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Awards and honors

MIT technology is the basis for a refrigerator for superconducting devices that won a 1994 R&D 100 award from R&D Magazine. The award recognizes the refrigerator as one of the 100 most technologically significant new products of 1994.

Superconductivity offers the promise of products that are capable of tremendous power and speed when certain materials are cooled below a critical temperature. At this temperature, superconductive materials lose all electrical resistance and are capable of carrying very large currents with no heat generation.

The B100 cryocooler, developed by Boreas, Inc., offers significant advantages over other technologies for cooling superconducting materials. It is based on a technology in which helium gas is compressed and expanded in a unique thermodynamic cycle.

That technology, known as the Boreas cycle, was invented in the MIT Cryogenic Engineering Laboratory in 1984 by Joseph L. Smith Jr., Samuel C. Collins Senior Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the laboratory, and Dr. Alan Crunkleton, then an MIT graduate student.

Professor Smith and Dr. Crunkleton went on to found Boreas in 1988. Dr. Crunkleton is president of the company.

Professor Theodore Postol of the Program in Science, Technology and Society has been awarded the 1995 Hilliard Roderick Prize in Science, Arms Control and International Security by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The award honors individuals who make outstanding contributions that advance our understanding of issues related to arms control and international security, and that have an important scientific or technical dimension.

Professor Postol, who is also affiliated with the Defense and Arms Control Studies Program, is being honored for his expertise in and presentation of technical analyses related to a number of controversial issues. These include strategic and tactical missile defenses, the potential effects of superfires from nuclear attacks near urban areas and potential civilian casualties from nuclear counterforce attacks.

The award, which will be presented to Professor Postol in February at the AAAS annual meeting in Atlanta, consists of a medal and $5,000. The award was established by the Hilliard Roderick Foundation for the Prevention of Inadvertent Nuclear War.

A device developed by Professor Lee Grodzins of physics that can measure the amount of lead in paint was one of four finalists in the environment category of the 1994 Discover Awards. The awards, conferred by Discover magazine, celebrate "those individuals and organizations who have made a significant impact on the world in which we live."

The XL Spectrum Analyzer is "the first hand-held device that uses low-energy X-rays to measure the amount of lead in paint," according to Discover. "Grodzin's $12,000 instrument has enormous appeal for lead inspectors because it's the first pocket-size machine that can quickly and accurately measure the lead present in paint on exposed surfaces, where it is most likely to be inhaled or ingested. The XL can analyze a painted wall and determine the amount of lead in the paint within 20 seconds."

The magazine went on to note that"with results from the XL, home-owners can zero in on the offending lead rather than undertaking a more expensive and intrusive abatement procedure over a wider area."

The XL is produced by Professor Grodzins' environmental products company, Niton, in Bedford. Charles Parsons, MIT PhD '92 and head of research and development at the company, helped turn Professor Grodzins' ideas into the award-winning device.

Joseph F. Shea, former senior lecturer, and Professor Alan H. Epstein, both of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, have been honored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Dr. Shea has been elected an Honorary Fellow "for a lifetime of technical leadership in the nation's ballistic missile and Apollo programs, as well as outstanding contributions to industry and education." The award is the organization's highest.

Professor Epstein has been elected an AIAA Fellow, an action that recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in the field of aerospace and who show strong potential for leadership in the future. Only one Fellow is chosen for every 1,000 voting members of the AIAA, the world's leading professional society in its field.

The Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) has awarded its 1994 William A. Patenteau Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to the field of air traffic control research to Paul R. Drouilhet of Lincoln Laboratory.

The presentation, made by ATCA Chairman Garland Castleberry at the ATC Convention in Washington, cited Mr. Drouilhet's contribution to the quality, safety and efficiency of the air traffic control system. Mr. Drouilhet is currently assigned to the Federal Aviation Administration headquarters from the Lincoln Laboratory Director's Office.

Eve Sullivan, senior editorial assistant in the Center for Theoretical Physics, gave a presentation at the fifth annual meeting of the Portugese Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry held in December in Coimbra, Portugal on the topic, "New Paths in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry." Ms. Sullivan, a panelist in a session on "Child, Family and School, a Triangle," spoke in Portugese on Parents Forum, a program which she founded. She learned Portugese when she taught English at the University of Coimbra in 1977-78.

Citing his contributions to tribology, materials processing and manufacturing, the Korea Broadcasting System has selected Professor Nam P. Suh as a recipient of a 1995 Distinguished Overseas Korean Prize. Dr. Suh, the Ralph and Eloise Cross Professor of Manufacturing and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was also cited for his accomplishments in establishing university-industry research programs and for his commitment to public service.

Lincoln Laboratory's Weather Sensing Group (Group 43), led by Dr. James E. Evans, has received an "outstanding performance" award from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The award recognizes Group 43's work in developing the prototype Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS), which the FAA has tested in Memphis, TN, and Orlando, FL. The prototype ITWS system uses algorithms developed by the group to process and graphically display immediately usable weather data for air traffic personnel.

The data are obtained from FAA and National Weather Service sensors, as well as from aircraft in flight, and processed to provide air traffic control personnel with current information on weather in the terminal area and short-term (up to 30 minutes) predictions of significant weather phenomena.

Stefan Thomke, who is completing a doctoral program in electrical engineering (his home department) and management, has been awarded first prize in the Product Development and Management Association's 1994 Dissertation Proposal competition.

The title of his doctoral thesis is "The Economics of Experimentation in the Design of New Products and Processes." It examines the relative economics of performing various experiments involving simulation, mass screening and rapid prototyping during the new-product development process.

The winning dissertation was one of 21 selected for evaluation by five reviewers in the international contest. Mr. Thomke presented his proposal at the organization's international conference, held in November in Boston.

Mr. Thomke's thesis committee includes Professor Eric A. Von Hippel of the Sloan School, thesis supervisor; Don P. Clausing, the Bernard M. Gordon Adjunct Professor of Engineering Innovation and Practice in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Associate Professor Steven D. Eppinger of the Sloan School.

Dr. Thomas F. Quatieri of the Lincoln Laboratory staff has received the IEEE Signal Processing Society's Senior Award for his paper, "Energy Separation in Signal Modulations With Application to Speech Analysis," which he wrote with Professors Petros Maragos of the Georgia Institute of Technology and James F. Kaiser of Duke University. The award was the third he has received in recent years from the IEEE.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 25, 1995.

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