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Awards and honors

Alumna Shirley Ann Jackson (S.B. 1968, Ph.D. 1973) was awarded an honorary doctor of engineering degree at Northeastern University on June 16. Jackson, a life member of the MIT Corporation, is president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a former chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Karl Ruping, a Fellow in the Advanced Studies Program, won the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council's Unsung Hero Award, presented to one who has given to his or her community or organization. Ruping, an intellectual property attorney, is a founding member of incTANK, a Cambridge-based technology incubator. The company houses one company at a time for three to six months, charging no rent and investing money to help ventures get started.

Eighty-one of the nation's top young engineers, including Assistant Professor Bernhardt L. Trout of chemical engineering and Associate Professor Dava Newman of aeronautics and astronautics, have been selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering's seventh annual Frontiers of Engineering symposium in September. "Frontiers of Engineering is a rare opportunity for outstanding young engineers to meet one another and delve into new topics for possible future collaboration," said William A. Wulf, NAE president. Topics at the symposium in Irvine, Calif., will include aeronautics and aerospace, civil systems, wireless communications, and technology and the human body.

The MIT Alumni Association was recently recognized with a Circle of Excellence Award for its international network of Alumni Clubs by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. The awards committee cited the association as having a "model clubs program." MIT Alumni Clubs provide activities and connections, from faculty speakers to career networking, for more than 10,000 Institute graduates, current students and parents in 93 clubs around the world.

Alexander d'Arbeloff, chair of the MIT Corporation, received a special award from the National Braille Press in June. "Many of the advancements in braille technology have been led by the brilliant scientific minds at MIT," the organization noted, citing the 1960s work of Professor Robert Mann in founding the Center for Sensory Aids Evaluation and Development in MIT's department of mechanical engineering. The center created DOTSYS, software that automatically translates computer text into Braille; BrailleEmboss,the first computer-driven device that embosses Braille on paper; and a conversion system that readies computer files for Braille translation.

The National Braille Press also cited MIT's Lou Goldish, John Taplin and Thomas Hagan, former chairs of its board of trustees, as well as others from MIT who have contributed to the organization including Robert Seamans Jr., Glenn Strehle, Paul Parravano, George Dalrymple, Jay Forrester, Charles Cooney and the late Professor Emeritus Lindsay Russell (S.B. 1950, S.M.).

Vice President for Human Resources Laura Avakian received one of five inaugural Paul Guy Mentorship Awards from the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration. The award recognizes organization members who exemplify the qualities of mentorship as demonstrated by the late Guy, one of its former presidents.

Professor Wesley Harris of aeronautics and astronautics has been selected as a graduate alumni trustee of Princeton University. An expert in helicopter rotor aerodynamics and acoustics, Professor Harris earned the M.A. (1966) and Ph.D. (1968) in aerospace and mechanical science from Princeton.

Yasunori Hayashi, assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences, has been selected as an Ellison Foundation New Scholar in Aging. The Ellison Medical Foundation, established and supported by Lawrence J. Ellison, supports basic biomedical research on aging and on global infectious disease.

Professor of Industrial Microbiology Arnold L. Demain was elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in May.

Institute Professor Sheila Widnall of aeronautics and astronautics has received the Spirit of St. Louis Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The former secretary of the Air Force was honored "for exemplary leadership in the field of aerospace sciences and for seminal contributions to fluid mechanics, particularly the understanding of vortex structures, their contribution to noise in rotary wing vehicles, and how vortex decay can be accelerated."

The 2002 Dirk Brouwer Award has been given by the American Astronomical Society to Professor of Planetary Science Jack Wisdom. The award noted that he "pioneered the application of modern nonlinear dynamics and the theory of Hamiltonian chaos in the field of solar system dynamics" and his solution to the long-standing problem of the origin of the Kirkwood gaps.

Three MIT faculty members have received 2001 fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Professor of Physics Mehran Kardar will use his award to study statistical physics and biological information. Paul Schechter, the William A.M. Burden Professor of Astrophysics, will perform studies in the microlensing of quasar light curves. Peter Temin, the Elisha Gray II Professor of Economics, will research the market economy in the early Roman empire. The Guggenheim awards totaling $6.6 million went to 183 artists, scholars and scientists.

Research scientist Andrew Oxenham of the Research Laboratory of Electronics was awarded the R. Bruce Lindsay Award by the Acoustical Society of America. The award is granted annually to a researcher under 35 for contributions to the field of acoustics. Previous winners from MIT include Professors J.C.R. Licklider (1950) and Ira Dyer (1960).

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 18, 2001.

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