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Two MIT faculty members elected to National Academy of Engineering

Waitz and Pentland receive a high honor for engineers.
Sandy Pentland (left) and Ian Waitz
Sandy Pentland (left) and Ian Waitz
Photos: Sam Ogden; John Freidah

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has released its list of this year’s inductees, which includes MIT’s Ian A. Waitz of the School of Engineering and Alex “Sandy” Pentland of the School of Architecture and Planning. They are among the 67 new members and 11 foreign associates elected to the academy, according to a Feb. 6 announcement by NAE President C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” and to the “pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”

Waitz is the dean of the School of Engineering and the Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is being honored for his work on the analysis of environmental effects of aviation enabling practical environmental regulations.

Pentland is the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and director of the Human Dynamics Lab at the MIT Media Lab. He is being honored for his contributions to computer vision and technologies for measuring human social behavior.

“Ian and Sandy are remarkably gifted engineers,” Provost Martin Schmidt says. “Each has devoted his career to research and education and has had a profound impact not just on the Institute and our students, but on the world beyond MIT as well. I am proud to see them acknowledged by the National Academy of Engineering.”

Including this year’s inductees, 177 members of MIT’s engineering community have been elected to the NAE. With this week’s announcement, NAE’s total U.S. membership stands at 2,250; the number of foreign associates is at 214.   

A number of MIT alumni were also named to the NAE this year, including Nicholas Abbott PhD ‘92, Harrison Barrett SM ‘62, Howard Bernstein PhD ‘85, Chandrashekhar Joshi SCD ‘87, Craig Philip PhD ‘80, Robert Schapire PhD ‘91, David B. Spencer ‘71, David Harel PhD ‘78, and Lubomyr Romankiw PhD ‘63.

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