Professor Daniel G. Nocera won a 2004 Italgas Prize worth 80,000 Euros ($100,000) for his work on science and the environment. Nocera, the W. M. Keck Professor of Energy in the Department of Chemistry, was cited for his work "on molecular chemistry for the production of renewable energy," according to Italgas, which instituted the prize in 1987. Nocera's research resulted in development of the first photocatalytic cycle for the production of hydrogen. The Italgas Prize has three sections: science and the environment (which Nocera won), project for the environment, and research debut for young scientists. Nocera will receive his prize in Turin in February.
Professor David Bartel of biology was selected in December to receive the Vladimir Karapetoff Award in recognition of his research in connection with understanding RNA, the molecule that is essential for cells to read genes. Established at MIT in 1988, the Karapetoff Award is given by the Dean of Science to a member of the MIT community who has "by research, theorizing or teaching, made the most valuable discovery for, or contribution to, the benefit of science and/or mankind." The award provides a $10,000 discretionary research allowance. Prior awardees are Heidi Hammel (1994), Timothy Swager (2000) and James Fujimoto (2002).
Professor Amedeo Odoni of aeronautics and astronautics and civil and environmental engineering has been named a Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). INFORMS cited Odoni for his "outstanding contributions, achievements, and services that have advanced the profession of operations research and the management sciences." Operations research and management sciences are professional disciplines that provide rational bases for decision-making by seeking to understand and structure complex situations and use this understanding to predict system behavior and improve system performance.
MIT's booth won a runner-up prize for Best Display at the Earth Night Fair at the Boston Convention Center last November. About 600 people attended the fair and saw the display prepared and staffed by MIT's Environmental Programs Office and the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. The booth, one of 36, showcased the innovative collaboration between researchers, administration and campus operations to minimize the environmental impact of the Institute. Featured prominently were two Tech Talk articles blown up to poster size, an innovative lamp made of recycled library books, and a recycling game. Steven Lanou, program manager for Sustainability Initiatives in the Environmental Programs Office, and Beth Conlin, education program coordinator for the Lab for Energy and the Environment, organized and staffed the booth.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 26, 2005 (download PDF).