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Awards and honors

Dr. Vernon R. Young, professor of nutritional biochemistry in the School of Science, whose pioneering metabolic studies led him to propose new international requirements for dietary intake of essential amino acids, has won the $50,000 Bristol-Meyers Squibb/Mead Johnson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Nutrition Research.

Dr. Young, who also is director of the Mass Spectrometry Facility at the Shriners Burns Institute in Boston, will receive a silver medallion along with the cash prize.

"Dr. Young has made signal contributions to an understanding of the physiology of human protein and amino acid metabolism and its nutritional corollaries," said W. Allan Walker, MD, Conrad Taff Professor of Pediatrics and Nutrition at the Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Combined Program in Pediatric GI and Nutrition at Children's Hospital.

"Through a series of elegant and creative investigations," Dr. Walker continued, "he has elucidated protein-energy relationships, refined concepts concerning the nutritional significance of specific amino acids, and established that amino acid requirement values in adults accepted for the past 40 years are not valid. His extensive research provides a credible basis for establishing new tentative acid requirement values that can serve as contemporary international recommendations for evaluation and significance of dietary protein quality in adult human nutrition."

Two faculty members, Professors Eric Lander of biology and Marcia McNutt of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences, are among four scientists recently appointed to President Clinton's Committee on the National Medal of Science. The medal was created by statute to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. The panel to which Professors Lander and McNutt were named reviews nominations for the medal. Professor Lander is also a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; Dr. McNutt, who is the Griswold Professor of Geophysics, is also the MIT director of the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program.

The David and Lucille Packard Foundation has awarded two young MIT faculty members--Dr. Christopher C. Cummins, assistant professor of chemistry, and Dr. Jackie Y. Ying, assistant professor of chemical engineering--five-year fellowships worth $500,000 apiece.

The 1995 fellowships, the California-based foundation said, went to 20 "of the most promising science and engineering researchers at universities in the United States." The fellowship awards represent the nation's largest non-governmental program of unrestricted grants to young university faculty in science and engineering.

The Fellows were nominated by their university presidents and recommended by a committee of nationally recognized scientists and engineers.

Professor Cummins, 29, received the PhD from MIT in 1993. His research centers on innovation in chemical reactions of ubiquitous small-molecule reactions. His work serves to model biological small-molecule transformations and to provide definitive examples of new reactions that may lead to technological advances.

Professor Ying, 29, received the PhD in 1991 from Princeton University. Her research focuses on the synthesis of novel inorganic structures that combine catalysis and separation systems. The work could assist development of new processes for manufacturing cheaper fuels and chemicals with minimized by-product and pollution generation.

Two of the other Fellows received their PhDs from MIT: Dr. Elizabeth Bradley (1992), assistant professor of computer science at the University of Colorado, and Dr. Bernhard Keimer (1991), assistant professor of physics at Princeton.

A new honor has come along for first lady emerita Catherine N. Stratton, who was among 10 cited in the Cambridge YWCA's 1995 Tribute to Women. Mrs. Stratton, who has been active for many years with the Y both locally and nationally, was chosen for her community service. The citation also acknowledged her contributions to the arts and to health information, noting particularly the MIT Women's League establishment of the Catherine N. Stratton Lecture Series at MIT in honor of Mrs. Stratton's 80th birthday last year.

The Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science has elected the MIT provost, two other faculty members and the retired director of Libraries to the rank of AAAS Fellow.

Each year the Council elects members whose "efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished." This year, the AAAS awarded the distinction to 273 members.

The four from MIT are Provost Joel Moses, Dugald Caleb Jackson Professor of Computer Science and Engineering; Dr. Thomas J. Greytak, professor of physics and MacVicar Faculty Fellow; Dr. Morris Halle, Institute Professor and professor of linguistics; and Jay K. Lucker, former director of Libraries.

Dr. Gerbrand Ceder, Alcoa Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, has been named the 1996 recipient of the Robert Lansing Hardy Gold Medal by The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society. The award, first offered in 1956, is given to the most promising young metallurgist under the age of 30. It is named for an MIT student who died unexpectedly during his studies at MIT. His father, the late Dr. Arthur C. Hardy, professor of physics at MIT, wanted to establish a memorial to his son, and upon the suggestion of Professor Morris Cohen of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (now Institute Professor Emeritus), he instituted this award.

Professor Ceder is the first member of the department to receive the award while employed at MIT. Prior recipients include Dr. Subrah Suresh, Richard P. Simmons Professor of Metallurgy and professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Eugene A. Fitzgerald, associate professor of electronic materials.

Dr. Heidi Hammel, principal research scientist in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, will receive a 1966 Spirit of American Women Award from Girls Inc. on January 30 in Syracuse, N.Y.

Dr. Hammel became a national celebrity last year as the spokeswoman for the Hubble Space Telescope team that studied Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's collisions with Jupiter.

She will be the guest speaker at a fund-raising dinner for Girls Inc., a non-profit group that provides counseling, educational and other programs to girls and boys. The group is honoring her for "forging career pathways for young women in science, math and technology."

Dr. Lawrence J. Stern, assistant professor of chemistry, has been awarded a faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Stern is one of a select group of 24 individuals to receive this award from the Directorate for Biological Science for fiscal year 1995. The awards, based on outstanding merit in both research and education, are designed to promote the development of young faculty as well-rounded educators.

Joe Haldeman, adjunct professor of fiction in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, has won his fourth Science Fiction Achievement Award (Hugo) at the 53rd World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow. The award was was presented to him for Best Short Story of 1994 for "None So Blind," which appeared in the November 1994 issue of ASIMOV's Science Fiction Magazine. The story previously also won the LOCUS Award and was nominated for the Nebula Award. His latest novel is 1968, just out from William Morrow, Inc. He previously won the Hugo Award for his novel, The Forever War; his short story, Tricentennial, and his novella, The Hemingway Hoax.

Dr. Chiang Chung Mei, professor of civil and environmental engineering and Edmund K. Turner Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received the International Coastal Engineering Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) at the group's annual convention in San Diego, CA.

The annual award recognized Dr. Mei's "outstanding research and teaching contributions to coastal engineering." His past work in coastal and oceanographic engineering has been published in the book, The Applied Dynamics of Ocean Surface Wave.

Dr. Mei's main focus is the theoretical fluid dynamics of sea waves. His analytical and numerical theory of wave diffraction and radiation by large bodies has been applied to the wave forces and motion of offshore structures.

Recipient of many awards, Dr. Mei was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1986. He received the Moffatt-Nichol Award from ASCE in 1992.

A prestigious award has been presented to Dr. Robert J. Thomas, senior lecturer in the Sloan School of Management, for his book, What Machines Can't Do: Politics and Technology in the Industrial Enterprise (University of California Press, 1944).

To win the C. Wright Mills Award, a book must critically address an issue of contemporary public importance; bring to the topic a fresh, imaginative perspective; advance social science understanding of the topic; display a theoretically informed view and empirical orientation; evince quality in the style of writing, and explicitly or implicitly contain implications for courses of action.

Thomas argues that the impact of technology on organizations cannot be understood until we consider why people in organizations choose the technologies they do. He suggests that the task of process engineering be re-configured as a flexible combination of people and technology.

Past winners of the award include Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Harvard Business School) for her classic, Men and Women of the Corporation; Michael Useem (Wharton), The Inner Circle; and William Julius Wilson (Chicago), The Truly Disadvantaged.

Citing long-term service and outstanding achievement and contributions to intercollegiate women's athletics, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators named Jane Betts as recipient of the Jostens Administrator of the Year award at its recent meeting. Professor Betts, who is on leave from MIT, has been involved in the founding of many organizations that have enhanced opportunities for women in intercollegiate athletics, including the New England Women's 8 athletic conference in which a number of MIT teams participate.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 8, 1995.

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