News & Video

December 1, 2015

Yang: Harvesting more energy from photons

Yingyi Yang, a graduate student at MIT, along with other researchers at MIT, and elsewhere, have found a way to significantly boost the energy that can be harnessed from sunlight, a finding that could lead to better solar cells or light detectors. The new approach is based on the discovery that unexpected quantum effects increase the number of charge carriers, known as electrons and “holes,” that are knocked loose when photons of light of different wavelengths strikes a metal surface coated with a special class of oxide materials known as high-index dielectrics. The photons generate what are known as surface plasmons — a cloud of oscillating electrons that has the same frequency as the absorbed photons

The surprising finding is reported this week in the journal Physical Review Letters by authors including MIT’s Nicholas Fang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, and postdoc Dafei Jin. The researchers used a sheet of silver coated with an oxide, which converts light energy into polarization of atoms at the interface.

December 1, 2015

Breaking the Mold Conference, Dec. 5

Breaking the Mold is an initiative to help students develop approaches to managing unconscious biases in the classroom, workplace and board room.  The discussion is split across two conferences: Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 8am-5pm and Friday, February 5, 2016 (half day) in the MIT Media Lab. The Conference features interactive panels, workshops and keynote speakers: Former President & CEO of the LA Dodgers and Chief Product Officer of OKCupid. Tickets can be purchased as a bundle (for both conferences) or for the December conference only here.  To learn more about the speakers, the conference and the Breaking the Mold initiative, please visit this site.  Contact:  Photo by Stewart Morris

December 1, 2015

Supporting Friends and Loved Ones with Cancer, Dec. 2

When a loved one has cancer, you not only face an array of intense emotions, but also the responsibilities that come with being a caregiver. Juggling the care of someone with cancer has a great impact on a caregiver physically, psychologically, socially, and financially. Life can quickly become overwhelming, and caregivers typically put others’ needs before their own to meet the demands of each day. Unfortunately, when caregivers are less able to care for themselves, the care they provide to others suffers. Taking the time to meet your own needs is crucial when caring for a loved one with cancer, but where do you start? In this seminar, which will take place on Wednesday, December 2 from 12-1:30 pm in E19-603, Jill McNamara, LICSW, will discuss:

  • Coping with the issues when caring for someone with cancer
  • Setting realistic expectations and ultimately embracing the positive aspects of caregiving
  • Learning how to approach caregiving in a way that allows for self-care and the resources that are available to you

Please register for the event.  Photo by Thai Jasmine

November 30, 2015

Akselrod: New technology colors in the infrared rainbow

In a new study, a team lead by Maiken H. Mikkelsen, the Nortel Networks Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Physics at Duke University, demonstrates perfect absorbers for small bands of the electromagnetic spectrum from visible light through the near infrared. The fabrication technique is easily scalable, can be applied to any surface geometry and costs much less than current light absorption technologies.

Once adopted, the technique would allow advanced thermal imaging systems to not only be produced faster and cheaper than today’s counterparts, but to have higher sensitivity. It could also be used in a wide variety of other applications, such as masking the heat signatures of objects. The study was published online Nov. 9 in Advanced Materials. Read more.


November 30, 2015

Becoming an iREF, Dec. 1

Do you want to help your fellow graduate students ease their life at MIT? Join the REFS program and learn conflict management skills. REFS (Resources for Easing Friction and Stress) is an umbrella term for peer support programs at the Institute. REFS provide low barrier, informal, confidential services to their peers in conflict management, and no previous experience is required. During a 40-hour Conflict management training you will learn how to support your fellows and mediate during times of uncertainty, stress or conflict. You can find more information at the application form, and you can also contact The deadline for the application is December 1st.

November 30, 2015

MIT Giving Tree, pick up by Dec. 4th

Share the joys of winter — give a gift to a child in need! Whether you’re a student, alumni, faculty, staff, or friend, you can provide gifts to children and families in need throughout Cambridge and Boston. MIT Giving Tree works with local agencies to collect gift requests for hundreds of children. To contribute, you can start a drive in your dorm or department, purchase a gift with friends, or bring a gift as an individual. For questions, email Pick up gift tags between November 23rd and December 4th, and drop-off gift tags between November 3rd and December 11th. 

November 25, 2015

Kaspar: Automatically converting 2-D video to 3-D

Alexandre Kaspar, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science joined Professor Matusik, an associate professor at MIT in EECS and others, in exploiting the graphics-rendering software that powers sports video games. They have developed a system that automatically converts 2-D video of soccer games into 3-D. The converted video can be played back over any 3-D device — a commercial 3-D TV, Google’s new Cardboard system, which turns smartphones into 3-D displays, or special-purpose displays such as Oculus Rift. The researchers presented the new system last week at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Multimedia conference.

November 25, 2015

‘Getting from Here to There’ faculty talk: Prof. Robert Langer, Nov. 30

The final ‘Getting from Here to There’ faculty talk of the semester will take place on Monday, November 30 at 4:15 pm in 6-120.  Come hear David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer talk about how he became “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine,” and how he is developing treatments for cancer and other devastating diseases.

November 25, 2015

LEAP Grants: Learn. Explore. Act. Prepare., due Nov. 30

LEAP Grants support your public service through funding that can help you carry out a service project such as a volunteer day or philanthropy event in the US. These grants can also help you learn about service and social responsibility or build your skills to tackle a community challenge. They are not intended to provide comprehensive support. Applications are due November 30. Email with questions.

November 25, 2015

Chain Reaction With Arthur Ganson, Nov. 27

Some wait all year to bring their contraptions to this family-oriented event organized by the Museum — and some just love to watch! On the day after Thanksgiving, the Chain Reaction with Arthur Ganson will take place Friday, November 27, 2015, 1 – 4 PM in Rockwell Cage Gymnasium (120 Vassar Street). Tickets needed.

November 24, 2015

Gharbi: streamlining mobile image processing

As smartphones become people’s primary computers and their primary cameras, there is growing demand for mobile versions of image-processing applications. Image processing, however, can be computationally intensive and could quickly drain a cellphone’s battery. Some mobile applications try to solve this problem by sending image files to a central server, which processes the images and sends them back. But with large images, this introduces significant delays and could incur costs for increased data usage.

At the Siggraph Asia conference last week, researchers from MIT, Stanford University, and Adobe Systems presented a system that, in experiments, reduced the bandwidth consumed by server-based image processing by as much as 98.5 percent, and the power consumption by as much as 85 percent. The system sends the server a highly compressed version of an image, and the server sends back an even smaller file, which contains simple instructions for modifying the original image.

Michaël Gharbi, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and first author on the Siggraph paper, says that the technique could become more useful as image-processing algorithms become more sophisticated.  Read more

November 24, 2015

Personal Budgeting, noon workshop Dec. 1

The next workshop in the ODGE Financial Literacy for Graduate Student series is coming up. On December 1 from 12-1:30 pm, in W20-308 (Coffeehouse Lounge), you can learn about how to make financial goals for yourself. A lot of people have a small idea about what they want financially in both the short term and the long term. You should ask yourself questions such as: What are your financial goals for this semester? The rest of grad school? The rest of your life? Making a budget to answer these questions will be a focal point of the discussion.

The Financial Literacy for Graduate Students Series workshops are a part of an initiative aimed at providing new and better access to financial literacy resources for MIT’s graduate students. If you want to learn more about this or any other workshops in the series, join the mailing list. You can also sign up for online portal or follow us on Twitter. Photo StockMonkeys

November 24, 2015

Alumni Add “Heart” to MindHandHeart

Alumni and students joined together this fall to send the campus community a message—“Don’t struggle alone—It’s okay to ask for help.” That phrase served as a backbone for the two events at the Alumni Leadership Conference that focused on the MindHandHeart Initiative (MHH), a campus-wide effort to promote mental health and well-being and, over time, build a healthier, stronger MIT. Read more at Slice of MIT.

November 23, 2015

Schlumpberger: Shockwave-based process for desalination of water

As the availability of clean, potable water becomes an increasingly urgent issue in many parts of the world, researchers are searching for new ways to treat salty, brackish or contaminated water to make it usable. Now a team at MIT has come up with an innovative approach that, unlike most traditional desalination systems, does not separate ions or water molecules with filters, which can become clogged, or boiling, which consumes great amounts of energy.

Instead, the system uses an electrically driven shockwave within a stream of flowing water, which pushes salty water to one side of the flow and fresh water to the other, allowing easy separation of the two streams. The new approach is described in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, in a paper by professor of chemical engineering and mathematics Martin Bazant, graduate student Sven Schlumpberger, undergraduate Nancy Lu, and former postdoc Matthew Suss.  Read more

November 23, 2015

Maximizing the Postdoctoral Period, Nov. 23

How can you optimize your postdoctoral experience at MIT?  Find out at the “Maximizing the Postdoctoral” seminar on Monday, November 23, 2015 from 3-4:30 pm in the Singleton Auditorium, Building 46-3002.  Professor Hazel Sive and two seasoned postdoctoral scholars will offer their insight and suggestions and answer your questions. Our speakers will share diverse perspectives. Professor Sive is passionate about teaching, research, and mentoring. Dr. Markita Landry has recently secured a faculty position, and we are finalizing an additional postdoc speaker who is pursuing a nonacademic path.  Register for the event here.  Photo by glbrc



November 23, 2015

Grad students honor faculty through Committed to Caring Awards

Investing in students. Building an inclusive culture. Supporting mental health. Lending a caring ear. Wonderfully caring actions are more prevalent among MIT faculty than you might think! When a professor makes a positive impact on students’ lives, graduate students often share that information with other students informally. But in 2014, staff in the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE) saw an opportunity to create a low-barrier way for graduate students to give more official and widespread recognition to professors who have shown outstanding commitment to their students. The Committed to Caring (C2C) initiative creates posters of C2C honorees that line the walls of the MIT campus and flash on the screens of the Infinite Display. Details of each recipient’s accomplishments are shared on the ODGE’s C2C page.  Read more

November 20, 2015

Kamath: Tackling cancer research from multiple perspectives

As an MIT undergraduate, Tushar Kamath regularly rode his bike across the Charles River to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to retrieve blood samples from cancer patients; he then analyzed these samples on campus, at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Kamath, who received his BS in biological engineering in June and is now an MIT master’s student in biological engineering, says his trips back and forth across the river reflect his interdisciplinary view of research.

The blood that Kamath pedaled back from MGH helped in an exciting discovery about circulating tumor cells, which move through the blood in very low numbers, making them difficult to capture: He determined that a method of capturing these cells, developed in the lab where he was working, was as good as the method approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The experience showed Kamath that you don’t need a PhD to make a significant discovery.

Kamath is working with William Thilly, a professor of biological engineering at MIT, and research scientist Elena Gostjeva in the new field of metakaryotic biology. Gostjeva discovered the metakaryotic stem cells, which create organs during fetal and juvenile growth, but later serve as the generative stem cells for pathologic lesions including tumors and atherosclerotic plaques. These cells also have peculiarities including X-ray resistance, not using mitosis to divide, and organizing their genomes in a set of circular structures instead of in linear chromosomes. Read more at MIT News.

November 20, 2015

Killer Apps for the Academic Job Search

Managing an academic job search is often said to be a full-time job all on its own. To be sure, it’s a time-consuming process but there are some simple tools you can use to save time and stay organized. Here are three that Dan Royles, a visiting assistant professor at Florida International University, found particularly useful. Read more

November 20, 2015

Project Fusion: A Collision of Music & Technology, Nov. 21

On Saturday, November 21 at 8 pm, the Juventas New Music Ensemble will come to Killian Hall at MIT to put on PROJECT FUSION, a performance exploring the intersection between music and technology.  The program will feature works that take the technology we use every day and turn it into music. There will be robotic instruments interacting with live instrumentalists; a cantata that explores genetic engineering; and a piece that invites YOU as audience members to take part in the music-making on your smart phones.  Discounted tickets of $8 for MIT students can be purchased here.


November 19, 2015

Jara-Ettinger: Children’s ability to count is key to distributing resources

There are many ways to divvy up a pile of cookies. Among the possibilities: Everyone can get an equal number, or those who contributed more to the cookie baking can get a larger share. In studies, young children usually default to splitting up resources equally. However, as children get older, they shift toward a merit-based approach, in which people who work harder on a task are rewarded with a bigger portion.

New research from neuroscientists at MIT and the University of Rochester suggests that this shift is heavily influenced by children’s ability to count. In a study of children from the Tsimane’ tribe in the Amazon, who learn to count at widely varying ages, they found that counting ability was the biggest predictor of how children would divide resources. “It’s a very strong effect,” says Julian Jara-Ettinger, an MIT graduate student and lead author of the study, which appears in Developmental Science. The paper’s senior author is Steve Piantadosi, a former MIT graduate student who is now an assistant professor at Rochester.  Read more

November 19, 2015

Free booklet from AAAS: Developing Your Skills

Making any kind of career transition requires that you review your skills to evaluate where your strengths lie, but scientists often discount skills they have learned in graduate school and/or in the lab. In some cases, they may not even consider such skills as being applicable to life beyond the lab. This career collection examines the skills that make you marketable and how you can build on your experiences to help you transition to the next phase of your career–and be confident that you have the skills you need to get the job done.  Download the free booklet.  Photo by Shawn

November 19, 2015

POWER Pizza and Movie Night, Nov. 20

Come join the Postdoc Organization for Women Engaged in Research (POWER) for a showing of Mulan on Friday, November 20, from 7-10 pm in E17-517. The Postdoc Organization for Women Engaged in Research (POWER) aims to support the personal and professional development of women postdoctoral researchers at MIT. For more information about POWER, check out their Twitter.  Photo by jeffreyw 

November 19, 2015

Organize for cycling, Nov. 20

Want to be part of a vibrant community of active cyclists? Are you entrepreneurial? Do you like helping out others? Join PN2K’s MIT chapter and help grow projects that are meaningful to the community from product design to kids’ education in bike safety. They are a committed bunch that loves having fun and going on bike adventures 3-4 times each month; some of them started biking only a few months ago. Come enjoy some snacks and meet the team in a casual setting; the meetings are conversational, productive, and team/goal-oriented. Learn more and sign up at Don’t forget to join their monthly bike safety events and upcoming bike rides (see calendar at The meeting is on Friday, November 20, from 6-7 pm in 1-132.  


November 18, 2015

Yuk: Hydrogel superglue is tougher than natural adhesives

Nature has developed innovative ways to solve a sticky challenge: Mussels and barnacles stubbornly glue themselves to cliff faces, ship hulls, and even the skin of whales. Likewise, tendons and cartilage stick to bone with incredible robustness, giving animals flexibility and agility. The natural adhesive in all these cases is hydrogel — a sticky mix of water and gummy material that creates a tough and durable bond.

Now engineers at MIT have developed a method to make synthetic, sticky hydrogel that is more than 90 percent water. The hydrogel, which is a transparent, rubber-like material, can adhere to surfaces such as glass, silicon, ceramics, aluminum, and titanium with a toughness comparable to the bond between tendon and cartilage on bone.

In experiments to demonstrate its robustness, the researchers applied a small square of their hydrogel between two plates of glass, from which they then suspended a 55-pound weight. They also glued the hydrogel to a silicon wafer, which they then smashed with a hammer. While the silicon shattered, its pieces remained stuck in place.

Such durability makes the hydrogel an ideal candidate for protective coatings on underwater surfaces such as boats and submarines. As the hydrogel is biocompatible, it may also be suitable for a range of health-related applications, such as biomedical coatings for catheters and sensors implanted in the body.

“You can imagine new applications with this very robust, adhesive, yet soft material,” says Xuanhe Zhao, the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Associate Professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. For example, Zhao’s group is currently exploring uses for the hydrogel in soft robotics, where the material may serve as synthetic tendon and cartilage, or in flexible joints.

“It’s a pretty tough and adhesive gel that’s mostly water,” Hyunwoo Yuk, a graduate student in mechanical engineering and the lead author of a paper on the work, says. “Basically, it’s tough, bonding water.”  Read more

November 18, 2015

Community Service Work-Study, Nov. 19

Take a break for IAP 2016 and earn some extra money. Use your skills for a time-limited project and build your career. Expand your network, serve a community, and have fun in Boston or anywhere else in the U.S.! Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to create your own service project. This applies to federal Work-Study eligible undergraduate and graduate students only. The information session is in Room 4-145 on Thursday, November 19, at 7pm. RSVP to

November 18, 2015

Silent Walk Against Terrorism, Nov. 18

Our hearts are heavy with sadness from these last several days of violence all over the world. As a community who has been through the painful emotions terrorism brings, we want to gather in remembrance of all victims, in compassion for their families and friends, but also to reaffirm our rejection of terrorism. We will have a silent walk beginning from the Collier Memorial ending at Lobby 10 on Wednesday, November 18th at 7PM. We will carry lights and leave them on the stairs to the entrance of MIT as a symbol of hope and solidarity.

November 18, 2015

GSC ski trip 2016, purchase tickets, Nov. 19–20

The MIT GSC and MIT Snowriders are once again bringing you three amazing days of skiing, boarding, and fun at Jay PeakSki Resort in Vermont!  The Ski Trip will take place from January 8-11, 2016 and is open to all MIT graduate students, post-docs, and alumni. Ticket options include driving yourself ($305) or riding the bus ($365). Ticket sales will occur in two rounds:

  • Round 1: Thursday, November 19, starting at 10am
  • Round 2: Friday, November 20, starting at 10am

Sales will remain open until tickets sell out.  For more information please visit the Ski trip site.  Contact:  Photo by Daniel Hoherd

November 17, 2015

Bylinskii: Eye-tracking research makes better visualizations

Spend 10 minutes on social media, and you’ll learn that people love infographics. But why, exactly, do we gravitate towards articles with titles like “24 Diagrams to Help You Eat Healthier” and “All You Need To Know About Beer In One Chart”? Do they actually serve their purpose of not only being memorable, but actually helping us comprehend and retain information?Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Harvard University are on the case.

In a new study that analyzes people’s eye-movements and text responses as they look at charts, graphs, and infographics, researchers have been able to determine which aspects of visualizations make them memorable, understandable, and informative — and reveal how to make sure your own graphics really pop.

Presenting a paper last week at the proceedings for the IEEE Information Visualization Conference (InfoViz) in Chicago, the team members say that their findings can provide better design principles for communications in industries such as marketing, business, and education, as well as teach us more about how human memory, attention, and comprehension work.

“By integrating multiple methods, including eye-tracking, text recall, and memory tests, we were able to develop what is, to our knowledge, the largest and most comprehensive user study to date on visualizations,” says CSAIL PhD student Zoya Bylinskii, first-author on the paper alongside Michelle Borkin, a former doctoral student at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) who is now an assistant professor at Northeastern University. Read more

November 17, 2015

Computing, Cryptography, and the Tape Recorder Novel in Latin America, Nov. 18

In November of 1960 the Argentine writer Rodolfo Walsh decoded a cable accidentally received by a telex machine in the Havana offices of the news agency Prensa Latina, where Walsh worked alongside Gabriel García Márquez. The cable was a communiqué from a Guatemalan military base to the CIA in Washington, D.C. about plans for the Bay of Pigs invasion. Walsh informed Fidel Castro of the news, and the rest of the story is world history. But is it also world literature? This talk examines what led Walsh to decode the telex message in Havana, that event’s consequences on the category of literature, and Walsh’s subsequent creation of a new global form: the tape recorder novel.
Tom McEnaney is assistant professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University. His work in media studies, sound studies and Latin American literature has appeared in Cultural Critique, Variaciones Borges, The Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies, La Habana Elegante, and elsewhere. He is currently completing his first book Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas. He will be presenting The Art of Reception: Computing, Cryptography, and the Tape Recorder Novel in Latin America on Wednesday, November 18 in 14E-304 at 5pm on behalf of MIT Global Studies and Languages.

November 17, 2015

CTL Distinguished Speaker Series: Wendy Landman, Nov. 19

Come to the latest talk in the CTL Distinguished Speaker series on Thursday, November 19 from 12-1 pm in 56-114.  Wendy Landman, Executive Director of WalkBoston, will discuss the critical role walking plays in the overall transportation network.  Lunch will be served.  For more information visit this site.  Contact:

November 17, 2015

The Costco Shuttle is back, starting Nov. 18

The GSC’s Housing and Community Affairs committee is happy to announce that the Costco shuttle will be back in service starting November! The shuttle will run on alternating Sundays beginning on November 18. Please refer to for card availability, route map, dates, and times. Go to, or email to lear more about this. A big thank you to everyone who participated in the survey from last week!

November 16, 2015

Chen & Matsumoto: designing magnetic cell sensors

MIT engineers have designed magnetic protein nanoparticles that can be used to track cells or to monitor interactions within cells. The particles, described today in Nature Communications, are an enhanced version of a naturally occurring, weakly magnetic protein called ferritin. “Ferritin, which is as close as biology has given us to a naturally magnetic protein nanoparticle, is really not that magnetic. That’s what this paper is addressing,” says Alan Jasanoff, an MIT professor of biological engineering and the paper’s senior author. “We used the tools of protein engineering to try to boost the magnetic characteristics of this protein.”

The new “hypermagnetic” protein nanoparticles can be produced within cells, allowing the cells to be imaged or sorted using magnetic techniques. This eliminates the need to tag cells with synthetic particles and allows the particles to sense other molecules inside cells. The paper’s lead author is former MIT graduate student Yuri Matsumoto. Other authors are graduate student Ritchie Chen and Polina Anikeeva, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering.  Read more

November 16, 2015

Conflict Management Workshop, Nov. 17

Do you find it difficult to talk to your advisor with the challenges you are facing in your research? Do you find it difficult to express the problems you are facing to your roommate? To help you navigate through the various conflict situations, Tang Hall presents a conflict management workshop. Titled “Conflict Styles and Strategies”, it will be conducted by Libby Mahaffy, the assistant director of conflict resolution at MIT. The workshop will be followed by dinner, limited seats, please signup: It will be on Tuesday, November 17, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. It will be in Tang Hall on the 24th floor lounge. Contact to learn more.

November 16, 2015

De-escalating Conflicts at MIT with the iREFS, Nov. 17

Wondering how to navigate a conflict in the lab, with your PI, or a roommate? Come learn new skills in conflict management and de-escalation techniques to help you prepare for those difficult conversations. Join iREFS and the Director for Student Citizenship, Kevin Kraft, for a mini workshop to learn de-escalation techniques. It will be in 5-127, on November 17th from 5-6:30PM. Includes a brief description of the formal conflict management options and complaint resolution procedures at MIT. Food and snacks will be provided. No prior experience required, please RSVP: Please contact to learn more.

November 16, 2015

A Conversation w/ US Senator William “Mo” Cowan, Nov. 17

Come join us for a conversation with former US Senator William “Mo” Cowan on Tuesday, November 17 at 4:30 pm in 4-270.  Senator Cowan will reflect on his career in politics and public service and discuss the current political landscape.  The event will be moderated by MIT Professor Andrea Campbell of the Political Science Department and refreshments will be served.  Contact:

November 16, 2015

Challenges Faced by Successful Women in STEM, Nov. 17

Women in STEM are important contributors in today’s society, however they are still surrounded by gender bias on a regular basis. This event is a fantastic opportunity to hear from a panel of powerful women from a multitude of ethnic backgrounds, succeeding in STEM fields, and speaking openly about the obstacles they have faced.  It will be held on Tuesday, November 17, at 5:45-8 pm in the Venture Café, Cambridge Innovation Center 5th floor (One Broadway, Cambridge).  For more information and to register for the event, visit this site.  Photo by ITU Pictures

November 16, 2015

Canadians Club Poutine Night, Nov. 17

Come out and meet your friendly MIT Canadians at the Thirsty Ear Pub! The Thirsty will have all the comforts of a classic Canadian pub, with plenty of free poutine! Poutine is a Canadian delicacy consisting of fries, cheese curds, and hot gravy. The event will take place on November 17, from 8-10PM. Please contact

November 13, 2015

Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellowships in Ethics, deadline Nov. 16

Applications are invited from graduate students who are writing dissertations or are engaged in major research on topics in practical ethics, especially ethical issues in architecture, business, education, government, law, medicine, public health, public policy, and religion. The Center seeks applicants who have excelled in their fields of specialization, have demonstrated an interest in questions of value that cut across disciplinary boundaries, and who are likely to make significant contributions to teaching and scholarship in practical and professional ethics.

Students should either be enrolled in a Harvard doctoral program; enrolled in or a recent graduate of a Harvard professional degree program that does not require a doctoral dissertation for an academic career (such as law or medicine); or a current Harvard affiliate who is engaged in postgraduate training or in graduate training at another school and has no commitments in 2016-2017. Advanced students taking leaves of absence from one of these approved programs are also eligible.

All course requirements and general examinations must be completed before the start of the fellowship year. Students taking a full or partial course load in either semester of the fellowship year are ineligible.  Deadline for the fellowship application is November 16, 2015. For more information, please visit this site.  Contact:  Photo by Wonderlane

November 13, 2015

How to stay in the US after you graduate, Nov. 16

Are you an international student? Do you want to stay in the United States after you graduate?  Come to our presentation about immigration options after graduation on Monday, November 16 from 6-7:30 pm in 4-237.  Dana Bucin, an attorney with Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C., will be covering immigration options for international students.  You must RSVP here for this event.  Contact:  Photo by Bart

November 13, 2015

Warehouse Coffee House Performance, Nov. 15

We welcome all performers: singers, musicians, comedians, poets; soloists or ensembles to take part in the Warehouse Coffee House on November 15, 5-6:30 pm in The Colbert Room, The Warehouse (NW30, 224 Albany Street, Cambridge MA).  Sign up here by Wednesday, November 4 if you would like to perform.  Contact:  Photo by Sergiu Bacioiu

November 13, 2015

OrigaMIT Convention 2015, Nov. 14

OrigaMIT will be holding its fifth annual origami convention on Saturday, November 14, 2015 in the MIT Student Center (W20). At the convention you will have the opportunity to:

  • Take classes on how to fold specific origami models
  • Browse a high quality origami exhibition
  • Purchase origami paper and books
  • Fold paper

The convention is open to anyone who would like to participate! Registration cost for this convention will be $20.  MIT students can register at a discounted rate of $5.  Registration will increase to $30 on November 12th, so register early! Unfortunately, online payments will not be accepted so please bring cash or Techcash to pay at the convention check in.  To learn more and to register for the event, please visit this site.

November 12, 2015

Kamath: Tackling cancer research from multiple perspectives

As an MIT undergraduate, Tushar Kamath regularly rode his bike across the Charles River to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to retrieve blood samples from cancer patients; he then analyzed these samples on campus, at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Kamath, who received his BS in biological engineering in June and is now an MIT master’s student in biological engineering, says his trips back and forth across the river reflect his interdisciplinary view of research.

“You’ve got the top physicians sitting across the river, and you’ve got the top scientists sitting on this side of the river,” Kamath says. “Everybody is so close together, the potential for collaboration is huge.” The blood that Kamath pedaled back from MGH helped in an exciting discovery about circulating tumor cells, which move through the blood in very low numbers, making them difficult to capture: He determined that a method of capturing these cells, developed in the lab where he was working, was as good as the method approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The experience showed Kamath that you don’t need a PhD to make a significant discovery.  Read more

November 12, 2015

From Student Loans to Credit Cards, noon workshop, Nov. 16

The next workshop in the ODGE Financial Literacy for Graduate Student series will take place on November 16 from 12–1:30 pm, in W20-308 (Coffeehouse Lounge), where you can learn about how to manage debt. Many people carry student loans or other forms of debt. However, some people do not know how to manage their debt carefully. Make sure you have the information you need in order to manage your current debt load, strategize future borrowing, and save money in the long run.

This workshop is part of the Financial Literacy for Graduate Students Series, an initiative aimed at providing new and better access to financial literacy resources for MIT’s graduate students. If you want to learn more about this or any other workshops in the series, join the mailing list: You can also sign up for online portal by visiting: and follow them on Twitter: @MITGrad Finances. Photo StockMonkey

November 12, 2015

Boston Graduate Leadership Organization (BGLO) Fall Mixer, Nov. 13

Interested in meeting graduate students from around the Cambridge/Boston area? Come to the Boston Graduate Leadership Organization (BGLO) fall mixer for a night of socializing and dancing!  This event will take place on Friday, November 13 from 8-11 pm at Wild Rover (61 Chatham St, Boston MA 02109)  and will be open to graduate students from Babson, Bentley, BC, BU, Brandeis, Harvard, HULT, MIT, Northeastern, Suffolk, and Tufts. Must be 21+. RSVP and get more ticket information here.  Interested in volunteering to hel check-in guests, hand out names tags, direct people and get a free cover?  Signup to volunteer here.  Contact:,  Photo by Raj Taneja

November 11, 2015

DeGennaro: Brain relies on memory to locate objects

Imagine you are looking for your wallet on a cluttered desk. As you scan the area, you hold in your mind a mental picture of what your wallet looks like. MIT neuroscientists have now identified a brain region that stores this type of visual representation during a search. The researchers also found that this region sends signals to the parts of the brain that control eye movements, telling individuals where to look next.

This region, known as the ventral pre-arcuate (VPA), is critical for what the researchers call “feature attention,” which allows the brain to seek objects based on their specific properties. Most previous studies of how the brain pays attention have investigated a different type of attention known as spatial attention — that is, what happens when the brain focuses on a certain location.

“The way that people go about their lives most of the time, they don’t know where things are in advance. They’re paying attention to things based on their features,” says Robert Desimone, director of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research. “In the morning you’re trying to find your car keys so you can go to work. How do you do that? You don’t look at every pixel in your house. You have to use your knowledge of what your car keys look like.”

Desimone, also the Doris and Don Berkey Professor in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, is the senior author of a paper describing the findings in the Oct. 29 online edition of Neuron. The paper’s lead author is Narcisse Bichot, a research scientist at the McGovern Institute. Other authors are Matthew Heard, a former research technician, and Ellen DeGennaro, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.  Read more

November 11, 2015

MIT Water Summit, Nov. 13-14

The 3rd annual MIT Water Summit will take place on November 13 from 2:30-7 pm and November 14, from 9:30 am – 4 pm, in the Wong Auditorium, Tang Center (E51).  Join us to explore the world of water!  The Summit is a panel-based conference which brings together students, faculty, industry, and government.  This year’s theme is “Thriving with Change”, with three panels titled “Interpret”, “Innovate”, and “Implement” featuring experts from around the world.  We will also be featuring key note speakers Curt Spalding of the EPA, and Professor Kenneth Strzepek of MIT. Visit the MIT Water Summit site for more information and to reserve your spot!  Contact:  Photo by Janet Ramsden

November 11, 2015

GSC Thursday @ The List, Nov. 12

Graduate students: meet up at the List for a special night of conversation, art making, and delicious food and drinks in celebration of the exhibition Rosa Barba: The Color Out of Space.  The event will be held on Thursday, November 12, from 6-8 pm at the List Center (Building E15).  This program is open to MIT Graduate Students and their guests only.  Contact:

November 10, 2015

Astropreneurship Panel, Nov. 11

On Wednesday, November 11 from 6:30-9:30 pm in 32-155, come learn about the current and future state of space entrepreneurship, including trends in the industry and advice for students.  Panelists include the founders of Deep Space Industries, Accion Systems, Alliend Minds, and Earth2Orbit.  The panel will include time for Q&A and will be followed by a reception with the panelists in the R&D Commons.  Please RSVP here.  Contact:  Photo by nasamarshall

November 10, 2015

Prof. Broadhead on path from student to historian, Nov. 10

Want to know how your professors went from being students to historians? Come hear Associate Professor of History Will Broadhead talk about his journey from Connecticut to London to MacVicar Faculty Fellow at MIT. Learn about how he brings ancient Greece and Rome to life for today’s students. He will give this lecture on Tuesday, November 10 at 5:15pm  in 3-133.

November 10, 2015

MIT announces five-year plan for action on climate change

MIT is launching a multifaceted five-year plan aimed at fighting climate change, representing a new phase in the Institute’s commitment to an issue that, the plan says, “demands society’s urgent attention.” Citing “overwhelming” scientific evidence, “A Plan for Action on Climate Change” underscores the “risk of catastrophic outcomes” due to climate change and emphasizes that “the world needs an aggressive but pragmatic transition plan to achieve a zero-carbon global energy system.”

To that end, MIT has developed a five-year plan to enhance its efforts in five areas of climate action, whose elements have consensus support within the MIT community:

  • research to further understand climate change and advance solutions to mitigate and adapt to it;
  • the acceleration of low-carbon energy technology via eight new research centers;
  • the development of enhanced educational programs on climate change;
  • new tools to share climate information globally; and
  • measures to reduce carbon use on the MIT campus.

The plan calls for MIT to convene academia, industry, and government in pursuit of three overlapping stages of progress.  Read more

November 10, 2015

Wellness Fair, Nov. 13

Come to the Division of Student Life’s (DSL) Wellness fair on Friday, November 13, 2-5 pm, in the Z-Center front lobby and meet the MIT community members who will be there for you throughout the year.  You are welcome to bring your questions and concerns.  DSL focuses on stress awareness, stress management, and stress relief.  Photo by Livin’ Spoonful

November 9, 2015

Cordova uses data analytics on driving behavior to improve safety

Are you a safe driver? According to MIT alumnus Brad Cordova SM ’13, co-founder of driving-data-analytics startup Censio, you’ll probably answer “yes,” but the real answer may be “no.” Those who consider themselves safe drivers may tailgate, speed, or use cellphones while driving, which significantly increase the probability of an accident, Cordova says. “For most of us, the most dangerous thing you do from day to day is driving,” he says.

To improve driver safety, Censio has developed an app that captures and analyzes data on driving behavior to show drivers where they can improve. In September, Progressive Insurance began piloting the app with customers nationwide, with aims of reducing insurance rates for good drivers.  Read more

November 9, 2015

Info Session on Hult Prize, Nov. 10

Interested in social entrepreneurship? Want practice pitching your idea? Or hear about other ideas from MIT students?  Join a team and compete for a chance to win $1M in seed capital through the Hult Prize Competition, an annual global competition for students. The 2016 Hult Prize challenge is on Crowded Urban Spaces – Can we build sustainable, scalable, enterprises to better serve people in urban spaces?  Teams of 3 or 4 students will pitch their idea at MIT on December 7, 2015 and the winning team will compete to attend the Hult Prize Accelerator. Come to the info-session that will be held on November 10, from 6-7 pm in E51-345, to learn more about the competition and meet other people within the MIT community who are also committed to social change!  Contact:  Photo by JD Lasica

November 9, 2015

2016 OGMESTI International Exhibition: Registration deadline Nov. 10

The International Exhibition on Oil, Gas, Material Energy, Services & Technology Innovations (OGMESTI’2016) committee invites you to present and display your research results, projects, contributions and ideas at the International Exhibition.  OGMESTI’2016 is open to: Students, Researchers, Oil And Gas Companies, Firms, Patent Brokers, Private and State Organizations, Laboratories Holding Inventions Already Protected by Intellectual Property Rights, Etc.  The exhibition will be held from January 11-13, 2016 in Sousse, Tunisia.

A catalogue of the Exhibition will be sent to all participants as source of intra-communication to extend the cloud network of the Exhibition fields.  OGMESTI invites contributions in the topics (but not limited to) listed here. Entry Form submission and registration is due November 10, 2015; Exhibition Dates are January 11-13, 2016.  Contact: for more information.  Photo by Enrico Strocchi



November 9, 2015

MIT Comedy Night at the Thirsty Ear, Nov. 10

Join us for another MIT Comedy Night, with headliner Ryan Donahue (Strange Behavior) on Tuesday, November 10 at 8 pm in the Thirsty Ear Pub.  Snacks and soda will be provided. 21+ govt ID & MIT ID required for entry. Please have ID ready to show at the door.  Contact:  Photo by That Other Paper

November 6, 2015

Weintraub: Mapping the 3-D structure of DNA

For graduate student Abe Weintraub, the magic and intrigue of DNA is all in the packaging. Imagine trying to fit 24 miles of string into a tennis ball, the PhD student in biology says: That is, in essence, what it’s like inside every cell nucleus in the human body, each of which contains about 2 meters’ worth of DNA strands. But, as Weintraub is finding, this packaging sometimes goes awry, which may be the basis for disease.

Although the genetic code that resides in DNA has traditionally been thought of as linear, Weintraub is contributing to a body of knowledge about its 3-D organization. Two genes that may exist far apart when a strand is stretched out straight could actually be right next to each other when the strand is folded inside a cell nucleus — and the same applies to regulatory elements, which tell genes to turn on or off.

Looking at DNA as a 3-D phenomenon may yield insights about how certain genes get turned on or off, and thus how cells differentiate — in other words, DNA’s 3-D structure might actually be what’s behind one cell becoming a skin cell, while another becomes a lung cell. Weintraub has now been part of the lab of Richard Young, a professor of biology, for one and a half years; his research began in figuring out how DNA gets folded up the way it does, and has more recently shifted to the consequences of improper folding.  Read more

November 6, 2015

Graduate-UROP Mixer: Meet and Hire UROPs, Nov. 9

Finding a talented UROP who has the same interests as you is hard! The MIT Biotech Group is helping like-minded UROPs find industry/entrepreneurship-oriented UROP advisors.  The mixer which will be held on Monday, November 9, from 7-8:30 pm in the Bush Room (10-105), will be organized as a speed-dating process where graduate students can meet many UROPs rapidly.  Refreshments will be served.  Contact:  Photo by asianartmuseum


November 6, 2015

Join the MIT Board of Trustees: deadline Nov. 9

Each year a recent alum is elected to join the MIT Corporation, the Institute’s Board of Trustees.  This year, 2014, 2015, and prospective 2016 graduates (both undergraduate and graduate) are eligible for nomination for this 5-year Corporation term.  If you are interested in this opportunity, we strongly encourage you to nominate yourself.  To learn more about the MIT Corporation and to submit a nomination, visit this site. Nominations will take about one minute. Deadline for submissions is November 9, 2015.  Contact:  Photo by Niall Kennedy

November 6, 2015

PN2K Bike Trivia Event, Nov. 8

Stop by the PN2K Bike Trivia event on Sunday, November 8 from 2-5 pm in the MIT Z-Center (Johnson Lobby), for $15 bike lights, $20 helmets, $40 high-vis shirts, and PN2K membership (tax-deductible). Bring your bikes for free minor bike repairs, pressure-washing, registration, bike trivia (for a chance to win prizes), free food, music, and to learn more about joining PN2K.  For information, visit the Facebook Event Page.  Photo by Richard Masoner

November 5, 2015

All-Graduate Student Forum for VP-Student Life Search, Nov. 5

The GSC is hosting an open forum on Thursday, November 5, 5:30-7 pm in 3-270 for graduate students to learn about the Vice President for Student Life search.  The Chair of the Committee (Prof. Krishna Rajagopal) and the two graduate student reps on the committee will be there to answer questions and take notes on feedback from the graduate student community.  If you cannot attend, you can always provide feedback here.  Contact:  Photo by Albertine Feurer-Young

November 5, 2015

Diwali Night, Nov. 8 at MIT Kresge Auditorium

This coming Sunday, November 8, at 6 pm MIT Sangam  invites you to the Annual Diwali Celebration, co-sponsored by the GSC. There will be a Diwali Dinner in Lobdell, from 6–7:30 pm, activities and stalls at MIT Kresge Auditorium, between 6–8 pm, followed by a Cultural Show, performance, at Kresge, from 8–10 pm. For tickets and program visit the event site.

Packed with back to back cultural performances by members and students within and outside of MIT, the organizers promise “unrestrained entertainment with Bollywood jhatka-matkas, folk dances, filmy gaane, classical krithis and a cappella music!” There’s also a three-course dinner before the cultural show starts, along with fun evening activities, such as henna making.


November 5, 2015

Community Lunch @ MIT with Mayor Setti Warren, Nov. 6

The next part of “The Community Lunch @ MIT” series will take place on Friday, November 6, at 12 pm, in 2-105.  The guest speaker will be Mayor Setti Warren of the City of Newton, MA.  Mayor Warren will discuss his career in public service and his experiences leading the City of Newton, which is one of America’s top-rated communities.  This event is open to the entire MIT community and lunch will be served.  Please RSVP here.  Contact:  Photo by settiwarren

November 4, 2015

“What to Do When Hard Work Isn’t Enough”

So what’s the difference between people who work hard and advance and those who work hard but their career remains stagnant? Why are some people rewarded for sacrifice and others exploited for it? That question comes up often in the ongoing discussion of academic labor. Why does one Ph.D. land a tenure-track position while another is relegated to a lifetime of adjunct pay?  Read more at Vitae  Photo by Robert Thomson

November 4, 2015

Adib: Wireless “X-ray vision” could power virtual reality, smart homes, & Hollywood

A team of researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has long believed that wireless signals like WiFi can be used to see things that are invisible to the naked eye. Since 2013, CSAIL researchers have been developing technologies that use wireless signals to track human motion. The team has shown that it can detect gestures and body movementsas subtle as the rise and fall of a person’s chest from the other side of a house, allowing a mother to monitor a baby’s breathing or a firefighter to determine if there are survivors inside a burning building.

Next up? Seeing a person’s silhouette and even distinguishing between individuals. In a paper accepted to the SIGGRAPH Asia conference taking place next month, the team presents a new technology called RF Capture that picks up wireless reflections off the human body to see the silhouette of a human standing behind a wall. By tracking the silhouette, the device can trace a person’s hand as he writes in the air and even distinguish between 15 different people through a wall with nearly 90 percent accuracy. In other words, from the opposite side of a building, RF Capture can determine where you are, who you are, and even which hand you are moving.

Researchers say the technology could have major implications for everything from gaming and filmmaking to emergency response and eldercare. Take, for example, motion capture in movie production: “Today actors have to wear markers on their bodies and move in a specific room full of cameras,” says PhD student Fadel Adib, who is lead author on the new paper. “RF Capture would enable motion capture without body sensors and could track actors’ movements even if they are behind furniture or walls.”  Read more

November 4, 2015

Midterm Social with the Ventureships Club, Nov. 4

Come to Ventureship midterm social on November 4 at 6-8 pm in 3-270 and listen to the projects our selected startups are working on and mingle with like-minded entrepreneurs. Please RSVP for the social here.  If you would like to pitch or share your startup ideas at the social, please register here. Contact:  Photo by Gvahim

November 3, 2015

Cynthia Barnhart on progress to prevent sexual assault at MIT

On Oct. 27, 2014, MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart released the findings of the Community Attitudes on Sexual Assault (CASA) survey, detailing MIT students’ experiences with a variety of unwanted sexual behaviors. In the year since, students, faculty, and staff have come together to raise awareness about what constitutes sexual misconduct, how to prevent it, and resources that can help. Barnhart spoke with MIT News on progress to date, and new efforts to combat sexual assault at MIT. Read more

November 3, 2015

Engelhard & Maalouf: a smart inhaler for asthmatics

Rescue inhalers are commonly used by asthmatics, as necessary, during asthma attacks. But people with asthma sometimes use maintenance inhalers, on a prescribed schedule, to prevent attacks.

As with other prescription medications, patients sometimes forget or don’t adhere to the prescription, sometimes causing hospital visits and leading to preventable health care costs.

Now MIT spinout Gecko Health, with its recent acquisition by Teva Pharmaceuticals, aims to boost development on its sensor that attaches to inhalers to monitor usage, with aims of keeping patients healthy and cutting health care costs.

“It’s not about selling the company, but really being able to achieve what you want to achieve,” says Gecko Health co-founder and CEO Yechiel Engelhard MBA ’12.

There are more than 25 million people living with asthma in the United States. Non-adherence to inhaler prescriptions, especially in severe cases, can cost each patient anywhere from $700 to $4,000 annually in preventable medical costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Improved inhaler adherence could potentially cut health care costs drastically, Engelhard says. But collecting data for patients, he adds, also helps empower asthma patients in the age of health and wellness wearables.

“The idea is to make things very transparent and easy to understand — anything to make you a smarter patient,” says Engelhard, who launched the startup with Mark Maalouf MBA ’12, who was Gecko Health’s chief technology officer before the acquisition.  Read more

November 3, 2015

“Don’t Tell Anyone” film screening Nov. 5

On Thursday, November 5, from 7-9 pm in 3-133, the MIT Urban Planning Film Series will feature a screening and panel discussion of Mikaela Shwer’s Don’t Tell Anyone (No Digas a nadie).  After the film, please join us for a discussion with special guests Justin Steil (Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT) and Cristina Jo Perez (Visiting Scholar, MIT Department of Women’s and Gender Studies). Visit this site for more information.

Summary: Since the age of 4, Angy Rivera has lived in the United States with a secret that threatens to upend her life: She is undocumented. Now 24 and facing an uncertain future, Rivera becomes an activist for undocumented youth with a popular advice blog and a YouTube channel boasting more than 27,000 views. She steps out of the shadows a second time to share her story of sexual abuse, an experience all too common among undocumented women. Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie) follows Rivera’ss remarkable journey from poverty in rural Colombia to the front page of The New York Times.  Visit this site for more information.

November 2, 2015

Anglón: New member of the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education

Ms. Gloria Casilda Anglón has joined the staff of the ODGE as Assistant Director for the Summer Research Program (MSRP) and Diversity Initiatives, bringing more than 10 years of administrative experience in student affairs. Most recently, Gloria served as an Administrative Fellow and Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions and later as the Assistant Director for Diversity and Student Engagement at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). In this role, Gloria initiated and led the graduate admissions’ diversity subcommittee resulting in a significant increase in the number of admitted and enrolled underrepresented minority and women graduate students in SEAS. She also collaborated extensively with faculty and university offices to evaluate, refine, and implement activities to engage and recruit prospective students and concentrators which included facility tours, group information sessions, and one-on-one advising. She can be found in building 35-332, and is also reaching out to schedule time with many students to learn more about their work at MIT. Please join the ODGE in welcoming Ms. Anglón to MIT.

November 2, 2015

Pal: climate simulation shows Persian gulf could experience deadly heat

Within this century, parts of the Persian Gulf region could be hit with unprecedented events of deadly heat as a result of climate change, according to a study of high-resolution climate models.

The research reveals details of a business-as-usual scenario for greenhouse gas emissions, but also shows that curbing emissions could forestall these deadly temperature extremes.

The study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, was carried out by Elfatih Eltahir, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT, and Jeremy Pal PhD ’01 at Loyola Marymount University. They conclude that conditions in the Persian Gulf region, including its shallow water and intense sun, make it “a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future.”

Running high-resolution versions of standard climate models, Eltahir and Pal found that many major cities in the region could exceed a tipping point for human survival, even in shaded and well-ventilated spaces. Eltahir says this threshold “has, as far as we know … never been reported for any location on Earth.”  Read more