The Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation has approved the awarding of tenure to the following faculty members, effective July 1, 2002 unless otherwise noted.
Daniel Ariely, associate professor of management science in the Sloan School, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure as the recipient of the Luis Alvarez Renta chair. A psychologist who applies fundamental theoretical issues of decision-making to consumer behavior, Ariely is a leader in consumer research. He has focused on four areas: construction of preferences, integration of experiences over time into overall evaluations, memory and consumer behavior in electronic media, and behavioral economics. He leads the eRationality group at the Media Lab and is director of the E-Markets special interest group. After receiving a B.A. in psychology from Tel Aviv University in 1991 and master's and Ph.D. degrees in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994 and 1996 respectively, he earned a Ph.D. in marketing from Duke University in 1998. He joined MIT as an assistant professor in 1998. He is currently working on a new cookbook.
David P. Bartel, associate professor in the Department of Biology and associate member of the Whitehead Institute, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. A world leader in RNA function and evolution, Bartel explores novel RNA catalysts and the biological roles of small RNAs that regulate gene expression in plants and animals. The "RNA world" theory of evolution--which seeks to explain how life could have arisen from nonliving chemicals--proposes that early forms of life relied on enzymes made of RNA to catalyze the basic chemical reactions needed for life, particularly the replication of RNA. In addition to other ground-breaking experiments, Bartel created an enzyme made of RNA that has the ability to catalyze the type of reaction needed for RNA replication. Bartel received a B.A. in biology from Goshen College in 1982 and a Ph.D. in virology from Harvard in 1993. He joined the Whitehead Institute as a fellow in 1994 and became an assistant professor of biology in 1996.
Alexander Byrne, associate professor of philosophy, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Byrne's primary research concerns color, perception and consciousness and emphasizes a scientifically informed approach to these topics. He has also worked on issues in the philosophy of language. He has taken a leadership role in reviewing the undergraduate program in philosophy, involving himself in outreach and curricular development. Before coming to MIT in 1994, Byrne taught at the California Institute of Technology. He received the B.A. (1988) and M.A. (1989) in philosophy from London University and the M.A. (1991) and Ph.D. (1994) from Princeton University.
Justine Cassell, associate professor in the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Her main area of research is in conversation and storytelling, and implementing technologies to support those activities. Cassell is a founder and leader in the design and study of embodied conversational agents-- computational characters that engage in human-like conversation. She has been a rallying point in several fields, directing or co-directing international symposia including "Thinking Outside the Toybox" (2000), "Junior Summit: Children and Technology" (1998), and "From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: A Conference on Gender and Computer Games" (1997). Cassell received the DEUG degree in Lettres Modernes from the Universite de Besancon in 1981, the B.A. in 1982 from Dartmouth College the M.Litt. in 1986 from the University of Edinburgh, and the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1991. Before coming to MIT in 1995, Cassell was a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University.
Esther Duflo, the Castle Krob Associate Professor of Economics, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Duflo has made significant contributions on a range of issues involving economic policy in less developed nations, such as new estimates of the impact of government-sponsored programs of school expansion on the incomes of those who receive additional education. Her current research includes studying the effects of remedial education in India, technology adoption in Kenya, and women's role in decentralized governments in India. A native of France, Duflo received Maitrise degrees in history and economics from the Ã‰cole Normale SupÃ©rieure in Paris in 1994, a master's degree in economics from Delta in Paris in 1995, and the Ph.D. from MIT in 1999.
Dennis M. Freeman, the W. M. Keck Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Freeman's research interests combine studies of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and hearing. His group has developed computer microvision, a technique for measuring motions of microscopic targets with nanometer (one-billionth of a meter) resolution. The technique was devised to study inner ears, but also has proved useful for measuring man-made microsystems. He is currently developing a synthetic aperture microscope whose resolution is determined by interference patterns constructed with lasers. The technique holds promise to scale to ultraviolet wavelengths that are too short to image with lenses. Freeman holds the B.S. (1973) from Pennsylvania State University, and the S.M., E.E. (both 1976) and Ph.D. (1986) from MIT. He was a research scientist at the Institute from 1986-95 before being appointed assistant professor in 1995. In 1998 he was promoted to associate professor.
Paula T. Hammond, the Joseph T. Mares Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. An expert in the molecular design and synthesis of self-assembling polymeric systems, and the understanding and use of secondary interactions to guide their assembly at surfaces as well as in the solid state, her research at MIT has produced several breakthroughs leading to a new method for patterning organic thin films. Applications for new materials she creates with these methods range from organic electro-optical functional devices such as low-cost flexible displays, to biologically active functional surfaces and sensors and nanostructured materials for encapsulation delivery applications. After receiving the S.B. in chemical engineering from MIT in 1984, Hammond received a master's degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1988 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from MIT in 1993. She joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in 1995.
Simon Johnson of the Sloan School has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. A recognized figure in institutional economics, Johnson's research focuses on identifying the conditions under which entrepreneurship flourishes and leads to sustained economic growth. Assistant director of the Entrepreneurship Center, Johnson stresses the importance of institutions, or legal rules and regulations that organize a society, and protection of property rights in shaping economic and entrepreneurial development. After receiving a B.A. in economics and politics from Oxford University in 1984, he earned a master's degree in economics from the University of Manchester in 1986 and a Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1989. He joined the MIT faculty in 1997, after spending six years on the faculty at Duke.
David W. Miller, associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Miller is a systems engineer who develops technology to improve the dynamics and controls of space telescopes that search for Earth-like planets around other stars, as well as the origin of the universe. He has developed a series of long-duration, microgravity dynamics and controls laboratories that have flown in Earth orbit, including the first crew-interactive experiment on the International Space Station. An innovative educator, Miller created a nationally recognized model for systems engineering by fusing the undergraduate laboratory with the capstone design subjects to create a three-semester sequence in which students design, build and operate a real aerospace system. The SPHERES satellite formation flight laboratory, originally designed by the Class of 2000, is expected to be flown to the space station in June 2003. Miller earned the S.B. (1982), S.M. (1985) and Sc.D. (1988) from MIT. He was appointed a research associate in 1988, principal research scientist in 1991, assistant professor in 1997 and associate professor in 2000.
David A. Mindell, associate professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Mindell is an historian of technology and author of two books: "War, Technology and Experience Aboard the U.S.S. Monitor" (2000) and "Between Human and Machine: Feedback, Control and Computing Before Cybernetics," which will be published this month by Johns Hopkins. He also is an electrical engineer who conducts research into remote technologies for deep-water exploration. As director of MIT's DeepArch research group in deep-water archaeology, he has participated in numerous oceanographic expeditions that explored the Black Sea, Phoenician shipwrecks, and World War II wrecks in Guadalcanal and Midway, among others, and he organized the first international conference ever held on this new field of research, which brings together archaeologists, oceanographers and engineers.
Mindell holds the B.A. in literature and B.S. in electrical engineering from Yale University (1988) and the Ph.D. in the history of technology (1996) from MIT. He has been a visiting investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Insitution since 1996. He joined the MIT faculty in 1996 as the Frances and David Dibner Assistant Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing, a new position created to link the School of Engineering and STS. He was promoted to associate professor in 2000 and named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow in 2001.
Melissa Nobles, associate professor in political science, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Nobles is a comparativist who studies the politics of race and ethnicity, with a particular concern for the way groups struggle over the definition of membership in the political community. Her first book, "Shades of Citizenship," explores the interaction of racial understanding and the census in Brazil and the United States. Her current research is a comparative study of the politics of official apologies. She came to MIT in 1994 as an instructor. Nobles received the B.A. in history from Brown University in 1985 and the M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 1991 and 1995, respectively.
Shankar Raman, associate professor of literature, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. A scholar of early modern literature and culture specializing in 15th- through 17th-century European representations of India and the East, Raman is a distinguished theorist and interpreter of literary texts and cultural practices. His research includes English and Portugese literature and the history of cosmology and cartography. Raman has added Caribbean and world Anglophone literatures to the MIT literature curriculum. Raman received both the S.B. in literature and film and the S.B. in electrical engineering from MIT in 1986. He received the M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988 and the Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1995. Raman came to MIT in 1995.
Jeffrey S. Ravel, associate professor in the history section of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Ravel is one of the leading younger scholars in the densely populated field of early modern French history. His first book, "The Contested Parterre," demonstrated that the diversity of and mingling among social classes in the parterre--the floor near the stage--in 18th-century French theater gave rise to critical and political ferment. In addition to writing a new book, "The Would-Be Commoner" (based on an actual case of bigamy, imposture and judicial corruption in late 17th-century France), Ravel has been instrumental in making bibliographical and textual resources about early modern French theater available online. Ravel received the B.A. in history from Colgate University and the M.A. (1987) and Ph.D. (1991) in history from the University of California at Berkeley. Before coming to MIT in 1997, he taught at the University of Rochester, Oberlin College and SUNY-Binghamton.
Martin C. Rinard, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Rinard works in the areas of programming languages and program analysis. He focuses on developing new techniques to solve problems in software engineering, program optimization, distributed computing and parallel computing. He is a member of one of the first research teams (with professors Daniel Jackson and John Hansman) to receive an NSF information technology grant to investigate new software engineering methods and tools to improve the reliability of infrastructure software, such as air traffic control systems. Rinard holds the Sc.B. from Brown University (1984) and the Ph.D. from Stanford (1994). He was an assistant professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1994 until he joined the MIT faculty in 1997 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 2000. Rinard coaches the MIT computer programming team, which took second place in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest this year.
Washington Taylor IV of the Department of Physics was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor with tenure in November 2001 and became a full professor on July 1. Taylor's research aims to understand how string theory can be formulated and how it generates the physics of gravity and "gauge theories," which describe electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. After receiving the B.S. in mathematics from Stanford University in 1986, he earned a master's degree in 1990 and a Ph.D. in 1993 in physics from the University of California at Berkeley. He joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in 1998.
Seth J. Teller, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Teller's research interests include computer graphics, computational geometry, machine vision, robotics and pervasive computing. His lab's City Scanning Project creates 3-D models of urban areas using a high-resolution digital camera and specialized instrumentation to estimate the camera's position and orientation. In collaboration with colleagues in the Laboratory for Computer Science, he is developing networks of radio-frequency and ultrasonic beacons to support GPS-like position and attitude determination indoors. Teller received the B.A. in physics from Wesleyan University in 1985 and the M.S. (1990) and Ph.D. (1992) from the University of California at Berkeley. Following postdoctoral research at Hebrew University and Princeton, he joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in 1994 and was promoted to associate professor in 1998.
Jaume Ventura, the Pentti Kouri Career Development Associate Professor in Economics, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Ventura's research is at the intersection of international trade and macroeconomics, generating important insights on the factors that affect the long-term rate of economic growth and on the determinants of international capital flows. He has received teaching awards from both the Graduate Economics Association and the Undergraduate Economics Association. Ventura received the B.A. degree in economics from the Universitat de Barcelona in 1986, the M.A. in international affairs from Johns Hopkins University in 1989 and the Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1995. He came to MIT in 1995 as assistant professor; he has also taught at the University of Chicago.
David R. Wallace, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. Wallace's greatest accomplishments in the field of design in academia and industry have been in distributed parametric design, environmentally conscious design and research on engineering design education. His design research represents a new paradigm, in which designers interact freely with experts in various fields. Among other honors, he has received the Department of Mechanical Engineering's Keenan Prize for Innovation in Undergraduate Education. After receiving a bachelor of industrial design (1986) and a bachelor of engineering degree (1989) from Carleton University in Canada, he received the S.M. (1991) and Ph.D (1994) from MIT. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1994.
Kelin X. Whipple, associate professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. A new leader in tectonic geomorphology, the study of large-scale landscape evolution in tectonically active mountain ranges and plateaus, Whipple has completed pioneering work on bedrock channel erosion dynamics and elucidated the strengths and limitations of current erosion laws. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research and of Tectonics. After receiving a B.A. in geology from the University of California at Berkeley, Whipple earned a master's degree in 1989 and a Ph.D. in 1994 in geological sciences from the University of Washington. He joined the MIT faculty in 1995.
Brian C. Williams, associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure. His research focuses on model-based programming methods that enable everyday systems to reason quickly and intelligently, and model-based autonomy methods that enable machines to robustly perform complex missions to explore other worlds. At MIT, Williams has formed a research group called model-based embedded and robotic systems (MERS). Williams was a member of the NASA panel that in 2000 investigated the failures of the Mars Polar Lander and Climate Orbiter spacecraft. Williams received the S.B. in 1981, the S.M. in 1984 and the Ph.D. in 1989 from MIT. After working as a research scientist for Xerox Corp. from 1988-94 and a senior research scientist for NASA from 1994-99, he returned to MIT as the Boeing Associate Professor in 1991 and was named the Finmeccanica Associate Professor in 2001.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 18, 2002.