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Two professors selected for chairs

Two faculty members, Alex Byrne and Richard J. Cohen, have been appointed to named professorships.

Professor Cohen of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology is the new Whitaker Professor in Biomedical Engineering, a chair established by the late Uncas A. Whitaker, a life member of the MIT Corporation. His research focuses on applications of physics and engineering to solving problems in biology and medicine, particularly in the cardiovascular area.

One of his achievements is the development of a noninvasive means of identifying individuals at risk for sudden cardiac death from heart rhythm disturbances. He heads a research team looking at the effects of space flight on cardiovascular function, through the NASA-funded National Space Biomedical Research Institute, a seven-institute consortium studying and developing effective countermeasures to medical problems associated with space travel.

Professor Cohen earned the BA in chemistry and physics from Harvard College in 1971 and joined HST's first class that same year. In 1976 he received the MD from Harvard Medical School and the PhD in physics from MIT. Following a residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital, he joined the MIT faculty in 1979. He was promoted to associate professor in 1983 and to professor in 1992.

Professor Byrne, assistant professor of philosophy in the Department of Lingusitics and Philosophy, was awarded the Class of 1947 Career Development Professorship for a three-year term beginning July 1.

Professor Byrne, whose specialties include the philosophy of mind and metaphysics, received the BA in philosophy in 1988 from Birkbeck College of London University, the MA in philosophy in 1989 from King's College of London University, and the MA and PhD in philosophy in 1991 and 1994, respectively, from Princeton University. He served as a Mellon Postdoctoral Instructor in Philosophy at the California Institute of Philosophy in 1993-94. In 1997, he co-edited two volumes on the philosophy and science of color for a book titled Readings on Color (MIT Press).

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 7, 1998.

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