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Awards and honors

Dr. Lionel C. Kimerling, Thomas Lord Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, will receive the Electronics Division Award of The Electrochemical Society, Inc., on May 23.

Dr. Kimerling was cited "for his outstanding work in the field of electronic materials." He is the director of the Materials Processing Center and conducts a research program in the structure, properties and processing of semiconductor materials.

The Electrochemical Society, Inc., provides the principal forum for the presentation of scientific research and technology advancement in the fields of electrochemistry and solid state science and technology.

Dr. Heidi B. Hammel, principal research scientist in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, has received the Klumpke-Roberts Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

The award was established to recognize outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy. In a letter to Dr. Hammel, the ASP said: "we wish to recognize the clear and enthusiastic descriptions you made to the press and public of the scientific ideas and results connected with the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy with Jupiter.

"As one newspaper put it, with your exuberance, you personified the excitement felt by all astronomers. You showed us all how it should be done!"

Previous recipients of the Klumpke-Roberts Award include Isaac Asimov, Bart Bok, Carl Sagan, Timothy Ferris, and Institute Professor Emeritus Philip Morrison.

Jacques Toubon, France's Minister of Culture, has named Edward Baron Turk, professor of French and film studies, a "Chevalier" (Knight) in the Order of Arts and Letters. The French government grants this honor to individuals who have contributed with distinction "to the influence of arts and letters in France and in the world." Professor Turk is the author of Baroque Fiction-Making, a book on the early French novel, and Child of Paradise, an acclaimed biography of the French film director Marcel Carne. Carne has stated that he knows of "no book that speaks of me with such lucidity and that analyses my work in such depth" as Professor Turk's.

Professor Julian Szekely of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering was elected to honorary membership of the Iron and Steel Institute of Japan at the group's 80th annual meeting, at which he also delivered the Yukawa Memorial Lecture. His title: "Industrial Ecology and Steel Technology-A Challenge for the 21st Century."Other department faculty who have received honorary membership are John Elliot, Morris Cohen and Merton Flemings.

Surekha Vajjhala, a junior in materials science and engineering, is one of 16 students in the country to win the Beinecke Memorial Scholarship, which awards $32,000 for graduate study. Candidates are considered for strength of character, intellectual ability, sense of purpose, creativity and leadership. Ms. Vajjhala went through an internal selection process and was selected as MIT's nominee this year, the first in which MIT was invited to submit a nominee. She will use the award to fund medical school, which she hopes to begin in 1996.

Dr. Mildred S. Dresselhaus, Institute Professor and professor of electrical engineering and physics, and Dr. Loren R. Graham, professor of the history of science, have been elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society. The Society, founded some 250 years ago by Benjamin Franklin, is an organization of international reputation and membership. Almost 100 of its approximately 750 members are Nobel laureates.

Three others, Dr. Maurice S. Fox, professor of biology, Dr. Richard Schmalensee, Gordon Y Billard Professor of Management and Economics, and Dr. Dietmar Seyferth, professor of chemistry, have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. That organization was founded by John Adams to bring together leading figures from universities, government, business and the arts to promote knowledge for the public interest.

Three MIT students took seventh place in the world finals of the annual programming contest sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery. The finals, which took place in Nashville in March, featured 39 teams. MIT's consisted of Theodore Tonchev, a junior in computer science and engineering; Emanuel Todorov, a graduate student in brain and cognitive sciences, and freshman Brian Dean. Professor of mathematics and team coach Tom Leighton noted that the MIT team would have finished higher were it not for a misunderstanding about the rules on the easiest of several programming problems. First prize of $15,000 in scholarships went to a team from Freiberg, Germany, while a group from the University of California at Berkeley finished second.

Professor Alan Lightman, head of the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, is back in the news again. This time he is among the 1995 Literary Lights of Boston as selected by the Boston Public Library. Professor Lightman's newest book, Good Benito, published in January, has been described by the Washington Post as "a novel of breathtaking delicacy and grace" about the emotional life of a scientist. The New York Times noted that Professor Lightman is "equally at home in the realm of human passions and in the rarefied world of atoms and equations."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 10, 1995.

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