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MechE launches 1997 lecture series

The Department of Mechanical Engineering will host the first event in its 1997 Distinguished Alumni/ae Lecture Series on Wednesday, March 12 at 4pm in Rm 4-370. The featured speaker is Robert W. Mann, Whitaker Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering. His lecture, "A Half-Century Portfolio on Engineering Design," bespeaks the rich nature of his immersion in engineering design at MIT.

Professor Mann came to MIT on the GI Bill in February 1947, receiving the SB in mechanical engineering in 1950, the SM in 1951 and the ScD in 1957. He joined the faculty in 1953.

During the 1950s, Professor Mann conducted research and development of air-to-air missile components. With the growing awareness at MIT of early digital computer and graphics display research, he inaugurated the Computer-Aided Design project in 1959.

Beginning in the 1960s, his research focused on technology to ameliorate human disabilities resulting from physical handicaps. From his initial work addressing the needs of blind people through such aids as English-to-Braille computer translation and production systems, Professor Mann expanded his research to include musculoskeletal studies and computer-aided surgery. He continues to direct such research through the Newman Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation, which he founded in 1975 and directed, along with the Harvard-MIT Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering established the Distinguished Alumni/ae program in 1991 to bring together prestigious alumni/ae, students and faculty members. The event includes several opportunities for the department's faculty and students from the department to meet with the chosen distinguished alumnus or alumna. Invited students will be able to share an evening meal with Professor Mann following the lecture.

For more information, contact Patsy Sampson in mechanical engineering headquarters at x3-2201.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 5, 1997.

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