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Awards and honors

Professor David Kaiser, who holds appointments in the Program in Science, Technology and Society and the Department of Physics, has been awarded the 2000 Levitan Prize in the Humanities. Professor Kaiser, who is in his first year at MIT, will use the award to conduct research for his book, Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of the Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics, in which he seeks to develop a history of theoretical physics which incorporates a parctice-oriented view of scientific theories.

The $20,000 prize is established through a gift from James A. Levitan (SB 1945, chemistry), an MIT Corporation member and a senior partner in the New York law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. The prize, first awarded in 1990, supports innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities by SHSS faculty members.

Dr. David J. Perreault, a research engineer in the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems, has been selected by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Power Electronics Society to receive its Richard M. Bass Outstanding Young Power Electronics Engineer Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of power electronics by an engineer younger than 35.

Dr. Perreault (SM 1991, PhD) was cited for his contributions to advancing the technology of power electronic components and design, particularly in the areas of active filtering and automotive power systems. His invention of an economical method to modify the conventional automotive generator to supply nearly three times the power with substantially greater efficiency has received international recognition as enabling the introduction of advanced 42V electrical networks in the car. His work on "active filters" has resulted in circuits that significantly reduce the cost, weight and size of power electronic converters used in applications ranging from powering chips in computers to controlling large industrial machinery.

It's award season, and music and theater arts lecturer Laura Harrington is winning many of the prizes. The playwright won an Independent Reviewers of New England Award for Best New Play (Small Company) for her play Hallowed Ground, as staged by Boston Playwrights' Theatre. The same play also won the 2000-01 Clauder Competition, New England's most prestigious playwrighting contest. Portland Stage (ME) will produce the play in its 2001-02 season. The play depicts four young lives caught in the path of General WilliamSherman's devastating march through Georgia during the Civil War. Ms. Harrington previously won the 1996 Clauder Competition for her play Mercy.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 25, 2001.

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