M.L. King Visiting Professors and Scholars named for '02-'03


Two mathematicians, a material scientist and an urbanologist have been named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professors for 2002-03, joining a visiting professor in physics whose appointment was extended through June.

Three of the new appointees will join the faculty in January. In addition, two MLK Visiting Scholars have joined two holdovers.

The MLK Visiting Professors Program, established in 1995 through the efforts of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee, is open to members of all minority groups. The objective is to support six to 12 visiting professors and scholars in each academic year.

"The program continues to attract a broad range of individuals whose presence enhances the MIT community," said Professor Michael S. Feld, co-chair of the planning committee.

The 2002-03 MLK Visiting Professors are:


Briggs, an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard University since 1996, was acting assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington in 1998-99. His appointment in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) runs from September 2002 through May 2003.

Briggs' research and planning work have received national awards, including the President's Award of the American Planning Association for community development work in the South Bronx; the 2000 Best Article of the Year from the Journal of the American Planning Association, for "In the Wake of Desegregation"; and the 1997 Dissertation Prize of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Briggs holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University, a master's in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a B.S. in engineering from Stanford.


Farley, an assistant professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt University since 1996, is currently a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar at Oxford University, one of four Americans to win the award this year. He will be an MLK Visiting Professor in the Department of Mathematics from January 2003 through December 2005.

Farley received the A.B. summa cum laude in mathematics from Harvard University in 1991 and the D.Phil. in 1995. He attended Oxford on a Marshall Scholarship and received the Senior Mathematics Prize and the Johnson Prize. He was chosen as a "Leader of the Future" by Ebony in 2001. His research involves the theory of ordered sets, lattice theory and discrete mathematics.


Petters, who received the Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT in 1991, has been the William and Sue Gross Associate Professor of Mathematics at Duke University since 1998 and was named director of undergraduate studies in the department in August 2002. He will be an MLK Visiting Professor in the Department of Mathematics from January through December 2003.

Petters was an assistant professor at Princeton University and a research visitor at Oxford University before joining the Duke faculty. He received the B.A. and the M.A. from Hunter College.

He has mentored many minority students at both Duke and Princeton. He received the Service Award from the Princetonians of Color Network in 1996. His research involves mathematical physics, cosmology, singularity theory and differential geometry.


Mtingwa is an MIT alumnus (he earned S.B. degrees in mathematics and physics in 1971) who has been an MLK Visiting Professor in the Department of Physics since fall 2001, working in the Laboratory for Nuclear Science. His appointment has been extended through June.

He joined North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University's physics department in 1991 and served as department chair from 1991-94. He received the National Society of Black Physicists' Outstanding Service Award in 1996 and was also among the first to be inducted into the African-American Biographies Hall of Fame in Atlanta in 1994. Mtingwa also has taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Rochester and Morgan State University. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton in 1976

His research interests have been mainly in the area of high-energy particle accelerators. He made important contributions to the design and construction of the accelerator systems used in the discovery of the top quark at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.


Olowolafe returned to Nigeria to teach at the university level for 12 years shortly after earning the Ph.D. in applied physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1977.

Olowolafe, who has an M.S. from Caltech in applied physics and a B.Sc. in physics from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife in Nigeria, has been an associate professor in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Delaware since 1995. He will be an MLK Visiting Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from January through December 2003.

His research centers on analysis of nanostructured materials, processing and characterization of electronic materials, and fabrication of semiconductor devices.

Olowolafe has received many honors and awards including the African-American Institute Graduate Fellowship award and the International Atomic Energy Agency Award. He is a senior member of IEEE and a member of the Materials Research Society, the American Physical Society and the American Society of Engineering Education

The MLK Visiting Scholars are:


Lloyd, a civil rights advocate, lawyer and journalist, will be an MLK Visiting Scholar in DUSP through June 2003. He is the co-founder and executive director of the Civil Rights Forum on Communications Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan project he founded to bring civil rights principles and advocacy to the communications policy debate.

He has also served as a consultant to the Clinton White House, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Institute and the Smithsonian Institution. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.


Solomons created and directed "Crowd." for the MIT Dance Theater Ensemble, which performed the environmental work in the Rotch Architecture Library on Sept. 29. Repeat performances are scheduled for Dec. 5-7 in Kresge Little Theater.

Solomons, an MIT alumnus (B.Arch. 1961), has performed with national companies including Martha Graham's and Merce Cunningham's. He has received many honors, including a 2000 Bessie Award for his contributions to choreography and dance. He is artistic director and founder (in 1972) of the Solomons Dance Company, for which he has created more than 100 dances. He received the first Robert A. Muh Award honoring an MIT graduate for noteworthy contributions in a School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences field.


Ambundo earned the Ph.D. from Wayne State University in Detroit in 2000 and the B.Sc. from the University of Nairobi in Kenya in 1994, both in chemistry. She is a member of the Phi Lambda Upsilon National Chemistry Honor Society and the American Chemical Society. Her appointment as a postdoctoral trainee in the Department of Chemistry has been extended through December.


Jennings has been an MLK Visiting Scholar in the Sloan School of Management since fall 2001. He received the M.S. in operations research in 1999 and the Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering in 2000, both from Georgia Tech, after earning the B.S.E. in operations research from Princeton in 1994. He has received an Intel Graduate Fellowship, the Georgia Tech President's Fellowship, the Bell Laboratories Cooperative Research Fellowship and the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. His appointment has been extended through June 2003.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 20, 2002.

Topics: Faculty

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