Skip to content ↓

Upcoming talks range from dams to immigration

The 10th annual John R. Freeman Lecture at MIT will focus on "The Big Dam Debate: Are Large Multi-Purpose Dams Environmentally Sustainable?" on Tuesday, April 16, at 7pm in the Bartos Theater (Rm E15-070), preceded by a reception at 6pm.

The lecture, sponsored by the Boston Society of Civil Engineers and MIT's Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory for Water Resources and Hydrodynamics, will present an international panel of speakers representing different viewpoints on dam construction.

This will not be a theoretical discussion of "sustainable development" nor a technical argument about dam heights or sediment sizes, according to Susan Murcott of the Parsons Laboratory. It will be a look at critical issues such as growth in energy demand, especially in developing countries; preservation of ecological and natural systems; water scarcity, especially conflicting needs for irrigation water and urban development; hydro-electric power as a bridge to a solar/wind transition; the expenditure of billions of dollars on huge construction projects that siphon off capital from other essential development efforts; and human resettlement and citizen participation in decision-making.

Big dams serve multiple purposes. For example, the Three Gorges Dam, now under construction on the Yangtze River in China, will be the world's largest dam. It is intended to reduce catastrophic flooding, generate electricity and give sea-going ships access to central China. However, it will forcibly relocate 1.13 million people, inundate a spectacular scenic and historic region which also includes important archeological sites, and raise numerous environmental problems. Cost estimates range from $17 billion to $100 billion, yet some hydraulic engineers claim the dam will fill up with sediment within several years. On the other hand, conservative projections of energy demand are for 3.4 percent annual energy growth in China, and hydroelectric power would offset some of the increased use of coal.

The speakers will be Robert Goodland, an ecologist at the World Bank; Dai Qing, the engineer and journalist who has led the movement in China opposing the construction of the Three Gorges project, and Philip Williams, founder and president of International Rivers Network, an organization prominent in many international campaigns on large-scale water and dam projects,.

John R. Freeman, a member of the MIT Class of 1876, was a major American civil engineer who carried out projects throughout the US and abroad. He was the chief engineer for the construction of the Charles River Dam and carried out the engineering studies that preceded construction of MIT's Cambridge campus on filled land.


Intel Corp.'s executive vice president and chief operating officer, Craig R. Barrett, will deliver the 1996 Harry C. Gatos Distinguished Lecture at MIT on Thursday, April 18. He will speak at 3:30pm in Rm 54-100, discussing "Technology Futures for the IC Industry."

Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., of Japan endowed the Gatos lecture and $5,000 prize in 1991 to honor Professor Gatos, a faculty member (now emeritus) of the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for nearly three decades.

Professor Gatos played a key role in the development of the science of electronic materials, especially gallium arsenide, and in 1962 formed the first electronic materials group within a materials department. For some years it was the only academic group devoted to the study and establishment of relationships among crystal growth parameters, structural and chemical composition and electronic properties. During this work, Professor Gatos formed a close association with Sumitomo Electric Industries, also a pioneer in the development and application of advanced materials.

The Gatos Lecture and Prize are awarded every two years to an individual who has "contributed significantly to the advancement of processing of electronic materials. and their role in electronic applications." The recipient is selected by a committee consisting of the heads of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a senior materials science faculty member.

Dr. Barrett joined Intel in 1974 from the faculty of Stanford University. He holds the BS (1961), MS (1963) and PhD (1964) from Stanford, all in materials science and engineering, the department in which he taught for nine years. He is the author of more than 40 technical papers and a textbook on materials science. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Intel, a multinational Fortune 100 company based in Santa Clara, CA, makes microcomputer components, network/communications products, personal conferencing products and parallel supercomputers. The company has 41,600 employees worldwide and annual revenues of $16.2 billion.


Robert Merton, a pioneer in the field of financial engineering and a former member of the faculty at the Sloan School of Management, will discuss "The Management of Financial Institutions into the 21st Century" at 6pm Wednesday, April 17, in the new Wong Auditorium in the Tang Center (Building E51).

The talk will be the inaugural address in a new series of lectures sponsored jointly by the Oxford University Press (OUP) and the Sloan School to provide a forum for visionary concepts that can lay the groundwork for business success in the future.

In three lectures, Dr. Merton will explore the fundamentally new challenges that are facing managers as the next century approaches, and point to ways that the financial world is evolving to meet those challenges. Because finance and the management of financial risk underlie virtually all aspects of corporate operations, the lectures will be of interest to a broad audience.

The second and third lectures will be delivered on April 24 and May 1. All are open to the MIT community. The lectures will form the basis of a book to be published by OUP.


Professor Tyler Anbinder, a widely respected expert on the political history of 19th-century America, will speak at MIT on Thursday, April 11.

Professor Anbinder's talk, "`Americans Must Rule America': Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in American History," is part of the Sahin Lecture Series sponsored by the MIT history faculty. The lecture will begin at 4pm in Rm E51-095. For more information, call x3-9621.

Dr. Anbinder, an assistant professor of history at George Washington University, holds the PhD (1990) from Columbia University and the BA (1984) from Wesleyan University. He is the author of Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings and the Politics of the 1850s (Oxford University Press, 1992) and other works about the Know Nothing movement.

Related Topics

More MIT News