Here and there


Edward Moriarty, director of departmental computing for the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is a man with a mission.

Like many others at MIT, he believes in reaching out to the public schools to foster an interest in science among K-12 students. With that in mind, he and a student, Matthew S. Reynolds, a sophomore in EECS from Queensbury, NY, visited the Countryside Elementary School in Newton recently.

But they weren't alone. They took along two robots that had been built for the IAP competition, demonstrating their capabilities to the students and permitting some hands-on inspection of the robots."We visited three classes," Mr. Moriarty said, "and we had expected to spend perhaps a half hour in each class. But the students became so involved that we took an entire hour for each class."

Mr. Moriarty is planning other visits and said he may develop robots built specifically for show-and-tell purposes.
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Also committed to education is Dr. John Coleman, research scientist at the Plasma Fusion Center. He was recently named science director for the Solar Now Project, which is funded by the Department of Energy and headquartered at Endicott College in Beverly. Also involved are the Beverly Public Schools and the 175kW photovoltaic facility at Beverly High School, which was funded by DOE more than a decade ago through a $3-million grant effort spearheaded by Dr. Coleman. The project's main effort is in educating students and teachers in alternative renewable energy sources and the environment. Dr. Coleman, an MIT staff member for 23 years, is a former member of the Beverly School Committee and a past president of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. Most recently, he was selected by the Massachusetts Department of Education as one of the writers of the Curriculum Framework for Science for grades preK-12 in the Commonwealth.
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Myron Weiner, Ford Professor of Political Science, is co-editor with Ali Bannuazizi of New Geopolitics of Central Asia, published by the Indiana University Press.

The book focuses on the newly independent Muslim Republics of the former Soviet Union in Central Asia, especially Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. According to the publisher, "It examines the recent economic and political developments in these states with reference to the lingering legacy of Tsarist Russian and Soviet rule, the resurgence of an Islamic political identity, the persistence of ethnic allegiances and rivalries and the nascent democratic aspirations of their peoples."

BRIEFLY NOTED: Professor Frank Levy of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning is the author of a chapter in Russell Sage Foundation's 1990 census research series, State of the Union: America in the 1990s. He contributed "Incomes and Income Inequality," detailing the increasing imbalance of the 1980s and suggesting what must be done to overcome it. The American Society of Civil Engineers has elected Professor Charles C. Ladd of civil and environmental engineering to honorary membership. He will be installed at the society's annual meeting next fall.

CLIPS

An extensive and laudatory assessment of MIT's Center for Transportation Studies appeared in the March 13 issue of Traffic World, a major publication in the field. Reporter Jean V. Murphy cites the success of CTS in anticipating changes such as "the shift to deregulation, the technology-driven move to integrate logistics processes and the increasingly global outlook of major customers."To meet the educational and research needs of these dynamic times," the writer says, educational institutions "also have had to redefine their mission. None has done so more effectively than the Center for Transportation Studies at MIT.

"Its ability to draw on a wide range of disciplines from within MIT and. an aggressive outreach program that taps the interests and expertise of corporate executives and government officials in a way that raises the level of discussion on critical industry issues and focuses research on areas with the greatest potential for real-world returns."

She quotes Professor Yosef Sheffi, director of the CTS and a faculty member in civil and environmental engineering: "If you really want to interact with industry, you have to give them a say in what you do and make sure there is open communications. We do that."Send reprint requests to .

QUOTES

"If a terrorist doesn't have to worry about camouflaging because he can load up his truck or car, he can put as much weight in it as he wants." -Dr. Lee Grodzins, professor of physics, on the difficulty of preventing car bombings, in the Patriot Ledger of Quincy. -"Realistically, the only real deterrent to most car-bomb attacks. is advanced information from intelligence sources." -Also Dr. Grodzins, in the Tulsa World.

"The original task of the UN was peace-keeping after wars have ended." -Dr. Lincoln Bloomfield, professor emeritus of political science, explaining that the UN has been asked to do something not in its charter, intervening in domestic affairs where wars are still going on, in the Patriot Ledger of Quincy.

"We will certainly be less impressed by 800s than we were before. But frankly, we weren't ever impressed much by 800s because we got a lot of them."-Michael C. Behnke, director of admissions, commenting on the readjustment, or recentering, of this year's SAT scores, in The Dallas Morning News.

"Anecdotes are driving public policy. Most of them are wrong, and the ones that are right are misleading."-Dr. Stephen M. Meyer, professor of political science, commenting on controversy surrounding the Endangered Species Act, for the Gannett News Service.

"It is important to crack segregation and discrimination, but the bottom line is that I shouldn't have to move to get good schools, good housing and good services. The emphasis on integration implicitly devalues the place where we are asking people to move from... We have to work with people so that where they are is as good as any other place." -Melvin H. King, director of the Community Fellows Program, at a seminar on race relations reported in The Christian Science Monitor.

"It's a hot topic right now, and it has huge implications on normal human development. I can understand why so many companies are jumping on board." -Scott Lowe, postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Cancer Research, on a development reported in The Star-Ledger of Newark, NJ, in which researchers are seeking more efficient ways of killing harmful cells.

"Biomass burning seems to be a peculiar focus for a conference, at least to the person on the street. It was only realized in the last 10 years just how important this biomass burning might be."-Dr. Ronald G. Prinn, professor of atmospheric chemistry and director of the Center for Global Change Science, quoted in The Virginian-Pilot and the Ledger-Star, at a conference studying burning on a global scale.

"If you send out an online message that's inclusive, that includes many points of view or that's conciliatory, you may get no response. And women are more likely to make that kind of communication, whereupon no message comes back. But if you make a controversial statement, maybe even an exaggeration, you're more likely to get responses. So the medium pushes people toward a controversial style. It rewards the quick jab. It encourages a kind of confrontational style which men are more comfortable with."-Dr. Sherry R. Turkle, professor of sociology of science, on gender differences in the overall conversational styles used by men and women who "talk" via computer, as reported in The Boston Globe.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 10, 1995.


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