Here and there


MIT Sea Grant was well represented at the June awards ceremony of the 635-mile Marion (MA) to Bermuda cruising race. Unlike the better-known race starting in Newport, RI, this one prohibits the use of spinnaker sails and requires skippers to navigate with sextants rather than modern electronic equipment. Left to right: Donald Atwood, a recent Sea Grant postdoc who finished fifth overall in the race; the Hon. C.V. (Jim) Woolridge, Bermuda's Minister of Tourism; and Norman Doelling, who recently retired as Sea Grant's assistant director (his retirement gift was the sextant that helped guide his boat to a second-place finish in its class).

An open letter to "All my good friends at MIT" from John F. Collins, an AT&T technician, arrived at Tech Talk recently. In it Mr. Collins said that his company has reassigned him after 21 years at MIT and he didn't want to leave without saying goodbye to "the many good friends I have met over the years." He asked to send his particular regards to the Campus Police, Physical Plant, house managers and the telecommunications staff.

Three Environmental Medical Service staff members and one from the Division of Comparative Medicine have chapters in the recently published second edition of Biohazards Management Handbook, edited by former EMS staffer Daniel F. Liberman. Associate Biosafety Officer Richard Fink contributed a chapter entitled "Destruction of Microorganisms;" Assistant Biosafety Officer Elizabeth Gilman wrote "Development and Implementation of an Effective Training Program to Meet the Requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Standard," and Industrial Hygiene Officer Louis DiBerardinis wrote "US Office of Safety and Health Administration Laboratory Standard: Regulation of Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories" while co-authoring another on the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard Act. Neil S. Lipman, associate director of DCM, contributed "Safety Considerations in the Animal Resource Program and Facility."

The Air Force Academy graduate honored for top academic performance this year, Douglas P. Wickert, is coming to MIT.Wickert, who earned a 3.89 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, also took academic honors for astronautical engineering and engineering. He plans to attend MIT with the help of fellowships from the National Science Foundation and Draper Laboratories.

MIT's Bruce Montgomery was one of several members of the fusion community to testify this spring before the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of the House Committee on Appropriations.In his testimony Dr. Montgomery, associate director of the Plasma Fusion Center, described many spinoffs from fusion research, including plasma processing of semiconductor chips.

QUOTES:

"The importance of today's docking goes beyond the technical achievement. It represents a new phase of international cooperation at the scientific, technical and political level. I'm very optimistic about the future."-Laurence R. Young, professor of aeronautics and astronautics, on the joining of the American space shuttle Atlantis and the Russian space station Mir, in the Peoria (IL) Journal Star.

"When the history books are written 100 years from now, it will be seen as the first cooperative human presence in space."-Daniel E. Hastings, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and associate department head for research, also on the docking, in The Boston Herald.

"The patient is in need of a heart transplant. Unfortunately, it seems we have only plastic surgeons."-Thomas L. Neff, research affiliate with the Center for International Studies, quoted in The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA) on problems undermining a deal to exchange Russian uranium from scrapped nuclear weapons for $12 billion in desperately needed US currency.

"I don't believe in black holes."-Institute Professor Emeritus Philip Morrison, in a Scientific American article on physicists on the many prominent physicists who doubt the existence of black holes.

"Residential is what makes a city a city, which then encourages retail."-William C. Wheaton, director of MIT's Center for Real Estate, in a talk to real estate editors on ways to revitalize downtowns, as reported in the St. Petersburg Times.

"I've been here 25 years, and we have never had as much attention from the service sector and financial institutions as we have had this year."-Robert K. Weatherall, director of the Office of Career Services and Professional Planning, on a pickup in job offers from the service sector, especially financial institutions, in The Boston Globe.

"Clearly, it's about the most important thing we ever could possibly do."-Professor Marvin L. Minsky, on blending computer technology and neuroscience to develop an artificial brain, or to use implanted chips as prosthetic devices, helping people with various impairments, in the Dallas Morning News.

"In my mind this kind of research is more analogous to the bears in the Moscow circus who are trained to ride unicycles. You can train animals to do all kinds of amazing things."-Professor Steven Pinker, on claims of researchers that chimpanzees can demonstrate the rudimentary comprehension skills of 21/2-year-old children, in The Ottawa Citizen.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on August 16, 1995.


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