The MIT Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Team took the $5,000 first prize for the second consecutive year at the International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition run by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. In the contest, teams of college students vie to design and build underwater vehicles to navigate a submerged obstacle course. While operating autonomously under computer control, vehicles must pass through a series of gates, then enter a specified recovery zone, drop a marker and surface, all within a specified time interval. The competition was held in August at the Naval Coastal Systems Station in Panama City, FL. The co-sponsor, the US Office of Naval Research, hopes to develop devices to keep personnel out of harm's way by performing dangerous missions such as finding and neutralizing sea mines and underwater obstacles.
Institute Professor Sheila Widnall received the James V. Hartinger Award in August from the National Defense Industrial Association. The award is named for the first commander of the US Air Force Space Command and is presented annually to recognize outstanding achievement in the military space mission of the United States. Professor Widnall was cited for her achievement as Secretary of the Air Force in "initiating the transformation of the Air Force today to the Space and Air Force of tomorrow," and for her work on integrating space systems into national defense policy, as well as initiatives in space-based infrared sensors and new expendable launch vehicles.
Edward Cohen, senior lecturer in music and theater arts, received a $1,000 finalist award in music composition from the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Artist Grant Program. This year, the council will grant more than $15 million to nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, artists and local cultural councils.
The Cooperative Education Association, Inc. has presented the 1999 Herman Schneider Award to Dr. Christopher Pratt, director of the Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising. Dr. Pratt, who was elected in June as the organization's vice president for research and information, was cited for "his unstinting willingness to mentor and support his colleagues and to stimulate increased and focused research activity" in the field of cooperative education.
Samuel D. Sidiqi (SBs in political science and economics, 1999) has received a Fulbright grant for study overseas. He plans to study Arabic in Egypt and eventually work toward a PhD in Middle Eastern development issues.
Subra Suresh, the R.P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Lionel C. Kimerling , the Thomas Lord Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, have been named as two of the 100 Fellows (out of about 10,000 members) of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society. Dr. Suresh, the youngest of the organization's Fellows, was elected "for pioneering contributions to the understanding of mechanical behavior and mechanics of materials, and for leadership in materials education." Dr. Kimerling, director of the Materials Processing Center, was elected "for his outstanding basic and applied research on defects in semiconductors, and for his professional and academic leadership in the field of electronic materials."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 29, 1999.