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RLE symposium schedule


MIT Faculty Club (Building E52, 6th floor)

All students, faculty, and staff who have been part of RLE since the laboratory's founding in 1946 are invited to attend RLE's reunion breakfast at the MIT Faculty Club. Professor Emeritus Jerome Y. Lettvin will be this morning's speaker. Tickets are limited, so register today.

Professor Lettvin has been affiliated with RLE since 1951. Since that time, he has conducted research on the bio-electrical processes involved in cognition and sensory perception in living systems. He is widely recognized for his work on vision and pattern recognition published in the 1959 landmark paper, "What the Frog's Eye Tells the Frog's Brain."


Tang Hall (Building E51) Registration starting at 8am
Presentations from 10am-1pm

Lunch will be provided for all symposium registrants from 1:15-2:15pm. Talks will be presented by six RLE investigators on some of the laboratory's latest research:

"Watching Hearing: Measuring Nanometer Motions of the Inner Ear With a Light Microscope"

Professor Dennis M. Freeman will pre-sent an overview of his investigations into the physiology of the inner ear, which seek to characterize the signal processing properties of the peripheral auditory system. Professor Freeman and his colleagues in RLE have introduced novel microscopic photo-detection methods and high-resolution imaging techniques to measure the motions and physical properties of inner ear structures. The focus of their studies includes sensory receptor cells and other structures in the inner ear that comprise a complex hydromechanical system. Professor Freeman will demonstrate a video system that has been developed in his group to measure the mechanical properties of these structures. The system includes a computer that records and analyzes video images, so that both basic three-dimensional structures and motions can be visualized.

"Biomedical Imaging and Diagnostics Using Optical Coherence Tomography"

Professor James G. Fujimoto will describe his group's work on optical coherence tomography (OCT), a new imaging technology that can obtain higher resolution biomedical images. Professor Fujimoto and his colleagues at RLE have helped to develop this new medical technology, which can perform noninvasive imaging of structures within the eye, retinal tumors, arterial plaque, and other biological structures. Applications for OCT include the diagnosis of several retinal diseases, including macular degeneration, and may hold promise for glaucoma treatment as well. Professor Fujimoto's group also develops new femtosecond laser generation and measurement techniques, and investigates ultrafast phenomena in electronic and optoelectronic materials.

"Predicting the Behavior of Materials"

Professor John D. Joannopoulos will describe his theoretical studies in condensed matter physics that have provided many of the first calculations for the electronic and geometric structures of solids. He and his colleagues in RLE have predicted semiconductor surfaces, including the atomic configuration of several surface reconstructions, the sites and mechanisms for molecular chemisorption and diffusion, and the nature of surface phase transitions as a function of temperature. By developing techniques that predict atomic- level surface structure and use minimum energy calculations, Professor Joannopoulos's research not only reveals new surface states, but it also provides increased understanding of the semiconductor growth process at a detailed atomic level, thus exploiting the best performance modern supercomputers can offer.

"The Single-Electron Transistor and Other Devices of the Future"

Professor Marc A. Kastner and his colleagues in RLE's Quantum-Effect Devices Group have pioneered a single-electron transistor device which turns on and off once for every electron that is added to it. In addition to their technological potential, such devices provide new insight into the behavior of electrons that are confined to regions with small dimensions. Professor Kastner will provide an overview of the single-electron transistor's technological applications, and how the transistor will further understanding of very small semiconductor devices. He will also address the possible role of self-assembled nanostructures in devices of the future.

"Bose-Einstein Condensates: A New Form of Quantum Matter"

Professor Wolfgang Ketterle will discuss his research in basic atomic physics, where phenomena involving collisions, light scattering, and quantum statistics are studied. Professor Ketterle has been recognized for his emerging leadership in developing several new techniques used to extract energy from ultra-cold neutral atoms. His group's recent observation of the mysterious Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) has permitted the study of ultracold matter in an entirely new regime. In the BEC state, matter is coherent and exhibits "laser-like" properties. While Professor Ketterle seeks to understand BEC properties, his longer range plans are to use coherent atoms for vast improvements in precision measurements and atom optics.

"Signal Processing for Next-Generation Wireless Communications"

Professor Gregory W. Wornell will provide insight into the increasingly important role the field of signal processing is playing in the development of future wireless communication systems. Professor Wornell and his group in RLE explore multi-user wireless and broad-band communications, and have developed a variety of new signal processing techniques for next-generation systems. Future applications for this research include code-division multiple- access and packet-switched mobile radio networks, indoor spread-spectrum personal wireless systems, and digital audio and television broadcast systems.


MIT President Charles M. Vest will speak on science policy in America, the role of research universities in society, and how RLE can contribute to the solution of important societal needs. Dr. Vest's article, "Measuring the Return on Investment in University-Based Research," appears in the fall 1996 issue of RLE currents.

Award-winning television host and author James Burke will detail the history of communication and describe the role that RLE has played. Mr. Burke's television series and books include: Connections, The Day the Universe Changed, After the Warming, Masters of Illusion, Connections2 and The Axemaker's Gift.

JUBILEE DINNER PARTY6:30-10pmMorss Hall, Walker Memorial (Building 50)

To cap off the two-day celebration, we invite you to join us for this final, spectacular event of RLE's 50th anniversary, which will include cocktails, dinner and dancing. Tickets are limited, so register today.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 30, 1996.

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