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Two MIT PhD graduates win 2011 Hertz Foundation thesis prizes

Two recent MIT PhD graduates are among three recipients of a Fannie and John Hertz Foundation 2011 Thesis Prize. The award is given to Hertz Fellows whose doctoral dissertations are judged by the Foundation's Board of Directors to show overall excellence, as well as potential for high-impact applications in the physical sciences. The prize includes a $5,000 honorarium per fellow, plus $1,000 each to faculty advisers named by the winners as having a profound influence upon their research.

MIT's recipients are 2006-2010 Hertz Fellow Anna Bershteyn (PhD '11, materials science and engineering) and 2005-2011 Hertz Fellow Monika Schleier-Smith (PhD '11, physics). Schleier-Smith also won the physics department's 2010 Martin Deutsch award for excellence in experimental physics. Faculty named by the winners are Bershteyn's graduate advisers Darrell J. Irvine, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and biological engineering; and Ellis L. Reinherz, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. Schleier-Smith designated advisers Vladan Vuletic, a professor in the Department of Physics; and Professor John Doyle of Harvard's Department of Physics.

Thesis prize winners this year were selected from a pool of 15 Hertz Fellows. "There was such a high level of quality in the work produced this year that the Thesis Committee has recommended three winners," noted Hertz Foundation president Jay Davis.

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