Alexander Slocum, professor of mechanical engineering and a MacVicar Faculty Fellow, became director of the Experimental Study Group (ESG) in the School of Science on Sept. 1. He took over for Professor Travis Merritt, who was director for four years.
"I think this is a particularly nice idea to have a great young mechanical engineer as director of a freshman-year program in our school," said Robert J. Silbey, dean of the School of Science. ESG is an alternative freshman program that offers experimental small group learning at MIT.
Slocum earned the Ph.D. from MIT while simultaneously working from 1983-85 at the National Bureau of Standards, where he also earned 12 superior service awards and a Department of Commerce Bronze Medal. He joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in 1985 and became a full professor in 1998. Slocum designs manufacturing equipment for the automotive, aerospace, semiconductor and entertainment industries. He has about 60 patents issued or pending.
Slocum, who was named Massachusetts Professor of the Year in 2001, teaches the renowned "Introduction to Design" (2.007) course, which culminates in a high-energy machine design competition each May. He uses his book, "Precision Machine Design," to teach graduate students in the subject of the same name. Slocum has already been involved in bringing 2.007 elements into physics by working with instructors in MIT's Technology Enabled Active Learning project; he will continue this as well as teaching in ESG in the fall.