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Awards & honors

Elias P. Gyftopoulos, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering and of nuclear engineering, received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Dalhousie University in Canada last month. His degree notes Professor Gyftopoulos's "outstanding ability, initiative, energy, faith and courage������������������ and his marked achievements made in the field of applied science by the full use of these gifts for the advancement of civilization and the good of humanity."

Dr. Thomas Neff, a research affiliate in the Center for International Studies, has been selected as the 1997 recipient of the Leo Szilard Award by the American Physical Society. He was recognized "for proposing and working to keep on track the historic agreement for the United States to purchase uranium from the former Soviet Union stockpile and to transform it from highly enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium for civilian purposes, thereby significantly reducing the numbers of nuclear weapons."

For about five years, Dr. Neff has advised both governments on implementation of the transaction that will result in the destruction of about 20,000 former Soviet nuclear weapons. Shipments began in 1995. The award is named after physicist Leo Szilard, who first conceived of the nuclear chain reaction in 1933. Past winners have included Andrei Sakharov and Carl Sagan, as well as MIT Professors Bernard Feld, Henry Kendall, Theodore Postol and Kosta Tsipis.

James M. Buzard, associate professor of literature and holder of the Class of 1956 Career Development Chair, has been named a 1997-98 National Humanities Center Fellow. He is one of 34 Fellows chosen from more than 500 applicants to spend a year in residence at the NHC in Research Triangle Park, NC. His research project is titled "Any-where's Nowhere: Fictions of Autoethnography in the United Kingdom." The NHC is a privately incorporated, independent research institute for advanced study in the humanities.

Visiting Scholar Frank Sulloway of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society was a recipient of the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. His 1996 book, Born to Rebel, offers analysis in support of his theory of family birth order as a key determinant of revolutionary creativity. Other 1997 Golden Plate awardees include Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Coretta Scott King, and five Nobel laureates. Members of this year's awards committee for science included Francis Crick, Stephen Jay Gould and Edward O. Wilson.

The American Nuclear Society has made awards to an MIT faculty member and student in nuclear engineering. Associate Professor Jacquelyn C. Yanch has won the ANS Young Member Engineering Achievement Award for 1997, while Eric R. Empey, who will be a senior in the fall, received the 1997 ANS Undergraduate Scholarship Award. Dr. Yanch, who holds a joint appointment in the Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology, is the W.M. Keck Career Development Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering. She and her colleagues have developed Boron Neutron Capture Synovectomy, a technique to treat rheumatoid arthritis that involves bombarding the affected joint with subatomic particles (MIT Tech Talk, February 14, 1996).

The 1996 edition of Technique, MIT's student yearbook, has won the Merit Award from the Printing Industries of America for the third year in a row. A committee selects five to 10 winners annually from the previous year's US yearbooks.

Point Park College in Pittsburgh has elected Dr. Cynthia Griffith Wolff, Class of 1992 Professor of the Humanities in the literature section, to its board of trustees. Before joining the MIT faculty in 1980, she was on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and she has served as founder and director of MIT's Faculty Symposium.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on August 13, 1997.

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