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Awards and honors

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has bestowed an honorary doctor of humane letters degree on Merritt Roe Smith, the Leverett Howell Cutten Professor of the History of Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. He was cited by RPI President R. Byron Pipes for his "outstanding contributions to the history of technology." Professor Smith will formally receive his degree at RPI's 1997 Commencement in May.

The List Visual Arts Center has been awarded a 1997 Massachusetts Cultural Council grant of $15,000-the maximum amount available to a university-affiliated gallery-for general organizational support.

In the ratings issued by the MCC, the List Center received a total of 93.75 out of a possible 100 points, and was commended in the summary statement made by the visual arts panel reviewing their application as a "very serious arts center with high-quality exhibits, working in provocative and daring ways at the edge. successfully addressing its mission." The List Center received 65 out of 65 points in the area of "vision in the design of programs and services to fulfill the organization's cultural mission, and excellence in implementation and delivery of cultural programming."

List Center Director Katy Kline said she was not only "thrilled to receive the recognition and monetary award," but also pleased at the MCC's continued support of contemporary arts programming.

"The List models its mission after that of MIT as an institution; that is, to challenge, provoke, and be at the forefront of visual culture, as MIT is at the forefront of scientific and intellectual inquiry," she said. "At times, this mission leads us into controversial areas, so the MCC's award indicates their willingness to support us and others in presenting programming of a visually, culturally, and intellectually diverse nature."

Four MIT faculty members are among the 283 members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) who have been elevated to the rank of Fellow in 1996. They are Rodney A. Brooks, Fujitsu Professor in electrical engineering and computer science and associate director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; Claude R. Canizares, director of the Center for Space Research; Paul A. Samuelson, Institute professor and professor emeritus in economics; and Anthony J. Sinskey, professor of applied microbiology. Members are chosen for this rank "because of their efforts toward advancing science or fostering applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished." The 14,000-member AAAS published the weekly peer-reviewed journal Science.

Citing it as "a model for educational titles, using humor and clear presentation to educate," judges for the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council have selected Center Vision's MIT EDICS for the 1996 MIMC Award in the category of higher education titles. EDICS is an interactive CD-ROM that teaches students about mechanical systems through the interaction of 2,000 scenes and 20 minutes of digital video. Content expertise was provided by senior lecturer and professor emeritus David Gordon Wilson, adjunct professor Ernesto Blanco and Pappalardo Professor Woodie Flowers (all of mechanical engineering), supported by three graduate students and several undergraduates.

"We're delighted that the far-sighted investment of funds in our project by the National Science Foundation and MIT has been rewarded," said Professor Wilson, project leader. "The undergraduate and graduate students put a great deal of effort into the work that Center Vision and BKJ Productions [which did production design and art direction] brought together in this wonderful CD-ROM."

Dr. Gerald R. Fink, director of the Whitehead Institute and American Cancer Society Professor of Genetics at MIT, has been elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. The Academy, a leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, "recognizes microbiologists who have demonstrated outstanding scientific excellence and originality." Dr. Fink joins 1,300 Fellows from 27 countries who have been honored for their scholarly achievement.

A new award created in honor of the late Julius A. Stratton has been awarded for the first time by the Ninth Biennial International Conference on Coast and Ocean Management. The Julius A. Stratton Award for Leadership "will be a long-standing reminder regarding Dr. Stratton's key role in chairing the blue-ribbon national Commission on Marine Science, Engineering and resources, which produced in 1969 its landmark report, `Our Nation and the Sea'. The report became the foundation for the establishment of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the national Coastal Zone Management Act, the nation's primary land use law."

The first recipient of the award was Peter M. Douglas, executive director of the California Coastal Commission. It will be presented every other year to "the person or group that has made the greatest difference in leading the cause for the coast, and who can best be labeled as a true `Champion of the Coast'."

Philip S. Khoury, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science (SHSS) and professor of history, has been elected president of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). He is a past director of MESA and will assume his new office at the end of 1997.

Founded in 1966, the 2,700-member organization is the largest academic body in the world focused on the study of the Middle East and North Africa. Professor Khoury joined the MIT faculty in 1981 and became SHSS dean in 1991. He is a specialist on the modern history and politics of the Middle East and has written and edited books on the rise of Arab nationalism, the relationship between Syria and France, tribes and state formation in the Middle East, and the reconstruction of war-torn Lebanon.

The National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) has awarded an honorary doctorate in naval architecture to Professor Emeritus T. Francis Ogilvie, who came to MIT in 1982 to serve as head of the Department of Ocean Engineering and held that position until 1994. This was the first honorary degree in naval architecture ever awarded by the Greek university.

The official decree notes that "even if he did not himself build wooden ships like the great Odysseus, using axe and adze and ruler, having beforehand cut long beams, he nevertheless contrived the building of ships that fly to the winds, by which mankind is able to traverse the high seas and reach the confines of the sea."

In accepting the award, Professor Ogilvie observed that, although he has degrees in physics, aeronautics and engineering science, he had had none in naval architecture or ocean engineering, the fields in which he has worked for 45 years; he quipped that NTUA has finally legitimized his credentials.

Lenhard L. Ng, a graduate student in mathematics, has received an Honorable Mention by the committee awarding the AMS-MAA-SIAM Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize for outstanding research in mathematics by an undergraduate. Mr. Ng received recognition for his undergraduate work at Harvard. Established last year, the prize is awarded by the Mathematical Association of America, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and the American Mathematical Society, which promote mathematics education, scholarship, research and applications.

"There is no question that Lenny Ng is one of our most remarkable young mathematicians," the prize committee said. He was cited for his work in graph theory-some of which he did when he was 17-and work in quantum mechanics, group theory and probability.

A version of this article appeared in the November 20, 1996 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 41, Number 12).

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