ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Heather J. Sharkey, a lecturer in the history section, and five students in 21H.615 (The Middle East in the 20th Century), have been awarded a grant from the Kenan E. Sahin Scholars Fund of the Palace Arts Foundation for travel to Washington, DC to see the landmark exhibition, "Palace of Gold and Light: Treasures from the Topkapi, Istanbul" at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
The grant program, open by competition to all colleges and universities in the northeast, was named for Dr. Kenan E. Sahin, an MIT alumnus (SB 1963, PhD 1969), major benefactor, former faculty member and founder of Kenan Systems. Dr. Sahin, who was born in Turkey, has underwritten the exhibition and established the Scholars Fund. In November 1999 he announced a $100 million gift to MIT.
The Corcoran exhibit features rare art and artifacts from the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, the historic center of one of the world's most powerful empires and home to the Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th century.
The students who traveled to see the exhibition are Dianne Allen, a junior in chemistry; Rima Arnaout, a sophomore in chemistry; Carl Steinbach, a junior in EECS; Sofya Pogreb, a graduate student in EECS, and Abie Flaxman, a senior in architecture. The group departed on May 4.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Professor James Buzard of the literature section has been awarded the 2000 Levitan Prize in the Humanities, Dean Philip S. Khoury of the School of Humanities and Social Science announced.
Professor Buzard's research interests include the study of the autoethnographic impulse in 19th- and early 20th-century British and American literature. He studies the relation between "culture" as a possession or acquisition conferring status and "culture" as participation in a community or whole way of life. His winning proposal was entitled "Anywhere's Nowhere: Fictions of Autoethnography in the United Kingdom."
The $20,000 prize is established through a gift from James A. Levitan, a 1945 MIT graduate in chemistry, MIT Corporation member and a senior partner in the New York law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. The prize, first awarded in 1990, supports innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities by faculty members in the School of Humanities and Social Science.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Three MIT faculty members are among the 104 young researchers in physics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, neuroscience and economics who have been awarded research fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. They are Susan Athey, the Castle Krob Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Economics; Jaume Ventura, the Pentti J.K. Kouri Associate Professor in economics; and Pawan Sinha, assistant professor of computational science in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Twenty-four former Sloan Fellows have gone on to receive the Nobel prize since the program's inception in 1955.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1999 book by Professor of History John W. Dower, has been awarded two more prestigious prizes: the $10,000 Mark Lynton History Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History. The Lynton Prize is part of the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project, an awards program jointly administered by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and the Nieman Foundation to recognize superb works of nonfiction. The Los Angeles Times Book Prize has been awarded annually by the Los Angeles Times since 1980. It is accompanied by a citation and $1,000.
Embracing Defeat has also won the 1999 National Book Award for Nonfiction, the 1999 John K. Fairbank Prize and the American Library Association's Notable Book Award, among others. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in general nonfiction.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Jeff Chiou, graduate student in mechanical engineering, Lori Tsuruda (SB 1989), and the nonprofit organization founded by Ms. Tsuruda, People Making a Difference (PMD), were honored during National Volunteer Week (April 9-15). PMD received a regional award from the Points of Light and Wal-Mart Foundations for building a community garden on Jones Hill in Upham's Corner, Dorchester. PMD, which receives support from the MIT Community Service Fund, was similarly honored last year for work with the National Braille Press. Other MIT affiliates involved with the organization include Priscilla and Professor Paul Gray (president emeritus), Professor Alan Hein and alumnus Alan Meisler (SB 1992).
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Institute Professor John H. Harbison has been awarded the 2000 Harvard Arts Medal for excellence in the arts and for his "special contribution through the arts to education or the public good."
Professor Harbison received the BA (1960) and AM (1968) degrees from Harvard. He has been a member of the MIT music faculty since 1968. In 1984 he was appointed Class of 1949 Professor of Music and in 1994 he won the Killian Award.
Professor Harbison has received numerous awards throughout his career, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1978 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1989. His cantata, Flight into Egypt, won a Pultizer prize in 1987. He wrote both the music and the libretto for his newest opera, The Great Gatsby, which premiered at New York's Metropolitan Opera in January.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The design for MIT's new undergraduate residence by Steven Holl Architects has won a Progressive Architecture (P/A) Award from Architecture magazine. This is Mr. Holl's 14th P/A award.
"Departing from Boston's typical brick-wall frontage, the architect argued for visual permeability along the Vassar Street corridor, what he calls 'urban porosity,'" the magazine said in describing the design. "He then developed a [design] inspired by several sponge paintings. In [side-view] section, this translated into vertical voids, which appear in the 11-foot-wide main corridors, creating airy, light-filled lounges. The facade is made of perforated, prefabricated concrete panels interrupted by five large-scale openings which correspond to the main entrances, the view corridors and the outdoor activity area." More information and images are on line at
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The Consensus Building Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Reaching Agreement (Sage Publications), co-edited by Lawrence E. Susskind, the Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, has been selected as the outstanding book in the dispute resolution field by the Center for Public Resources (CPR), an association of corporate general counsels. Professor Susskind is president of the Consensus Building Institute and director of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program at Harvard Law School.
This is the second time in the past five years that Professor Susskind has been co-recipient of the "Best Book" award. His book Dealing With an Angry Public (with Patrick Field) was honored in 1996.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Professors Merton Flemings and Yet-Ming Chiang of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering have received awards. Dr. Flemings, the Toyota Professor of Materials Processing, was awarded the Tawara Gold Medal by the Iron and Steel Institute of Japan, given to a researcher or engineer "who has greatly contributed to the development of the iron and steel industry and technological research and development in the world." Dr. Chiang, the Kyocera Professor of Ceramics, received the Richard M. Fulrath Award from the American Ceramic Society, recognizing outstanding academic and industrial ceramic engineers who are 45 or younger. The award is also a symbol of the "Bridge Across the Pacific" program, through which US recipients spend part of a year in Japan.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Craig Heffernan, a senior in electrical engineering and computer science, is a member of the 1999-00 GTE Academic All-America Basketball Team, co-sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America. His selection for the honorary team -- "reserved for collegiate student-athletes who have mastered the important balance between academics and athletics," said Charles Lee, chairman and CEO of GTE, in a letter to Mr. Heffernan -- recognizes his "countless hours of hard work and dedication, and strong personal motivation and discipline."
"It was nice to be honored for achievements in the classroom and on the basketball court," said Mr. Heffernan, who plays center on the MIT basketball team. "It's difficult to find time for athletics while trying to handle the academic workload. However, as long as you manage your time well, you can do pretty much anything you want at MIT."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Artist-in-residence Arthur Ganson will receive the Risorgi-mento Award from Destination ImagiNation, an international organization created to teach life skills to students in kindergarten through college through team-based creative problem solving. Past recipients have included Paul MacCready, Walt Disney and Jerome Lemelson.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Two MIT faculty members were among the 169 new Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on April 15. The new MIT Fellows are Stephen Buchwald, the Camille Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry, and Institute Professor Thomas L. Magnanti, dean of the School of Engineering.
The 3,600 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members of the Cambridge-based academy, which publishes the quarterly journal Daedalus, bring a wide range of expertise to multidisciplinary analyses of compelling contemporary issues. Projects focus on educational systems, international security, immigration, ethnic identities, children's welfare, the environment and ecology, public policy in the arts and humanities and the changing nature of the scholarly disciplines.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Endicott House garden staffers received a gold medal for their "Spring Symphony" garden exhibit at the New England Flower Show that ran from March 11-19. The exhibit featured a water fountain with cascading steps framed by terraced gardens of spring flowering bulbs. On March 17, which was children's theme night at the show, the exhibit was adapted to include a live quintet performance of Peter and the Wolf.
In conjunction with its exhibit, Endicott House has launched a seasonal promotion featuring tours of its gardens as well as a high tea event. For information, call (781) 251-6360.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 10, 2000.