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Awards and Honors

The Bang on a Can All-Stars, with co-artistic director Evan Ziporyn, the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music, was named Ensemble of the Year by the Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts. Winners were honored in a Dec. 6 ceremony at Carnegie Hall. The Bang on a Can All-Stars describe themselves as part classical, part rock, part jazz group. The All-Stars are the performing body for Bang on a Can, which was originally a festival of new music in downtown New York, founded in 1987. Since then, it has become an audacious institution that comprises festivals, marathon concerts, publishing, recording, teaching, commissioning and touring.

The MIT Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) student chapter was honored with a Meritorious Achievement 2004 Chapter of the Year Award by the National BMES. Each year, the society recognizes chapters and people who have made "contributions to the intellectual and professional development in the field of biomedical engineering."

The Institute's chapter was founded in 1995 by three MIT seniors who were looking for an outlet to provide students of biomedical engineering with research, employment and educational opportunities. Members of MIT's BMES span nearly all academic majors. Their main goal is to solve problems in biomedicine through the application of science and engineering. The award was presented at the BMES annual meeting in Philadelphia on Oct. 14 to the club's president, Alexis DeSieno, a senior in brain and cognitive sciences, and sophomores Nupur Garg and Aparna Rao, chemical engineering majors who serve as vice presidents of Campus Relations for MIT's BMES.

Named professorships

Chris Schuh, assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE), was appointed to the Danae and Vasilios Salapatas Assistant Professor of Metallurgy, for a period of three years that began in July. The chair is named after Vasilios Salapatas (C.H. 1961, M.L.) and his wife Danae. Salapatas is a member of the DMSE Visiting Committee.

Professor Xiao-Gang Wen of the Department of Physics has been selected as the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics for a five-year term that began Sept. 1. The chair was established in 1976 by Mr. and Mrs. Green, who were longtime friends and benefactors of MIT. Cecil Green (Class of 1923) founded Texas Instruments, Inc.

Professor Richard C. Larson of civil and environmental engineering and engineering systems, was appointed a Mitsui Professor on Nov. 1 for a five-year renewable term. A fundamental objective of the chair is to encourage cultural and technological exchange between the United States and Japan. The first Mitsui Chair was established in 1974 through the generosity of the Mitsui Group, one of Japan's oldest and largest industrial groups in Japan. Larson is the first to hold the second Mitsui Chair.

Professor John W. Belcher of physics, a MacVicar Teaching Fellow, was selected to be the Class of 1922 Professor beginning Nov. 1, for a five-year renewable term. The class professorship was endowed through a 40th-reunion gift of the Class of 1922 to honor distinguished leadership in teaching and service.

Commemorative symposium held for Vernon Young

A symposium honoring the late Professor Vernon R. Young, who died in March 2004, was held at MIT last month. The daylong event on Nov. 12, "Looking Ahead in Honoring the Past," had been in the works for over a year as a Festschrift honoring Young's many contributions and achievements in nutritional science. After Young's death at age 66, the committee planning the event unanimously agreed to hold it as a celebration of his research in amino acids and of the work of others in similar fields.

Proceedings of the symposium will be published as a supplement in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Additional copies will be distributed to developing countries by the International Nutrition Foundation.

In an effort to insure that groundbreaking research in human nutrition continues, The Vernon R. Young Commemorative Fund has been established under the auspices of The International Nutrition Foundation ( The fund will accept contributions to support international fellowships in the field of nutrition as memorials to Young's life and work.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 15, 2004 (download PDF).

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