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Professors Seyferth, Brown named to NAS


Two MIT professors have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors that can be accorded a US scientist or engineer.

Provost Robert A. Brown, the Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Dietmar Seyferth, the Robert T. Haslam and Bradley Dewey Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, are among the 72 new members elected May 1 "in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research." The total number of active members in the NAS is now 1,874.

Professor Brown, who specializes in fluid mechanics and transport processes, is also an authority on the use of supercomputers to solve complex engineering problems in chemical processing.

He did his initial studies in chemical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin (BS, 1973; MS, 1975) and completed his PhD in 1979 at the University of Minnesota. Professor Brown joined the faculty at MIT in 1979 and served as head of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1989-95 and as dean of engineering from 1996-98. As provost he is responsible for the administration of the five MIT schools and the numerous research laboratories and centers within the institution.

Professor Brown is co-author of more than 200 papers. His additional honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1991 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994.

Professor Seyferth's research over the past 40 years has ranged broadly in the area of organometallic chemistry with long-term emphasis on the organic derivatives of the main group elements, especially lithium, mercury, silicon, germanium and tin, as well as on certain aspects of organophosphorus chemistry.

The work has dealt with the synthesis and characterization of organometallic compounds, their reactivity and their appli- cations. Recent work has in part dealt with the development of polymeric precursors whose pyrolysis results in useful ceramics.

Dr. Seyferth received the BA from the University of Buffalo in 1951 and his PhD from Harvard University in 1955. He has been on the faculty at MIT since 1957.

The NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to furthering science and its use for the general welfare.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 9, 2001.

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