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Tech Review lists young innovators

Following are the MIT affiliates who appeared on the TR100, the 100 top young innovators named by Technology Review magazine "who exemplify the spirit of innovation in science, technology, and the arts." They are listed below by name, age, category of expertise and affiliation. Those who are currently at MIT are listed first with a short profile edited from Technology Review. The second group is of MIT alumni/ae. To see the entire list and profiles of each innovator, go to the Technology Review web site.


Bonnie Berger, 34, Software, Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics. Bonnie Berger is leading a group of computational biologists to develop software that uses mathematical algorithms to predict protein folding based on the sequence of amino acids. Such insights could eventually lead to new drugs to combat viral disease such as AIDS.

Christopher Cummins, 33, Materials, Professor of Chemistry. The search for as-yet-unknown reactions, and the accompanying technological potential, is an unending pursuit of inorganic chemistry. Kit Cummins has already forged a world reputation... His most notable success: finding a way, at room temperature and pressure, to break apart the extremely strong triple bond that holds the atoms of a nitrogen molecule together.

Yoel Fink, 33, Materials, graduate student, Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The "perfect mirror" Yoel Fink invented last year could mean radical new ways of directing and manipulating light. Potential applications range from a flexible light guide for delivering laser light to a specific internal organ, to new devices for optical communications.

Joseph Jacobson, 34, Hardware, Assistant Professor, Program in Media Arts & Science, Media Lab. Joseph Jacobson and his group have developed a system using "micro-spheres" -- two-toned particles about the size of grains of laser toner -- embedded in a sheet of paper to display text and graphics in electronic pages.

Steven Leeb, 34, Hardware, Carl Richard Soderberg Associate Professor of Power Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Leeb is working in a field known as "mechatronics," a combination of mechanical engineering, electronics and intelligent computer control that gets machines to work together intelligently. Leeb's forays could ultimately pay off in a remarkable range of fields: from artificial muscles to drug delivery to control of electricity and lighting in buildings.

Peter Seeberger, 32, Biotech, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Carbohydrates play a key role in everything from healing wounds to heart disease. Yet their chemistry remains somewhat mysterious. Seeberger has set out to change all that. He has already dreamed up new ways to string carbohydrates together from their simple sugar building blocks, and also spearheaded the assembly of the most complex carbohydrate ever made by man.

Jackie Ying, 33, Materials, St Laurent Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering. Jackie Ying is more interested in explaining uses of her nanoscale materials than in discussing arcane details of their chemistry. Ying ticks off the potential benefits of her precisely tailored nanomaterials: safer pharmaceuticals, more efficient processes for making industrial chemicals, better catalysts to cut air pollution from automobiles. Her group is also interested in using the materials to make nanoscale wires for microelectronics and "smart" drug-delivery systems.


Adam Arkin, 33 (PhD 1992 in chemistry), Biotech, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

David Blundin, 32 (SB 1988 in electrical engineering and computer science [EECS]), Software, DataSage

Eric Brewer, 32 (SM 1992, PhD 1994 in EECS), Software, Inktomi

Amy Bruckman, 33 (SM 1991 architecture, SM 1991 in media arts and sciences, PhD 1997), WWW, Georgia Institute of Technology

Isaac Chuang, 30 (SM 1990 in physics, SB 1991 in EECS, SM 1991 in EECS), Hardware, IBM Almaden Research Center

Daniel DiLorenzo, 33 (SB 1987 in EECS, SM 1999 in health sciences and technology, SM 1999 in management, PhD 1999 in HST), Biotech, University of Utah Medical School

Isy Goldwasser, 29 (SB 1993, chemical engineering), Materials, Symyx

Helen Greiner, 31, (SB 1989 in mechanical engineering, SM 1990 in EECS), Hardware, IS Robotics

Bruce Lahn, 30 (PhD 1998 in biology), Biotech, University of Chicago

H�kon Wium Lie, 34 (SM 1991 in architecture, SM 1991 in media arts and sciences), WWW, Opera Software

Akhil Madhani, 31 (SM 1991, PhD 1998 in mechanical engineering), Hardware, Walt Disney Imagi-neering

Maja Mataric, 34 (SM 1990, PhD 1994 in EECS), Hardware, University of Southern California

Samir Mitragotri, 28 (PhD 1996 in chemical engineering), Biotech, Sontra Medical

Christopher Murray, 32 (PhD 1995 in chemistry), Materials, IBM

Thomas Pinckney, 25 (SB 1997, MEng 1997, EECS), Software, Exotec

Mark Prausnitz, 33 (PhD 1994 in chemical engineering), Biotech, Georgia Institute of Technology

John Rogers, 32 (SM 1992 in chemistry, physics), Materials, Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs

Lawrence Saul, 30 (PhD 1994 in physics), Software, AT&T Labs

Michael J. Saylor, 34 (SB 1987 in aeronautics and astronautics, SB 1987 in humanities and engineering), Software, MicroStrategy

Thad Starner, 30 (SB 1991 in physics, SB 1991 in EECS, SM 1995 and PhD 1999 in media arts and sciences), Hardware, Georgia Institute of Technology

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 10, 1999.

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