News & Video

February 9, 2016

MIT Clean Energy Prize, applications due Feb. 12

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

February 9, 2016

New website Discussion encourages talk about the Institute

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

February 8, 2016

Cho: Your car’s secret weapon against winter?

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

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

February 8, 2016

ReachOut: Teach Children, apply by Feb. 11

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


February 8, 2016

MLK Celebration Luncheon, Feb. 10

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

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

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

February 5, 2016

Rosenzweig: Insights on citizen participation in authoritarian countries

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

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

February 5, 2016

IDEAS Global Challenge deadline, Feb. 18th

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

February 5, 2016

Images of Discovery at MIT Museum

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

February 4, 2016

Dalca: A million photos of the Boston skyline

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

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

February 4, 2016

European Career Fair, Feb. 6

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

February 4, 2016

Submit to the MIT Sustainability Idea Bank by Feb. 15

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

February 3, 2016

Simaiakis: Cutting down runway queues

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

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

February 3, 2016

PIM Model Foundation 2016 applications now open

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

February 3, 2016

 Furry First Fridays, Starting Feb. 5

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

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

February 2, 2016

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

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

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

February 2, 2016

Breaking The Mold Conference, Feb. 5

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

February 2, 2016

Volunteer for MIT ESL Program

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

February 1, 2016

Pacheco-Theard: Free Test Prep Startup

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

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

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

February 1, 2016

Martin Fellowships for Sustainability, apply by Feb. 29

Each MIT faculty member is invited to nominate one outstanding student to become a member of the Martin Family Society of Fellows for Sustainability for 2016-2017.  The student should presently be a second- or third-year graduate student pursuing doctoral research and should be a resident at MIT during the Fellowship period. Nominees should be working in, or interested in, an area of environment and sustainability as indicated by his/her clearly  articulated statement of interest, subjects taken, and proposed research area.  Selected fellows are awarded two semesters of funding. Complete nomination packets are due by email to the Office of the Dean of Graduate Education no later than 5:00 pm EST on Monday, February 29, 2016. Read more

February 1, 2016

Teach at Tufts University Next Fall, apply by Mar. 11

The Experimental College invites you to be a Visiting Lecturer for the Fall 2016 semester. You will have the opportunity to design undergraduate elective courses
, explore interdisciplinary subjects
, examine contemporary issues and ideas, use innovative teaching methods
, and teach evening classes. Advanced graduate students are always looking for opportunities to teach in their area of expertise, and the Experimental College at Tufts University is a place where that can happen. Up to twenty-five instructors are selected each semester to teach at the Experimental College, and they can attest to the unique and rewarding experience of designing and teaching a course to highly motivated undergraduate students.

The ExCollege offers a full range of largely new courses every semester­ – on an elective basis – to Tufts undergraduates. The courses are intended to provide an alternative to the traditional departmental curricula by presenting interdisciplinary or contemporary subjects. Classes are usually kept to less than twenty students and are highly discussion and participation oriented. An applicant whose proposal is approved will become a Visiting Lecturer for the semester, will receive a stipend, and will have access to university facilities. Advanced graduate students and adjunct faculty are encouraged to apply online by March 11, 2016.

February 1, 2016

Girls Day @ the MIT Museum, Mar. 5

The MIT Museum would like to showcase the work of women scientists and engineers during Girls Day. The theme for this event is Formed to Function and will focus on Mechanical Engineering and design for function. If you have a project/prototype/machine that you would like to showcase? If you have developed an activity around engineering design? Everyone is more than welcome to participate as a general volunteer, hands-on activity facilitator, and/or showcase their works! For more information or to participate please email Faith Dukes. You can also check out previous Girls Day events. The event will be held on Saturday, March 5, from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.


January 29, 2016

MIT RoboCon: Register to present by Feb. 1

The first annual MIT RoboCon will be held on MIT campus at the Stata Center on February 12 and 13, 2016. MIT RoboCon is a student-organized, student-run conference intended to foster technical cross-disciplinary interactions between students, postdocs, and other roboticists in the community. This is a great opportunity to meet other roboticists at MIT, start collaborations, and present your work to the robotics community. The conference will feature invited keynote talks, sessions for MIT robotics students and postdocs to present research highlights, and intimate breakout sessions to facilitate discussions about topics such as advice on finding a robotics job and the future of robotics. Read more

January 29, 2016

Chain Reaction Building Session, Feb. 1-4

Do you enjoy tinkering? Do you often construct elaborate mechanical contraptions? Are you fascinated with engineering? If so, we are looking for volunteers to help us build a Chain Reaction (Rube Goldberg style machine) for the Cambridge Science Festival. Builders will join local artists Arthur Ganson, Jeff Lieberman, Bruce Rosenbaum, and museum staff for the contraption construction. The contraption will be built between 10 am to 5 pm on February 1 to 4 at the MIT Museum. No experience required – enthusiasm necessary! RSVP to to sign up for 2 hour shifts!

January 29, 2016

Welcome Back Dinner, Feb. 1

Take a break before the semester begins. Christians on Campus is organizing a Welcome Back Dinner. Join for Fellowship, singing, and the Word. Followed by dinner and dessert in the Bush Room (10-105), on Monday, February 1, from 6:30 – 9:30pm. Photo from Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

January 28, 2016

Explore identity: Register for MC^2 by Feb. 1

Have you ever wondered what it would take to help MIT grow in areas of multiculturalism, diversity, or social justice? Are you curious about aspects of identity and what role they play in people’s experiences on campus? Would you like to learn and develop more diversity-related skills and cross-cultural competencies? Do you wish you had more of a voice around issues of Diversity and Inclusion at the Institute? If you answered yes or are curious about these questions, then we invite you to attend this year’s Multicultural Conference (MC^2).

At the conference, we will facilitate an honest, open, and interactive dialogue about the cultural climate at MIT, learn from people’s experiences, and develop plans to cultivate a campus environment that promotes equality, not simply tolerance. The conference offers a provocative day of workshops, speakers, community building, action, and reflection centered on issues of culture, identity, and social justice at MIT and beyond. Join us for a day and a half of breaking the ice, bonding, and reflection at the Endicott House as we discuss diversity, inclusion, and community development at MIT. MC^2  is FREE for all MIT students. Spaces are limited! Registration is due by February 1, 2016.

January 28, 2016

xFair: Career fair, Feb. 1

 xFair is a career fair and expo combined, with a focus on company demos and our very own MIT student projects. Organized by TechX and the MIT Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, xfair joins Techfair and TBP’s career fair. Companies can showcase their products and services to thousands of MIT students in order to build their brand at MIT and give students a better idea of what they could work on during a potential internship or job. The event is on Monday, February 1, 2016, 10am-4pm. Find out more information about other career fairs here at MIT.

January 28, 2016

Indian Republic Day Celebrations, Jan. 31

Celebrate the Indian Republic Day with friends and family. Join MIT Sangam for flag hoisting at the Students Center, followed by documentary screening in 10-105. The event will be held on January 31, from 11:00am.  Lunch will be provided. Photo from MIT Sangam

January 28, 2016

Two Day Intensive Tango Bootcamp for Complete Beginners, Jan. 30-31

An intensive two-day introduction to Argentine Tango, designed to get you from no dancing to tango in two quick days, will be held on January 30 to 31 at Walker Memorial, Morss Hall. No dance partner or experience needed. Space is limited: the bootcamps have been wildly popular in the past so be sure to sign up now! Light refreshment provided.

January 27, 2016

Kim and Choi: Harnessing the energy of small bending motions

For many applications such as biomedical, mechanical, or environmental monitoring devices, harnessing the energy of small motions could provide a small but virtually unlimited power supply. While a number of approaches have been attempted, researchers at MIT have now developed a completely new method based on electrochemical principles, which could be capable of harvesting energy from a broader range of natural motions and activities, including walking. The new system, based on the slight bending of a sandwich of metal and polymer sheets, is described in the journal Nature Communications, in a paper by MIT professor Ju Li, graduate students Sangtae Kim and Soon Ju Choi, and four others.

Most previously designed devices for harnessing small motions have been based on the triboelectric effect (essentially friction, like rubbing a balloon against a wool sweater) or piezoelectrics (crystals that produce a small voltage when bent or compressed). These work well for high-frequency sources of motion such as those produced by the vibrations of machinery. But for typical human-scale motions such as walking or exercising, such systems have limits. Read more

January 27, 2016

Negotiating Job Offers, Jan. 28

The Negotiating Job Offers workshop presented by Bob Dolan will examine the many variables that exist during the evaluation and negotiation process of Job Offers. Knowing how, when and why you should negotiate will be reviewed. Salary vs. Total Compensation will be examined. Strategies on the negotiation process will be discussed along with “Should You Negotiate?” and “What Can” and “What Can Not” be negotiated. These strategies can be used throughout your career. Advanced registration requested via CareerBridge. The event will be held in 4-149, on January 28, from 2:00 – 3:30 pm. Illustration By Frits

January 27, 2016

Join the challenge: Register for getfit@mit by Jan. 28!

Registration is now open for getfit@mit 2016, MIT Medical’s annual fitness challenge. Get your team of five to eight members registered before the end of the day on January 28! Connect with others in the find-a-team forum, if you are looking for teammates. Find more details regarding events, more about the official rules, or read frequently asked questions. Contact with questions. Photograph-

January 27, 2016

Dance Dance Revolution Session, Jan. 27

Do you think you might enjoy throwing your feet around in time to your favorite music, or are you already a pro? Join us in playing StepMania, the leading open-source clone of the classic arcade game of Dance Dance Revolution, and hang out with other fans! Players of all experience levels are welcome, from first time to expert. We’re prepared for a large turnout with 4 dance pads, including a hard dance pad with a bar (great for more difficult songs). The event will be held on January 27 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at 32-G449. Be sure to attend if you are interested, or learn more about other Dance Dance Revolution resources at MIT.

January 26, 2016

Xu: Building Economic Analytical Tools‏

PhD student Yiqing Xu applies new methodology for better insight into the Chinese political economy. It became clear to Xu that politics plays an increasingly important role in determining China’s course, in both economics and social and political development. This led him to pursue a doctorate in political science at MIT. His research has included an extensive experimental study that involved sending letters to local officials in 2,000 Chinese counties. View profile

January 26, 2016

The Art of Behavioral Interviewing, Jan. 27

Learn how to develop and enhance your interviewing skills! While your technical skills will get you the interview, it is your behavioral attributes that will get you the job. This workshop delivered by Bob Dolan will cover topics such as types of interviews, sample interview questions, appropriate dress, and important tips to think about before, during and after the interview. The intended outcome is to help you prepare and develop a strategy for a successful interview. In addition, sample behavioral and academic interview questions will be provided along with tips on how to answer these tough questions. Advanced registration requested via CareerBridge. The event will be held in 4-149, on Wednesday, January 27, from 1:00 – 2:45 pm.

January 26, 2016

Improv Comedy Workshop to Improve Communication and Public Speaking, Jan. 26

Have you had that awkward moment in a presentation where someone asks a really weird question? Has a student in class posed an off-the-wall idea while you are presenting? Do you fear what a committee member may ask in your thesis defense? This improv workshop will help develop skills to respond to such situations. We will be doing improv comedy exercises to develop a comfort with engaging others. Participants should expect to participate in improv comedy exercises with attendees. Fun will be had by all…we hope. This event is open to undergrad and grad students and postdocs. If registration limit has been met, please email Jake Livengood to be added to the wait list. The Event will be held in the Basement Classroom at E39-040, on Tuesday, January 26, from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. Read more

January 26, 2016

Arabian Nights reading, Jan. 27

Scheherazade is calling you! Or, to return from Rimsky-Korsakov to her Persian roots, Shahrazad: join the Literature community and friends as we explore her stories from The Arabian Nights during our sixth annual Mobile Reading Marathon. Not a thousand and one nights, just one special day of animated reading of selections out loud. Drop by, listen, join in, or not: no threats of execution for the tongue-tied. Be among the intrepid few who stay from start to finish, or come for just a bit; all are welcome. Books and good fellowship provided. Costumes, props, and other imaginative contributions encouraged. We may even have a lunchtime excursion into the world of music. Join on Wednesday, 27 January 2015 at following locations and times:

14E-304, from 9:30-11:00am 
Lobby 10, from 11:00am-1:00pm
Spofford Room (1-236), from 1:00-3:00pm 
Stella Room (7-338), from 3:00-5:00pm 

and tweet as you participate: #ArabianNightsPhotograph from Chris Boland

January 25, 2016

Rosenweig: Citizen participation in authoritarian countries‏

PhD student Leah Rosenzweig‘s electoral insights shed light on reasons for citizen participation in authoritarian and transitional countries in Sub-Sahara Africa. Of MIT Political Science she says “The professors here are very approachable and great mentors. My advisor, Professor Lily Tsai, who directs the GOV/LAB, is incredibly supportive and sets an example of working hard on important problems that directly affect peoples’ lives.” Story by Peter Dunn

January 25, 2016

LinkedIn Lab, Jan. 25

Bring your laptop to explore the many ways LinkedIn can help you in your career exploration and job or internship search. We will begin with an overview of LinkedIn and some of the key areas of a complete LinkedIn profile. We will also cover some ways LinkedIn can be used as job search tool. This will be followed by individual work on your profile, with Career Services staff available to answer your questions. Advanced registration required via CareerBridge. The event will be held in 4-159, on Monday, January 25, from 2:00 – 3:00 pm. 

January 25, 2016

MIT Clean Energy Prize Ideas Mixer, Jan. 25

Interested in Clean Energy? No idea what Clean Energy means but want to know? Have you heard (or not heard) of the MIT Clean Energy Prize? Want a chance at winning up to $200,000 for your Clean Energy Idea? Perhaps you’d like to enjoy some wine and appetizers while listening to brilliant Clean Energy entrepreneurs and experts share their views on the importance of supporting entrepreneurs? Then attend the MIT Clean Energy Prize Ideas Mixer! The mixer will be hold on January 25th from 7 to 9pm at Greentown Labs (28 Dane St, Somerville). Read more

January 25, 2016

Graduate Student Open House at MIT Museum, Jan. 26

Do you have a passion for sharing science with others? Are you looking for unique volunteer opportunities to work with children and/or adults? Or, do you just want a chance to explore a world-renowned museum after hours? Come visit the MIT Museum on January 26 from 6 to 7:30 pm to explore the galleries and talk with our staff and volunteers about your outreach interests. This open house is just for MIT grad students! Free food! Hands-on activities! Fun science! Join us!

January 22, 2016

Lunchtime focus group for graduate students on academic and research advisorship, Jan 25-29

Two lunchtime focus groups (for graduate students only!) are being held the last week of January: (1) on academic and research advisorship, (2) on sub-term (modular subjects). You are invited to attend! Up to 2 spots per department per focus group are open, on a first-come, first-served basis. Participate in a one-hour discussion on graduate affairs with fellow graduate students, and get free lunch!

(1) The MIT Committee on Graduate Programs (CGP) would like get your feedback on how academic and research advising roles are split within your department. Your feedback has the potential to influence future institute policies regarding this issue. If you are willing to share your thoughts and experience with us, please respond with your availability. Some questions we would like to know answers to: (a) who tracks students’ progress on graduate milestones in your department? (b) who tracks students’ academic progress in your department? (c) whose role in your department is it to resolve potential advising issues? (d) what would you like to see done differently? A discussion about what works, what doesn’t, and what should change, will ensue.

(2) The MIT Faculty Policy Committee (FPC) would like to get your feedback on sub-term (modular) subjects. Have you taken or TA-ed a course that took place over half a semester? We would like your input on topics including workload, TA duties, student feedback, course organization and coordination of sub-term subjects with other courses. Your feedback has the potential to influence future institute policies regarding part-term subjects. If you are willing to share your thoughts and experience with us, please respond with your availability. Photograph from Michael Coghlan.

January 22, 2016

Connect with Alumni, Jan. 25-28

A great opportunity to connect with alumni, chat about shared experiences, and ask for career advice. Volunteer with the Alumni Association for 2 hours over IAP to thank an alum of your department and get a free dinner of your choice. This will take place at W31-110, January 25-28 2016, 7-9PM. To confirm your preferred date, time, and department contact Kim Nguyen (

January 22, 2016

GCF Cookoff, Jan. 23

Graduate Christian Fellowship small group bible studies will engage in a friendly cook-off competition – email if you want to help cook! We are inviting everyone in the graduate community to join us  in the Sidney Pacific Seminar Room on Saturday, January 23, 6:30pm-8pm, to enjoy our cooking and help choose the winner. Plan on sticking around and playing board games with us. Co-sponsored by MIT-GCF and GSC Funding Board. Photograph Scott Shawcroft

January 21, 2016

Convert Your CV into a 2-Page Resume for Industry, Jan. 22

If you are considering exploring Industry positions, you will need to have a resume that effectively positions you for this path. This workshop presented by Bob Dolan will discuss the process of converting your 4-6 page CV into a 2-page resume for industry, and creating a document that effectively targets the Hiring Manager. Can your resume survive a 15 second scan and still get into the YES pile? Discussions will surround the strategies of effective messaging and how to be “on-point” with your written communication. Actual successful MIT PhD/Postdoc resumes will be provided as handouts. Advanced registration requested via CareerBridge. The event will be held on Friday, January 22nd from 1:00 pm to 2:30pm at 4-149Photograph from Matthew G.

January 21, 2016

Cybersecurity: Reducing Your Attack Surface, Jan. 22

Whether you realize it or not, end user cybersecurity plays a major role in everyones’ lives: from your siblings to your grandparents. It affects your family, friends and even your colleagues. It is critical for all to understand how to be safer with today’s online threats. Come to this 1-hour conversation: Cybersecurity – Reducing Your Attack Surface Friday, January 22, from 12:00PM-01:00PM in 3-133 to learn more. Bring your questions to this information security open-ended general session for all. Hear from Roy and Frank Quinn (both security professionals) their thoughts and recommendations regarding the topics below. Read more

January 21, 2016

Women’s Club Hockey Team Ice Hockey Skills Clinic, Jan. 22

Wish you had more ice time to practice and some tips to develop your skills? Here’s your chance to get world-class coaching and extra ice time. The excellent coaching staff of the MIT Women’s Ice Hockey Club run clinics for the MIT community for players to get focused developmental time. The clinic will give you the chance to work on basic skills, do drills, practice team play, and develop game situational awareness. The clinic is $20/person. Sign up now if you are interested. The clinic will be held on January 22 from 7 to 9 pm at the Johnson Ice Rink.

January 20, 2016

Student-built instrument headed to asteroid and back

Who can say they’ve been to an asteroid and back? In 2023, more than 50 MIT students (including several graduate students) may claim this feat, at least through the activities of a small, shoebox-sized instrument named REXIS (Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer). The instrument, which was designed and built by students from MIT and Harvard University, will be one of five instruments flying aboard NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer), the first U.S. mission to retrieve and return an asteroid sample to Earth. This week, NASA announced that REXIS was successfully integrated onboard the spacecraft, bringing the mission one step closer to its scheduled launch next September.

Once in orbit, OSIRIS-REx will set course for Bennu, a small, near-Earth asteroid that may harbor material from the early solar system. The spacecraft is expected to reach Bennu sometime in 2018, when it will survey the space rock for the next year and take a small, 60-gram sample of surface soil before heading back to Earth by 2023. During the spacecraft’s survey phase, REXIS will observe the interaction of solar X-rays with the asteroid’s soil, or regolith, to determine the types of elements present on Bennu’s surface. Read more

January 20, 2016

Communicating Science to Nonscientists, Jan. 21

Scientists are often perceived as living in their own impenetrable world. Join, Jean-luc Doumont, as he discusses the challenges of communicating with a lay audience, and presents effective strategies for overcoming the challenges. Most of these strategies apply to communicating to scientists as well. They are universal good ideas – heeding the advice becomes more critical when the audience is less specialized. Advanced registration requested via CareerBridge. The event will be held at 10-250 on January 21, from 2:00 – 4:00pm. Photograph from Principae

January 20, 2016

Conflict Resolution: Better Communication, Happier life, Jan. 21

Excellent communication skills can enhance your work performance and create more joy in your personal life. The right mindset is key. In addition to communication techniques, learn how to prepare your mind and body for better communication. Our two interactive workshops introduce tools such as recognizing intent, effective listening, positive thinking, and getting to the root of the problem. Workshop is Thursday 1/21, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at MIT Tang Center (70 Memorial Drive), E51-057, Kendall/MIT T Station stop. The entrance to the parking lot is on Amherst St. near Wadsworth St-free parking during the event! Discover ways such as meditation and Shiatsu that can bring our minds and bodies to a centered and balanced state for successful communication. Read more

January 20, 2016

Observing Black Holes, Jan. 21

Black holes are perhaps the most mind-boggling objects ever conceived by physicists and there is hardly any science fiction series today that will not feature them in some capacity. However, black holes are also very much observable and one of the major topics of today’s X-ray astronomy. Join, Dr. Victoria Grinberg of the MIT Kavli Institute for Observing Black Holes, a presentation on the astrophysical black holes, at Marlar Lounge (37-252), on Thursday, January 21, 2:00pm. Photograph from MIT Kavli Institute. 

January 20, 2016

Slow Looking Art Workshop, Jan. 21

Join the List’s monthly study break on Thursday, January 21, 6 to 7 PM to look closely at Sol LeWitt’s monumental installation Bars of Color within Squares (MIT), and enjoy a guided sketching activity. Visit the List Visual Arts Center signup page to RSVP.

January 19, 2016

Branding Yourself – Effective Communication Skills, Jan. 20

Communication goes beyond verbal skills which are important to the success of any job seeker. To brand yourself as a professional, you must deliver a consistent message in a Written, Verbal, and Virtual manner. As students and postdocs begin to look for positions in engineering and science, both in academia and industry, they must be aware of how their nonverbal communication skills impact their possibility of finding employment opportunities. Learning how to maximize the use of one’s verbal and nonverbal communication skills is a powerful tool to help one achieve professional success, and a critical component for the future. Advanced registration requested via CareerBridge. The event will be held on Wednesday, January 20, from 2:00pm to 3:30pm, at 4-231. Photograph from Tendenci Software.

January 19, 2016

Be a Graduate Resident Tutor, apply by Jan. 31

Residential Life is seeking enthusiastic graduate/doctoral students to become part of our GRT (Graduate Resident Tutor) Team! If you are interested in mentorship, working closely with MIT faculty, Residential Life staff and students, please join us for one of info sessions. Application is open through January 31, 2016.

January 19, 2016

MIT Women’s Chorale, First Rehearsal, Jan. 20

MIT Women’s Chorale welcomes women from throughout the MIT community as they prepare for their April 30th concert. They will be singing choral music of Jules Massenet, including scenes from his opera, Cendrillon, and compositions of Gabriel Faurè and Lili Boulanger. These will be contrasted with some contemporary American pieces in non-mainstream popular idioms. First rehearsal is on January 20, at 7:15 pm in room 10-340. New members may join through the February 3rd rehearsal. No audition is required, although new members are encouraged to come at 7 pm on their first night so that they may be placed into the appropriate vocal part. Prospective members are urged to contact the chorale if interested or refer to their website for further information.

January 18, 2016

Chhabra featured in Forbes 30 under 30

Arnav Chhabra, a PhD candidate at Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST), has been featured in this year’s issue of Forbes 30 under 30. At the age of 24, Chhabra has already accumulated an impressive track record of research accomplishments. He published his first paper while still in high school, and his current thesis work is focused on constructing a “liver on a chip”, a proposed replacement for animal livers currently used in disease research. Read more

January 18, 2016

The Quest for Real Meritocracy, Jan. 27-29

Sign up for a 3-credit IAP class that will explore how addressing implicit bias can improve equal opportunities and boost performance. Breaking the Mold co-founder Elena Mendez-Escobar, now at McKinsey and Company, will unpack recent research linking diversity to performance. Students will dissect successful interventions that business and organizations have put in place to manage the effects of unconscious bias. This class will be highly interactive and include guest speakers from McKinsey, simulations, and small-group experiential activities. January 27 and 28, 9 am to 5 pm; January 29, 9 am – 12 pm at E62-223.

January 18, 2016

Call for Bands: Battle of the Bands Signup

Currently part of a band or ensemble? Interested in showcasing your musical talent? Play at Battle of the Bands! The event will take place early spring semester. Bands should have at least one MIT graduate student member. The winning band will be offered a performance opportunity (with compensation) at the annual Acoustic BBQ in May! Sign up now if you’re interested in performing!

January 15, 2016

Sun and Orcutt: Building optoelectronic microprocessors

Using only processes found in existing microchip fabrication facilities, researchers at MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Colorado have produced a working optoelectronic microprocessor, which computes electronically but uses light to move information. Two of the first four co-authors of the work are MIT graduate students Chen Sun and Jason Orcutt, who has since joined IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center.

Optical communication could dramatically reduce chips’ power consumption, which is not only desirable in its own right but essential to maintaining the steady increases in computing power that we’ve come to expect. Demonstrating that optical chips can be built with no alteration to existing semiconductor manufacturing processes should make optical communication more attractive to the computer industry. But it also makes an already daunting engineering challenge even more difficult. Read more

January 15, 2016

A*STAR Investigatorship now open for applications

The A*STAR Investigatorship (A*I) is a prestigious research award designed to attract the most promising young researchers from around the world to do independent research at A*STAR. It was initiated to nurture the next generation of scientific leaders in biomedical sciences, physical sciences and engineering research. The Investigatorship will be tenable at one of A*STAR’s prestigious research institutes. Further details and application materials can be found on the A*STAR website.

January 15, 2016

Tang Hall Paint Night, Jan.16

Spend a calming winter evening with friends and take home new artwork at the Tang Hall Paint Night, on Saturday January 16, 6pm-9pm at the Tang Hall 24th floor lounge. Paint, brushes, boards, other required materials as well as inspiration, will be provided. Everyone is welcome to join, no painting skills necessary! Dinner will also be provided. For more information contact, Photograph from Surian Soosay

January 14, 2016

Research Art Night: Submit by Jan. 21!

Share the story of your research through an image or a piece of art! Physical artwork or demos are welcomed too. Join us at the exhibition on February 7, 2016 at Sidney Pacific to mingle amidst research images and artwork over wine, chocolate and hors d’oeuvres. Attractive prizes include phone cases (any model) and 13″ Macbook Air case personalized with your research image, vouchers from UPROSA and more! Submission open until January 21st, 2016.

January 14, 2016

CityDays, Jan. 19

Join the PKG Center and honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a volunteer with CityDays this January. CityDays is a series of one-time community service events throughout the Greater Boston area. This January we’ll partner with the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Science Club for Girls, Community Servings and the Community Art Center. Dr. King famously said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” Sign up to participate in building your community on Tuesday, January 19. For questions, email

January 14, 2016

Make your own hummus, Jan. 14

Make your own hummus and zhug (yemenite hot sauce) with take away results at this hands-on workshop. Hosted by Grad Hillel. January 14, 2016, 7-9pm at W11 Main Dining Room.

January 13, 2016

Bozchalooi: New microscope’s near-real-time videos of nanoscale processes

Based on the the PhD work of Iman Soltani Bozchalooi, state-of-the-art atomic force microscopes (AFMs) are designed to capture images of structures as small as a fraction of a nanometer — a million times smaller than the width of a human hair. In recent years, AFMs have produced desktop-worthy close-ups of atom-sized structures, from single strands of DNA to individual hydrogen bonds between molecules. But scanning these images is a meticulous, time-consuming process. AFMs therefore have been used mostly to image static samples, as they are too slow to capture active, changing environments. Read more

January 13, 2016

Careers in Law for STEM Students: A Panel, Jan. 14

Come for the pizza, stay for the career advice. At this panel, you will learn about career opportunities at the intersection of technology and law and the various career paths that panelists have taken to get from their STEM backgrounds into law. Panelists include patent lawyers, MIT alum, and other professionals who use their STEM expertise in the field of law. January 14, 6 to 7:30 pm. Room 3-333. Please register on CareerBridge. Pizza will be served!

January 13, 2016

Art and Lunch with Ann Hirsch, Jan. 14th

Meet artist Ann Hirsch on Jan. 14th, 12:30-2:00 PM,  for lunch and a walkthrough of List Projects: Ann Hirsch, a new exhibition featuring her video and new media works that explore the effects of technology on pop culture, public femininity and feminism, as well as the internet and social media. Advanced sign-up is required, and limited spots are available. Email to sign up. This event is organized by the List Visual Arts Center.

January 12, 2016

Wexler: Zapping your brain‏

Zapping your brain: Why do it? Should it be regulated? Interest is growing in brain stimulation devices — and regulating them may prove tricky. PhD student Anna Wexler‘s research into the matter is the “best encapsulation of the near-history of this phenomenon,” says Peter Reiner, a professor of psychiatry and expert in neuroethics at the University of British Columbia. Wexler was one of the experts asked to speak at an FDA panel held on the topic in November.
Story at MIT News

January 12, 2016

Budgeting 101, Jan. 14

As part of MIT’s Independent Activities Period (IAP), the MIT Federal Credit Union will host Budgeting 101 on January 14, from 12 pm-1 pm in MIT Room 56-114. By choosing to educate yourself about money matters, you are already on the path to independence and financial success! Effective planning and budgeting are essential activities you must master in order to remain financially healthy. Registration is required. Photo from

January 12, 2016

Meditation, yoga, anxiety reduction retreat, IAP 2016

Meditation, yoga and breathing techniques for being an effective leader and improving personal well-being will be taught. FREE intro sessions on Thursdays (5 pm, 56-167) and Saturdays (11 am, E51-061). There is also an info session on January 18 from 5-6:30pm in room 56-167. Fill out this RSVP form to communicate your interest in attending! The retreat days are: Thu (21st Jan), Fri (22nd Jan): 6pm-10pm; Sat (23rd Jan), Sun (24th Jan): 10am-4pm; Mon (25th Jan): 3pm-7pm.

January 11, 2016

Mayo: MIT team tackles the future of transportation

A team of MIT engineers, led by MIT graduate student John Mayo, is developing what they hope will be a key part of the future of transportation. “Hyperloop has the ability to have a good impact on the environment, the speed of transportation and just advance physical transportation in general,” said Mayo, who is the project manager of MIT’s Hyperloop design team. “That’s why we go to school, that’s what we do is help improve, and do challenges and solve problems.”

The Hyperloop would be a system of near-vacuum tubes that sends levitating pods from one place to another at 760 miles per hour. That means passengers or cargo could make the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in half an hour. The Hyperloop is designed to run on solar power, and be an alternative to driving or flying short distances. Although it is far from something ripped out of an optimistic science fiction movie, designing the Hyperloop is hardly simple. Read more