Three MIT faculty members -- Professors Justin E. Kerwin of ocean engineering and James M. Poterba of economics, and Associate Professor Nancy G. Kanwisher of brain and cognitive sciences--are among 17 individuals recognized with awards from the the National Academy of Sciences in January. The awards will be presented on April 26 at a ceremony in Washington, DC during the Academy's 136th annual meeting.
Professor Kerwin won the Gibbs Brothers Medal, a $5,000 prize awarded every two years for outstanding contributions in the field of naval architecture and marine engineering. He was chosen "for his outstanding contributions in the field of naval architecture, including the development of computational methods used worldwide in propeller design."
Dr. Poterba, the Mitsui Professor of Economics and associate department head, won the NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing, a $5,000 prize for excellence in scientific reviewing within the past 10 years (the 1999 field is economics). He was chosen "for his influential and comprehensive review of factors determining the savings of individuals over their lifetimes and the private accumulation of wealth for retirement."
Dr. Kanwisher was co-winner of the Troland Research Award, a $35,000 sum given annually to each of two recipients, to be used to support their research within the broad spectrum of experimental psychology. She was recognized "for her innovative research on visual attention, awareness and imagery, including the characterization of a face perception module and discovery of a place encoding module."
Jay W. Forrester, professor emeritus and senior lecturer at the Sloan School, was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Seville in Spain. He was recognized for his work in founding and leading the field of system dynamics.
Bryan Gaensler, a postdoctoral fellow in astronomy, has been named the 1999 Young Australian of the Year. Dr. Gaensler, 25, graduated fromthe University of Sydney's Faculty of Science with high honors in 1994. Dr. Gaensler, who described himself to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. as spending his days in front of a computer and nights staring at the stars, also recently won the prestigious Hubble Fellowship, sponsored by NASA, for his research into how exploding stars are affected by the universe's magnetic fields.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 3, 1999.