Here & There


GOOD NEIGHBORS

Forty-eight members of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) set up their home-made dunk tank, manned booths and sold snow cones at the annual community fair to raise funds for the Devotion Elementary School in Brookline on May 1. Members of the fraternity, which is located at 58 Manchester Rd. in Brookline, participate in the event every year. "MIT believes in being part of a community, and we're trying to keep that goal out here in Brookline," said Jason Wong, a community service chair of ZBT. "We have to try even harder since there are so few MIT students out here."

OBSERVATIONS

Claude Canizares, the Bruno Rossi Professor for Experimental Physics and director of the Center for Space Research, gave the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy at Harvard University on May 7. He spoke about high-resolution spectroscopy with NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, scheduled for launch in July.

"Chandra is a powerful observatory that will address a wide range of scientific problems, from the physics of stellar coronae to cosmology. We developed two of the four instruments and are involved in the scientific operations. Chandra's early scientific objectives include searching for the missing baryons in the universe," Professor Canizares said. The Sackler lectures are made possible by a gift from Raymond and Beverly Sackler and are used annually to bring an exceptional speaker to the Harvard College Observatory.

ANATOMY LESSON

"I was not born with a mouse or a keyboard socket on my body -- I was born with a mouth," Professor Michael L. Dertouzos declared. He and other experts in technology, politics and the arts were asked by the Wall Street Journal (March 19) what they would do if they were running America On Line. Said Professor Dertouzos, director of the Laboratory for Computer Science, "I want to know when I will be able to use speech in all my interactions with AOL. I want to be able to just speak into my microphone instead of typing. It is more natural."

WIRED TO WIRED

Case Western Reserve University edged out MIT as 1999's "most wired" institution of higher learning in the United States, if you lend credence to the survey by Yahoo! Internet Life. MIT finished third last year and first in 1997, the first year of the survey.

"Wired-ness" is determined by a variety of criteria, including available hardware, online classes and registration, as well as Internet services. Determinations are based on questionnaires submitted by the institutions.

Here's how other local colleges ranked: Worcester Polytechnic, 19th; Babson, 32nd; Emerson College, 50th; BC, 55th; Holy Cross, 58th; Wellesley, 88th; Brandeis, 102nd; Tufts, 105th. Harvard and Boston University didn't make the list. Nationally, Berkeley ranked 41st and Stanford 31st. Dartmouth, No. 1 a year ago, slipped to 26th.

The top 200 will appear in the May issue.

WOMEN FACULTY HONORED

National Organization of Women President Patricia Ireland honored 15 tenured women professors in MIT's School of Science last week for their "successful challenge of decades of gender discrimination and unfair workplace practices within the university."

Ms. Ireland joined local women's rights supporters at Boston law offices on April 27 to hear Professor Nancy Hopkins of biology describe the collaboration she and her colleagues formed with MIT administrators to bring about change within the Institute.

OUR HERO

Rich Sanford (SB 1996), a longtime fan of the New York Knickerbockers, was honored by the Boston Celtics as a "Hero Among Us" during the April 25 game against the Washington Wizards at the Fleet Center. Mr. Sanford and Michael Bruyzek, a senior in electrical engineering and computer science, founded Volunteer Solutions, a web site that matches volunteers with nonprofit institutions.

"They were really fun to watch and played pretty well -- even with their captain (Antoine Walker) out with an injury," said Mr. Sanford, executive director of Volunteer Solutions. "I think I would like to see more of their games in the future. I was also impressed to hear how much they try to stress their ties to the community. I don't know of any other teams that make that kind of effort."

Volunteer Solutions started in 1997 and shared first prize in the MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition the next year. The web site lists 310 agencies and receives 600 visits a week.

Mr. Sanford, who majored in civil engineering, is the second MIT graduate to be honored by the Celtics this season. Richard Williamson (SB 1985) was cited on March 5 for his work with God's Posse, a group of about 25 former street gang members who have dedicated themselves to becoming productive and respected members of their community (MIT Tech Talk, March 17).

Mr. Sanford enjoyed the game and may return for another, but that doesn't mean the Celtics have won his heart. "I don't plan to change my allegiance," he said.

A version of this
article appeared in the
May 12, 1999

issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume
43, Number
30).


Topics: Education, teaching, academics

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