Texas Instruments has announced a three-year, $1 million donation to MIT for Professor Alan V. Oppenheim, the Ford Professor of Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science . Oppenheim leads the digital signal processing (DSP) group in the Research Laboratory of Electronics. The company's gift is part of a $3 million donation to the three members of its DSP Leadership University program: MIT, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Rice University. MIT's participation in the program "allows us to pursue many new fundamental directions for signal processing algorithms, such as our recent work with distributed signal processing, algorithms inspired by quantum mechanics and chaos theory, and various new approaches to wireless communications," Oppenheim said.
The MIT Chess Team was among the top finishers in the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Championship held in Providence, R.I., in late December. The annual tournament brings together top college chess teams from North and South America, including three international masters and three international grandmasters. The MIT team--consisting of sophomores Tamer Karatekin (management), Elina Groberman (electrical engineering and computer science) and Alex Skorokhod (mathematics), and Sanne de Boer, a graduate student in operations research--tied for third place out of 27 contestants, losing only to the University of Maryland in Baltimore County and the University of Texas at Dallas, which tied for first place (both schools offer chess fellowships, attracting some of the country's best players).
O. Robert Simha, director of planning emeritus and now special advisor to the executive vice president, has been named chairman of the National Science Foundation Advisory Panel on the Scientific and Engineering Facilities Survey. The survey, which is mandated by Congress and has been conducted biennially since 1986, identifies and assesses the research facility needs of US universities and colleges.
Elias P. Gyftopoulos, the Ford Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and Nuclear Engineering , was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Patras in Greece for his "pioneering contributions to the safety and control of nuclear reactors, thermionic energy conversion and quantum thermodynamics without statistical probabilities."
President Charles M. Vest has been elected a 2002 Fellow of the Association for Women in Science . Fellows are selected on the basis of their "significant contributions to the mission of AWIS by promoting women in science through scholarship, leadership, education, advocacy or service."
The Rossby Award, given annually by MIT's Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate for the most outstanding thesis submitted to the program, went to Dr. Veronique Bugnion for 2000-01. Bugnion, whose thesis was titled "Driving the Ocean's Overturning: An Adjoint Sensitivity Study," was advised by Professor Peter Stone of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences.
James L. Kirtley Jr., professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has received the 2002 IEEE Nikola Tesla Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers . Kirtley (S.B. 1967, S.M., E.E., Ph.D.) received the honor, according to the IEEE, for his "contributions to the theoretical analysis, design and construction of high-performance rotating electric machinery, including superconducting turbogenerators," a technology which "holds great promise for efficient, cost-effective, large-scale power generation in the future."
MIT alumnus Leon Van Speybroeck of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge has been awarded the 2002 Bruno Rossi Prize of the High-Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society . The prize, which recognizes significant contributions in high-energy astrophysics, is awarded annually in honor of the late MIT Professor Bruno Rossi, an authority on cosmic ray physics and a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy.
Van Speybroeck (S.B. 1957, Ph.D.) is being recognized for his achievements in designing precision X-ray optics. He led the effort to design and make the X-ray mirrors for NASA's premier X-ray observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The Chandra mirrors are the most precise mirrors ever made, smooth with tolerances of a few atoms.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 6, 2002.