post as MIT’s dean for student life after seven years of service, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart announced. In an email to the MIT community, Barnhart said that Colombo will continue to serve as dean until a successor is appointed, and will then serve as an advisor to her until June 30, 2016.

“With this step, Chris will complete a remarkable, 40-year career of service to undergraduate and graduate students at MIT, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins,” Barnhart wrote. “He has been a mentor and coach to many student affairs professionals; today, the profession is populated with these individuals in senior positions at many universities.”

At MIT, Colombo has led the Division of Student Life (DSL), which includes the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) as well as the Institute’s offices of Residential Life, Student Development and Support, and Religious Life. The dean for student life oversees a staff of more than 400, working to ensure the Institute’s commitment to a well-integrated student-life program that values both formal and informal learning. Follow the full article at the MIT News Office

July 15, 2015

DESERT LIFE: Field Studies of Art + Nature in the Southwest

The ART+BIO Collaborative, a Cambridge, MA non-profit, is offering DESERT LIFE: Field Studies of Art+Nature in the Southwest this August 3-9, providing a great travel opportunity that will bring together a unique group of Biologists and Artists to explore the desert borderlands of Texas and New Mexico. The program is designed for students, artists, scientists, professionals and people generally interested in nature, art, and biology. Register today! DESERT LIFE is a hands-on, immersive, and project-based program that integrates biology and art in the field. We camp at various sites in west Texas and southwest New Mexico. The program provides an immersive experience of the diverse environments of the Chihuahuan Desert, such as white sand dunes, black lava rocks, mountain caves, and riparian habitats.

See photos and get more information, and help spread the word about this unique summer course to anyone who may be interested. Please email sdowdynava@artbiocollaborative.com if you have questions. Photo: Swallowtail Garden Seeds

July 15, 2015

Ampersand Concert Series: CUDDLE MAGIC/TOM GREENBERG Jul. 30

Ampersand, a collaborative concert series presented by WMBR & List Visual Arts Center, showcases contemporary music in Bartos Theater on MIT’s campus. This Thursday, July 30, 2015, 7:30PM Ampersand is thrilled to host Cuddle Magic and Tom Greenberg for this rocking summer concert! Kick off your shoes and enjoy the music and the beats! Tickets are available for purchase at the door. Cash only. Cost: $3 with MIT ID, $5 general admission. Contact listinfo@mit.edu for any questions.

July 15, 2015

Mirvakili: Research shows tiny wires could provide a big energy boost

Wearable electronic devices for health and fitness monitoring are a rapidly growing area of consumer electronics; one of their biggest limitations is the capacity of their tiny batteries to deliver enough power to transmit data. Now, researchers at MIT and in Canada have found a promising new approach to delivering the short but intense bursts of power needed by such small devices. The key is a new approach to making supercapacitors — devices that can store and release electrical power in such bursts, which are needed for brief transmissions of data from wearable devices such as heart-rate monitors, computers, or smartphones, the researchers say. They may also be useful for other applications where high power is needed in small volumes, such as autonomous microrobots.

The new approach uses yarns, made from nanowires of the element niobium, as the electrodes in tiny supercapacitors (which are essentially pairs of electrically conducting fibers with an insulator between). The concept is described in a paper in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces by MIT professor of mechanical engineering Ian W. Hunter, doctoral student Seyed M. Mirvakili, and three others at the University of British Columbia. Read the full article on MIT News

July 15, 2015

Diaz and Trigg engineer method to lessen negative effects of weightlessness in space

Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have a number of exercise options, including a mechanical bicycle bolted to the floor, a weightlifting machine strapped to the wall, and a strap-down treadmill. They spend a significant portion of each day working out to ward off the long-term effects of weightlessness, but many still suffer bone loss, muscle atrophy, and issues with balance and their cardiovascular systems. To counteract such debilitating effects, research groups around the world are investigating artificial gravity — the notion that astronauts, exposed to strong centrifugal forces, may experience the effects of gravity, even in space. Engineers have been building and testing human centrifuges — spinning platforms that, at high speeds, generate G-forces strong enough to mimic gravity. An astronaut, riding in a centrifuge, would presumably feel gravity’s reinforcing effects.

Now engineers at MIT, Laurence Young, the Apollo Program Professor in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and his colleagues, former graduate students Ana Diaz and Chris Trigg, have built a compact human centrifuge with an exercise component: a cycle ergometer that a person can pedal as the centrifuge spins. “During the spinning process, participants were pushed against the chair due to the centrifugal force, making them sit comfortably, and facilitating their leg biomechanics for biking,” Diaz says. As the researchers increased the centrifuge’s spin, raising its artificial gravity, participants used correspondingly more force to pedal — an unsurprising but encouraging result. Follow the full article at MIT News

July 14, 2015

The Professor Is in: What to Wear…

Dressing for interviews is always tricky. Academia doesn’t prioritize fashion, and a lot of students spend most of their grad-school years in the same ratty T-shirts and jeans. So when it comes to choosing more formal interview attire, they can be in foreign territory. Indeed, some grad students wonder why they should have to dress up for interviews at all, when faculty are so notoriously slovenly. But you do. It’s just a convention. While fields differ on how formal your interview outfit should be (political science is formal, art history is not) — as do regions (the South is the most formal, the Northwest is the least) — some degree of dressing up is necessary for all academic interviews.

The challenge of choosing an outfit is exacerbated by the weather in the far-flung areas of the country where you might find yourself interviewing. In a post on campus interviews during the regular hiring season, I touched on managing winter weather. Summer interviews are of course more rare, but they do pop up from time to time. I’ll answer your question as it pertains to women who present conventionally as women. Not everyone chooses to present according to cisgender conventions. Read the full article at Vitae. Photo by Nata Branttes

July 14, 2015

Taylor and Simon: Pushing the limits of pump design for small farmers in India

The Ganges River basin of eastern India is some of the most fertile farmland in the world. With shallow groundwater and rich soil, the area is instrumental in India’s agricultural ecosystem. However, all is not well for the roughly 480 million people who rely on the basin for their livelihood. “Eastern India is one of the lowest agricultural productivity areas in the country, and it should be much higher, because it has excellent water resources,” says Katherine Taylor, graduate student in mechanical engineering and a fellow at the Tata Center for Technology and Design, part of the MIT Energy Initiative.

Taylor is part of an MIT team developing a solar-powered pump designed to the specifications of small-acreage farmers in eastern India, many of whom currently use costly, inefficient diesel pumps to irrigate their crops, or have no pumping capacity at all. The project grew out of the MIT course 2.760 (Global Engineering), where Taylor met Kevin Simon, another Tata Fellow and a graduate student in systems engineering, and Marcos Esparza, a senior in mechanical engineering. Led by Assistant Professor Amos Winter, “we explored pump design, and a good idea emerged. In true Tata Center spirit, we ran with it.” At a time when Indian agriculture is edging toward crisis, Taylor, Simon, and Esparza believe their pump can contribute to higher yields and greater profits for these small farmers. Read the full article at MIT News

July 13, 2015

MIT vs. Harvard Case Competition: Call for Applications! Jul. 20 Deadline

APPLICATION IS NOW OPEN!  An exciting opportunity for non-business Harvard and MIT graduate students and researchers to obtain consulting experience. Prospective participants apply individually, and the organizers will assemble four-person interdisciplinary teams to take on this two-week engagement. All participants will have the opportunity to network with and receive guidance from industry experts and leading consultants. July 20th is the application deadline. Event website.
MIT affiliates: contact ccmcasecomp@gmail.com. Harvard affiliates: contact harvardconsultingclub@gmail.com General contact: fangting@mit.edu

July 13, 2015

Graduate student Sami Khan receives Young Researcher Award

Sami Khan, a dual-degree graduate student in mechanical engineering and technology and policy, was recently awarded the 2015 International Hydropower Association’s “Young Researcher Award,” as part of an initiative by the International Hydropower Association to acknowledge and reward emerging talent in the hydropower sector. He received the award at the World Hydropower Congress that was held in Beijing in May.

Khan, who works as a research assistant in the lab of Kripa Varanasi, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, was recognized for his research on hydrophobic rare-earth oxide-based coatings that have potential application in the hydropower industry to reduce bio-fouling and corrosion. Read the full article and find a link to Khan’s blog post on the research at MIT News

July 13, 2015

MBA Class Of 2015: My Biggest Lessons From Business School

What a difference that two years make! That’s how most MBAs feel after graduation. Just ask them about their first day back at school. The consensus: It was pretty intimidating. For starters, cranking out 70-hour work weeks didn’t really prep them for the workload. Running at the speed of business was a gear short of B-school pace. As first years, they were deluged with choices where every club and event was a chance to make an impact – or miss out.

But the biggest lesson? Often, it was the humbling notion that they weren’t the most gifted or accomplished member of their class. Their peers were also valedictorians who had collected accolades and promotions–many prevailing over heart-breaking hardships in the process. In the end, the MBAs who excelled were the ones who quickly embraced their peers. Even more, they discovered the simple – yet often difficult — foundation for learning that was succinctly summed up by MIT Sloan’s Liat Kaver: “Don’t be shy to ask for help!” Read this inspiring article at Poets&Quants

July 12, 2015

Davis: The camera that can reconstruct sound from another room

Researchers at MIT CSAIL have been experimenting with a technique that can reconstruct sound from silent video recordings. Using powerful high-speed cameras and software it is possible to rebuild sound from objects in a different room. “I think what’s really different about this technology is that it provides you with a way to image this information,” says graduate student Abe Davis. Follow the coverage of this research in a video by BBC News. Photo by KEIK Bureau

July 10, 2015

Free Outdoor Summer Wellness Classes Jul 22 – Aug 26

A Breath of Fresh Air: Join us for FREE Summer Classes every Wednesday, starting July 22 through August 26Noon-1pm. Meet at the Green Lawn between MIT Medical (E23) and List Center (E15) *In case of inclement weather, class will be held at MIT Medical in room 297

July 22 Yoga on the Green with Qi Zhai Metzler
July 29 Qigong with Jim Roselando
August 5th Yoga on the Green with Qi Zhai Metzler
August 12 30-minute guided meditation with Ashley Norwood
Session 1: 12:00pm Session 2: 12:30PM
August 19 Tai Chi with Dorri Li
August 26 Yoga on the Green with Qi Zhai Metzler

Register here today! Contact wellness@med.mit.edu Photo: torbakhopper

July 10, 2015

The Completion Agenda: Revising Your Dissertation

If you had to pick a cliché that best describes completing a dissertation, “it ain’t over till it’s over” would work well. So far in this series we have discussed finishing a submittable draft and successfully defending the dissertation. But as every doctoral candidate knows, no matter how well the defense goes you are very likely not quite free and clear yet.

In my case, while I waited outside the meeting room, my committee discussed my dissertation for either 10 minutes or two hours; I honestly can’t recall through the fog of tension and time. I do remember encountering a friend in the hallway to whom I described my situation. She asked, “What’s the best possible outcome?” I had no doubt: “Ideally, they pass me without asking for any revisions.” She arched an eyebrow and asked in Spock-like tones: “Has that happened with any dissertation defense, ever?”

Obviously, every field is different, with varying requirements for the dissertation. Based on the many hundreds of conversations I have had with Ph.D. students in all sorts of disciplines, I have put together a to-do list that may help you successfully make the revisions sought by your committee. Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education. Photo by Graham Holliday

July 10, 2015

Hu’s Lark Chat app is a portable weight loss coach

People who struggle with losing or maintaining weight have a new ally in their ongoing battle against unwanted pounds: Lark Chat, a personal and virtual weight loss coach.

Lark Chat is the product of Lark Technologies Inc., a five-year-old California-based company with roots at MIT Sloan. Lark has attracted some $12 million in venture capital financing since winning the mobile track prize in the 2010 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition for its wristband sleep monitor. But in the last couple of years the company has shifted its focus from hardware to software and broadened its attention to weight loss and disease prevention. Our goal was to make it as friendly and fun as possible,” says Lark co-founder and CEO Julia Hu, who founded the company while attending MIT Sloan. “People don’t call Lark a monitor or a tool; they call it a friend who understands or their ideal boyfriend. Lark has taken on kind of a lighthearted buddy kind of role in people’s lives.” Follow the full article at the MIT Sloan Newsroom

July 9, 2015

Academia or Industry Career Panel Jul. 20

Planning your career after MIT? Are you choosing between industry and academia? Come and hear how successful professionals have done it! Both faculty and industry panelists will outline important strategies in career development within industry and academia. Attend the panel on Monday, July 20, 12:30 – 2:00 pm at 32-123. Panelists: Dr. Mary Gray (Indiana, Microsoft), Dr. Robert Langer (MIT), Dr. Caroline Ross (MIT), Christopher Noble (MIT Tech Licensing Officer); other representation may be present. Sponsors: MIT Graduate Student Council, Global Education and Career Development, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Refreshments provided. Please sign up on CareerBridge (using your MIT email!) Photo by: Flazingo Photos

July 9, 2015

Boyer: Helping students stick with MOOCs

MOOCs — massive open online courses — grant huge numbers of people access to world-class educational resources, but they also suffer high rates of attrition. To some degree, that’s inevitable: Many people who enroll in MOOCs may have no interest in doing homework, but simply plan to listen to video lectures in their spare time. Others, however, may begin courses with the firm intention of completing them but get derailed by life’s other demands. Identifying those people before they drop out and providing them with extra help could make their MOOC participation much more productive.

The problem is that you don’t know who’s actually dropped out — or, in MOOC parlance, “stopped out” — until the MOOC has been completed. One missed deadline does not a stopout make; but after the second or third missed deadline, it may be too late for an intervention to do any good. Last week, at the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, Kalyan Veeramachaneni, a research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory who conducted the study together with Sebastien Boyer, a graduate student in MIT’s Technology and Policy Program showed that a dropout-prediction model trained on data from one offering of a course can help predict which students will stop out of the next offering. The prediction remains fairly accurate even if the organization of the course changes, so that the data collected during one offering doesn’t exactly match the data collected during the next. Read the full article on this technology at the MIT News Room

July 8, 2015

Jaques, Jenny, Richardson: Philosophy in an inclusive key

The academic pursuit of philosophy has a serious diversity problem. As recently as 2010, fewer than 30 percent of those earning doctorates in philosophy were women, for example — a lower percentage than that for math, chemistry, or economics. The numbers of racial and ethnic minorities in philosophy are estimated to be even worse.

Now, three philosophy graduate students in MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) have rolled up their sleeves to tackle this problem. Abby Jaques, Matthias Jenny, and Kevin Richardson have organized a weeklong program that will bring a diverse cohort of undergraduates to the MIT campus this summer, where the students will explore the full range of options for pursuing an academic career in philosophy.

“The overall philosophical profession, just like society at large, is still very much dominated by straight, white, cisgendered [not transgender], able-bodied, middle-class men,” observes Jenny. “Anyone who doesn’t fit all of these criteria often faces significant challenges when trying to enter and thrive in philosophy. This is both an injustice to the majority of people who don’t fit the above criteria and to the detriment of philosophy as a collective intellectual enterprise.” Read the full feature at MIT News Photo: Jon Sachs/MIT SHASS

July 8, 2015

Boston Harbor Islands Trip Aug. 8 (Reg. by Jul. 25)

Spend a fun day at Georges Island and Spectacle Island exploring Fort Warren and enjoying the outdoors! A BBQ lunch will be provided. We will have meat and veggie burgers, hot dogs, snacks, and beverages. Tickets are $10/person (54 tickets available). Children under 2 are free. We are meeting at Long Wharf North to take the ferry to the Harbor Islands on Sat. August 8, 9:30 am-4:30 pm. More information on the registration site. Registration is open now through July 25. Register at tickets.mit.edu Contact gsc-ac@mit.edu if you have any questions. Photo: Doc Searls

July 7, 2015

El-Damak: Toward tiny, solar-powered sensors

Last week, at the Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits, MIT researchers presented a new power converter chip that can harvest more than 80 percent of the energy trickling into it, even at the extremely low power levels characteristic of tiny solar cells. Previous ultralow-power converters that used the same approach had efficiencies of only 40 or 50 percent.

Moreover, the researchers’ chip achieves those efficiency improvements while assuming additional responsibilities. Where most of its ultralow-power predecessors could use a solar cell to either charge a battery or directly power a device, this new chip can do both, and it can power the device directly from the battery. All of those operations also share a single inductor — the chip’s main electrical component — which saves on circuit board space but increases the circuit complexity even further. Nonetheless, the chip’s power consumption remains low.

“We still want to have battery-charging capability, and we still want to provide a regulated output voltage,” says Dina Reda El-Damak, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and first author on the new paper. “We need to regulate the input to extract the maximum power, and we really want to do all these tasks with inductor sharing and see which operational mode is the best. And we want to do it without compromising the performance, at very limited input power levels — 10 nanowatts to 1 microwatt — for the Internet of things.” Read the full article at MIT News

July 7, 2015

Surviving the Post-Dissertation Slump

“Post-dissertation stress disorder” and “post-dissertation depression” are real things. A friend introduced those terms to me when I was trying to find an explanation for my lack of productivity after finishing my Ph.D. Turns out, I wasn’t alone in experiencing a slump. As one blogger wrote of post-dissertation life: “If you are work- and project-driven, the adjustment takes time.” People who successfully complete dissertations are a disciplined cross section of the population. We are capable of working independently, sticking to self-imposed deadlines, and focusing on the big picture. We may have thrown ourselves into the study of best writing practices, kept a strict schedule, formed writing accountability groups, and workshopped parts of our dissertation during the process. We are not people who have trouble staying on task and self-motivating.

So when the blues hit – when well-meaning refrains of “Congratulations, Doctor!” result in a cringe rather than a smile – what is going on? As newly minted Ph.D.s know, we’re not supposed to be any less driven simply because we’ve graduated. If anything, the hustle is supposed to begin anew. But as one tenured professor said to me: “These days very few students can hope to line up [an academic] job while A.B.D.” See more at Vitae.  Photo: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

July 6, 2015

Ramirez artificially recalls happier memories to reverse depression

MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can cure the symptoms of depression in mice by artificially reactivating happy memories that were formed before the onset of depression. The findings, described in the June 18 issue of Nature, offer a possible explanation for the success of psychotherapies in which depression patients are encouraged to recall pleasant experiences. They also suggest new ways to treat depression by manipulating the brain cells where memories are stored. The researchers believe this kind of targeted approach could have fewer side effects than most existing antidepressant drugs, which bathe the entire brain.

“Once you identify specific sites in the memory circuit which are not functioning well, or whose boosting will bring a beneficial consequence, there is a possibility of inventing new medical technology where the improvement will be targeted to the specific part of the circuit, rather than administering a drug and letting that drug function everywhere in the brain,” says Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, and senior author of the paper.

Although this type of intervention is not yet possible in humans, “This type of analysis gives information as to where to target specific disorders,” Tonegawa adds. Graduate student Steve Ramirez is the paper’s lead author. Read the full story on MIT News.

July 6, 2015

Artists: RFQ $325,000 Public Art Commission due Jul. 13

RFQ Submission Deadline extended to July 13, 2015
Cambridge Arts in Cambridge, MA is seeking qualifications from artists and designers interested in creating temporary site-responsive public artwork(s) of variable duration. The site will be a newly constructed King Open Elementary and Cambridge Street Upper Schools in East Cambridge, to be completed by 2019. The City seeks artists and designers with public art experience and encourages artist-led interdisciplinary teams. The $325,000 commission will cover all services from design through final installation/implementation, including artist fee, travel, community meetings, fabrication, insurance, transportation, installation, and coordination with City staff.

From this RFQ, four finalists will be invited and paid to submit concept proposals. All finalists will attend a site visit and meet with City staff and project architects before proposal development. Final selection of one artist or team will be made by a Site Committee based on in-person proposal presentations and interviews.
Read more

July 6, 2015

GAME, TBP, and SidPac Outing to Greater Boston Food Bank Jul. 8

Help sort donated food at the Greater Boston Food Bank, which supplies all the regional food pantries. The Food Bank is at 70 S Bay Ave., Boston, and the event is July 8th, 4:30 pm-8:00 pm. We’re meeting in Lobby 7 (77 Mass Ave.) @ 4:30 pm (we will be taking the No. 1 Bus to the end of the line in Boston). This is an incredible fun outing that we do once a month (usually on the first or second Wednesday). There will be pizza ordered for dinner, and if you travel with the group, transportation via the MBTA will be covered! You can sign up here or ask a question to find out more.

July 2, 2015

Wright: Powering desalination with the sun

When graduate student Natasha Wright began her PhD program in mechanical engineering, she had no idea how to remove salt from groundwater to make it more palatable, nor had she ever been to India, where this is an ongoing need. Now, three years and six trips to India later, this is the sole focus of her work.

Wright joined the lab of Amos Winter, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, in 2012. The lab was just getting established, and the aim of Wright’s project was vague at first: Work on water treatment in India, with a possible focus on filtering biological contaminants from groundwater to make it safe to drink.

There are already a number of filters on the market that can do this, and during her second trip to India, Wright interviewed a number of villagers, finding that many of them weren’t using these filters. She became skeptical of how useful it would be to develop yet another device like this. Although the available filters made water safe to drink, they did nothing to mitigate its saltiness — so the villagers’ drinking water tasted bad and eroded pots and pans, providing little motivation to use these filters. In reviewing the list of questions she had prepared for her interviews with locals, Wright noticed that there were no questions about the water’s salty taste. Follow the full story at MIT News.  Photo: Bryce Vickmark

July 2, 2015

July 4th Ashdown BBQ

The 4th of July Ashdown Barbeque: Come celebrate this great day in American history, in a quintessentially American way. Come join all your friends from the MIT community at Ashdown House for an evening of bonhomie and burgers, with fruits and beverages. We are meeting July 4th, 1pm-4pm at the Ashdown courtyard. Contact zuoh@mit.edu with any questions. This will be a great opportunity to experience a simple but beloved American custom with great opportunities for cultural and social exchange. Vegetarians will be taken care of, too! Photo: Darryl Kanouse

July 2, 2015

Canada Day BBQ Jul. 3rd

Come out and celebrate Canada’s 148th belated birthday with a Canadian themed BBQ!!
We will be serving delicious BBQ, including vegetarian options, along with some special Canadian treats! Join us  Friday, July 3rd, 5:30-7:30pm at the Sidney Pacific Courtyard. There will be prizes awarded for the best Canadian attire, so show up decked out in red and white. See you all there! Contact canadians-owner@mit.edu if you have any questions. Photo by Fake Plastic Alice

July 1, 2015

Cohen: PillPack raises $50m to modernize prescriptions delivery

Elliott Cohen, who was attending the university’s Sloan School of Business and had just started a hackathon series called Hacking Medicine, which brought together Boston’s academic and hospital communities to find new ways to rethink the delivery of heath care, met PillPack co-founder T.J. Parker at MIT’s annual 100K entrepreneurship challenge.

Cohen had witnessed his own pharmaceutical frustrations while growing up: His mother ran a group of community clinics near his home in Davis, Calif., and his father suffered through two heart attacks and two rounds of cancer. After finishing school in 2012, Parker persuaded Cohen to launch the company. A string of successes quickly followed as the team was accepted to the TechStars accelerator that fall, then partnered with the IDEO design firm to prototype their products. At the outset of 2013, they raised over $3.5 million in the span of just a few months. Read about their company and rapid success in the full article at the Boston Globe’s betaBoston. Photo: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

July 1, 2015

Water diplomacy to enable a new future? Jul. 3

Attend the workshop discussing water diplomacy and the Urmia Lake this July 3, 9am-1pm at 32-144. Urmia basin (Iran) is registered as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; it is one of the most influential and valuable aquatic ecosystems in the in the region. The lake basin, as a socio-ecological region, faced extreme water shortages in the recent years due to water overuse and mismanagement. This workshop will discuss Urmia Lake’s Context, History, and Challenges.  Expert panel discussions will focus on Socio-Economic Impacts and Challenges of Urmia Lake Restoration Plans. Contact: isg.exec@mit.edu  Photo by Adam

June 30, 2015

Gill Modernizes Textile Sourcing For Fashion Industry

Sundar, a global mobile search engine startup for sourcing materials and suppliers founded by banker-turned-entrepreneur Jag Gill, is part of a growing community leveraging technology to modernize business-to-business responsibilities within the international fashion industry. Sundar’s mission is to streamline the antiquated pen-to-paper materials purchasing process for designers and manufacturers by bringing it into the 21st century. This revolutionary company has developed digital tools involving curated, real-time data on its platform to create commerce opportunities between qualified vendors and buyers, saving them time, money, and the hassle of traveling to trade fairs.

Founded in 2014, Sundar was first incubated at TechStars Boston, and before that at MIT. The team has won industry accolades, including awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Condé Nast, and Decoded Fashion. Sundar is currently participating in New York Fashion Tech Lab 2015, a collaboration between the Partnership Fund for New York, Springboard Enterprises, and leading U.S. apparel & accessory brands and retailers. Prior to launching Sundar, MIT Sloan School of Management-grad Gill was a banker and advisor for several years to top business owners and companies in India. She was Vice President at Deutsche Bank’s Private Wealth Management Division and Associate Director at USB’s Wealth Management Global South Asia. Learn how Sundar works in the full article at Forbes. Photo by Jared Tarbell

June 30, 2015

A First-Timer on the Job Market?

I’m going on the academic job market for the first time starting this coming fall. What should I expect? 

That depends a lot on your field and your subfield, as well as on your own qualifications. But there are certain common features that hold true across the tenure-track market, which tends to be highly competitive in many disciplines and sub-disciplines, though far worse in some than in others. At any rate, let me try to enumerate some of the many things that you can expect as a first-timer on the faculty market:

You can expect the competition to be fierce. In many fields you may find very, very few tenure-track openings for which you can apply. In certain humanities fields, the number of positions advertised over the course of the entire job cycle in 2015-16 may be in the single digits.

You can expect to receive little or no acknowledgment of your applications from departments. You may well never be told that you have been removed from consideration.
You can expect to depend on the Jobs Wiki for information on the progress of searches. You can expect to be Googled, once you make the long shortlist…

Continue reading this entry of The Professor Is In at Vitae

June 29, 2015

Machingaidze awarded MasterCard Foundation Fellowship

Three Zimbabweans raised the country’s flag high at Massachusetts Institute of Technology  when they graduated in different courses with flying colors. A grad student amongst them, David Takura Machingaidze, graduated with a distinction in the Masters in Business Administration (Innovation and Global Leadership) degree. Machingaidze becomes the third Zimbabwean to graduate from the Sloan Fellows Program to date after Jonathan Hayes and Komborero Shoko (at Saudi Aramco). Read the full article on Individual.com. Photo by Harvey Barrison