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Awards and honors

The Department of Energy (DOE) has honored Dieter J. Sigmar with its Distinguished Associate Award. Dr. Sigmar is retiring from the Plasma Science and Fusion Center after a career spanning some 20 years that included positions as the center's acting director and deputy director.

"You have been an outstanding member of the fusion community, a voice of reason and moderation, with a large impact on the program both through your scientific accomplishments and your leadership qualities," wrote N. Anne Davies, associate director for fusion energy sciences in the DOE's Office of Science, in a letter telling Dr. Sigmar of the award. She further noted that "in the history of the fusion program you are only the second theorist to be so honored."

The award cites Dr. Sigmar's "contributions to our understanding of plasma confinement, the physics of burning plasmas, and the role of the plasma edge, and your untiring efforts which have enhanced the standing of the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center as a major intellectual center for plasma physics research. Your commitment to international fusion collaboration and stimulation of theory programs around the world has been critical to our progress in fusion science research."

Institute Professor Mildred S. Dresselhaus recently received the National Materials Advancement Award at a National Press Club reception in Washington, DC. The award was presented by the Federation of Materials Societies. The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding capabilities in advancing the effective and economic use of materials and the multidisciplinary field of materials science and engineering generally, and who contribute to the application of the materials profession to national problems and policy.

Professor Dresselhaus is on leave from MIT while serving as director of the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy. A National Medal of Science winner, she has previously been president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society.

The 1999-2000 Rossby Award, given annually by MIT's Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate for the most outstanding thesis submitted to the program, has been given to Dr. Ann Pearson (PhD 2000) for her thesis titled "Biogeochemical Applications of Compound-Specific Radiocarbon Analysis," and Dr. Gary Kleiman (PhD 1999), for his thesis, "Measurement and Deduction of Emissions of Short-Lived Atmospheric Organo-chlorine Compounds." Dr. Pearson's advisor was Professor Timothy Eglinton of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/MIT Joint program; Dr. Kleiman's advisor was Professor Ronald Prinn, head of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

Professor Douglas Lauffenburger was one of five new members appointed by outgoing Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna Shalala to the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. Dr. Lauffenburger is the J.R. Mares Professor of Chemical Engineering and co-director of the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health. Council members make recommendations to the HHS secretary, the director of the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) on policy matters, areas of research importance and personnel needs in fields of science related to NIGMS programs.

Professor Rafael Bras, the Bacardi-Stockholm Water Foundation Professor and head of civil and environmental engineering, has received the "Giants in Science" Award for 2001 from the Quality Education for Minorities/Mathematics, Science and Engineering (QEM/MSE) Network. The QEM/MSE Network is a coalition of minority and nonminority educational institutions and organizations dedicated to improving the mathematics, science, and engineering education of underrepresented minorities.

The American Mathematical Society has made awards to two MIT faculty members. Richard P. Stanley, the Levinson Professor of Mathematics, won the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition. He was honored for his two-volume work, Enumerative Combinatorics (Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole, 1986 and Cambridge University Press, 1999). The citation noted that the field is expanding rapidly, and "it is quite remarkable that Stanley has been able to take a still photograph of it, so to speak, that beautifully captures the subject." Professor Michael Hopkins won the Oswald Veblen Prize, which recognizes outstanding research in geometry. He was cited for several influential papers he wrote on homotopy theory.

Associate Professor of Ocean Engineering Clifford A. Whitcomb (SM, OE) has been elected to the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) board of directors representing Region IV, government and academia, for a two-year term. INCOSE fosters the definition, understanding and practice of systems engineering in industry, academia and government.

Dr. Joseph V. Bonventre, co-director of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, will be awarded the Doctor Medicinae Honoris Causa from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim on May 11. The honorary degree is in recognition of his significant contribution to medical science and his assistance in developing medical technology at the university. He will also receive the Outstanding Physician Award from the National Kidney Foundation of New England on March 8.

Professor Moshe Ben-Akiva, the Edmund K. Turner Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received two honors overseasthis fall. In Greece, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of the Aegean. In Sweden, he attended the Nobel Prize ceremonies as a guest of Daniel McFadden, winner of this year's prize in economics, who did his prize-winning work at MIT. Professor Ben-Akiva was cited, along with his MIT colleague Professor Steve Lerman, in the announcement of Professor McFadden's award.

Philip Osafo-Kwaako, a senior in chemical engineering, was awarded an honorable mention in the USA Today All-USA College Academic Team competition. The awards are listed in the February 15 issue of USA Today. Mr. Osafo-Kwaako, who is also a Burchard Scholar, did field research on investigating gender discrimination patterns among the rural Ashanti people of Ghana.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 28, 2001.

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