The MIT Debate Team placed sixth among American teams and in the top quarter overall in the 1999 World Universities Debating Championships, beating teams including Stanford, Brown, Yale and Princeton. Debaters at the event in Manila engaged in extemporaneous discussions on topics ranging from the philosophy of art to the latest in global economic trends. "We learned a lot from meeting people with such diverse backgrounds," said Gary Li, a junior in economics and president of the team. "In the end, though, we were all united by a love of rhetoric and wit." This was only MIT's fourth appearance at the world championship, though it placed placed 33rd out of 400 teams at the 1995 event.
Timothy McGovern, senior project manager in Information Systems, and Helen Samuels, special assistant in the Provost's Office, received the award for most outstanding paper published in the 1998 volume of CWIS (Campus-Wide Information Systems), which publishes articles relating to administrative, academic and library computing as well as other educational technologies. In their article, titled "Our Institutional Memory at Risk: Collaborators to the Rescue," the authors explain problems for colleges and universities associated with the continuing reliability of electronic systems and discuss partnerships among information technology staff, archivists, records managers, auditors, lawyers and others.
Professor Hale Bradt of physics is the co-winner of the 1999 Rossi Prize from the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). He and Dr. Jean Swank of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center will receive a cash award and give invited talks at the January 2000 meeting of the AAS. They were honored for their key roles in the development of the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE), and for the important discoveries resulting from RXTE's observations of neutron stars and black holes.
The RXTE is a 6,700-pound X-ray observatory placed into orbit by NASA in December 1995. Professor Bradt has been one of the major proponents of the observatory since 1974, when he and others first put forth the concept of the mission. His early and consistent lobbying for the mission helped insure it got off the ground.
RXTE is named after Bruno B. Rossi, an MIT professor who was a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy. Two of the instruments on board were designed and built by Professor Bradt and his colleagues at the Center for Space Research. An international core of observers have used the observatory for numerous research projects, some of which have yielded major discoveries about rapidly spinning neutron stars and the nature of microquasars.
Other MIT researchers who work with RXTE include Drs. Alan Levine, Ronald Remillard, Edward Morgan and Wei Cui, and Professors Deepto Chakrabarty, Vicky Kaspi, George Clark, Walter Lewin and Saul Rappaport. The engineering design and fabrication of the MIT instruments were directed by Dr. William Mayer and Mr. Robert Goeke.
John B. Heywood, the Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering, will receive an honorary doctorate from Chalmers University of Technology in Gï¿½ï¿½teborg, Sweden in a ceremony this spring. Professor Hey-wood directs the Sloan Automotive Laboratory and works on issues relating to automotive engines and future transportation technology in the Energy Laboratory. His research focuses on the operating, combustion and emissions characteristics of internal combustion engines and their fuels requirement.
Three Marvin E. Goody Awards have been given to master's degree candidates in the Department of Architecture--Karl Daubman, Nilay Oza and joint winners Nico Kienzl and Kevin Settlemyre, department head Stanford Anderson has announced. The $5,000 award, which was established in 1983 by Joan E. Goody as a memorial to Marvin E. Goody, an MIT alumnus and faculty member, aims to extend the horizons of existing building techniques and use of materials, to encourage links between the academic world and the building industry, and to increase appreciation of the bond between good design and good building.
Youngsook Huh, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, won the $1,000 Rossby Award for 1997-98, given annually to honor the most outstanding thesis in the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate. Dr. Huh's thesis (supervised by Professor John Edmond) was entitled, "The Fluvial Geochemistry of the Rivers of Eastern Siberia and Implications for the Effect on Climate and Weathering."
John-Paul B. Clarke (SB 1991, SM, ScD), the Charles Stark Draper Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has received the 1999 AIAA/AAAE/ACC Jay Hollingsworth Speas Airport Award. The award is given by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Association of Airport Executives and the Airports Consultants Council to honor a person who has contributed outstandingly to achieving compatible relationships between airports/heliports and adjacent environments. Dr. Clarke was cited for "development of effective tools for modeling and evaluating new approaches in noise reduction that have led to solutions to benefit populations everywhere and will be particularly valuable to airports surrounded by noise-sensitive communities."
Assistant Professors Rajeev Ram of electrical engineering and computer science and the Research Laboratory of Electronics and Eric M.J. Feron of aeronautics and astronautics have been selected as Office of Naval Research Young Investigators. Professors Ram and Feron were selected "because of their academic achievements, their ability to contribute to the strength of the nation's R&D, and the commitment to them expressed by university administrators," said the awarding officer.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 24, 1999.