Skip to content ↓

Awards and honors

MIT alumna Elisabeth Stock, a rural transportation specialist at the World Bank, will be one of 18 White House Fellows for 1996-97, working in Washington for a year with senior White House staff and Cabinet secretaries. Fellows draft speeches and policy proposals, conduct briefings and coordinate federal programs.

Ms. Stock earned two bachelor's degrees and two master's degrees from MIT: SBs in mechanical engineering and in humanities and engineering (both 1990), and the MCP (master of city planning) from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the SM from the Technology and Policy Program, both in 1995, when she also won the TPP's prize for best thesis. After receiving her undergraduate degrees, Ms. Stock served in the Peace Corps in Ghana.

No MIT alumni/ae have won a White House Fellowship in the last five years, although Richard de Neufville, an MIT alumnus, professor of civil and environmental engineering and TPP chairman, was a fellow in 1965-66. Other former fellows include historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and retired general Colin Powell. For the first time in the program's 32-year history, more women (10) than men (eight) were selected.

Renee Michelle Ned, who will be a senior in biology this fall, has been named as a UNCF-Merck Science Fellow, awarded to African-American applicants who have demonstrated academic achievement and potential in biomedical science. Fifteen undergraduates, 12 graduate students and 10 postdoctoral fellows were selected for the award. Each Fellow is paired with a Merck scientist mentor and provided with training and financial support. The UNCF-Merck Science Initiative also provides institutional support through grants to science departments of the award recipients' universities. It was first announced a year ago with a 10-year, $20 million grant from Merck & Co., Inc. to the United Negro College Fund.

Three MIT planetary scientists have joined the celestial firmament by having asteroids named in their honor-and one, Dr. Heidi B. Hammel, is also the winner of a national award.

The other newly named asteroids honor Dr. Charles C. Counselman III, professor of planetary science, and Dr. Timothy E. Dowling, assistant professor of planetary science.

Dr. Hammel, principal research scientist in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, gained widespread recognition for her work in July 1994, monitoring the collision of fragments from the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with the planet Jupiter.

She has been selected to receive the Harold C. Urey Prize in Planetary Science, given by the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society "to recognize and encourage outstanding achievements in planetary science by a young scientist."

Previous winners from the department were Professor Jack Wisdom in 1986 and Professor Richard P. Binzel in 1991.

All three asteroids now named for the MIT scientists were discovered in 1981 in the course of the UK Schmidt-Caltech Asteroid Survey.

The announcement came from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Asteroid 1981 EW is now known as (3528) Counselman, asteroid 1981 EQ is (3529) Dowling and asteroid 1981 EC is (3530) Hammel.

The accompanying citations were as follows:

Counselman-As a scientist involved with the Pioneer Venus mission, he used interferometric measurements of the spacecraft multi-probes to deduce the vertical distribution of Venusian wind velocities. More recently, he has pioneered the use of Global Positioning System satellites to achieve very high precision geodetic measurements of the surface of the earth. He is also a dedicated teacher and is particularly devoted to student advising and the instruction of planetary astronomy laboratory courses.

Dowling-An expert in the dynamics of the atmospheres of the giant planets, he determined a relationship between potential vorticity and the zonal wind on Jupiter and developed explicit planetary isentropic-coordinate models for Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. He is also a dedicated teacher of planetary science at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Hammel-An indefatigable observer of the atmospheres of the outer planets, she is best-known for her long-term monitoring of Neptune. As an expert in planetary imaging, she was selected as the team leader for the Hubble Space Telescope project to observe the consequences of the Jupiter impact by Shoemaker-Levy 9. She also devotes substantial effort to public education and is a great communicator of the excitement of planetary science.

The Counselman and Dowling citations were prepared by Professor Binzel and the Hammel citation by Professor Binzel and Professor James L. Elliot, director of the George R. Wallace, Jr. Astrophysical Observatory.

The Admissions Office continues to receive recognition for its family of publications, with three different pieces winning awards this year from CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education).

The brochure, "No Bull, Your Guide to Getting into A Great College," offering advice from current MIT students, won the gold CASE award for student recruiting publications. "Mind and Hand," an explication of the MIT motto, Mens and Manus, won the CASE silver award, and the pamphlet,"Is Your Son or Daughter Interested in MIT," containing tips from parents of students who work at MIT, won the bronze award.

Bruce M. Bernstein, associate director of admissions with responsibility for the office's communications, will attend the awards convocation in San Francisco in July.

Another MIT publication received recognition in Richard Saul Wurman's "Information Architects," which includes a chapter on MIT's Visible Language Workshop. Among many illustrations of the design of "information landscapes," a full page features the unusual cover of the 1994-95 MIT Bulletin designed by David Small and Suguru Ishizaki.

Louis Massiah, an MIT alumnus and filmmaker, has won a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his documentary film work, including W.E.B. Du Bois-A Biography in Four Voices, which had an advance screening at MIT which was sponsored by the Committee on Campus Race Relations last December (Tech Talk, November 29, 1995).

Mr. Massiah, a resident of Philadelphia, was awarded a "genius grant" of $265,000 by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He received the SM degree in visual studies (documentary filmmaking) from MIT in 1982 and was a Visiting Artist at MIT from December 4-6, 1995. He is the founder and executive director of the Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, a media arts organization that provides low-cost workshops and equipment access to emerging video- and filmmakers and community organizations.

Mr. Massiah has produced and directed a variety of award-winning films for public television. Known for his explorations of civil rights themes and crises in the African-American community, his credits include two films in the Eyes on the Prize II series and The Bombing of Osage Avenue, about the burning of a black section of Philadelphia as a result of the police bombing of the headquarters of the group MOVE. As a staff producer at public television station WHYY, Mr. Massiah was the producer of the MOVE Commission Hearings, 144 hours of live coverage examining the incident, for which he won a local Emmy award.

Twenty-one people were named this year by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to receive five-year MacArthur Fellowships. Recipients are free to use the awards as they please; the Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from Fellows.

W.E.B. Du Bois-A Biography in Four Voices is a two-hour documentary comprising a collection of four chronological documentary short stories, each section written and narrated by a well-known contemporary writer/storyteller.

Dr. Subra Suresh, the R.P. Simmons Professor of Metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been awarded the Swedish National Chair in Engineering by the Swedish Council for Engineering Sciences. He is one of six international scholars from all fields of engineering and basic sciences to be elected to this chair in 1996. Under the sponsorship of the Council, Professor Suresh will spend the summers of 1997 and 1998 working with faculty at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Dr. Harry L. Tuller, Sumitomo Electric Industries Professor of Ceramics and Electronic Materials and director of the MIT Crystal Physics and Electroceramics Laboratory, has been named editor-in-chief of the newly formed Kluwer Journal of Electroceramics. Professor Tuller, who is known for his research in solid state ionics, grain boundary controlled semiconducting devices, defect theory, optical properties, sensor materials development and semiconductor micromachining, also is series editor of Kluwer's Electronic Materials: Science & Technology and on the editorial board of a number of other journals.

Also serving on the 29-person editorial board will be Professor Yet-Ming Chiang of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor Jackie Y. Ying of the Department of Chemical Engineering. The first issue is scheduled for January. Articles will cover the scientific and technical aspects of electroceramics.

John R. Malinowski, a support staffer at the Media Lab, is a good man to call on when illumination is needed. His lighting of Coyote Theatre's Weldon Rising at the Boston Center for the Arts won an award for Outstanding Design for a small company when the Boston Theater Awards were presented in June. He was one of only two designers to receive an award this year.

Mr. Malinowski, who works at the Communications and Sponsor Relations section of the Media Lab, has been involved in the theater lighting design for a decade. In 1992 he designed the sets and lighting for On Missing Link Road at Little Kresge, a production that involved several support staff members at MIT. The author, Bruce E. Dale, is a senior secretary at the Laboratory for Computer Science. Mr. Malinowski's most recent project was designing the lighting for the Wilbur Theatre production of Jackie, a play about the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers have bestowed the Gas Turbine Award on Dr. Edward M. Greitzer, director of the Gas Turbine Laboratory and the H.N Slater Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He won the award, given in recognition of "his outstanding contributions to the literature of combustion gas turbines thermally combined with nuclear or steam-powered plants," for his paper entitled "Dynamic Control of Rotating Stall in Axial Flow Compressors Using Aeromechanical Feedback," written with co-winner Daniel Gysling. His area of expertise is turbomachinery and propulsion fluid dynamics; a major current research interest is "smart aircraft engines" and active control of unsteady flows in turbomachines.

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) has awarded its highest scientific honor, the Proctor Medal for 1997, to Dr. George B. Benedek, Alfred H. Caspary Professor of Physics and Biological Physics.

ARVO is the leading association of researchers in vision and eye disease. It cited Dr. Benedek for "outstanding contributions to visual science and ophthalmology."

On receiving the honor, Dr. Benedek said it reflected credit on the Department of Physics, the Center for Materials Science and Engineering and MIT for their long-standing support of his research on the physical and chemical basis of cataract disease.

Dr. Michael Leja, associate professor of architecture, has been named the 1996 winner of the annual Charles C. Eldridge Prize awarded by the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Museum.

The prize recognizes important single-author books that expand and deepen understanding of American visual art. Professor Leja won the prize for his book, Reframing Abstract Expressionism: Subjectivity and Painting in the 1940s, published in 1993 by Yale University Press.

The prize, named in honor of a former museum director, is sponsored by the American Art Forum, a patrons' support organization. Twelve books were nominated for the award, which recognizes a recent publication on the history of American art for its originality, excellence of research and writing, and significance for professional and public audiences.

In selecting the winning book, the prize jurors stated, "Leja draws brilliantly on both contemporary texts and current theory to cast light not only on Abstract Expressionism itself but also on American culture as a whole in the mid-20th century. He was able to bring an original and highly informative perspective to material that has already received such an abundance of scholarly attention."

The jurors also noted that the book "has already become a standard in courses on Abstract Expressionism and a model for art historical studies that seek to view art in terms of social and historical ideas, and cultural manifestations."

Professor Leja received his doctorate at Harvard University and taught at Northwestern University before coming to MIT last year. He was also a curator at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University.

Dr. Sheila E. Widnall, who is on leave as Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics to serve as Secretary of the Air Force, is among the first 10 inductees in a Hall of Fame inaugurated this year by Women in Technology International.

The 5,000-member organization, founded in 1989, seeks to increase the number of women in executive roles, help women become more financially independent and technology literate, and encourage young women to choose careers in science and technology.

The honor was granted to women from diverse areas of the sciences and technology who have made contributions in their fields and to the advancement of women.

Dr. Widnall, appointed to her Air Force post by President Clinton in 1993, is the first woman to be placed in charge of a branch of the military. As the highest-ranking woman in the military, she is responsible for 400,000 active-duty forces, as well as 185,000 men and women in the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

Reporting to the Secretary of Defense, she also is in charge of budgeting, administration, acquisition of weapons systems, and research and development.

Before her appointment, Dr. Widnall spent 28 years at MIT, where she was internationally recognized for her work in fluid dynamics, specifically in the areas of aircraft turbulence and spiraling airflows. In 1979 she became the first woman to chair the MIT faculty.

Artist/composer Christopher Janney, who received the SM in visual studies from the Center for Advanced Visual Studies in 1978, has been named General Electric's Edison Award Winner of the year for his project, "Harmonic Runway," at Miami International Airport.

The award, created in honor of inventor Thomas Edison, is a distinguished design award in the lighting industry.

"Harmonic Runway," heralded as the new triumphal arch of Miami, is a 180-foot interactive light/sound installation that he describes as "performance architecture."

Mr. Janney is currently designing "Sonic Plaza," which includes an 85-foot "glockenspiel," for East Carolina University, and "Spectral Tower," a 150-foot tower of light and water mist for Hong Kong.

Mr. Janney is best known locally for his "Soundstair" in Boston's Museum of Science, a project similar to one he did while an MIT student, in which musical sounds accompany a person's movements up and down a flight of stairs.

The Braintree High School senior who won the $200 Apollo Science Fair Prize at the Massachusetts Science Fair at MIT in April (Tech Talk, May 8) has been named a Grand Award Winner at the 1996 International Science and Engineering Fair held this year in Tuscon, AZ.

John P. Tassinari's several prizes include cash awards of more than $8,000, a trip to Stockholm in December to observe the Nobel Prize activities and a university scholarship. His research project, dealing with the effects of boundary layer control using suction through slots, was the same one he exhibited at the MIT fair.

All six Massachusetts high school students who went to the international fair won awards.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 24, 1996.

Related Topics

More MIT News